Arundhati Roy: An Old U.S. Government Sport
An Old U.S. Government Sport
Porto Alegre, Brazil - Jan 27, 2003
We know that every argument that is being used to escalate the war against Iraq is a lie. The most ludicrous of them being the U.S. Government's deep commitment to bring democracy to Iraq.
Killing people to save them from dictatorship or ideological corruption is, of course, an old U.S. government sport. Here in Latin America, you know that better than most.
Nobody doubts that Saddam Hussein is a ruthless dictator, a murderer (whose worst excesses were supported by the governments of the United States and Great Britain). There's no doubt that Iraqis would be better off without him.
But, then, the whole world would be better off without a certain Mr. Bush. In fact, he is far more dangerous than Saddam Hussein.
So, should we bomb Bush out of the White House?
It's more than clear that Bush is determined to go to war against Iraq, regardless of the facts - and regardless of international public opinion.
In its recruitment drive for allies, The United States is prepared to invent facts.
The charade with weapons inspectors is the U.S. government's offensive, insulting concession to some twisted form of international etiquette. It's like leaving the "doggie door" open for last minute "allies" or maybe the United Nations to crawl through. But for all intents and purposes, the New War against Iraq has begun.
What can we do?
We can hone our memory, we can learn from our history. We can continue to build public opinion until it becomes a deafening roar. We can turn the war on Iraq into a fishbowl of the U.S. government's excesses.
We can expose George Bush and Tony Blair - and their allies - for the cowardly baby killers, water poisoners, and pusillanimous long-distance bombers that they are.
We can re-invent civil disobedience in a million different ways. In other words, we can come up with a million ways of becoming a collective pain in the ass.
When George Bush says "you're either with us, or you are with the terrorists" we can say "No thank you." We can let him know that the people of the world do not need to choose between a Malevolent Mickey Mouse and the Mad Mullahs.
Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness - and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we're being brainwashed to believe.
The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling - their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.
Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.