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

March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail