"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jan 21, 2011

Mosquitos Doing The Furious Work of Fate

Seems Georgio Clooney "contracted" malaria whilst shilling Corporate's propaganda, on location in the Sudan.

Georgio gets what he gets, and I for one will offer an anti-prayer of deep gratitude to the Erinyes, for their balancing act of bacterial love.

***

Some recent background, wherein in a guy who's used to having cameras follow him around thinks aloud, with cameras rolling, that it's a wicked good idea to have constant surveillance, with corporate sponsorship, over untrustworthy Africans who cannot possibly govern themselves:

 "George Clooney is joining Google, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and the United Nations in an effort called the Satellite Sentinel Project to monitor violence and human rights violations in Sudan as the country prepares to vote on January 9 on whether or not to split into two nations--North and South Sudan.

The explicit goal of the partnership is deterrence--Clooney and his partners want to make sure that Sudan does not erupt in another civil war. Some small pockets of violence have already been reported and the employment of satellites is meant to give war-mongers on the ground the message that the world is watching and genocide will not be tolerated.

Clooney's interest in Sudan is not new--back in 2007 he was featured in the documentary film, Darfur Now, co-produced by actor Don Cheadle. And he has maintained his interest in the embattled country since then, paying a recent visit amidst preparations for the upcoming referendum."

From 2006, Clooney pretending he understands Darfur:

"...The news is that two years after we've said "genocide" that it's still going on and it's increasing -- and that somewhere in there we can all talk about this and make speeches and say this is horrible and we have to do something. But every day we don't do something, and every day this goes on, thousands of people are dying and dying horrific deaths..." 

And Corporate's standard line on Darfur:

"...In the ongoing genocide, African farmers and others in Darfur are being systematically displaced and murdered at the hands of the Janjaweed, a government-supported militia recruited from local Arab tribes. The genocide in Darfur has claimed 400,000 lives and displaced over 2,500,000 people. More than one hundred people continue to die each day; five thousand die every month..."

***

And all that has fuck all to do with the truth, or the facts on the ground* -

The Darfur Narrative is fairly simple Corporate propaganda: filthy Muslims murder tribal blacks in a poor failed state plagued by Islamism, and which was once home to Osama bin Laden. Gasps and horror. Remember Rwanda. Indifference kills, or some shit.

Corporate would like you to conclude that the Sudan is a bad, bad place. That Corporate's government has humanitarian impulses towards Darfur and its luckless black bastards. That the noble and good people have justice in hand. They've got Right on their side, and they're in love with transparent democracy. Satellites for truth and voting, y'all. Don't bother yourself about it, unless you want to give money to Bono. Or watch Georgio make his square jaw squarer.

You should go back to worrying the outcome of the Superbowl. Or blogging the commercials.

Don't be assholes.

Don't fret the fundamentally suspect nature of Corporate's seamless and enduring two hundred year project of co-integration overlap with government.

You wouldn't like the Sudan if you went there, y'know.

The Sudan is probably not the sort of country that a good American would enjoy, unless he or she is fishing for a Pulitzer, a book deal or movie rights. It's hot, and Muslimy, and African. Terrorists live there. And pirates.

Also, the natives don't like Americans, what with Americans being dickhead Americans:

"...With foreign exchange reserves exceeding $1.3 trillion in the Peoples' National Bank of China , Beijing has begun engaging in active petroleum geopolitics with Africa as its main target and the Sudan-Chad region as its highest priority region on the continent. There appeared the line "a new front in the cold war" for possession of the main oil reserves—a war begun between the United States and China right after the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. So far, Beijing has played its cards more effectively than Washington . It is possible that Darfur will soon become the main field of battle for oil between the two giants.

Over the past few months, China has made a series of initiatives aimed at retaining control of the oil fields, even those that will be developed in the distant future, in one of the richest "black gold" regions in the world—the African continent.

China currently imports 30% of its crude oil from Africa . This explains the jump in Chinese foreign policy initiatives, which cannot fail to displease Washington . China provides interest-free loans to African nations, including Sudan , and uses its own funds to build roads, schools and hospitals, while the United States attempts to control the African economy through the World Bank and the IMF by setting harsh economic and political conditions. Not surprisingly, the Africans prefer to cooperate with China . In addition, whereas any American project in the field of construction, mining or production involves a long preparatory stage for infrastructure development to build restaurants and bars, schools and hospitals, hair salons and fitness centers for American workers, specialists and their family members, the unpretentious Chinese put up tents when they arrive and set to work the next day while establishing everything they need concurrently—barracks with showers and canteens..."

