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Bringing Down The New Berlin walls

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    Bringing Down The New Berlin walls By John Pilger http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19358.htm 15/02/08 ICH -- -- The recent breakout of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2008
      Bringing Down The New Berlin walls
      By John Pilger

      15/02/08 "ICH" -- -- The recent breakout of the people of Gaza
      provided a heroic spectacle unlike any other since the Warsaw ghetto
      uprising and the smashing down of the Berlin Wall. Whereas on the
      occupied West Bank, Ariel Sharon's master plan of walling in the
      population and stealing their land and resources has all but
      succeeded, requiring only a Palestinian Vichy to sign it off, the
      people of Gaza have defied their tormentors, however briefly, and it
      is a guarantee they will do so again. There is profound symbolism in
      their achievement, touching lives and hopes all over the world.

      "[Sharon's] fate for us," wrote Karma Nabulsi, a Palestinian, "was a
      Hobbesian vision of an anarchic society: truncated, violent,
      powerless, destroyed, cowed, ruled by disparate militias, gangs,
      religious ideologues and extremists, broken up into ethnic and
      religious tribalism, and co-opted [by] collaborationists. Look to the
      Iraq of today – that is what he had in store for us and he nearly
      achieved it."

      Israel's and America's experiments in mass suffering nearly achieved
      it. There was First Rains, the code name for a terror of sonic booms
      that came every night and sent Gazan children mad. There was Summer
      Rains, which showered bombs and missiles on civilians, then
      extrajudicial executions, and finally a land invasion. Ehud Barak, the
      current Israeli defence minister, has tried every kind of blockade:
      the denial of electricity for water and sewage pumps, incubators and
      dialysis machines and the denial of fuel and food to a population of
      mostly malnourished children. This has been accompanied by the
      droning, insincere, incessant voices of western broadcasters and
      politicians, one merging with the other, platitude upon platitude,
      tribunes of the "international community" whose response is not to
      help, but to excuse an indisputably illegal occupation as "disputed"
      and damn a democratically elected Palestinian Authority as "Hamas
      militants" who "refuse to recognise Israel's right to exist" when it
      is Israel that demonstrably refuses to recognise the Palestinians'
      right to exist.

      "What is being hidden from the [Israeli] public," wrote Uri Avnery, a
      founder of Gush Shalom, the Israeli peace movement, on 26 January, "is
      that the launching of the Qassams [rockets from Gaza] could be stopped
      tomorrow. Several months ago, Hamas proposed a ceasefire. It repeated
      the offer this week . . . Why doesn't our government jump at this
      proposal? Simple: to make such a deal, we must speak to Hamas . . . It
      is more important to boycott Hamas than to put an end to the suffering
      of Sderot. All the media co-operate with this pretence." Hamas long
      ago offered Israel a ten-year ceasefire and has since recognised the
      "reality" of the Jewish state. This is almost never reported in the west.

      The inspiration of the Palestinian breakout from Gaza was dramatically
      demonstrated by the star Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Aboutreika.
      Helping his national side to a 3-0 victory over Sudan in the African
      Nations Cup, he raised his shirt to reveal a T-shirt with the words
      "Sympathise with Gaza" in English and Arabic. The crowd stood and
      cheered, and hundreds of thousands of people around the world
      expressed their support for him and for Gaza. An Egyptian journalist
      who joined a delegation of sports writers to Fifa to protest against
      Aboutreika's yellow card said: "It is actions like his that bring many
      walls down, walls of silence, walls in our minds."

      In the murdochracies, where most of the world is viewed as useful or
      expendable, we have little sense of this. The news selection is
      unremittingly distracting and disabling. The cynicism of an identical
      group of opportunists laying claim to the White House is given
      respectability as each of them competes to support the Bush regime's
      despotic war-making. John McCain, almost certainly the Republican
      nominee for president, wants a "hundred-year war". That the leading
      Democratic candidates are a woman and a black man is of supreme
      irrelevance; the fanatical Condoleezza Rice is both female and black.
      Look into the murky world behind Hillary Clinton and you find the
      likes of Monsanto, a company that produced Agent Orange, the war
      chemical that continues to destroy Vietnam. One of Barack Obama's
      chief whisperers is Zbigniew Brzezinski, architect of Operation
      Cyclone in Afghanistan, which spawned jihadism, al-Qaeda and 9/11.

