June 2003


“Mog, I want to tell you a Russian folktale about a turnip that I read in a bookstore in Tokyo.”

“What’s a turnip, Yaw?”

“It’s a vegetable that grows underground. You know, Mog, you are nothing until you make something of yourself. Now listen to this story.”

It was a pleasant afternoon. Abayaw and Dulmog were lying on the grass by the river; beside them were their basket traps and a catch of fish.

“There was once an elderly couple who lived with their grandson, a dog, a cat and a mouse. One day, Grandmother decided to prepare a turnip for dinner so she went to her garden to fetch one. But no matter how much she pulled, the turnip would not budge.

“‘Grandfather!’ she called out. ‘Come and help me with this turnip!’ So the grandfather came, and they pulled and tugged. ‘Grandson!’ the grandfather called out. ‘Come and help us with this turnip!’ So the grandson came, and they pulled and tugged. Still, the turnip would not budge. Then the grandson called the dog, and the dog called the cat, and the cat called the mouse. When the mouse came and they all pulled and tugged together, only then did the turnip finally come out of the ground.

“So what do you think of that, Mog?”

“Grandmother should consider growing vegetables above ground.”

“Mog! It means that even the smallest effort can bring change. It means that the only way we can succeed is that we work together. Be involved in making that change.”

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“Mog, if you only knew how the secret powers control their enormous wealth. I don’t think you’ll understand this but through the IMF, they impose free-market economic policies like privatising state-owned industries, lowering trade barriers, eliminating subsidies, devaluating the country’s currency and raising interest rates in order, according to the IMF, to stimulate the business climate. But that only means raising the cost of living and killing small businesses. That wipes out the struggling poor. They even impose cuts in health, education and welfare spending. They may appear charitable, giving money here and there, but scratch at the surface and you will find underneath the IMF’s bonnet, a wolf that helps other wolves continue to live well. The IMF serves only a small number of people– those who are far from needing assistance.

“But there is a way to prevent this capitalist revolution from happening. The government should set certain economic policies putting up barriers to free trade. This way, domestic industries are safeguarded. When we shall have the wherewithal to participate in the globalisation of the market, then we will. But until that time, the people must come first.”

“I may be ignorant, but I am not a fool, Yaw. But there is one thing for sure. I am not interested in the ways of the cormorants.”

“But Mog, you have to protect what rightly belongs to you and the people. In order to do that, you have to be aware of their methods in order to better defend yourself.”

The Masters of the Universe (by Pepe Escobar)
Fat Cat Frat Shack at Chateau du Lac

Foreign Policy and Globalisation
Latin America Stands Up for Itself

There is a story of two women who claimed to be the mother of a baby. A judge who heard their case decided that the object should be divided equally between them. One mother agreed and the other wept, saying that she would have the other woman take the child rather than to have him cut up. The shrewd judge then knew to whom the baby belonged.

An international criminal court has been established to prosecute war crimes. With 139 nations as signatories to the treaty, there is one that sought and succeeded in getting immunity from prosecution. She has undermined international organisations and prefers a divided world to one that can exist in unity. This country regards itself above the law. Does someone know to whom the world belongs? Mother Earth weeps.

UN extends US immunity
US attacks Belgium war crimes law
US fears persecution
US criticised in UN debate

When Dr. Robert Goddard, inventor of the liquid fuel-propelled rocket, claimed in 1920 that a rocket would one day reach the moon, a journalist from the New York Times ridiculed him and wrote that Dr. Goddard’s knowledge did not go beyond high school science.

From a cabbage patch on his aunt’s farm in Massachusetts, Dr. Goddard launched the first rocket in the history of rocketry. But no one in America recognised the significance of the applications of his work. The press continued to make him look like a fool, and the Army ignored Dr. Goddard’s concern over a particular country’s interest in his invention. Other countries did see the scientific genius that Dr. Goddard was; but one European nation stood out among the rest. By tilting the angle of trajectory of this missile, Germany used it to bomb London in the Second World War.