The Chinese got an oil concession from the degraded Sudanese state, which state desperately needed the dough after it was drawn to a standstill in a ten year religious-civil war with UK-US backed rebels ruled by a vicious dictator.

Then, new rebels based in Tchad, using (surprise, surprise) US-EU backing, kicked up a fight right in the heart of the territory in which Khartoum had recently granted concessions to Beijing.

But...

Corporate cannot tell you it to you that way.You might get notions. You might force them to ignore you marching up and down the street, dragging placards to and from coffee shops and Times Square emporia.

And...

Presenting it to you in honest terms smacks of expensive oil interventionism. Which it is. But, since Khartoum made the "mistake" of hiring some horse-riding brigands to put down the rebellion, we get instead this:

"Terrible Muslim Arabs butcher and rape poor victimy tribal Blacks."

Which is, again and of course, factually deficient.

Some fairly basic data: nearly all of the participants are (a) black, (b) Muslim and (c) tribal. If you look at any given group photo of a Janjaweed rough rider, you're likely going to be looking at a (gasp!) very black man:


And their opponents in a Western financed civil war, as well as their victims, are black Muslims who speak the same koine, and have intermarried with them for generations.

In the Sudanese west, especially along the border with Tchad, "African" and "Arab" are economic/social tribal categories. They are not racial categories. Nearly every member of each tribe is black skinned and Muslim. "Arabs" are pastoralists with closer ties to Khartoum, and a tendency to use Arabic in exchange, while "Africans" are people tending more towards agriculture, especially around Lake Tchad.

In other words, it's not a simple story at all. Corporate doesn't want you to know that. With the information a search chain and an "enter" key away, it's no wonder that "net neutrality" pisses off the media bosses:

"...We will see that the story is not as simple as the conventional rendering in the news, which depicts a conflict between “Arabs” and “Africans.” The Zaghawa—one of the groups victimized by the violence and described in the mainstream press as “indigenous African”—are certainly indigenous, black and African: they share distant origins with the Berbers of Morocco and other ancient Saharan peoples. But the name of the “Bedeyat,” the Zaghawa’s close kin, should alert us to their true origins: pluralize in the more traditional Arab manner and we have “Bedeyiin” or Bedouins. Similarly, the Zaghawa’s adversaries in this war, the Darfurian Arabs, are “Arabs” in the ancient sense of “Bedouin,” meaning desert nomad, a sense that has only in the last few decades been used to describe the Arabs of the river Nile and the Fertile Crescent. Darfurian Arabs, too, are indigenous, black, and African. In fact there are no discernible racial or religious differences between the two: all have lived there for centuries; all are Muslims (Darfur’s non-Arabs are arguably more devout than the Arabs); and until very recently, conflict between these different groups was a matter of disputes over camel theft or grazing rights, not the systematic and ideological slaughter of one group by the other..."

But that just isn't sexy, is it? It's not easy to sell to the voters and other distracted parties in the UK and the US, where official policy encourages both distrust of Muslim Arabs and wafer thin justificatory guilt over bad things done to black people by the forebears of the white people still running things and making boatloads of cash today...

...and there's oil on the line here, people. Also, uranium. And gold.

Which is why Georgio was in the Sudan, pimping satellite surveillance and technocratic "democracy," counting on the camera man to cut to his manly jaw and his noble pose.

(Hat tip again to the Sudan's unsung mosquito population, doing the noble work Corporate's lap dog reporters continually fail to do. Better luck next time, tiny wing'd friends...)

* - quoting my own self, from elsewhere, in a piqued fit of vanity

15 comments:

JM said...

Actually, I was just gonna link something from De Waal's Making sense of Darfur blog:
http://blogs.ssrc.org/sudan/category/sudan/scramble-for-africa/


You're welcome.

what the Tee Vee taught said...

Beautiful title.

You have, once again, deftly illustrated how the prescribed storyline is left unexamined.

"Arabs killin' Christians... I knew it!"

Jack Crow said...

Thank you.

AlanSmithee said...

