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What the Rest of the World Thinks

mp3, 3.7 MBs, 4:10

Col. recorded 1/29/03

If the U.S. media is any measure, there are millions of Americans who probably couldn’t give a rat's patoot about what people in the rest of the world think about the Americans. In true imperial mode, they dismiss the ideas and arguments of foreigners, as if they are irrelevant, or oddly enough, traitorous.

Fortunately, there are some among us who do care about what the rest of the world thinks about the Americans, and understands that no empire lasts forever, and that no nation can long antagonize the majority of peoples of the world.

What the rest of the world thinks, we think, is important.

While this is not a scientific method, this is a brief sample of editorials from papers from throughout the globe. Their opinions may surprise you.

From Sweden’s leftist Aftonbladet of last December came the prediction that the Bush Administration would seek to undermine the credibility of the U.N. weapons inspectors:

The U.S. administration had its reply ready well before the dossier was presented... The United States will as quickly as possible subvert the credibility of Hans Blix and the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Committee.

With the rise of the anti-war Franco-German Bloc, one would not be surprised in the fact that media from these countries oppose U.S. efforts in the Middle East. But this was so, even in conservative journals, like Le Figaro of Paris, which, in an editorial scripted by Reynaud Girard (Dec. 7th), it was wondered why the calls for war are welling rather than ebbing:

Are UN resolutions meant to apply to weak nations and be ignored at will by the powerful?... To date the Iraqis have complied with the U.N. resolution to the letter... One might have expected that such cooperation from Iraq would have lessened the tension in the region. Strangely, this is not the case.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the left-wing Die Tageszeitung (Dec. 11) noted the queerness of the president seeking the approval of those who generally oppose his Iraq policies:

Bush can wage war on his own; he doesn’t need yes men for that. But Bush is a peculiar sort of character: he actually wants to be urged to war by all the nay men of the world... The Security Council has now understood how to delay a war by putting all possible obstacles in the way, only to let one happen... when Bush wants it.

In the Asian hemisphere, a small, relatively weak ally of the United States voices an interesting, and often unheard perspective that hints at the hypocrisy that lies behind the whole disarmament process. An editorial in the New Taiwan Weekly (a liberal journal) featured the opinion of Luyao, who wrote in November last:

The five standing members of the Security Council, especially the United States, are the biggest manufacturers of nuclear and biological weapons. What right do they have to criticize others?

Strong words from a 'staunch' U.S. ally, eh?

And finally, from the Communist Party weekly in Havana, Granma International (Dec. 12) came the feeling of imperial inevitability:

At this point it seems nothing can prevent a war whose only justification will be the arrogant expansion of imperial domination and the domestic agenda of the Bush administration... in its effort to maintain a climate of fear at home.

What the world thinks is important, for the U.S., despite its out-sized power, is only 6% of the world’s population. It needs the rest of the world, whether it acknowledges it or not. It needs them economically, socially, and culturally.

The rest of the world cannot be an imperial footstool for the Americans.

They are also important in their own right, for they bring enrichment and distinctiveness to life.

We would do well to listen to them, and perhaps-- just perhaps, learn from them.


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Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.