Thursday, July 2, 2009

When will we ever learn?

I remember way back in 1979 instinctively listening for the sounds of Somoza bombarding the Nicaraguan people.

At that time I'd lived in the US for about two years and I didn't know much about US foreign policy in general or in Central America in particular. I knew enough, though, to recognize that The People - Nicaraguans - were getting it in the neck. And with American financed weaponry, and American trained troops.

Somoza's family had plundered Nicaragua for decades and still the Somozas wanted more; they wanted it all. They believed they were entitled to take it all, too.

The last of the Somoza dynasty, "Our Man" in Central America "resigned" on July 17th 1979 and fled to Miami. (He went into exile in Paraguay where he was assassinated in 1980...but, I digress.)

Of course I could not hear the bombs falling, the chop-chopping of helicopters overhead, the overwhelming blasts, or people screaming in Managua and everywhere else there was resistance that had to be wiped out. I was, after all, in California. But I felt it. Something in my collective unconscious surfaced over a series of days and, despite being safe in my home, I "felt", I was psychically plugged into, the ongoing human catastrophe deriving from greed, monomania, and shortsighted policies enacted to promote capitalism and pacify the people. I'd stop whatever I was doing, stare out the window of my house, listen... and I'd hear the chaos of bombardment.

Today, as 4,000 American troops - mostly Marines - bombard Helmand Province I have a similar experience. I can hear the noise of the helicopters, the screams, the chaos as families flee the onslaught.

Which mother is going to hear tomorrow that her son is wounded...or dead? Which mother is digging at her smashed brick and mud mortar house to free her child under the rubble? How is it that so few journalists are surfacing the realities behind this slaughter: the ongoing human catastrophe deriving from greed, monomania, and shortsighted policies to pacify the people, promote capitalism and lay the oil pipelines?

Meanwhile, today, the Iraqi people are "free" of American troops in their cities...and, for the first time in four decades, since Iraqi oil was nationalized, the oil corporations are bargaining for Iraqi oil.

Somoza is dead; long live Somoza.

Eerily, this picture looks a lot like the pix from the Vietnam war... you know the ones I mean... American troops crossing a rice paddy in that familiar formation?

Pete Seeger had it right when he sang, "when will they ever learn?" When will we ever learn?

Photo: David Guttenfelder/Associated Press

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