Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Canadian Self-Loathing

this article was originally published at pacific free press. photo by janine bandcroft : it's one of many hundreds of homeless people who may die this winter because of stupid and uncaring politicians, who kiss the asses of the military and corporate rulers under the pretence of vying for power (why are boys and colonized girls so afraid that they cling to false power-over?), have such fucked up priorities. it seems they simply don't care. it doesn't get much more evil than that.

Canadian Self-Loathing

Written by Chris Cook

Monday, 22 September 2008

Now I understand those ancients who watched mutely the rise of German fascism. I understand because I'm watching the flourishing of that same evil weed again here in Canada.

And like those doomed Aryans of yore, those Germans appalled by the coming of Herr Hitler and his brown and black-shirted, skull and cross-bone adorned neo Visigoths, there seems nowhere now to run, and no way to stay and stem the tide.

I'm also coming to understand the phenomena of hatred of ones origin. Today, three generations after the fall of the Nazis, there is still within Germany a deep shame, a disgrace that manifests, I'm told by a German acquaintance, in a loathing of things German, a hatred of self and the culture that gave rise to the horrific Third Reich.

Yes, now I think I can understand that.

As I write, the good burghers of my town are bundling up the kids against the late summer breeze and carrying them down to the seaside to watch Canada's military put on a show. The Snowbirds, our answer to America's Blue Angels aerobatic fighter jet team, are in town. Any moment, the sky above little Victoria will howl with their arrival. Below, good Canadians will point with pride to their respective broods the amazing things technology, paranoia, and the will to kill strangers can accomplish when we put our collective mind to it.

Is it wrong for me to wish those jets crash into the pacific? Yes, it is wrong. I can't wish what those jets represent to Afghanis, and Iraqis, and Palestinians, and all those others underneath the bombs happen too to the pilots, or their appreciative audience; death is no answer. But what then to do?

Casting an eye about for safe harbour, much as the encircled Europeans did: Jew, homosexual, socialist, Gypsy, jazz musician, and all the others recognized as impurities, flies in the butter of the new order, I find few refuges.

Canada is surrounded by America and the deep blue sea. What havens there may be in the Hemisphere: Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, are under sustained attack by the fascists and appear today as Republican Spain once did, a doomed token of resistance. My British heritage could afford me a passport and work permit, but why go to the land emblematic now of what native son George Orwell so presciently warned sixty years ago?

So, we stay at home, even as it resembles less the home we've always known, and watch the facades crumble and fall to the ground in pieces: down comes justice; down democracy; down tolerance, civility, and neighbourliness.

The ideals we Canadians once prided ourselves in: compassion; good global citizenship; and, standing as a peace-broker in a world at war all gone. This place, not even a nation anymore, now stands as a sycophant to power; a hired thug sent across the world to kill, brutalize, and terrorize populations for their failure to comply with the diktats of their and our fascist masters.

And, I hate it.

Last month, the Snowbirds payed a visit to my town timed to coincide with the arrival of prime minister Stephen Harper. Harper was here to toss off a few pre-election lines to the pols, and to make merry in celebration of the province of British Columbia's birthday. The Canadian military is a big fan of the Harper regime, most notedly for its lavish support of an expanded Canadian presence in the forever war against the enemies of American capital, and the millions upon millions of tax dollars he is determined to pitch down that gruesome hole. So, it's a small thing for the Canadian Forces' flying ambassadors to come round and fly the flag for the pretender: It's understandable.

What is less understandable is the popular support for these spectacles glorifying death and destruction.

From the beginning of Canada's bloody entanglement in Afghanistan nearly seven years ago, the majority of Canadians asked their opinion repeatedly said they are opposed to the country's war-fighting posture in that far-off land. Yet Canadian soldiers continue to kill and die there, successive governments refusing to honour the will of the nation. This because both sides of our vaunted House of Commons are equally corrupted by the corporate sirens of profit and media popularity. They do this because they believe the Canadian people, as Howard Beale so famously intoned from his fictional television pulpit so long ago; have their toasters, and their teevees, and their steel-belted radials, and a promise to be at least left alone in their living rooms they won't care.

And they're right, and I hate that.

While millions perish in the ballooning wars against terrors around the world, while millions are made homeless by war and economic policy away and at home, while what hard-won rights and diginities human beings came to expect as a minimum standard are undermined or violated in the most egregious manner daily, the Canadian public, that great self-congratulatory slob, a blob of animal fat, corn syrup, and soda pop, just wishes to idle in front of screens and behind chemically-induced distractions and forget about it.

The Old Testament of the Bible, that brick waved threateningly by murderous, eye-poking, proto-fascist religionists at whomever questions the rights of the slaughter, says the sins of the father will be visited on three generations of his descendants. If that be true, (and, why would it be?) then it's time the German people dropped their guns, and the mantle of shame duly carried.

America hast taken up the disgraceful multi-generational "Mission." And, it seems destiny demands Canada too follow Uncle Sam, perverse Virgil through the gates of Hell, damning its children and their children's children as it goes.

And I hate to be a part of that.