Filed under: Afghanistan, army, Canada, empires, freedom, News and politics, Uncategorized
I’ve been asked a few times why I’m not freelancing for Canadian/North American publications.
At first, I questioned it myself. Was it a sort of defect? Laziness? I seriously doubted it was laziness, since when I was in Vietnam I was editing the majority of a thick tourist mag as well as working for the daily paper. And here in Bangkok, I’m at the office until at the earliest 6:30 every night. I supposed I could go out on weekends and talk to people, attend the few protest rallies against the coup, etc. but to be honest I don’t have a valid work visa yet and I don’t particularly want to be expelled by the kingdom (or shot by some trigger-happy zitfaced teen soldier).
More importantly though, my issue with the “why aren’t you freelancing in the west” question is that these days it strikes me as a little bit racist. Not in the big, nasty scary racist way, but in the way that assumes that Western press is more prestigious or important. I can’t say I’ve developed much insight in my time in southeast Asia, but what I am beginning to see are the signs of a declining (American) empire and a rising ‘third world’ empire. The new power may be China, India, maybe even Japan, who knows, it could be a stark raving mad Kim Jong-il armed to the teeth with atom bombs and high heels. Whoever it is, in the next few centuries the world will belong to the east.
People may be shocked at the assertion that the west is on the decline. While the economic and capital flow eastward is a little easier to perceive, it’s the power flow that’s barely perceptible but oh so important.
For all the violence committed in the name of money, resources, political favours, all I can say is “you reap what you sow.” The damage done, by all parties and governments and armed groups since January 17, 1961, the day Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the world of linking industry and wealth with war, is scandalous plain and simple.
The rampant exploitation of land, corrupt governments, ongoing denials of basic human rights, torture and secret prisons are all landmines on any road to co-existing peacefully.
Or have we given that up as option by now?
Without peace and security, the economy can’t thrive and there will eventually be civil unrest. If nations don’t pursue peace and security as long term policies and instead work against it for gain, well, what is sown will be reaped. And sadly the victims will be innocent citizens already cheated by their governments.
Speaking of living peace to spread peace, we need Canadian troops focused on rebuilding Afghanistan’s schools, hospitals and roads, doing beneficial work while protecting the civilans. I’m all for our special ops forces doing their work wherever it sends them, but there are approximately 19,500 US soldiers in Afghanistan so why do we keep hearing about Canadians fighting and dying in the frontlines? If Canada hadn’t been willing to send troops to Afghanistan maybe it would have put another obstacle in the path of George Bush’s march to war. But that’s another issue.
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