Remember, you can add or remove update addresses at the ZNet top page --
Many updates of course, appear on ZNet, since last time -- essays by
Fisk, Steel, Galeano, Dorfman, Albertini, Zarate, Pilger, Harnecker,
Zinn, Albert, and so on...including many on the unfolding crisis
regarding Iraq, of course.
The Mainstream Media Watch subsite has been updated, as have many
others, as we get ZNet back up to date after a bit of a slowdown in
August. It is at http://www.zmag.org/watching_mainstream_media.htm
The Marxism debate between Albert and Maass (of the ISO) has concluding
essays by both participants finally in place. The whole debate can be
reached from http://www.zmag.org/debateiso.htm
The best/easiest/most complete ZNet facility for buying videos has gone
back online...after a brief accidental hiatus. It has over 20 videos on
offer. It is at http://www.zmag.org/newvideos.htm and for many of them
we offer both VCRs and DVDs.
The fourteen days of Sustainer Commentaries that I said we would place
on the top page, for the first two weeks of October, are still
there...and we are still hopeful that you will take a look, be amazed at
their quality, and decide that you want to become a Sustainer of ZNet to
receive daily commentaries by email, to have access to our sustainer
zine and forum system, and mostly to help us expand and improve ZNet and
And here, finally...by one of the very best wordsmiths the left has to
offer -- we have a new essay from Eduardo Galeano...
By Eduardo Galeano
[translated by Francisco Gonzalez]
Who gets the water? The monkey with the stick does. The unarmed monkey
dies of thirst. This prehistory lesson opens the film "2001: A Space
Odyssey". Now, for the 2003 odyssey, President Bush announces a military
budget of one billion dollars a day. The arms industry is the only sure
investment: some arguments are irrefutable, whether at the upcoming
Earth Summit in Johannesburg or at any other international conference.
The powerful nations that own the planet are in the habit of reasoning
by means of bombardments. They constitute power--a genetically modified
power, a gigantic Frankenpower that humiliates nature: It exercises its
freedom to turn air into filth, and its right to leave humanity
homeless; it refers to its horrors as errors; it crushes whomever stands
in its way; it is deaf to all alarms and it breaks everything it
The oceans are raising, and the low lands are forever buried under
water. This may sound like a metaphor for economic development as it
stands now, but what it actually describes is a picture of the world as
it will be in a none too distant future, according to the scientists
consulted by the United Nations.
For more than two decades, the predictions of ecologists were met with
either mockery or silence. Nowadays, scientists concede they are right.
And on June 3, 2002, even President Bush was forced to admit, for the
first time, that disasters will occur if global warming continues
damaging the planet. Journalist Bill McKibben has commented that the
Vatican now also acknowledges that Galileo was not wrong. But nobody is
perfect: At the same time, Bush announced that, in the next 18 years,
the United States will increase the emissions of toxic gases by 43 per
cent. After all, he presides over a country of machines that roll along
eating petroleum and vomiting poison. At the end of last year, Bush made
an appeal to solidarity, and he was able to define it: "Let your
children wash the neighbor’s car.”
The energy policy of the world’s leading country is dictated by earthly
business that claims to obey the high heavens. The late Enron
Corporation (deceased by fraud), which was the main counseling firm for
the government and the chief financer of Bush’s and most senators’
campaigns, used to issue divine messages. Its CEO, Kenneth Lay, used to
say: "I believe in God and I believe in the market." Its previous leader
had a similar motto: "We are on the side of angels."
The United States engages in environmental terrorism with complete
remorselessness, as if God had granted that country an impunity voucher
because it has stopped smoking.
"Nature is already very worn out," wrote the Spanish friar Luis Alfonso
de Carvallo. He wrote this in 1695. If he could only see us now!
A great part of the surface of Spain is losing its soil. The soil moves
away, and sooner rather than later sand will move in through the window
cracks. Only 15 per cent of the Mediterranean forests remain standing. A
century ago, forests covered half of Ethiopia, which is now a vast
desert. The Amazonian region of Brazil has lost forests the size of
France. At the rate we are going, Central America will soon start
counting its trees the way a bald man counts his few remaining strands
Erosion drives Mexican peasants away from the countryside and from the
country. The more the soil is degraded, the larger the amount of
fertilizers and pesticides that are needed. According to the World
Health Organization, these chemical aids kill three million farmers
As human tongues and human cultures die away, so do plants and animals.
According to biologist Edward O Wilson, species disappear at the rate of
three per hour. And not only because of deforestation and pollution:
large-scale production, export-oriented agriculture and the
standardization of consumer products are eliminating diversity. It is
hard to believe that barely a century ago there were more than 500
varieties of lettuce and 287 kinds of carrots in the world. And 220
varieties of potatoes in Bolivia alone.
Forests are scalped, the land turns into a desert, rivers are poisoned,
the polar ice caps and the snow of mountain peaks are melting away. In
many places the rains have stopped completely, while in others it rains
as if the sky was falling. The world’s climate has become insane.
Floods, droughts, cyclones, uncontrollable fires--they are all becoming
increasingly less natural, although the media insists, against all
evidence, on describing them as such. And the fact that the United
Nations named the 1990’s as the “International Decade for the Reduction
of Natural Disasters” sounds like some kind of morbid joke. ¿Reduction?
That was the most disastrous decade of all. There were 86 catastrophic
events that left more people dead than even the very deadly wars that
took place during the same period. Almost all of the dead (96% to be
precise) were in the poor countries, the ones that the experts insist on
calling “developing nations”.
With devotion, with enthusiasm, the South imitates and exacerbates the
worst practices of the North. And the North does not export its virtues,
but rather its worst faults, so the poor countries adopt the American
veneration for the automobile and the associated scorn of public
transportation, as well as all the mythology of free markets and
consumer society. The South also receives with open arms the filthiest
factories, the most detrimental to nature, in exchange for salaries that
make slavery seem rather appealing in comparison.
And yet the North consumes, on average, ten times more petroleum, gas
and charcoal per person than the South, where only one in 100 people own
an automobile. A charting of environmental feasting vs. fasting
practices shows that 75% of the world’s pollution is caused by 25% of
its population. This minority does not include, of course, the two
hundred million who live without drinking water, or the hundred million
who go to sleep every night with an empty stomach. It is not “humanity”
that is responsible for gobbling up the natural resources, or for laying
waste to the air, the soil and the water.
Power merely shrugs its shoulders: When this planet stops being
profitable, I’ll move to another one.
Beauty is beautiful only if it can be sold, and justice is just only if
it can be bought. The planet is being murdered by the way of life we are
supposed to emulate, just as we are paralyzed by machines invented to
expedite movement, and we are isolated by cities created for assemblage.
Words lose their sense, as the green sea and the blue sky--painted by
the courtesy of algae that have produced oxygen for millions of
years--lose their color
Those points of light that shine at night--are they spying on us? The
stars twinkle with astonishment and fear. They can’t manage to
understand how this world of ours, still alive, continues to turn round
and round, working so feverishly on its own annihilation. And sheer
fright causes them to flicker when they see that this world is already
invading other celestial bodies.
Z Magazine / ZNet
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