Tuesday, September 14, 2010


The New Plague

I know the argument: people like me can speak freely because soldiers are willing to risk their lives and die to defend our democracy. You can find this argument almost anywhere. My Uncle Wilfred got part of his head shot off defending Hill 70, Lens, in 1917 for the same reason.

You could equally argue that the purpose of NATO is now to perpetuate itself, its hundreds of thousands of careers and supporting fantastically expensive industrial base, and that its feudal structure has bred a lack of dissent and honest thought that has corrupted the United States, Britain, and Canada, to name a few, and threatens ancient rights like habeas corpus without really a murmur being raised by citizens who are afraid to be labelled unpatriotic.

Yeah, well, NATO is full of shit. The "Corporate Communications Section, Public Diplomacy Office" in Brussels would make Joseph Goebbels proud. The F-35 is, according to some understated Australians, a 21st century Spruce Goose that has no purpose other than to perpetuate the crazy logic that makes people believe it's necessary, and so perpetuate the tottering pyramid that is antique NATO military power built with money borrowed from China.

The person people should pay attention to is Germaine Tillion, hero of the French Resistance and graduate of the Ravensbrück concentration camp:

"We see the United States as deeply worried about terrorism. But effectively fighting against terrorism does not mean increasing the number of military operations; it means fighting against what causes terrorism. If you introduce kindness and gentleness at the place where terrorism begins, you will eradicate terrorism without pain. It is necessary to examine the most sensitive areas of the earth. You can do nothing to stop the seventeen-year-old kid who has decided to place a bomb somewhere. You can do strictly nothing, and any effort against him will just fly back in your face. Countering violence with violence is the most ineffective response imaginable. Instead, we should target the pain, with the goal to alleviate it. I firmly desire a worldwide dialogue, and I would like to see the United States discharged from the monologue. The period of great wars is over. Science has put in the hands of children extraordinary means of death. The greatest error the United States is currently making is to think that international military operations can stop a seventeen-year-old child from acting. The focus should be placed instead on alleviating the pain in the most sensitive regions of the world, beginning with Jerusalem."

Excerpt from “Déchiffrer le silence”:
A Conversationwith Germaine Tillion
by Alison Rice
Research in African Literatures 2004 35(1):162-179