Remember the Bay of Pigs disaster? April 17, 1961; I was only two at the time, so I learned of this later. I bet most US schools don’t teach kids about this. On that day, CIA backed Cuban “rebels” failed an attempt at ousting Fidel Castro’s government. almost 1500 people were sacrificed toward this effort. What a waste.
Worse, exactly fourteen years later, the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia and began the systematic murder of almost 25% of the population. The NY Times has a guest-editorial from a survivor of the Khmer Rouge. Every American should read this as a real “reality-check.”
Another interesting Op-ed piece comes from Nicholas D. Kristof, also of the NY Times. His point: that America has a long, glorious history of looking the other way as other counrties commit genocide.
Can this be human nature to turn ones back on attrocities whenever possible? As long as such mass crimes doesn’t happen “in my back yard” can we continue to turn the volume up on the TV and ignore it? Thanks to a few pioneers like MTV, such willful ignorance is getting harder to do. Thanks to the democratization of information enabled by the internet, humanity is being forced to recognize the unalterable fact that it matters all to people what other countries do to their populations. We are all on this planet together, anything that happens on this earth happens “in my back yard.”
Meanwhile, our Favorite Shrubbery and his cronies are busy suppressing information that may be “misconstrued” as providing a negative report card on the administration’s policies regarding global terrorism. The State Department has decided to stop publishing its annual report on terrorism. Last year, interestingly enough, the number of terrorism reports were “undercounted” in the State Departments report. Hmm - I guess that wasn’t enough, so this year the whole thing is being scrapped.
This won’t work, of course. Many university-level Political Science departments and private institutions will amass their own data, and the internet will distribute it. The information is out there where anyone can find it. The era when governments can hide their closets full of skeletons is over. The people are connected, they are concerned, they are increasingly empowered by the internet to make their own decisions independent of the old-school media and its attendant, tightly controlled government spin. To try at this point to segregate informaion channels in an effort to control the internet is to hobble all institutions that rely on the internet as integral to their operations - can you think of just one organization that does not? The veil is lifted, the secrets are exposed; it’s now time for our governments to become the honorable vehicles of public welfare that they were intended to be. The masses of internet users, the global interconnectivity of humanity will hold them accountable, forcing change at the speed of electrons.
Any politician that disregards the emerging voice of outrage that is facilitated by the ‘net, strengthened by the online community, and aggregated into a new, global voice, does so at his/her own peril.