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Lies Which the West Manufactures and Then Consumes
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After my work in the Middle East had finished, at least for the time being, I was waiting for my flight to Santiago de Chile. In Paris. I could count on a few ‘free’ days, processing what I had heard and witnessed in Beirut. Day after day, for long hours, I sat in a lounge, typing and typing; reflecting and typing.

As I was working, above me, France 24 television news channel was on, beaming from a flat screen.

The people around me were coming and going: West African elites on their wild shopping sprees, shouting unceremoniously into their mobile phones. Koreans and Japanese doing Paris. Rude German and North American beefy types, discussing business, laughing vulgarly, disregarding ‘lower beings’, in fact everyone in their immediate radius.

No matter what was happening in my hotel, France 24 was on, and on, and on. Yes, precisely; for 24 hours, recycling for days and nights the same stories, once in a while updating news, with a slightly arrogant air of superiority. Here, France was judging the world; teaching Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, about themselves.

In front of my eyes, above me, on that screen, the world was changing. For many months I had been covering the nightmarish riots of the treasonous violent ninjas in Hong Kong. I was all over the Middle East, particularly Lebanon, and now I was on my way to my second home, Latin America, where socialism has kept winning elections, but was getting beaten, even terrorized, by the corrupt and crooked Western empire.

All that France 24 kept showing, I have been habitually witnessing with my own eyes. And more, much more, from many different angles. I have filmed it, written about it, and analyzed it.

In many countries, all over the world, people have been sharing their stories with me. I have seen barricades, photographed and filmed injured bodies, as well as tremendous revolutionary enthusiasm and excitement. I have also witnessed betrayals, treasons, cowardice.

But in the lounge, in front of the television set, everything appeared pretty groovy, very classy, and comforting. The blood looked like a well-mixed color, the barricades like a stage of the latest Broadway musical.

People were dying beautifully, their shouts muted, theatrical. The elegant anchor in a designer dress was beaming benevolently, whenever people on the screen dared to show some powerful emotions, or were grimacing in pain. She was in charge, and she was above all of this. In Paris, London and New York, powerful emotions, political commitments and grand ideological gestures, were made outdated, already a long time ago.

During just the few days that I spent in Paris, many things have changed, on all the continents.

The Hong Kong rioters were evolving; beginning to set on fire their compatriots simply because they dared to pledge their allegiance to Beijing. Women were unceremoniously beaten, with metal bars, until their faces were covered in blood.

In Lebanon, the big clenched fists of the pro-Western regime-change Otpor were suddenly at the center of the anti-government demonstrations. The economy of the country was collapsing. But the Lebanese ‘elites’ were burning money, all around me, all around Paris and all around the world. Poor Lebanese Misérables, as well as the impoverished middle class, were demanding social justice. But the rich of Lebanon were mocking them, showing. They had it all figured out: they have robbed their own country, then left it behind, and now were having a great ball here, in the “City of Lights”.

But to criticize them in the West has been taboo; forbidden. Political correctness, the mighty Western weapon used to uphold the status quo, has made them untouchable. Because they are Lebanese; from the Middle East. A good arrangement, isn’t it? They are robbing their fellow Middle Easterners, on behalf of their foreign masters in Paris and Washington, but in Paris or London, it is taboo to expose their ‘culture’ of debauchery.

In Iraq, the anti-Shi’a and therefore anti-Iranian sentiments have been dispersed, powerfully and clearly, from abroad. The second big episode of the so-called Arab Spring.

Chileans have been fighting and dying, trying to depose a neo-liberal system, forced down their throats ever since 1973 by the Los Chicago Boys.

The Bolivian socialist government, successful, democratic and racially inclusive, has been overthrown, by Washington and Bolivian treasonous cadres. People have been dying there, too, on the streets of El Alto, La Paz, and Cochabamba.

Israel was at it again, in Gaza. Full force.

Damascus was bombed.

I went to film the Algerians, Lebanese and Bolivians; people who were pushing for their agendas at the Place de la Republique.

I anticipated the horrors that were waiting for me, soon; in Chile, Bolivia and Hong Kong.

I was writing, feverishly.

While the television set was humming.

People were entering and leaving the lounge, meeting and separating, laughing, shouting, crying and making up.

Nothing to do with the world.

The outbursts of indecent laughter erupted periodically, even as the bombs were exploding on the screen, even as the people were charging against the police and the military.

 

Then, one day, I realized that nobody really gives a damn. Like that; so simple.

