Though this writer was vehemently opposed to our pre-emptive war and occupation of Iraq, a newspaper photo of an American G.I. having his boot on the neck of an Iraqi man in front of his family convinced me (just months after the March 2003 invasion) this misadventure had no chance of being successful. That searing picture remains in my head to this day. It exposed our deep disrespect of the people we were supposed to be liberating, revealing the true nature of the endeavor; our control and domination of Iraq.
Of course that picture didn't reveal something new on our part. We had the same contempt for the Vietnamese people during that unnecessary war. Instead of the "gooks" (as we referred to the Vietnamese) it became "rag heads" in Iraq.
The epithets in themselves weren't exactly new even in the 1960's. The enemy (or for that matter all who are despised) have always been referred to in a disrespectful, condescending and sub human manner.
In war it's kill the enemy. And those trained to kill are told the enemy is something akin to evil, a subhuman beast. He deserves whatever we do to him.
Currently in America, beyond its wars, its Latinos, Muslims, illegal immigrants and gays as those seemingly most despised. But it's just not bigoted white Americans that harbor these type hatreds. It's a world-wide phenomena and even as the world gets smaller with the effects of globalization the ethnic, sectarian, racial hatred of those "different" than them continues.
In the late 1960's this author came upon a booklet entitled, "the Report from Iron Mountain". It was supposedly a factual treatise coming from some "wise men" (unknown) that said essentially, we humans need war and only an invasion from outer space could unite all humanity.
In light of our current wars of choice in Iraq and Afghanistan and not so clandestinely in Pakistan, Yemen and beyond having an enemy from outer space could"well let's leave that fantasy confined in the minds of science fiction writers. Like it or not, all humanity is stuck with each other here on this 3rd rock from the Sun.
Maybe the internet driven world of "Facebook" and "Twitter" are the vehicles that are capable of uniting humanity. The current revolutions in the Arab world were helped driven by this technology. For the humiliations and indignities suffered by the Tunisian Mohammad Bouazizi, the Tunisian fruit seller whose self immolation was the initial spark that all Arab people could identify with and was the catalyst behind the current Arab rebellions and revolutions.
And it's gone beyond the Arab world.
In Wisconsin, has it not been the indignity and persecution suffered by public union employees at the hands of a tyrannical Governor Scott Walker? His arrogance and false propaganda blaming these people and their unions for Wisconsin's budget deficit crisis has enflamed not just the public union members in Wisconsin but many others demonstrating in solidarity with them all over the country.
It has caused an awakening in this country where progressives have become re-energized and re-engaged realizing the demands of the people acting in peaceful, non violent rebellion against our corporate driven and corrupted elected officials is the way to bring about the real reform we need in this country.
It may be a stretch to directly link the rebellions in the Arab world with protests in Wisconsin. But tyranny of the powerful against their own people, whether it's in the guise of corrupt Arab dictators or the Koch Bros. financed sycophant governor in Wisconsin, it is all of the same cloth.
The genie of freedom and liberation is out in the Arab world. The Ben Ali's and Hosni Mubarak's have been unceremoniously deposed (as will soon happen to Muammar Qaddafi in Libya (although the latter may have to be physically removed).
That genie's power has been ignited in Wisconsin and elsewhere in America.
We must not let the combined forces of corrupted officials and their big corporate financial backers to snuff out our freedom and democracy.