lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Sep 27 07:06:35 MDT 2002
Tomorrow thousands of people will take to the streets of London to protest
against an attack on Iraq. Here, the distinguished Indian writer Arundhati
Roy argues that it is the demands of global capitalism that are driving us
Friday September 27, 2002
Recently, those who have criticised the actions of the US government
(myself included) have been called "anti-American". Anti-Americanism is in
the process of being consecrated into an ideology. The term is usually used
by the American establishment to discredit and, not falsely - but shall we
say inaccurately - define its critics. Once someone is branded
anti-American, the chances are that he or she will be judged before they're
heard and the argument will be lost in the welter of bruised national pride.
What does the term mean? That you're anti-jazz? Or that you're opposed to
free speech? That you don't delight in Toni Morrison or John Updike? That
you have a quarrel with giant sequoias? Does it mean you don't admire the
hundreds of thousands of American citizens who marched against nuclear
weapons, or the thousands of war resisters who forced their government to
withdraw from Vietnam? Does it mean that you hate all Americans?
This sly conflation of America's music, literature, the breathtaking
physical beauty of the land, the ordinary pleasures of ordinary people with
criticism of the US government's foreign policy is a deliberate and
extremely effective strategy. It's like a retreating army taking cover in a
heavily populated city, hoping that the prospect of hitting civilian
targets will deter enemy fire.
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