Monday, May 09, 2005

Bin Laden's winning the war. Think about it. He wanted a holy war and, in a sense, he's getting one. Since September 11th, all signs point to more division. America is no longer looked to for leadership, culturally or literally. Countries we used to be allied with are now looking for other avenues of support, or are asserting their own, separate identity. Even Canada, fer Chrissakes! Don't even get me started about Vatican City.

I'm thinking back, now, to an entry in David Byrne's journal, on April 16th, when I first started reading it. He talked about how the U.S. Government may be shutting itself off from foreign avenues of influence, making it harder for international performers to come into the states, etc. He also spoke about a lack of new books from other cultures being translated to English and being sold in the U.S.

"Part of the backwash, or blowback as the CIA calls it, of globalization is that cultures and regions around the world have rediscovered their own cultural resources. Rather than simply seeing themselves as a market for American goods they see America as a market for their goods, services and culture. It goes both ways. So, while the US might not be interested — there isn’t a true reciprocity — the self-image of many nations has changed. Music charts in most countries are no longer dominated by U.S. or English language product, much or which was force-fed and is no longer seen as relevant, and likewise the book lists around the world are no longer dominated by translations of English language writers — there is a more equitable balance… though this balance is not reflected in the U.S. Rome still believes that it makes and the rest of the world should simply buy and consume."

I would take this idea a step further and say that it is exactly what Bin Laden has been intending. Not that I blame this on him, but that we're collectively reacting in exactly the wrong way. We should be working together and looking for things we share with other countries, not trying to elbow our way around and try to convince the rest of the world that our version of democracy, our version of capitalism and the culture/entertainment that goes along with that, is something that would create a peaceful world. We cannot expect a peaceful world when we throw out the expectation that, in order to do business with us, you need to be like us.

I haven't really articulated this as clearly as I would like, but I'll continue to refine my thinking as the days, weeks and months pass. The point is this: since 9/11, the world has splintered. Folks are building walls around their houses and are, in a sense, afraid to go out and talk to the neighbors.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Bingo. Plus it doesn't help when the country you lead has been divided by your politics. I do admit, though, hwen it comes to the action "against Bin Laden" (with some of the news items I have heard lately, it's not exactly clear sometimes just who we are supposed to be fighting because we've gone after countries which had nothing to do with the original, stated goals of this war) what is President Bush really trying to accomplish with this action, at least IMO.

Watch this space

If FB decides to reinstate the account of the former "president" tomorrow, I expect an uptick of activity here for random updates ...