You witness what happens, all over the world; you document it. You are risking your life. You are getting engaged. You get injured. Sometimes you come close, extremely close, to death.

You do not watch TV. Never, or almost never. You appear on the television, yes; you supply stories and images. But you never watch the results; what emotions your work, your words and images, truly evoke. Or do they evoke any emotions at all? You only work for the anti-imperialist media outlets, never for the mainstream. But for whomever you work for, you have no clue what the facial expressions your reports from the war zones are arousing. Or what emotions any war zone reports stir.

And then, you are in Paris, and you have some time to watch your readers, and suddenly you understand.

You get it: why so few are writing to you, support your struggle, or even fight for the countries being destroyed, decimated by the empire.

ORDER IT NOW

When you look around, observing people who are sitting in a hotel lounge, you clearly realize: they feel nothing. They want to see nothing. They understand nothing. France 24 is on, but it is not a news channel, which it was intended to be, many years ago. It is entertainment stuff, which is supposed to produce sophisticated background noise. And it does. Precisely that.

Same as the BBC, CNN, Fox and Deutsche Welle.

 

As the legitimately elected socialist President of Bolivia was being forced into exile, tears in his eyes, I got hold of the remote control, and switched channel to some bizarre and primitive cartoon network.

Nothing changed. The expressions on the faces of some twenty people around me did not change.

If a nuclear bomb would have exploded on the screen, somewhere in the Sub-Continent, no one would pay any attention.

Some people were taking selfies. While I was describing the collapse of the Western culture on my MacBook. All of us were busy, in our own way.

Kashmir, West Papua, Iraq, Lebanon, Hong Kong, Palestine, Bolivia and Chile were on fire.

So, what?

Ten meters away from me, an American businessman was shouting into his phone:

Are you going to invite me back to Paris in December? Yes? We have to discuss details. How much am I getting per day?”

Coups, uprisings, riots, all over the world.

And that plastic, professional smile of the lady, the news announcer, in her blue and white retro designer dress; so confident, so French, and so endlessly fake.

 

Lately, I keep wondering whether the inhabitants of Europe and North America have any moral right to control the world.

My conclusion is: definitely not!

They do not know, and they do not want to know. Those who have power are obliged to know.

In Paris, Berlin, London, New York, individuals are too busy admiring themselves, or ‘suffering’ from their little, selfish problems.

They are too busy taking selfies, or being preoccupied with their sexual orientation. And of course, with their ‘business’.

That is why I prefer to write for Russian and Chinese outlets, to address people who are scared like myself, anxious about the future of the world.

The editors of this magazine, in faraway Moscow, are; they are anxious and passionate at the same time. I know they are. I, and my reports, are not some ‘business’ for them. People whose cities are smashed, ruined, are not some sort of entertainment in the editorial room of NEO.

In many Western countries, people have lost their ability to feel, to get engaged, and to fight for a better world.

Because of this loss, they should be forced to give up their power over the world.

Our world is damaged, scarred, but is tremendously beautiful and precious.

It is not a business, to work for its improvement and survival.

Only great dreamers, poets and thinkers can be trusted, fighting for it, steering it forward.

Are there many poets and dreamers amongst my readers? Or do they look, do they behave, as those guests in the hotel lounge in Paris, in front of the screen beaming France 24?

 

[First Published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook – a journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences]

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Five of his latest books are “Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism, a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter. His Patreon

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, France, Neoliberalism 
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  1. I hear the Lebanon one is a color revolution. Or maybe only half colored, half black-and-white.

  2. quift says:

    But if course we don’t care about that which is shown on France 24. Nor CNN, BBC or any other propaganda outlet. Why should we?

    It is nothing but lies, disinformation and obfuscation. To cut them out of your consciousness is the only way to stay sane if you live in the west. You clearly can’t rely on anyone for decent news anymore, so most just stop.

    It is pretend news, and we pretend that we believe it do avoid the social stigma that being openly dissident carries with it. We feign credulity to move on. Kids to care for, bosses to please, lives to live.

  3. anonymus says:

    Andre please don’t give up writing about the topics you do!

    So what if there weren’t any people at the airport who cared, theres many of us who do, in front of our computer/phone screens.

  4. Anonymous[303] • Disclaimer says:

    I don’t know what “freedom” the Hong Kong rioters think the West is going to give them. The freedom to be replaced by immigrants in their own city?

    I find it even more bizarre how many right wing Western types support the Hong Kong rioters despite the fact that most hate their own Western countries and the mass immigration agenda common to all white Western countries.

