Re: state of memes

From: Dace (
Date: Wed Sep 26 2001 - 06:05:49 BST

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    Subject: Re: state of memes
    Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 22:05:49 -0700
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    It wasn't just the Palestinians. What happened two weeks ago was much like
    the climactic scene of The Wizard of Oz, when the Wicked Witch of the West
    melts into a pool of water, and her servants rejoice at their sudden and
    previously unthinkable liberation.

    Here's the view from Mexico, by correspondent John Ross:

    Many Mexicans clearly do not display the same compassion as [President] Fox
    and [Foreign Minister] Castaneda for their nearest neighbors to the north, a
    world power that has repeatedly invaded, annexed, and vexed Mexico for
    centuries. For many Mexicans, despite the North American Free Trade
    Agreement and the Fox-Bush embraces, the United States of North America
    remains the Great Satan.

    Chilangos (Mexico City residents) followed closely the malignant events of
    Black Tuesday step by step as the two monopoly TV networks transmitted CNN
    saturation coverage with Mexican anchormen and women providing local color.
    Some of the commentators, such as Televisa's Joaquin Lopez Doriga
    unsuccessfully sought to conceal their glee as the twin towers crumpled to
    earth, burying thousands. "The symbol of world economic power is no more,"
    Doriga yapped excitedly over and over again as the re-runs reiterated the
    destruction on an endless tape loop.

    Later, the star newscaster would boast that prior to this terrorist Pearl
    Harbor, only Mexico had ever had the audacity to attack the United States on
    its own turf (Pancho Villa invaded Columbus, New Mexico for a few hours in
    March of 1916.)


    I sat at my desk in the old quarter of Mexico City, staring in horror at the
    fuzzy black and whites of the destruction. Suddenly, a banda de guerra
    (brass band) from impoverished Oaxaca state began to aggressively blast away
    beneath my balcony. Joy was in the air.

    One activist got so giddy that he went to the U.S. embassy on Reforma
    Boulevard and handed out a list of Yanqui Imperialist war crimes that
    included Hiroshima and the genocide of North American Indians. In the new
    spirit of Mexican democracy, he was promptly hauled off by the police.

    I ran into Pepe G. in the Vascona panaderia (a local bread store.) I know
    Pepe from years of covering demonstrations in the great Zocalo plaza a few
    blocks away, in which he often participates. "Que Padre!" he was grinning
    from ear to ear. "How beautiful!" Pepe did not mean the roscas and the
    pineapple tarts and the creampuffs. "What balls the pilots had!" the small
    brown man raved on, "Que Chingones!"

    I have been covering social strife in Latin America for many years. I am
    tall and white and often distrusted and disliked by the small brown people
    whose story I am telling, as the gringo enemy. Indeed, when the companeros
    are friendly, I get suspicious. Such resentment, part historical, part
    class and race, is understandable and always a subtext to my reportage.

    Whenever Tio Sam stomps his seven league boots on the corpus delecti of
    Latin America, the hatred runs white hot. I watched my back during Playa
    Giron (1961) which the Yanquis fittingly tag the Bay of Pigs, or when the
    CIA and Bolivia's current ambassador to Mexico, Gary Prado, captured and
    executed Che Guevara in the Bolivian outback Oct. 8th 1967. When a lame
    news boy hobbled aboard a Cuzco-bound train in 1986 hawking a paper whose
    headline read "Yanks Kill Quadaffi's Baby!" the hatred in my
    fellow-passengers' eyes was unmistakable. And there was a lot of tension
    around the counter at the Cafe La Blanca on the morning the first George
    Bush took it upon himself to invade Panama (1989).

    This September 11th, George W. Bush was much too preoccupied to reflect upon
    the fact that the terrorist attack on the U.S. took place on exactly the
    same date as the 1973 overthrow of the legally elected Allende government in
    Chile by Henry Kissinger and the CIA, an event that was accompanied by a
    loss of life similar in numbers to the World Trade Center and Pentagon

    Terrorist revenge for perceived U.S. crimes against the rest of the world,
    and the unbelievable loss of life that accompanied it, is a catastrophic
    x-ray of the empire's vulnerability, and it is going to change Mexican-U.S.
    relations very quickly...

    [end of excerpt]

    This was written a few days after the event, when its tangible ramifications
    were being exaggerrated everywhere. Its real importance was more symbolic
    than substantial. For a moment we could see the reality submerged under the
    Pax Americana. Then the movie ended, and it was back to work.


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