Saturday, August 08, 2009

As a Matter of Interest to Canadians

In Our Interest
by C. L. Cook

It occurred to me last year around this time, at the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of the proclamation making official the theft of the territory now known as the Province of British Columbia; Canadians don't give a whit for the fate of the children, women, and men blown to pieces by their military forces, the Canadian Forces, serving them in Afghanistan.

In attendance that day past along with the thousands of Victorians out to celebrate a perfect August 1st event was Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper.

As Harper ascended the podium then boos and objections to the country's involvement in Afghanistan rang from various quarters of the crowd, but the greater rabble would not be roused. Overwhelmingly they cheering the p.m.'s mouthpiece, who opined as the military flyover approached;

"It's great to live in a country where this [vociferous public dissent] is allowed,
but I think most of us here just want to have fun!"

The Crowd Goes Crazy

In fact; the murderous exploits of the military abroad are in this country worthy of praise from all quarters of the political and social spectrum (save the "radical" 60-70 percentile of citizens polled who wish Canada's military quit its fighting role in that benighted country). Both the State and concentrated corporate media eliminate almost completely counter-militarism views from newspapers, radio, television, and internet coverage, leaving the field almost entirely to the voices of Empire's promoters, and the profiteers in the near-endless war train.

That there has been no withdrawal, (actually the opposite is the case) though the percentages of opposition to the war-fighting activities of Canadians in Afghanistan has hovered in the same range from the very earliest days of the nation's engagement way back in 2001 attests to the effectiveness of message manipulation; but, it also suggests to me:

Canadians will say the right things to telephone-pollsters, but when actions are needed to end a continued injustice their famed decency goes AWOL, the masses preferring entertaining distraction to moral attentiveness.

Maintaining the Interests of the Canadian People

Protecting the usually "threatened interests" of the United States is a mainstay in American rhetoric. Transcending party affiliation or anyone's position along the political continuum, the preservation of those never defined "national interests" is sacrosanct; a duty and a given for any aspiring to gain and keep power there. It is until recently an alien concept in most of the rest of the world; the belief that ones interests supercede and render "quaint" and obsolete any and all previous treaties, agreements, or precepts of civilized cooperation among nations being an "exception" to the rule of international law saved solely for the most powerful.

Thus the United States of America, and its duly deputized vassal nations can wage aggressive war with the flimsiest of "justifying" patinas in places like South East Asia, Central America, and the Middle East, because it serves its interests to do so. Israel too can bomb neighbouring countries and territories with impunity for the same reason Russia can obliterate the independence aspirations of Chechnya, and China can annex Tibet for their respective interests.

These exceptions are necessarily reserved to the 'Exceptionalistas' of the world, of which Canada for all its pretense to import has never been a member, (for exception see "vassals" above) but the current leader of the "New Government of Canada" recently declared his new entity entitled to the same exceptional behaviour as its Ancien Regime neighbour.

Our Interests and Our Values

Canada, if such an entity ever existed in reality, has served ever as carrier of water and hewer of enemies for empire; first England, now America. Perhaps the Afghanis, and other denizens of small nations living next to great ones will understand Canada's past and present plight?

Our historic obeisance is mostly manifest as official silence to our benefactor's wanton malefaction. Though Ottawa always answered when Empire's bugle called, never until Stephen Harper has a leader here compounded Canada's generational, side-liner cowardice in the face of obvious injustice to make of the country a free-booting, war-making avatar to Empire; in effect, a Mini Me maiming and destroying the weak and destitute in vain hope of profiting from the emperor's fleeting favour.

In comments made last week for the sending off of two more Canadian soldiers uselessly cut down in the most green days of youth, Stephen Harper made the following political statement of the nation's future intent:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of these soldiers during this difficult period [...]
The men and women of our Canadian Forces tirelessly strive to make a positive difference in this world.
Their selfless actions protect Canadians, our interests and our values."

After years of Canadian introspection, and ceaseless searching for a defining characteristic to embody the nation's soul, Harper would have us believe he has hit on our elusive commonality and the moral adhesive holding this vast and disparate land together.

Without subjecting the sobriquet of "values and interests" to definition, (the very idea calling into question his pious certitude) Stephen assures he's looking after all of our same interests and our values, while striving to stem the tide that would erode those fine, noble, and ineffable characteristics.

Counting the Dead

Whatever they may be, so far the price of "selfless action" has been: 127 Canadian soldiers, two international aide workers, and one diplomat killed. There have too been many more hundreds wounded physically and psychically.

The fate of the many thousands of natives collaterally killed, maimed, rendered orphans, and made homeless by the Canadian Forces as they "tirelessly strive to make a positive difference in this world" is neither of value nor interest to the people in whose names those misfortunes were cast.

The late and great British playwright and nag to the social conscience of that past empire, Harold Pinter put it to his countrymen and women just why actions of the successor empire and those of their own government they would never openly sanction continued with tedious regularity. He explained, in part of his brilliant acceptance speech to the Nobel committee in 2005;

"It never happened. Nothing ever happened.
Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening.
It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.

The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless . . .
while masquerading as a force for universal good.

It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis."

Now the New Government of Canada and its Hypnotist-in-Chief would have a nation believe not that which was clearly happening wasn't, or that it was of no interest; he would have you accept what is happening is happening, and it's all happening for you.

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