Sudan is a bit of a sticky wicket for the Empire, eh wot? Denying China the resources to grow it's economy is Imperial USA Job #1. Yet our Rwandan and Ugandan proxy armies are tied up guarding oil rigs and cobalt mines in the Congo, Ethiopia can't keep our Somalian puppets in power, much less contribute significantly to the Sudan, and of course our own brave freedom-guarding democracy-building brave brave imperial troops are busy elsewhere.

That's stretching things pretty thin, globally speaking. All they've got left to deploy are Hollywood actors, unemployed Bear-Stearns stockbrokers, the Michigan Milita, a few cub scout dens in Utah and one guy named 'Remo.'

Jim H. said...

Does this mean there's a Geo. Clooney vs. Jackie Chan movie currently in development? Maybe w/ Angelina Jolie & Lucy Liu as their respective side-kicks? Maybe set in some anonymous, desert-y, brown-person-inhabited land with the locals and their quaint but unusual religious practices constantly getting in the way?

Now that's one flick I'd pay to see.

Randal Graves said...

Jeez, you all see corporate evil *everywhere*. George is merely location scouting for Ocean's 14.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

It's a pity that the possession of vast natural resources is the greatest curse that can befall developing nations.

davidly said...

Life is a board game, and I'm not even a pawn. Great work, Jack.

Jack Crow said...

Alan,

You called it. It's got lots of goods, but the war on everything is sort of bogged down right now, what with "everything" being ridiculously difficult to define, never mind conquer.

Jim,

Only if Chan gets to do a Bruce Lee on Clooney-as-replacement-for-Norris.

Randal,

Ocean's 14 better have malaria in it.

BBBB,

It's no wonder that Fanon scared the shit out of 'em.

davidly,

Thank you.

~ Jack

ms_xeno said...

Jim H.:

Does this mean there's a Geo. Clooney vs. Jackie Chan movie currently in development? Maybe w/ Angelina Jolie & Lucy Liu as their respective side-kicks? Maybe set in some anonymous, desert-y, brown-person-inhabited land with the locals and their quaint but unusual religious practices constantly getting in the way?

Now that's one flick I'd pay to see.


I wouldn't pay, but I'd pirate it. :p

I'd add more, Crow, but I'm so choked up about poor George that I can hardly see my screen.

JM said...

Actually, China's no better with their economic exploitation than America:
http://leninology.blogspot.com/2010/06/chinese-working-class-kicks-back.html

http://leninology.blogspot.com/2010/07/class-struggle-in-china.html

Jack Crow said...

Ms. Xeno,

It'll pass. George wants you to move on.

JM,

Thank you for missing the point. Hint: I wasn't singing a paean to the Chinese state.

Richard said...

Sudan has been the Zionist, neoconservative favorite for "human rights" intervention for years, as you observe. There's a synagogue about a block away from where I live. It has a large banner about the need to confront "genocide" in Darfur. The Palestinians? Nothing.

About a year and a half ago, the then co-host of my public affairs program on KDVS, "Speaking in Tongues", ran into some college students involved in the 'intervene in Darfur' scene tabling at local farmers' market. Not surprisingly, they were into Burma, too. He failed to do his due diligence, and invited them on the show. I told him I was taking the week off. I didn't want to look bad beating up on college students, and I didn't want to legitimize them by participating in the interview. He asked them about Palestine, particularly Gaza, and they gave some duplicitous answer, like, they might get around to objecting to Israel's actions someday.

Ostracism is the only way to deal with these people properly.

Jack Crow said...

Richard,

I used to live next to one of the two Temples (the Reformed) in my small city.

Curiously, that JCC across from Temple only ever sported two banners: "Stand With Israel, Now and Forever!" and "Save Darfur!"

When I asked a coworker, who was observant but otherwise radicalized, about the side by side signs, she said something along the lines of "...easy to do. Israelis and Jews have no mining interests in the Sudan. Yet."

She was wrong about the facts (Israeli mining companies do have concessions), but pretty close to the money on motive and message.

It's like Iraq. It isn't so much about getting all the oil (or gold, or uranium) now. It's about securing the region as a US-UK-Israeli reserve for the oil poor near future.

And keeping it away from the Chinese, Indian and European states who can use it now for their military build ups, which would tap into the Western capitalists' "later."

Respect,

Jack

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Dang.