Ten years ago in October 2003, my first article was published in Palestine Chronicle. It was a result of the previous year’s reading of many books concerning the U.S. and its relationships with the Middle East countries, the interest brought about by the events of 9/11 and how they were shaped and reported by the mainstream media.
At that point in time, I knew enough about U.S. adventures in other parts of the world, most notably from growing up during the Vietnam era and its reckless pursuit of an imagined enemy in a region of the globe that did not appear to have any concern with North America. However, I knew I was not well versed in Middle East history, simply knowing its broad outlines. From my current perspective I could not actually say what I did or did not know at the time, as it has all blended together into my current positions on global affairs. Since then I have read many hundreds of books and read tens of thousands of on-line articles – works from all sides of the story in order to gain the fullest view possible.
From all this reading, the official version of events never seemed to align with the reality that others lived through and reported on. That has been true of most major events from 9/11 forward and is true of most major events preceding 9/11. My focus at the time became Palestine, as it seemed to be the center of most of the action in the Middle East, that if the Palestinian problem could be solved, then much of the other problems would also be solved. I was and remain both right and wrong.
I am right in that if a peace and settlement could be made that fairly represented the indigenous rights of the Palestinian people within their own sovereign territory, a significant change would have occurred in the region. I am wrong in that the creation of a Palestinian sovereign territory involves much more than simply trying to settle a disagreement between two peoples. It involves also the major superpowers of the world and their respective alignments, it involves the current corporate financialized economy of the world and its alignments within the superpowers and the protections and harvesting of the natural resources of the region, and it involves the many peoples of the Middle East who at most times do not appear to have much say in what is happening to them.
It is in essence, the invisible center of a global system of military and corporate rule that benefits those in power without much concern for the citizens of the world.
About a year ago, I stopped reading, stopped writing, wondered what the sense was in continuing to argue against a system that held all the power, tolerated only a tiny bit of weak dissent, and was becoming more and more aggressive and open in its violent responses to anyone anywhere who went against their interests. Yes, there were many sane voice out there, many positive events, but they never seemed to have made a dent in the progress of military and economic power over the peoples of the world.
I could get away from the books, the writing, the television, the internet; that part was easy. What I could not get away from was myself, and I am not inclined to drink myself into oblivion or use any other drug that might do that for me. What I had learned, what I had thought about, the images I had seen, the analyzing, synthesizing, and articulation of a world full of ideas, all remained within me. I could not escape myself, the anger, the frustration, the numbing idea that in the universal scheme of things, none of what I thought or wrote mattered. But it does matter, absolutely; and it is good that the ideas could not be escaped.
It matters because while there is suffering in the world, I cannot be unaware of it, and I need to do what I can to at least express my anger and frustration at the processes that dominate our world and create that suffering. And it is good that the ideas cannot be removed, for as much as I may be preaching to the choir a lot of the time, there may be others somewhere who read my material—and thus were exposed to the ideas—ideas that do not expire once brought to life.
As it all started with my reaction to the 9/11 events, perhaps that is as good a place to start as any. Basically, 9/11 has been ‘normalized’; by that, I mean it is historically acknowledged as being a starting point in various events around the world, without much thought given anymore to the actuality of the event. Both threads of thought are wrong.
It was not a starting point for many events. Yes, it was a catalyst that allowed the progression of several events that were already in the works—I remember the phrase from the Project for a New American Century indicating we need “a new Pearl Harbor”. It is a convenient historical marker, but it does not represent any major historical digression from the overall thread of U.S. history. Certain things became more obvious afterwards, became more aggressive, but the main direction of U.S. events did not change trajectory.
And it was not a singular event catching the U.S. unawares, created by a bunch of religious fanatics living in caves and mud huts who “hated us for what we are.” The official version does not add up, does not make any sense, and should not for anyone who is able to critically look at the official explanations of how and why things unfolded the way they did. I won’t argue those points here as there are many sources available online that look at all the questions. Suffice to say that the reality of the event is unknown, much can be conjectured, and we all now suffer from the event that provided the public excuse for the ongoing “war on terror.”
The big picture presents three facets: the economy, the environment, and the military/political. These are the faces of our current global crisis, not separate departments with no relation to each other, but fully intertwined in what is apparently a downward spiral towards a rather gloomy end. It does not have to be that way, but the inertia of our civilization is currently heading us that way.
In the decade since I began reading, I read more than political/historical works I also included many science books, most related to the environment. Within the decade it became obvious, partly from the basic observations I could make in areas where I had lived and hiked over many decades, that climate change was real and was influenced by human activity. There is very strong scientific evidence for this, and it relates not just to the air temperature warming, but also the warming of the oceans, the acidification of the oceans, the increasing frequency of supposedly ‘one-hundred year’ events, and other related phenomenon such as the Arctic ice summer melt and the thinning of that and other ice around the world.
This all ties in with human economic activity from both our extractive efforts for resources and our over consumptive actions in highly ‘disposable’ societies, at least for the developed world and increasingly for some of the larger ‘emerging’ countries—Brazil, China, India—emerging into that same consumptive lifestyle. It also then ties into the military-industrial complex as the governments of various countries attempt to guard and harvest these resources, mainly the developed countries controlling the economic and military structures of less powerful, more readily, and perhaps willingly manipulated countries.
The current global economy is the proverbial ‘house of cards’ wherein the wealth is created within the world of the financial markets, markets that are well removed from actual productivity. It is held together by faith alone, faith that the U.S. dollar will remain the global reserve currency, that the various governments of the world will continue to use and honor the Washington consensus/Bretton Woods arrangements that morphed into the World Trade Organization and the many institutions promoting ‘free trade’, and the many supposed ‘free trade’ agreements that entangle the economic world.
There is no such thing as any ‘free markets’ anywhere in the world except maybe for local and regional markets that work with the consensus of the people of the area. Otherwise, the only thing that is free is the ability of money to be moved around wherever the corporations and banksters wish it to be moved.