Thursday, February 5, 2009

Of apologies and reparations

Bob gets it right again. Apologizing to Iran for overthrowing their democratically elected government in 1953, for one thing, sets a wholly different tone in diplomacy. Why is it so easy for al-Qaida and others of that vein to recruit the psychologically starved of the world to blow up the symbols of world domination and everybody who gets in the way? The question answers itself in a sense. We also constantly feed them material. We need to knock it off, and what better place to start? Besides, it's the right thing to do.

Sound lighter-than-air? The follow-up is the all-important step two. The military-resource-sucking complex continues to reap the rewards of playing World Bully Number One, established and sustained in the role by the same ruthless global strategy network that overthrew Mosadeqq in Iran, and likewise Allende in Chile, Aristide in Haiti (twice), et al.

The situation is analogous, as some very smart friends were recently saying, to the excellent reasoning for reparations to African and Native Americans - and, I'd argue, to much of the poor white population. In other words a certain group of people, in the case of the rich in the US a specific class made up of interconnected families, inherits certain "privilege" - wealth, property, influence, acceptance, trust, respect - that each individual is not required to earn as others are. A word from a person's father, who may serve on a board or contribute to a charity, or the mere knowledge of that father's position, may land a young person a job, qualify an individual for a loan, get a group of young boys off a potentially disastrous criminal charge, etc. Born with a silver ladle in your cake hole? You may not even have to pay the "inheritance tax" on that table tool if enough Congressmen understand what it's like to start out life with ... a helluva lot.

"Politics of resentment"? What's the problem with friends and family helping out? We like sharing, don't we? Sure, but (a) what these people are sharing isn't theirs - they stole it, or somebody did and slipped it to them; and (b) they're not just sharing, with their tiny inbred group; they're keeping it from everyone else - i.e. the original owners.

Land fenced in and stolen from European peasants, who were then forced to work for the thieving class and barred by law from earning a living wage; land and resources stolen from the Arawak, the Croatoan, the Powhatan, the Wicocomico, the Massachusetts, the Muskogee, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, et al., every single treaty broken; labor stolen from generations of enslaved Africans, and their descendants born in a strange land; a third of Mexico stolen; the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti, the whole Central American "backyard" put under the bootheel; then the Middle East; and on and on - this is the source of the wealth we argue over "spreading around" as if it fell like mannah from heaven, materialized out of nothing to shower a chosen people favored by a righteous god and not seized in successive waves of mortal violence and brutal tyranny.

That is why radicals like us talk about reparations instead of charity. It has nothing to do with utopian societies that have all things in common, or whatever. It is an out-and-out debt, a longstanding one. And it needs to be repaid.

But first, the godfather has to step down.

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