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After my work in the Middle East had finished, at least for the time being, I was waiting for my flight to Santiago de Chile. In Paris. I could count on a few 'free' days, processing what I had heard and witnessed in Beirut. Day after day, for long hours, I sat in a lounge, typing and typing; reflecting and typing.
As I was working, above me, France 24 television news channel was on, beaming from a flat screen.
The people around me were coming and going: West African elites on their wild shopping sprees, shouting unceremoniously into their mobile phones. Koreans and Japanese doing Paris. Rude German and North American beefy types, discussing business, laughing vulgarly, disregarding 'lower beings', in fact everyone in their immediate radius.
No matter what was happening in my hotel, France 24 was on, and on, and on. Yes, precisely; for 24 hours, recycling for days and nights the same stories, once in a while updating news, with a slightly arrogant air of superiority. Here, France was judging the world; teaching Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, about themselves.
In front of my eyes, above me, on that screen, the world was changing. For many months I had been covering the nightmarish riots of the treasonous violent ninjas in Hong Kong. I was all over the Middle East, particularly Lebanon, and now I was on my way to my second home, Latin America, where socialism has kept winning elections, but was getting beaten, even terrorized, by the corrupt and crooked Western empire.
All that France 24 kept showing, I have been habitually witnessing with my own eyes. And more, much more, from many different angles. I have filmed it, written about it, and analyzed it.
In many countries, all over the world, people have been sharing their stories with me. I have seen barricades, photographed and filmed injured bodies, as well as tremendous revolutionary enthusiasm and excitement. I have also witnessed betrayals, treasons, cowardice.
But in the lounge, in front of the television set, everything appeared pretty groovy, very classy, and comforting. The blood looked like a well-mixed color, the barricades like a stage of the latest Broadway musical.
People were dying beautifully, their shouts muted, theatrical. The elegant anchor in a designer dress was beaming benevolently, whenever people on the screen dared to show some powerful emotions, or were grimacing in pain. She was in charge, and she was above all of this. In Paris, London and New York, powerful emotions, political commitments and grand ideological gestures, were made outdated, already a long time ago.
During just the few days that I spent in Paris, many things have changed, on all the continents.
The Hong Kong rioters were evolving; beginning to set on fire their compatriots simply because they dared to pledge their allegiance to Beijing. Women were unceremoniously beaten, with metal bars, until their faces were covered in blood.
In Lebanon, the big clenched fists of the pro-Western regime-change Otpor were suddenly at the center of the anti-government demonstrations. The economy of the country was collapsing. But the Lebanese 'elites' were burning money, all around me, all around Paris and all around the world. Poor Lebanese Mise'rables, as well as the impoverished middle class, were demanding social justice. But the rich of Lebanon were mocking them, showing. They had it all figured out: they have robbed their own country, then left it behind, and now were having a great ball here, in the "City of Lights".
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