By Chris Cook
It is the best of times, and worst. Not since the banking crisis of the 1930’s, now known as ‘The Great Depression,’ has the global situation looked so grim, its challenges seeming intractably insolvable.
The media daily informs of impending ecological collapse, and the peril posed by terrorists, determined to destroy "our freedoms," while salving the public’s growing apprehension with assurances of a buoyant economy whose perpetual growth requires we only keep faith. These apparently contradictory messages utilize a single device, designed to serve a single purpose: Fear and its inculcation to become the preeminent force ruling human existence.
What the press will not reveal is the correlative connecting the dying throes of industrial civilization with its profound despoiling of the natural world, and the systemic injustice of capitalism, creating the desperate conditions fostering armed resistance; globally known as "terrorism," and locally called "crime."
Instead of addressing the crux of the matter, today’s corporate media, a small group of cross-invested, trans-national entities, cannot both serve the public interest and tell the truth without compromising the charter obligations to their share-holders: Maximum profit first and last. This because, a free and informed public would not countenance the escalating brutality required to maintain the status quo.
Or at least, one would hope, if not for Humanity’s sake, common sense would prevail the perverse ambitions of those currently sitting atop the global power paradigm, recognizing a just and financially equitable distribution of the planet’s bounty ultimately profits us all best.
But clearly, we are neither free, nor informed by the capital "M" media.
Nowhere is this proved more tragically than in the benighted land of Palestine, where despite a continuous program of dis-entitlement, the relentless disbarring of a targeted population’s participation in all aspects of what is normally recognized as the natural human experience of life, the corporate media remains largely silent, skewing the issue when they do deign comment.
Subsequently, most citizens of the countries responsible for terrorizing and killing Palestinians daily do not howl at the inhumanity in protest, but go about the business of making the bombs and bullets and policies that enable Horror’s continuance, incognizant of their complicity.
"Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere," Martin Luther King Jr. briefly intoned from the pulpit, and true to his fears of what America might come to be regarded as, today there are few worldwide who do not look on America and its satellite Israel with fear, loathing, and disgust.
But at home, expressing those sentiments is difficult.
While small publications, college and community radio, and the internet still remain as platforms for information and opinion believed inconsequential, or dangerous to corporate media, those venues and the minds of the people operating them are not immune from the over-riding concurrence of accepted truth, (and acceptable opinions) and the price paid for transgressions of it.
People wish for peace in their lives, and prosperity for their families. If political expediency is required to maintain one’s fortunate position, then the well-being of the anonymous "others" must necessarily take a back seat.
The Role of Fear in the Short Future of Civilization
Those long years ago, between the twin hallmarks of the 20th Century, World Wars I and II, while planetary economic systems were in collapse, Fascism on the rise, and environmental disaster dislocating millions in America, Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the nation, uttering the now iconic line: "…[W]e have nothing to fear, but Fear itself…" Today, FDR’s wisdom has been grasped by those engineering the slide into perpetual injustice and warfare for profit; not to serve as a free people’s inspiration to courage, but as a recognition of the potency of Fear and its use for the opposite effect, to paralyze and enslave humankind.
In practice, it means punishing dissent through intimidation, public ridicule, economic exclusion, imprisonment, and most extremely, death. In Canada, for those that would air opinions critical of Power’s interests there are special provisions; in the stated case of the dismal fate of Palestine, and criticism of the State of Israel’s daily, and determined criminality, agents professing to speak for the Jews of Canada have found useful the device of the country’s Hate Crimes laws in the form of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
That body, duty-bound to investigate claims of propagating hatred toward identifiable groups, is now being used as deterrent to those with the temerity to call Israel’s obvious crimes for what they are, an affront to all of humanity.
Those same guardians against truth spoken on this issue are currently waging a campaign to amend Canadian Hate Crimes legislation to have included to its provisions protecting people discriminated against due to gender, age, race, and religion, national origin. This they hope will conflate criticism of hateful Israeli government policies practiced against its neighbours, to an anti-semitic, actionable criminal offense here; and the current political climate in Canada would encourage this, including criticism of the illegal and murderous foreign policies of the United States of America as "anti-Americanism" and thus criminal too. Something to consider for small newspaper editors, radio programmers, and internet news site publishers; if they wish to continue their journalistic pursuits unmolested by the B’nai Brith, or their allies in government who administer the law.
A Fearful Prospect
Recently, I became acquainted with this disturbing trend in Canada, (and currently, similar legislation is proposed for both the U.S. and E.U.) being branded a racist and promulgator of hatred for articles published at an internet news web site I once served as Senior Editor to; the allegations being picked up and carried coast to coast by "Canada’s national newspaper," the Globe and Mail of Toronto.
I won’t mention the name of that site, because my co-accused are fearful, and feel further airing of the charges serve the interests of those that would smear our collective reputation, affecting our standing in the community and prospects there. People could be hurt financially, perhaps lose their heavily mortgaged houses, etc.; so silence greets the issue of Palestinians currently losing their homes to the bombs and bulldozers of Israeli government fanaticism on that site’s pages, as those behind the false charges designed.
But, I will not be silenced!
Less famously than Roosevelt’s "Nothing to fear…" admonishment, the FDR speech of 1933 also contains the language and sentiment whose relevance has not changed in the intervening 74 years since first elucidated. I would adopt his words now as more than cautionary, but marching orders to maintain truth, justice, and what was once known as the American way, to whit:
"This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today."
-Chris Cook is Managing Editor of, and contributing writer to, www.pacificfreepress.com, and hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada.
-PacificFreePress.com, republished with permission.