FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fragmentation of News and Causes

“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.

More articles by:

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

November 15, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Ukania: the Land Where the Queen’s Son Has His Shoelaces Ironed by His Valet
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Spraying Poisons, Chasing Ghosts
Anthony DiMaggio
In the Wake of the Blue Wave: the Midterms, Recounts, and the Future of Progressive Politics
Christopher Ketcham
Build in a Fire Plain, Get What You Deserve
Meena Miriam Yust
Today It’s Treasure Island, Tomorrow Your Neighborhood Store: Could Local Currencies Help?
Karl Grossman
Climate of Rage
Walter Clemens
How Two Demagogues Inspired Their Followers
Brandon Lee
Radical Idealism: Jesus and the Radical Tradition
Kim C. Domenico
An Anarchist Uprising Against the Liberal Ego
Elliot Sperber
Pythagoras in Queens
November 14, 2018
Charles Pierson
Unstoppable: The Keystone XL Oil Pipeline and NAFTA
Sam Bahour
Israel’s Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take
Cesar Chelala
How a Bad Environment Impacts Children’s Health
George Ochenski
What Tester’s Win Means
Louisa Willcox
Saving Romania’s Brown Bears, Sharing Lessons About Coxistence, Conservation
George Wuerthner
Alternatives to Wilderness?
Robert Fisk
Izzeldin Abuelaish’s Three Daughters were Killed in Gaza, But He Still Clings to Hope for the Middle East
Dennis Morgan
For What?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Government is Our Teacher
Bill Martin
The Trump Experiment: Liberals and Leftists Unhinged and Around the Bend
Rivera Sun
After the Vote: An Essay of the Man from the North
Jamie McConnell
Allowing Asbestos to Continue Killing
Thomas Knapp
Talkin’ Jim Acosta Hard Pass Blues: Is White House Press Access a Constitutional Right?
Bill Glahn
Snow Day
November 13, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Midterm Results are Challenging Racism in America in Unexpected Ways
Victor Grossman
Germany on a Political Seesaw
Cillian Doyle
Fictitious Assets, Hidden Losses and the Collapse of MDM Bank
Lauren Smith
Amnesia and Impunity Reign: Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100th Anniversary
Joe Emersberger
Moreno’s Neoliberal Restoration Proceeds in Ecuador
Carol Dansereau
Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity
Dave Lindorff
Hey Right Wingers! Signatures Change over Time
Dan Corjescu
Poetry and Barbarism: Adorno’s Challenge
Patrick Bond
Mining Conflicts Multiply, as Critics of ‘Extractivism’ Gather in Johannesburg
Ed Meek
The Kavanaugh Hearings: Text and Subtext
Binoy Kampmark
Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power
November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail