Western Hypocrisy

It’s the same Old Western world. Having rewarded Qatar for its role in the Arab Spring, it’s now opposing hosting of the World Cup to deflect attention from its own misdeeds in the Middle East and North African region.

The ‘free world’ outcry over the deaths of immigrant labourers and their harsh working conditions is hypocrisy at its worst. The International Labour Organisation report there are 50 million people caught in “modern slavery” around the world. Qatar at least amended their labour laws and extended help to workers.

Where lack of personal freedoms and human rights abuse are concerned, many of the West’s business partners are guilty of them. Will the West stop doing business with them? No. The truth is that no nation’s cupboard is empty of skeletons.

Drinking is banned in Qatar, but for the World Cup, Qatar allowed alcohol consumption in designated areas. Though FIFA later banned the sale of alcohol.

Same sex relationships are not allowed either but, here too, an accommodation has been made. LGBT couples can’t parade their affection in public and disrespect local traditions, but they are allowed to stay together in hotel rooms in Qatar.

The war on Qatar never stopped despite all the concessions they made on some of the rules, and the improvements they made in bringing regulations into line with international labour standards.

In any case, the awakening of the West to human rights issues is amusing, especially when the world is witnessing the inhuman treatment of Asians, African, and Latin American migrants in Western countries.


Tainted Democracy

How can politicians go wrong identifying threats to democracy?

“Democracy” is the most tainted word in the political lexicon.

At the very least we should stick Bourgeois in front of it.

“Pure democracy” is the mendacious phrase of a ruling class.

Who want to distract us from class divisions.

It’s replaced religion as a faith to ensure we toe the line.

Bourgeois democracy is restricted, truncated,

False hypocritical, a paradise for the rich.

A snare of deception for believers.

The modern representative state is an instrument.

Exploitation of wage-labour by capital.

Individual wants and needs are shaped by social position.

Role in the structure of society.

Democracy, under capitalist ideology.

Rigidly class-based. It can never be democratic.

Or participatory. The bourgeoisie rule.


‘Zelensky’ The Myth

The story all too familiar. The leader of a country on the periphery of Europe, one fighting against impossible odds to preserve its independence against ruthless foreign aggressors, achieves international fame. He is handsome, brave and heroic. His own people adore him. Western commentators compare him to legendary figures of the past. So appealing is he, and so insistent his calls for military intervention, that some of these same commentators even seem ready to risk global war to support him. He is the essence of charisma.

The pattern has continued. It is worth noting that some of the principal qualities which Zelensky’s Western admirers perceive in him – strength, physical courage, a determination to stand up to powerful foreigners – are similar to those that have made Vladimir Putin appear charismatic to much of the Russian population over the past 22 years. This popular backing helped Putin steadily erode the freedoms that Russia achieved with such difficulty after the Soviet Union collapsed. For that matter, the same qualities made Donald Trump appear charismatic to his die-hard Republican supporters, leading them on 6 January 2021 to storm the US Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election as president. All too many charismatic revolutionaries, applauded around the world for overthrowing vicious, corrupt dictatorships, have ended up as vicious, corrupt dictators themselves (think, recently, of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua). It becomes all too easy for them to believe the hyperbolic praise heaped on them in moments of despair by anxious followers desperate for a saviour. They too start to believe the myth.

history implies that we should resist being swept away by the myths now growing up around Zelensky, especially when they might lead Western nations to dangerously downplay their own interests and security.


Don’t Believe the Hype

Don’t Believe the Hype

“Democrats are tripping over their own boasts.”

We in the West have long been drawn to apocalyptic speculation, whether as an expression of religious faith or as outgrowth of secular and scientific anxieties.

With American popular culture becoming omnipresent, the news cycle endless, and political disputes more heated and intractable, it’s gotten increasingly difficult to be heard above the din.

Hyperbole is the rhetorical equivalent of screaming at the top of your lungs in a room echoing with noisy arguments and teeming with seductive distractions.

The more we shout, the less we hear. The more we exaggerate, the less we believe. And the more we hype the truth as we perceive it, the less likely we are to think anyone else has anything valuable to say.