C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008


Rick Shenkman asks just how stupid and ignorant are his fellow Americans. Whilst Shenkman unveils a few embarrassing stats demonstrating that US citizens are far more knowledgeable about pop culture than world affairs, I suspect his argument doesn't fly. The picture he paints is not clear evidence of ignorance, still less, stupidity, (though frustrated agitators may interpret it as such). Rather, Shenkman seems to depict an abysmal disconnect between representatives and the represented, and a profound disengagement with politics on the part of the populace. These problems are not limited to the US - things differ here in Australia only in terms of degree, and we delude ourselves if we believe otherwise.

Speaking of politics - a majority of people surveyed in the US (and most other countries) believed that their nation should 'not take either side' in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the US, 71% of respondents adopted this position, a result that is hardly indicative of a dullard population in thrall to Christian Zionist lobbyists and other right-wing cranks. Incidentally, most nations apparently believed that both Israelis and Palestinians did themselves no favours in terms of resolving the conflict.

Now this position is not a 'leftist' position per se - for most leftists, it is perfectly clear who is oppressor and who is oppressed in this 'conflict'. Yes, neutrality is inherently conservative, in so far as it supports and rationalises the status quo. Nonetheless, these results show a US population that maintains rather different political perspectives compared to its elite political class. So much for representative democracy (to say nothing of at least $3 billion per annum in aid siphoned off to a militaristic Israel).

Finally, next to the US is a little country much-derided by the world's policeman. Nonetheless, in news you probably won't be reading in the mainstream media, researchers within this country claim to have developed a vaccine for lung cancer. Clinical trials were yet to be complete, but the vaccine itself will be made available to both locals and foreigners.