Thursday, August 17, 2006

Made in USA?

I saw a picture from bombed Lebanon on the Finnish news yesterday. Atop a building utterly collapsed, someone had planted a banner saying "Made in USA". Today, I read in the paper that Iran has promised an "unlimited budget" to aid the rebuilding of Lebanon. Now, although I don't hold individual Americans personally responsible for what their, um, great leader undertakes in his wisdom, it remains a fact that Israel gets massive military and financial support from the US. So, one can understand the feeling on the groundroots level in Lebanon may well be that the bombings (by the US-funded Israel) are in fact made in USA - and the rebuilding is made in its (current? future?) archenemy, Iran. This is not, I emphasise, to express my personal preference for a fundamentalist Iran (over a near-fundamentalist US?). Neither do I mean to equate the government of any country with its people. However. The people in Lebanon, as elsewhere, put together the pieces of information they receive from their news sources and draw conclusions from their own standpoints. Their conclusions will be biased, for sure. With lives lost, homes bombed to the ground, infrastructure destroyed, whose wouldn't? We in the West receive our news biased by governmental opinion as well. Trouble is, people in the great Western powers are culturally programmed to think the information they receive is impartial, objective, correct, "what actually happens", rather than filtered through the alliances and agendae of their government.

How much money is the US going to give for rebuilding in Lebanon? Does anyone know? Even if one wouldn't piss in the general direction of namby-pamby humanitarian objectives, wouldn't it be politically expedient to be seen to be the good rebuilders, rather than the bad bombers?

Meanwhile, the civilian death toll in Iraq is said to be over 3400, much more than in Lebanon, with no end in sight.

I actually believe most people in the world, given the chance, would prefer just to live their lives, bring up their children, mind their own business, without a driving need to kill each other. Really. And by "given the chance", I mean (amongst other things) the chance to grow up without an atmosphere of vengeance and hatred. Which is seriously lacking in the modern society, worldwide.


kurt said...

I think you dropped a zero on the Iraq death toll, Anna. And I don't know that anyone in the US takes mainstream news at face value.

Bush and the GOP have done such a good job of cowing their opponents and undercutting the notion of a factual world that mainstream media has given up trying to find truth, and now people just skip straight to opinion that feeds their bias. Bush supporters watch only Fox News and listen to rightwing radio, and I understand a large percentage of them believe "we're winning" in Iraq, whatever that means.

It is spooky, because you can see how easy it is to slowly lead a democracy toward fascism, by playing off fear and resentment.

As for money to rebuild Lebanon, just look at the state of "rebuilding" in Iraq. Bush needs that money for more tax cuts for the rich.

Excuse me for running my mouth; this is YOUR blog...

Anna MR said...

Hey kurt, you're welcome to "run your mouth" - that's what the comments option is for, no?
I agree with you with the leading democracy by the nose towards fascism - issue. People find it difficult to intellectually take on a world with no definite right/wrong, black/white set-ups. It is tempting just to go with one's own bias and believe it to be true. I am aware of this tendency in myself, too - I am, after all, only human (hah - so she's noticed!). Thing is, I would really *like* to believe that people who have suffered greatly, enormously, unthinkably under some oppressive regime or another, would in their future avoid committing the same atrocities unto others. However, the world seems to always disprove my naive wishes. Those who have suffered greatly seem to want to pass it on, sooner or later. It is dreadful. It makes me feel hopeless about the future.