I watched a streaming lecture from travel-guru Rick Steves the other night. Besides having followed his insightful advice before in some of my travels, I had been entranced by his 2009 sojourn to Iran, and its ground-breaking propaganda-busting quality, in the face of the mainstream Muslim-bashing that was demonizing the entire Iranian nation as evil. I thought that took a lot of balls. I mean, telling us that "it probably isn't a good idea to bomb these people". He gained quite a bit of respect from me to have changed so many minds about the humanity of Iran's populace, and it probably accomplished much more than he realized at the time. Maybe more than he intended. That was then.
So when I received notice that he had just returned from Middle-East with plans to do a 3-part doc on the Levant, and besides israhell, also actually NAMED Palestine as a destination, I was excited to see his myth-destroying acumen at work again in a place that is dear to my heart. Well, life is full of disappointments. And it seems that most everyone has a price. Apparently Rick has his.
The streaming lecture was a teaser for his new series on the Holy Land. And although he spent a goodly part of the talk covering the humanity of Palestinians...in the West Bank and Gaza...when it came to assessing the horror they face daily, he began parroting every lie we have all heard too much. Penned, it seems from the Beast itself. From "Arabs and jews have always been at each other's throats", to "holocaust survivors came and built shining cities in the sand", it was the same-old-same-old hasbara propaganda that we all know word-for-word. You know the drill. There was little if any political truth in his lecture, as I am sure there will not be in the series when it hits the airwaves next spring. *sigh*
Such a wasted opportunity. But after all, he is merely a travel guide; not a martyr. My confidence(not trust) was misplaced yet again. Oh well. I was sucker-punched. No biggie. I've had worse. They don't hurt, really. They just kind of disorient you for a short while. Then you get your bearings back and keep fighting.
In the title up there somewhere, I mentioned mythland. That would be right here. The trenches from which I write all this crap. The land of the free and the home of the brave. Terrorism Central. It's easy to get sucker-smacked here. We are bred for it. Few of us even feel it anymore. As this astute article points out, its just a matter of course now. "You are going to feel a little pressure on your jaw".
"Why, that didn't hurt at all!" we say, with glassy eyes and almost constant disorientation now.
I guess what gets my goat more than the ignorance for profit that rules supreme here now, is how rampant it is among even those that profess being 'enlightened'. The patriots. The constitutionalists. Those that wish to restore our once-great nation to...I dunno...some mythic past for which none of them can provide evidence of ever having really existed. According to those wanting to 'save amerika', this glorious period in our history to which we should all want to return was sometime after the Declaration of Independence was signed, and yet before we began committing horrific genocide and theft from the indigenous humans living here. Or was it before Aron Lopez and his tribe started shipping Africans into slavery here. Or sometime after our great Civil War(and under the guise of abolishing such wholesale human trafficking, we guaranteed that no state could secede from our federal bloody policies). Or was it that time when the robber-barons began destroying our ecology by industrializing an otherwise pristine continent? Was it before or after the two world wars we eagerly participated in...slaughtering over 70 millions? I'm confused momentarily on the exact period in our history to which we need to return. But I'm sure they have a big myth planted in their little brains. Ever notice that they are all Caucasians? These patriots that long for saving 'our' heritage.
I dunno. I guess I am of the opinion that this country was NEVER anything but an empire-building terrorist entity, manufacturing consent to be the latest to rape and pillage the rest of the world. Never. Not in your white-only suburban childhood memories. Not in your bullshit-history books. Not in your yiddish hollywood treatments. Never. Didn't happen. No freedom. No bravery. No integrity. No mercy. Zip. So rejoice. There is no destruction of a once-great nation. You cannot destroy that which never existed.
But if you DO possess some of the above-mentioned un-amerikan qualities, I would suggest you follow the teacher's advice and get the hell out while you still can, before you are blamed personally for all that is to come.
At least you have learned to take a punch now. That will come in handy.
"Belief in myth allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought" - John Fitzgerald Kennedy