    • Replies: @joannf
  5. Laladge says:

    Indeed Andre!
    I agree…
    I am neither a poet nor a dreamer, just a simple human being and I am following you, reading your books and articles since long time ago, sharing them as much as I can with hope and with the certainty that another human being, as you and me and all of us who follow your words and lines and sense of “despair”, will become anxious, passionate, concerned and will stand up.

  6. Hey, Andre, cut to the chase.
    Reading your sermon takes to damned long and your sprinkling vignettes into it is boring.

    If you know something, say so and do it quickly. If you want to write some smarmy novel, then do that elsewhere.

  7. Gyre07 says:

    Great article! I believe there are a lot of us in the West who take other people’s misery and our governments complicity/profiteering seriously. We just get zero voice in the government-controlled media meanwhile being monitored in our social media. They want us to believe that we’re all alone here in the West, but we’re not. Not by a long shot. Remember that.

  8. joannf says:

    Here we have a young man who still cares about improving the human species, no wait, the conditions of a part of it, relative to other parts (the species as such of course already being so perfect that changing it would be a crime against humanity, just a few parts having a detrimental culture – guess who).
    And we’re gonna solve it all through Egalitarianism.
    Thimple bags best, nobody ever tried before.
    Egality will heal all wounds and make us more intelligent, or anyway more feeling, and especially, all the same. Sameness and absence of conflict are progress, absence of conflict made us human (but some culture took it away, the apple culture) – so that we can finally all begin pursuing happiness for real !

    It’s not that we’re by nature hierarchic tribal animals, competitive like hell – nah, that’s a stupid legend.
    Once we are all the same, all the troubles gone, we can concentrate on… on… whatever (yawn).
    We’ll actually no longer need to concentrate.
    We can relax, just not in a hotel lobby.
    Human dissatisfaction is of course the most profound WRONG in the annals of entropy, and our generation will cut through this Gordian knot : a genius level first-timer !
    It must be so invigorating to have a mission, or being convinced that this is the case.

  9. joannf says:
    @Anonymous

    Dumbity will set us free.
    People who think before they decide, only out themselves as unemotionally evil inhumans.
    Also, Oceania has always been at war with East Asia.

  10. Only great dreamers, poets and thinkers can be trusted

    Our world is tremendously beautiful and precious.
    I wish more people would awaken from their hypnotic slumber.

    I wish more people could be trusted.

  11. Another useless fact free screed that provides zero information to anyone actually interested in what is going on. Chris Hedge’s boyfriend sounds so despondent because no one cares. These people who don’t care should be beaten down and criticized. That way they’ll never be able to rise up because resistance is ultimately useless.

  12. Anon[120] • Disclaimer says:

    I’m more irritated by your needless shilling of apple products by name (as opposed to simply saying “laptop”) than I am by a million wars.

    Screw humanity. Let them die. Let them burn.

    Oh, and shut up about your overpriced hipster garbage.

  13. Andre Vtklchek,

    How are you doing my brother? You failed to mention United States’ closest Spanish speaking, Catholic, Neighbor…Mexico. I see recent events in US Mexico relations changing as current events in Latin America begin to resemble the US Foreign Intervention days of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Mexico elected a Democratic Nationalist President by one of the highest percentage of votes. He quickly began implementing his campaign promises, one of which was to rescue PEMEX from a planned US takeover using the Energy Reforms reintroduced by Hillary Clinton and the IMF. Mexico’s Electricity Company was also a target as part of this reform and we are canceling most of the contracts that were given to the US Oil Companies by the previous Corrupt Administration.

    Almost all of the corrupt Mexican Politicians involved in this scheme are living in the US, Europe or Canada. Venezuela was supposed to collapse by now giving the US access to that country’s oil reserves. With the changes that Mexico is making, the US lost it’s takeover bid and access to Mexico’s oil reserves. Recent events point to a US “False Flag” attempt at destabilizing the new President using the Governors in the Northern states of Tamaulipas, Chihuahua and Sonora because they belong to the corrupt PRI/PAN parties that worked on the US Energy Reforms.

    Cabeza de Vaca from Tamaulipas is a Narco PAN Governor with ties to the cartels, Corral is a US born PAN Governor that has been rumored to be behind the murder of a reporter investigating his links to a local Cartel, Povlavich is the PRI governor that requested the FBI come to Mexico and investigate. All three have strong US ties and Corral has threatened to split his state from Mexico while Cabeza de Vaca just called the Cartel violence “Terrorist” violence making way for the US government to classify Cartels as Terrorist Organizations.

