FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fragmentation of News and Causes

by

“When the blind men had each felt a part of the elephant, the king went to each of them and said to each: ‘Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?’”

When a typhoon hits the Philippines, an earthquake ravages Haiti, a hurricane thrashes New Orleans, or a tsunami overwhelms Sri Lanka, all attention focuses closely and exclusively on the specific tragedy, at the neglect of all other news: especially information that connects the event to anything else that has happened before.  This inability to connect the “dots,” this fragmentation of thought, impairs the capacity to give meaning to events, understand their consequences, translate thought into action and make lasting change on a global scale.

For a few days to weeks after a disaster, everybody becomes a New Yorker, Haitian, Filipino, etc. But after the checks are signed and mailed, mostly to non-governmental organizations (NGO) like the Red Cross, a numbness sets in, a habituation to the images of unfathomable loss and despair, and the capital of emotion is used up when empathy is most needed. On “invitation” from the Philippine government, former colonial powers and invaders, the United States and Japan, have brought their troops into the country, ostensibly to assist the relief efforts. The United Nations, which can hardly be commended for its performance in Haiti, is deeply involved in the coordination of this effort, and looks, for all practical purposes, as if its expects to earn a peacekeeping mission from the humanitarian imperial enterprise. If logistics, such as the C-130 aircraft, now being used to bring emergency supplies into the Philippines had instead served to evacuate Toclaban’s population days before landfall by typhoon Haiyan, whose trajectory and speed were known well in advance, many lives would have been saved.

In the shadow of neocolonialism, criminal elements within NGOs, religious and otherwise, converge like so many hyenas on the unfortunate victims of the typhoon, for purposes of human trafficking. As in Haiti, soon the women and baby snatchers will be replaced by the likes of Bill Clinton, who will promise investments and reconstruction so long as the country’s assets are liquidated in a fire sale to corporations.  More than three and a half  years after its earthquake, Haiti is not reconstructed, but rather more demolished than ever before, and it is firmly under the boots of disaster capitalists.

Scientific projections have made clear that during the next 25 years or so, global warming will generate increasingly more catastrophic weather events that will result in the destruction of most of the world’s port cities and disappearance of many islands. Fires, floods, droughts, erosion of top soil, reduced landmass, decreased ocean salinities, loss of glacier water, and massive animal die offs, will put tremendous pressure on human populations. It is not a matter of if, but when, a hurricane as strong or stronger than typhoon Haiyan will hit the Gulf of Mexico and all of its oil rigs.  This one-two punch of climate change and human technology will make the Exxon Valdez and British Petroleum (BP) oil spills look like mere puddles.  The relentless auto-cannibalism of global corporatism will seize future disasters as opportunities for repression, exploitation, destruction of national sovereignty, and the creation of safe havens for the mega-rich under the protection of their private armies. Supranational armies such as the UN peacekeepers and supranational agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are meant to serve as corporate tools to unravel national and cultural specificity for the new world order.

Unfortunately, a common response to this massive and relentless onslaught is to focus on one or two issues, or a single country, at the exclusion of everything and everywhere else, and by doing so, loose sight of the problem as being part of a bigger puzzle.  While individual activists might focus on Monsanto’s genetically modified crops, copyright laws, animal rights, nuclear power, the war in Afghanistan or the fate of Palestinians in Gaza, corporations under one umbrella plot to circumvent popular resistance on all of these issues, using legal devices such as international trade agreements like the TPP and international treaties.

Global capitalism connects the dots. We must do the same.  The formaldehyde-laden Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailers that were used in post-Katrina New Orleans were later sold as school buildings for Haitian children.  This should not have happened.  United Nations peacekeepers are inured to urban warfare on Africans, Haitians and Afghans, and then returned home as militarized police. This could not happen to a population with any view of the big picture. Global citizenry calls for an awareness that a wrongdoing anywhere matters to everyone, everywhere.  It calls for solidarity with all people of the world that is based, not on pity, but self recognition.

In our global fight for self preservation, we must remember, all the time, that we are all Afghans, we are all Filipinos, we are all Haitians, we are all Iraqis, and more, who struggle against the same forces and share the identical desire for self determination.

Gilbert Mercier is the Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post, where this essay originally appeared. 

Dady Chery is the co-Editor in Chief at News Junkie Post.

Gilbert Mercier is the editor in chief of News Junkie Post and the author of  The Orwellian Empire.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 24, 2017
Paul Street
Beyond Neoliberal Identity Politics
Daniel Read
Powder Keg: Manchester Terror Attack Could Lead to Yet Another Resurgence in Nationalist Hate
Robert Fisk
When Peace is a Commodity: Trump in the Middle East
Kenneth Surin
The UK’s Epochal Election
Jeff Berg
Lessons From a Modern Greek Tragedy
Steve Cooper
A Concrete Agenda for Progressives
Michael McKinley
Australia-as-Concierge: the Need for a Change of Occupation
William Hawes
Where Are Your Minds? An Open Letter to Thomas de Maiziere and the CDU
Steve Early
“Corporate Free” Candidates Move Up
Fariborz Saremi
Presidential Elections in Iran and the Outcomes
Dan Bacher
The Dark Heart of California’s Water Politics
Alessandra Bajec
Never Ending Injustice for Pinar Selek
Rob Seimetz
Death By Demigod
Jesse Jackson
Venezuela Needs Helping Hand, Not a Hammer Blow 
Binoy Kampmark
Return to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia
Vern Loomis
The NRA: the Dragon in Our Midst
May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
L. Ali Khan
I’m a Human and I’m a Cartoon
May 22, 2017
Diana Johnstone
All Power to the Banks! The Winners-Take-All Regime of Emmanuel Macron
Robert Fisk
Hypocrisy and Condescension: Trump’s Speech to the Middle East
John Grant
Jeff Sessions, Jesus Christ and the Return of Reefer Madness
Nozomi Hayase
Trump and the Resurgence of Colonial Racism
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Authoritarianism in America
Frank Stricker
Getting Full Employment: the Fake Way and the Right Way 
Jamie Davidson
Red Terror: Anti-Corbynism and Double Standards
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Sweden, and Continuing Battles
Robert Jensen
Beyond Liberal Pieties: the Radical Challenge for Journalism
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Extravagant Saudi Trip Distracts from His Crisis at Home
Angie Beeman
Gig Economy or Odd Jobs: What May Seem Trendy to Privileged City Dwellers and Suburbanites is as Old as Poverty
Colin Todhunter
The Public Or The Agrochemical Industry: Who Does The European Chemicals Agency Serve?
Jerrod A. Laber
Somalia’s Worsening Drought: Blowback From US Policy
Michael J. Sainato
Police Claimed Black Man Who Died in Custody Was Faking It
Clancy Sigal
I’m a Trump Guy, So What?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail