Once they get the "thing" addiction started, the invaders offer the people opportunities to earn money to buy more things. This breaks the people out of their traditional ways of living, usually only working a few hours a day, what's necessary to survive, and puts them into close to slave labor conditions, doing mindless work-- mining, farming, carrying.
This is a tried and tested approach that has been used to break and finally wipe out thousands of cultures and communities.
And so, today, there's an article in the Wall Street Journal reporting how "success" may be coming to the West Bank. The article reports that recently a Mercedes dealership has opened up. A boutique selling $3000 Prada purses recently opened. The article reports that "economic growth raced at 9% through the first half of 2010, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Most telling is this line from the article, " Proponents of putting economic progress ahead of political progress are betting that prosperity may bring some calm, or at least change the situation by giving activists something to lose if violence flares again. Few people here say the present calm will hold indefinitely."
Will Trinkets succeed where bombs and violence have failed? (Flickr Photo by Wonderlane)
Israel and AIPAC and their supporters have failed, using force and violence, to daunt the Palestinians in their fight to gain their freedom and independence.
Capitalism could be the weapon, and it is often a brutal one, that does what settlers and bombs and demeaning restrictions have failed to do. The addictive nature of the consumer culture could wipe out the resolution and strength the Palestinians have shown in standing up to Israel and its proxies.
We've seen the biggest democracies weakened or taken down entirely by the corporate consumer culture and globalism. We've seen the smallest cultures annihilated by invaders using the soft power of things and substances to lure people to give up their freedoms.
In Avatar, Jake Sully mocks the attempts to get the ten foot tall blue natives, the Nawi, to give up their home, "for what, blue Jeans?"
It may be that the same threat could be very real for the people of Palestine. They have suffered so long and had so little. They have been immersed and marinated in the messages of the west, through TV and movies. It would be tragic if they went the way of so many indigenous cultures, lured to their doom by trinkets large and small.