      This malign circus has been silent on Palestine and Gaza and almost
      anything that matters, including the following announcement, perhaps
      the most important of the century: "The first use of nuclear weapons
      must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to
      prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction." Inviting incredulity,
      these words may require more than one reading. They come from a
      statement written by five of the west's top military leaders, an
      American, a Briton, a German, a Frenchman and a Dutchman, who help run
      the club known as Nato. They are saying the west should nuke countries
      that have weapons of mass destruction – with the exclusion, that is,
      of the west's nuclear arsenal. Nuking will be necessary because "the
      west's values and way of life are under threat".

      Where is this threat coming from? "Over there," say the generals.

      Where? In "the brutal world".

      On 21 January, on the eve of the Nato announcement, Gordon Brown also
      out-Orwelled Orwell. He said that "the race for more and bigger
      stockpiles of nuclear destruction [sic]" is over. The reason he gave
      was that "the international community" (basically, the west) was
      facing "serious challenges". One of these challenges is Iran, which
      has no nuclear weapons and no programme to build them, according to
      America's National Intelligence Estimates. This is in striking
      contrast to Brown's Britain, which, in defiance of the Nuclear
      Non-Proliferation Treaty, has commissioned an entirely new Trident
      nuclear arsenal at a cost believed to be as much as £25bn. What Brown
      was doing was threatening Iran on behalf of the Bush regime, which
      wants to attack Iran before the end of the presidential year.

      Jonathan Schell, author of the seminal Fate of the Earth, provides
      compelling evidence in his recently published The Seventh Decade: the
      New Shape of Nuclear Danger that nuclear war has now moved to the
      centre of western foreign policy even though the enemy is invented. In
      response, Russia has begun to restore its vast nuclear arsenal. Robert
      McNamara, the US defence secretary during the Cuban crisis, describes
      this as "Apocalypse Soon". Thus, the wall dismantled by young Germans
      in 1989 and sold to tourists is being built in the minds of a new

      For the Bush and Blair regimes, the invasion of Iraq and the campaigns
      against Hamas, Iran and Syria are vital in fabricating this new
      "nuclear threat". The effect of the Iraq invasion, says a study cited
      by Noam Chomsky, is a "sevenfold increase in the yearly rate of fatal
      jihadist attacks".

      Behold Nato's instant "brutal world".

      Of course, the highest and oldest wall is that which separates "us"
      from "them". This is described today as a great divide of religions or
      "a clash of civilisations", which are false concepts, propagated in
      western scholarship and journalism to provide what Edward Said called
      "the other" – an identifiable target for fear and hatred that
      justifies invasion and economic plunder. In fact, the foundations for
      this wall were laid more than 500 years ago when the privileges of
      "discovery and conquest" were granted to Christopher Columbus in a
      world that the then all-powerful pope considered his property, to be
      disposed of according to his will.

      Nothing has changed. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund,
      the World Trade Organisation and now Nato are invested with the same
      privileges of conquest on behalf of the new papacy in Washington. The
      goal is what Bill Clinton called the "integration of countries into
      the global free-market community", the terms of which, noted the New
      York Times, "require the United States to get involved in the plumbing
      and wiring of other nations' internal affairs more deeply than ever

      This modern system of dominance requires sophisticated propaganda that
      presents its aims as benign, even "promoting democracy in Iraq",
      according to BBC executives responsible for responding to sceptical
      members of the public. That "we" in the west have the unfettered right
      to exploit the economies and resources of the poor world while
      maintaining tariff walls and state subsidies is taught as serious
      scholarship in the economics departments of leading universities. This
      is neoliberalism – socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor.
      "Rather than acknowledging," wrote Chalmers Johnson, "that free trade,
      privatisation and the rest of their policies are ahistorical,
      self-serving economic nonsense, apologists for neoliberalism have also
      revived an old 19th-century and neo-Nazi explanation for developmental
      failure – namely, culture."

      What is rarely discussed is that liberalism as an open-ended, violent
      ideology is destroying liberalism as a reality. Hatred of Muslims is
      widely advertised by those claiming the respectability of what they
      call "the left". At the same time, opponents of the new papacy are
      routinely smeared, as seen in the recent fake charges of
      narcoterrorism against Hugo Chávez. Having insinuated their way into
      public debate, the smears deflect authentic critiques of Chávez's
      Venezuela and prepare the ground for an assault on it.

      This is the role that journalism has played in the invasion of Iraq
      and the great injustice in Palestine. It also represents a wall, on
      which Aldous Huxley, describing his totalitarian utopia in Brave New
      World, might have written: "Opposition is apostasy. Fatalism is ideal.
      Silence is preferred." If the people of Gaza can disobey all three,
      why can't we?



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