Tuesday, June 13, 2006
by Wayne Besen
Remember the anticipatory exuberance that gripped the world as Y2K approached? There was a feeling, among the non-apocalyptic crowd, that humanity was crossing an important threshold. It was the dawn of the computer age and modern man was going to evolve and advance civilization.
For a brief moment, there was great hope that people in our rapidly shrinking world would join together for the common good. Technology was all-powerful, the United States seemed like a lovable superpower and a rapidly democratizing world would bring a century of peace and prosperity.
The optimism of the time was predicated on the assumption that we had actually learned from the horrors of the previous millennium, particularly the bloody meat grinder known as the 20th Century. The past hundred years had brought us two World Wars, Imperial Japan, the holocaust, Stalin, segregation, McCarthyism, Vietnam, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Ayatollah Khomeini and Saddam Hussein. (This is the short list)
This great evil was countered by the remarkable courage of the past century's heroes. We had extraordinary spiritual teachers, such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr., to show us a better way. They imparted the wisdom of peace, the power of knowledge and strength through compassion.
Unfortunately, we are now six years into the new millennium and it looks eerily similar to the worst aspects of the 20th Century. In many parts of the world, horror has replaced hope, poverty has eclipsed plenty and pessimism has erased optimism. In large part, Iraq has become Vietnam and Bush has morphed into Nixon. Darfur is the new Rwanda and Congo is, well, the same miserable Congo it has always been.
In the Middle East, Israel and the Palestinians are still in a tug-of-war over an overheated sand trap. Women are treated worse than pets in the rest of the region - they can't drive or vote in Saudi Arabia and the Taliban is keeping women from attending school in Afghanistan.
After freedom was briefly put on the pupu platter, former KGB official, Vladimir Putin, returned with the main dish of gulag goulash. He has slowly rolled back democracy and strangled freedom out of the people and the fledgling press. It is heartbreaking that the fall of the iron curtain has been replaced by Putin's iron fist.
In such a tyrannical climate, it is no surprise that Gay Pride in Moscow was cancelled. However, it was still shocking to watch police turn a blind eye while a few brave gay activists were harassed by nationalistic skinheads. Excuse me, but wasn't it Nazis, not gay advocates that killed (with the help of Stalin) up to 20 million Russians during World War II?
Likewise, Poland is now run by a right-wing government that uses nationalism to oppress minorities. The New York Times
reported that parliamentarian Wojciech Wierzejski said that Gay Pride participants should be "bashed with a baton." Hasn't Poland been on the other side of the authoritarian baton long enough to know better?
What is most disheartening is that the 20th Century taught us the recipe for demagogic intolerance. Yet, we, as a collective people, passively watch the concoction bake and then get fat off the corrosive cake.
The ingredients are always the same: Ruthlessly ambitious politicians, a cup of nationalism, a heap of wrap-yourself-in-the-flag religious certitude, a pinch of intolerant bigotry, a spoonful of militaristic chest-thumping and a sprinkle of historic revisionism.
Sadly, even Japanese politicians are taking their nation down this perilous path by purging teachers who will not whitewash history. Under the banner of "conservative values" (sound familiar) history books are being rewritten to put Japan in a more favorable light. These pages of propaganda disingenuously recast World War II by using the more positive term the "Greater East Asian War."
But all the revisionism cannot change the fact that Tokyo's aggressive nationalism led to the despicable rape of Nanjing and the launching of a war that ended in atomic destruction. It is simply incomprehensible why anyone in Japan would flirt with transforming this prosperous and peaceful nation into a warrior state. Perhaps we are a weak species that just can't seem to kick the deadly, but seductively intoxicating, pipe dream of absolute power. We can't resist fervently waving the flag, even, in the end, if it means this banner will be draped over our coffins.
Meanwhile, in the United States we are in war and debt, yet we have spent the last two weeks debating distractions. While families are having trouble affording gas, the Senate has wasted precious time grandstanding on the "flag desecration amendment" and trying to write gay families out of the Constitution.
Why did we even bother with extravagant millennium celebrations, when the new world we were supposed to be molding is turning out to be a bloody rerun of yesteryear?
Welcome to our company which sells all kinds of holic gold, very cheap holic money, and the more cheap holic gold. If you have to buy some holic online gold, please come to our company, we can give you the best holic online money and best service.
posted by , at
I get a lot of rappelz rupeesand the rappelz gold is very important for me. Some of the rappelz money is given by my friends who buy rupees to let me happy. Thanks for my friends and the cheap rappelz rupees.
posted by cool, at
I am so happy to get some Tales Of Pirates gold and the Tales Of Pirates money is given by my close friend who tells me that the cheap Tales Of Pirates gold is the basis to enter into the game.
Therefore, I should buy Tales Of Pirates Gold with the spare money
posted by xhsjsss, at
I am so happy to get some Atlantica online Gold and the Atlantica Gold is given by my close friend
who tells me that the Atlantica online money is the basis to enter into the game. Therefore, I should buy Atlantica online Gold with the spare money and I gain some cheap Atlantica online Gold from other players.
posted by derfefww, at