Thoughts on the peace rallies
dstainsby at telus.net
Mon Feb 17 12:43:34 MST 2003
----- Original Message -----
From: "LouPaulsen" <LouPaulsen at attbi.com>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Sunday, February 16, 2003 4:35 PM
Subject: Re: Thoughts on the peace rallies
I think there is a third, very ... important factor sort of like democratic
anti-fascist sentiment, but conceptualized on the basis of the "rights of
countries" rather than on the basis of individual rights.
I'm talking about chapters about the United Nations in elementary school
textbooks, depictions of the United Nations on postage stamps, the
celebration of people like Dag Hammarskjold and so on. There were the
trappings of democracy: the General Assembly where all the nations have one
vote, they all respect each other, and so on; respect for treaties;
negotiation rather than war; and all that. I don't mean that it was ever
sincere on the part of the imperialist powers, but I think it created a set
of sincere expectations on the part of working people.
This truly resonates with me, Lou. (Pardon a very late response, but I've
been trying to put together a post on the time I just spent in Cuba which
has had a tremendous effect on me.)
As a person born during the war and growing up with the United Nations as a
certain way of avoiding war, I know this belief was one of the last to go in
my growing understanding of the way the world actually operates. I have
found that people of my age find it almost impossible to shake this
fundamental axiom of our childhood, and many of those seniors who marched on
the 15th for the first time were reaffirming this. In Canada, I think, this
belief is one of the strongest faiths we have had in our country. We have
never had power, but we have had influence because of our history of
peace-keeping through the UN. This was reflected in the words of our prime
minister, Jean Cretien, in Chicago on the 13th.
During the attacks on Yugoslavia, I think the protests were much fewer and
smaller, simply because the actions had some kind of international approval.
That imperialist action was one of the catalysts of my change in thinking,
however, because I had some small personal knowledge of Serbia and Serbians.
Knowing the tatters in the velvet glove of rationalization given us, I could
for the first time see the iron fist.
This time around, I hear many Canadians say that we cannot blindly follow
the US into a war without UN approval. If that approval is with-held, the
anti-war stance of many will stiffen. If the Security Council gives in, I
fear that the thoughts of many will change to reluctant approval. Trust in
the United Nations is an integral part of the make-up of my generation.
"Well, if the UN says we should go in, then I guess we should."
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