One fine summer day in July 1969, man landed on the moon using a liquid fuel-propelled rocket. Everyone knows that–everyone except for the good Dr. Goddard who died of cancer in 1945.

“The United States,” Dulmog declared, “is a country that is only 225 years old. They have no traditional civilisation. Who are the real Americans? They are the Indians. Slaughtered by cowboys, they are now a minority community in their own country. Less than one percent is all that remains of the Native American population.

“Who are the Other Americans? They are all immigrants. They came to that land in search of a better life. The invading whites being the first wave of settlers, along with kidnapped Africans sold as slaves, that country is populated exclusively of immigrants. And a majority of these white immigrants were commoners who did not pass through the fine sieve of Europe’s traditional societies.”

“But these people,” Abayaw countered, “who came as pioneers to America, may have failed to find their place in the traditional societies of their country, but it is precisely this that has made them a nation of innovative people, adaptable to contemporary conditions. They were not fettered by tradition and social class structures as the society back in their country of origin were. The modern-day American may have no ties to their roots, but among their qualities lies a hardworking and ethical character.”

“But the civilised world is being led by the nose by this young upstart, Yaw. I find their arrogance and belligerent ways abhorring. We can say something to pierce their inflated ego and humble them this way, but will no one do anything to put them in their place?”

“You won’t accomplish anything by saying these things, Mog. It will only alienate Americans already opposed to their Administration’s policies because they could take your gibe personally. As for doing something to put them in their place, I think some Arabs are trying to do just that, Mog. But there is another way–and that responsibility falls with the United Nations.”

“Yaw, if you think that some things are better left unsaid, then the sword is mightier than the pen…”

Columbus Sparked a Genocide

gibran.jpg My soul and I went down to the great sea to bathe. And when we reached the shore, we went about looking for a hidden and lonely place.

But as we walked, we saw a man sitting on a grey rock taking pinches of salt from a bag and throwing them into the sea.

“This is the pessimist,” said my soul. “Let us leave this place. We cannot bathe here.”

We walked on until we reached an inlet. Then we saw standing on a white rock, a man holding a bejewelled box from which he took sugar and threw it into the sea.

“And this is the optimist,” said my soul. “And he too, must not see our naked bodies.”

…And on we walked. suddenly we heard a voice crying, “This is the sea. This is the deep sea. This is the vast and mighty sea.” And when we reached the voice, it was a man whose back was turned to the sea, and at his ear he held a shell, listening to its murmur.

And my soul said, “Let us pass on. He is the realist who turns his back on the whole he cannot grasp, and busies himself with a fragment.”

So we passed on. And in a weedy place among the rocks was a man with his head buried in the sand. And I said to my soul, “We can bathe here, for he cannot see us.”

“Nay,” said my soul. “For he is the most deadly of them all. He is the puritan.”

Then a great sadness came over the face of my soul…

“The Greater Sea” from Kahlil Gibran’s The Madman

When Asia was emerging from colonial rule, Asians believed that their hopes and aspirations for their respective countries could develop along Socialist lines. They did not have the necessary ingredients to make a Capitalist system work. But the Americans intervened to topple the fragile scaffolding.

Interventions by the Americans make them the object of hatred by the poor and the revolutionaries. During the Vietnam War, the CIA learnt that Vietnamese were hiding in Cambodia. The American president ordered the invasion of both Cambodia and Laos, dropping half a million tons of bombs on Cambodia alone, destroying the economic infrastructure of this fragile ethnic nation.

The Americans have no respect for the sovereignty of nations that do not have the capacity to retaliate. They imposed a military dictatorship in Cambodia, the offshoot of which was the Pol Pot regime. In Laos, CIA intervention there was America’s first secret war in Southeast Asia. They also decimated the antiquated culture of that country. The CIA, together with the US military, ran Operation Phoenix, an assassination project that has killed over 40,000 Asians.

The Power of One
Pol Pot and Uncle Sam
US and North Korea

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