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The Machine

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  • Djehuti Sundaka
    The Machine by Eduardo Galeano Rebelion.org April 27, 2002 http://www.zmag.org/content/TerrorWar/galeano-machine.cfm [Translated by Francisco González]
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 29, 2002
      The Machine
      by Eduardo Galeano
      April 27, 2002


      [Translated by Francisco González]

      Sigmund Freud had learned it from Jean-Martin
      Charcot: ideas can be implanted by hypnosis in the human mind.

      More than a century has gone by since then, and the technology of
      has made great strides. This is a colossal machine, the size of
      the planet, that
      orders us to repeat the messages it puts inside our heads. It’s a

      The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, had been elected, and
      reelected, by an
      overwhelming majority, in a much more transparent election than
      the one that put
      George W. Bush in power in the United States

      The machine propelled the coup that tried to overthrow Chavez--not
      because of his
      messianic style, or his tendency toward logorrhea, but because of
      the reforms he
      proposed and the heresies he committed. Chavez touched the
      untouchables. And
      the untouchables--the owners of the media and almost everything
      outraged. With complete freedom they denounced the crushing of
      freedom. Inside
      and outside his own country, the machine turned Chavez into a
      “tyrant,” a “delirious
      autocrat” and an “enemy of democracy.” Against him was the
      “citizenry”. Behind him
      were the “mobs,” which did not meet in rooms but in “lairs”.

      The media campaign was decisive in the avalanche that lead to the
      programmed from abroad against this ferocious dictatorship that
      did not have a
      single political prisoner. Then the Presidency was occupied by a
      businessman for
      whom nobody voted, and whose first democratic measure was to
      dissolve the
      Parliament. The stock market went up the following day, but a
      popular uprising
      returned Chavez to his legitimate post. As Venezuelan writer Luis
      Britto Garcia put
      it, the media-engineered coup was able to generate only a virtual
      power, and it didn’t
      last. Venezuelan television--a bastion of information freedom--did
      not get wind of the
      upsetting news.

      Meanwhile, another voted-by-none figure who also took power by
      coup d’etat is
      displaying his successful new look: General Pervez Musharraf,
      military dictator of
      Pakistan, has been transfigured by the magical kiss of the mass
      media. Musharraf
      says--and repeats--that the notion that his people could vote does
      not even enter his
      head, but he himself has given a vote of obedience to the so
      called "international
      community", and that is the only vote that really matters in the
      end, at the time of

      He has come a long way indeed: only yesterday, Musharraf was the
      best friend of
      his neighbors, the Taliban. Today he’s become the “liberal brave
      leader of the
      modernization of Pakistan."

      And in the meantime, the slaughter of Palestinians continues. The
      manufacturers of public opinion call it a “hunting down of
      terrorists.” “Palestinian” is a
      synonym of "terrorist", but this word is never used to refer to
      the Israeli army. The
      territories seized by continuous military invasions are called
      "disputed territories."
      And Palestinians--who are Semitic--turn out to be “anti-Semitic.”
      For more than a
      century they have been condemned to atone for the sins of European
      and to pay with their land and their blood for a Holocaust they
      did not perpetrate.

      There is a Gutlessness Competition at the Human Rights Commission
      of the United
      Nations, which always aims South, never North.

      The commission specializes in charging against Cuba, and this year
      Uruguay had
      the honor to lead the pack. Nobody said: "I do it so that they buy
      what I sell", or: "I
      do it so they lend me what I need", or: "I do it so they loosen
      the rope that’s
      tightening around my neck". The art of good governing allows its
      practitioners not to
      think what they say, but it forbids them from saying what they
      think. And the media
      took advantage of the occasion to confirm, once again, that the
      blockaded island is
      one of the baddies.

      In the dictionary of the machine, the bribes that politicians
      receive are called
      “contributions,” and their betrayals are called “pragmatism.” The
      word “security”
      refers not to notions of safety and protection, but to
      investments; and it is in the
      stock exchange that these “securities” undergo all kinds of
      crises. Where we see
      "the international community demands," we should read: the
      financial dictatorship

      "International community" is also the pseudonym that shelters the
      great powers in
      their military campaigns of extermination, also called “pacifying
      missions.” The
      “pacified” are the dead. The third war against Iraq is already in
      the works. As in the
      two previous ones, the bombers will be called “allied forces”
      while the bombed will be
      “fanatic mobs serving the Butcher of Baghdad.” And the attackers
      will leave behind a
      trail of civilian corpses which will be called “collateral

      In order to explain this next war, President Bush does not say:
      “Big oil and big
      weapons need it badly, and my government is a pipeline and an
      arsenal. “ Nor does
      he explain his multibillion project for the militarization of
      space with words like: “We
      are going to annex the sky the way we annexed Texas.” No, the
      explanation is that
      the free world that must defend itself against the threat of
      terrorism, both here on
      Earth and beyond, even though terrorism has demonstrated it
      prefers kitchen knives
      to missiles, and despite the fact that the United States is
      opposed--along with
      Iraq--to the International Criminal Court that has been recently
      established to punish
      crimes against humanity.

      In general, the words uttered by power are not meant to express
      its actions, but to
      disguise them. More than a century ago, at the glorious battle of
      Omdurman, in
      Sudan, where Winston Churchill was both reporter and soldier, 48
      Britons sacrificed
      their lives. In addition, 27,000 savages died. The British were
      pushing their colonial
      expansion by fire and the sword, and they justified it by saying:
      “We are civilizing
      Africa through commerce. They were not saying: "We are
      commercializing Africa
      through civilization." And nobody was asking Africans their
      opinion on the matter.

      But we are fortunate enough to live in the information age, and
      the giants of mass
      communications love objectivity. They even allow for the point of
      view of the enemy
      to be expressed as well. During the Vietnam war, for example, the
      point of view of
      the enemy was 3% of the coverage given by ABC, CBS and NBC.

      The Pentagon acknowledges that propaganda is part of the military
      budget, and the
      White House has hired Charlotte Beers, a publicity expert who had
      pushed certain
      brands of rice and dog food in the local markets. She is now in
      charge of pushing the
      crusade against terrorism into the world market. “We’re selling a
      product,” quipped
      Colin Powell.

      Brazilian writer Millor Fernandes confirms that “in order not to
      see reality, the ostrich
      sinks its head in the television set.

      The machine dictates orders, the machine stones you.

      On September 11, the loudspeakers of the second twin tower in New
      York were also
      giving stunning orders, when the tower started to creak. As people
      ran down the
      stairs, the loudspeakers were ordering everyone to return to their

      Those who survived, disobeyed.
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