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It may sound incredible, but it is true: in countries that have been damaged, even totally robbed and destroyed by the West, many people are still enamored with Europe and North America.
For years, I have been observing this 'phenomena', even in the most plundered, devastated war zones and slums. Often I was shocked, other times thoroughly desperate. I did not know how to respond, how to react, how to describe what I have been observing.
Then, a few days ago, in Syria, right next to the Idlib battlefield, close to the deadly positions of Al-Nusra Front, in a country where the West and its allies have murdered hundreds of thousands of people, one of my interpreters exclaimed in a 'patriotic' outburst: "Look how beautiful this land is! It is almost as beautiful as Europe!"
And at night, another guide of mine began nostalgically recalling his glorious days in Europe, when he could still go there; before the Syrian war began.
An interpreter did not know who Fidel Castro was (I had his portrait, lighting up cigar, as my phone screensaver), but both of them - my local companions at the battle ground - were fluent in Western slang and the worldview. They knew, however, near zero about China.They were patriotic and they fully supported their country, but at the same time they admired the West and Western journalists from the mainstream media - those very same propagandists who helped to bring their beautiful and unique Syria to the state in which it is now.
It all felt schizophrenic, but definitely not new.
I could not take it, anymore. I decided to write this story, despite the fact that it is an intellectual 'minefield'. I decided to write it, because it is how it is. Because I have to tell it; someone has to. And above all, because it is absolutely essential to combat the crooked selfie image with which the West has been infecting almost all nations of the world, including all those that it has been plundering and raping.
Are we dealing with the so-called "Stockholm Syndrome" here? Most likely, yes. The victim falls in love with her or his tormentor.
For long centuries, the West has been colonizing, usurping, literally terrorizing the entire planet. Hundreds of millions have died as a result of colonialism, neo-colonialism, and imperialism. Wealth, cultural and educational institutions, hospitals, transportation, parks - all that Europe and North America possess to date and boast about, was constructed on mountains of bones, on genocide and unbridled plunder.
That cannot be disputed, can it?
Slavery, mass murder, genocidal expansions; the West robbed the world, and then consolidated its power, promoting its exceptionalism through relentless brainwashing (called 'education'), propaganda (called 'information'), and twisted entertainment for the masses that inhabit poor countries (called 'culture' and 'the arts').
Shockingly and absurdly, Europe and North America are still loved and admired by many, even (or especially) in such places where Western governments and companies plagued everything like locusts, leaving to the locals only burned land, poison and miserable slums.
How is it possible?
For years, I have been working in Africa, a continent which was entirely subjugated by the U.K., France, Germany, Belgium and other European expansionist nations. Africa from where millions of men, women and children were brought in chains to the "New World", as slaves. Where millions died during the 'hunt', where millions died in 'transit centers', and then, on the open seas. That's tens of millions of ruined lives. The complete plunder of the resources, the unimaginable humiliation of the people, broken cultures, genocides and holocaust against local individuals from what is now Namibia, to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Great African heroes like Lumumba assassinated by the Western rulers.