Thursday, March 24, 2011
Monumental events in history has us look, perhaps unconsciously, for clues to its eventuality in previous deeds.
The connection between Kerouac's words and what would happen 40 plus years has been pointed out by others, but I had not realized this until I my recent rereading of On the Road. While this is nothing more than happenstance, it is still interesting to take Kerouac's writing as a reflection of American thinking on the subject of the Orientalist (ala Edward Said) within the framework of 1950's American youth counter-culture.
Friday, March 18, 2011
|Aristide in Haiti (2011)|
The Problem: The primary problem with DN's program is that throughout it there is no mention of WHY Aristide was forced out of Haiti and instead only vague innuendo that the US was involved in this somehow. Goodman repeatedly suggested that the US was and is interfering with foreign politics and Aristide's personal freedom. That there was no reason for Aristide's exile is far from the case as he has been cited by Human Rights Watch for his brutal treatment of the political opposition during his run as president. It is true that Aristide was the first democratically elected president of Haiti, but that does not mean he is perfect or saintly as Goodman would have you believe -similar to many other democratically elected leaders I can think of! Instead, Aristide has been also accused of embezzling millions of dollars from an already poor country. This has never been proven, and of course Aristide has vehemently denied it as well.
The Weird: I can also smell something fishy that Goodman has not explained: Aristide has a good friend in a well known American actor, Danny Glover. Danny Glover flew to South Africa this week to escort his friend back to Haiti. He is a known advocate and has been a speaker at a many anti-war rallies. What is odd is that in 2007 president (or dictator if you prefer) of Venezuela Hugo Chavez gave Glover 18 million dollars to film a movie about Toussaint Louverture who in 1791 had led a slave uprising in Haiti (photo on right is of Glover and Chavez in 2007). Chavez has never been known as a humanitarian, and this large sum of money came from the hands of a man who runs a rich country filled with poverty stricken citizens. Glover took that money and considers himself a spokesman for issues of liberty. I smell something fishy
Context is Important Folks: I don't claim to know why the US wanted Aristide out of the country, and that is what is wrong with DN's coverage. It did not give the entire story. Where is the CONTEXT? What US state department spokesman Crowley said back in January was that “We do not doubt President Aristide`s desire to help the people of Haiti. But today Haiti needs to focus on its future, not its past.” I suppose this means Crowley does not see Aristide as a part of this focused on future, but this misses the point. Miss Goodman is a better reporter than this and she should have added context to this story. A good story should encourage a listener or reader to search out more information out of interest and not out of confusion from not having the story properly explained.
NPR /DN story(s): http://www.democracynow.org/tags/haiti http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2011/3/18/amy_goodman_reports_aristide_lands_in_haiti_after_seven_years_in_exile
Haiti: Aristide Should Uphold Rule of Law (2004): http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2004/02/13/haiti-aristide-should-uphold-rule-lawGovt Corruption Suit Stalls for Lack of Funds (2006): http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=35254
Hugo Chavez, Movie Mogul (2007): http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1624992,00.html
US diplomacy embraces Twitter amid global crises (2011): http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/24/us-diplomacy-embraces-twitter-amid-global-crises.html
Media groups rarely recognize Canada's contributions to global issues. The contributions may not always be as large as some nations, but they are nonetheless important and it is high time this country gets some attention. The recent coverage of NATO's decision to approve a no-fly zone over Libya is a case in point.
A recent article by the New York Time's about NATO's approval of a no-fly zone over Libya did not mention Canada's role in the event. Their article mentions only Britain and France, as in the opening paragraph of: "The United States, Britain and France pushed forward against Libya on Friday as they declared that a cease-fire abruptly announced by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government was not enough, at least for now, to ward off military action against his forces." (New York Times). French forces currently have an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean which houses some 40 aircraft which could be used for this operation, but no exact number of aircraft or specific resources have been committed by France as of yet (Miami Herald). The US involvement is circumscribed only to the talks within NATO and supporting of various sanctions. There are no plans for the US military to support this mission in the form of troops or in leading the mission (Miami Herald). However, the US "would provide "unique capabilities" to enable European partners to enforce no-fly zone, Obama said, and experts predicted that could include providing command and control, intelligence, surveillance and search-and-rescue functions" (Miami Herald).
The Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail, had this to say about Canada's involvement: "Canada will send six CF-18s, last in action in 1999 as they bombed Serb positions to protect the Albanians of Kosovo." This contribution may not be as large as some nations, such as the UK's who "according to David Cameron... [deployed] Tornados and Typhoon aircraft, as well as air-to-air refuelling and surveillance aircraft" (BBC News). Similar to France's commitment, Great Britain has not yet committed an exact number of aircraft. It is then interesting that Canada has provided an exact number. Regardless, Canada has been heavily involved in the NATO talks and are contributing resources in an effort to halt the violence in Libya. This stands as yet another example of Canada's involvement on the world stage being completely ignored by foreign and particularly American media sources.
All articles published on-line, March 18th, 2011
NYT article: Allies Press Libya, Saying Declaration of Cease-Fire Is Not Enough http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/19/world/africa/19libya.html?_r=1&hp
Miami Herald: Obama Vows US Role in Libya will be Limited
G&M article: Canada joins UN call for military action in Libya. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/canada-joins-un-call-for-military-action-in-libya/article1945738/
BBC News article: Libya 'to halt military action'