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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy is an Indian woman who writes eloquently about peace and social justice, or any other topic she chooses. Here are a few quotes from her book, War Talk:
Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead. When independent, thinking people (and here I do not include the corporate media) begin to rally under flags, when writers, painters, musicians, film makers suspend their judgment and blindly yoke their art to the service of the nation, it's time for all of us to sit up and worry.

She also gives us some of the sordid history of British imperialism in the Middle East:
In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the coutry...Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.--Lord Arthur James Balfour, British Foreign Secretary, 1919
And this from Winston Churchill in 1937:
I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.
If Bush was going to invade Iraq anyway, which he was, it seems as though he would actually have had a better chance in the hearts-and-minds area if it had been completely unilateral. Aside from Israel, I'd have to think that Bush couldn't have had a coalition partner more offensive to Iraqis than Britain.

On the other hand, this is the first time I've understood how people could claim that Bush is Churchillian.