    There are no coincidences when we take a close look at the events that are happening in our northern states. Sinaloa was a DEA orchestrated event that was designed to create a confrontation between the DEA supported Sinaloa Cartel and our military. When that failed and Mexico refused Trumps’s offer to bring in the US Military they needed something more violent. The LeBaron incident looks more like a staged “False Flag” event that was US planned. Why were the children sent to the US or treatment? Is it to control the access to the children? Why did we not hear a description by the children describing the shooters?

    Why does the US want to send US troops to Mexico so bad that it is willing to have children murdered? Sonora and Chihuahua are rich mining states and Tamaulipas is sitting on top of the Largest Oil and Gas deposits in North America (Burgos Quenke). There are reports that the US has been shipping heavy machine guns like the ones seen in Sinaloa to the Cartels on the border. If this happens brother, and it looks like it will, it will start with a tremendous amount of blood shed unless this president can do what he did in Sinaloa and not bite the bait. He has to let the Military handle it on his terms, and try not to create what the US is wanting, a blood bath.

    I know China and Russia are watching all of these events going on everywhere. The US reminds me of an out of control spoiled, fat kid that ate all his candy before everyone else and now wants what they have. The US government hell bent on stealing what they want, such as in the case of Syria and it’s Oil. This is looking like a Trump’s Wag the Dog distraction, using the terrorist excuse to get it’s hands on the resources of target countries.

    Mexico will never allow foreign troops on Mexican soil unless they come from other Latin American countries in support. It’s time for Mexico and Russia to sign a treaty supporting each other in case one is attacked by a hostile country.

    I just wanted to get your thoughts on what’s going on and if you think Russia is watching closely. You can email me at [email protected] so we are not taking away from other commentator’s responding to your article. If you come to Mexico I’ll do my best to get you in front of anyone you feel you would like to speak with. Let me know!

    From Mexico with love…J.G. Your article was spot on, Brother!

  14. Only great dreamers, poets and thinkers can be trusted, fighting for it, steering it forward.

    Are there many poets and dreamers amongst my readers? Or do they look, do they behave, as those guests in the hotel lounge in Paris, in front of the screen beaming France 24?

    I attached a small portion of Octavio Paz’s 1990 Nobel Prize winning Lecture that confirms your view of the people in that hotel room. I linked the page so you can read his entire speech, I think you will be moved by it, and how much this man saw the changes that were surely coming. Enjoy!

    The end of the Modern Age or just a mutation? It is difficult to tell. In any case, the collapse of Utopian schemes has left a great void, not in the countries where this ideology has proved to have failed but in those where many embraced it with enthusiasm and hope. For the first time in history mankind lives in a sort of spiritual wilderness and not, as before, in the shadow of those religious and political systems that consoled us at the same time as they oppressed us. Although all societies are historical, each one has lived under the guidance and inspiration of a set of metahistorical beliefs and ideas. Ours is the first age that is ready to live without a metahistorical doctrine; whether they be religious or philosophical, moral or aesthetic, our absolutes are not collective but private. It is a dangerous experience. It is also impossible to know whether the tensions and conflicts unleashed in this privatization of ideas, practices and beliefs that belonged traditionally to the public domain will not end up by destroying the social fabric. Men could then become possessed once more by ancient religious fury or by fanatical nationalism. It would be terrible if the fall of the abstract idol of ideology were to foreshadow the resurrection of the buried passions of tribes, sects and churches. The signs, unfortunately, are disturbing.

    The decline of the ideologies I have called metahistorical, by which I mean those that assign to history a goal and a direction, implies first the tacit abandonment of global solutions. With good sense, we tend more and more towards limited remedies to solve concrete problems. It is prudent to abstain from legislating about the future. Yet the present requires much more than attention to its immediate needs: it demands a more rigorous global reflection. For a long time I have firmly believed that the twilight of the future heralds the advent of the now. To think about the now implies first of all to recover the critical vision. For example, the triumph of the market economy (a triumph due to the adversary’s default) cannot be simply a cause for joy. As a mechanism the market is efficient, but like all mechanisms it lacks both conscience and compassion. We must find a way of integrating it into society so that it expresses the social contract and becomes an instrument of justice and fairness. The advanced democratic societies have reached an enviable level of prosperity; at the same time they are islands of abundance in the ocean of universal misery. The topic of the market is intricately related to the deterioration of the environment. Pollution affects not only the air, the rivers and the forests but also our souls. A society possessed by the frantic need to produce more in order to consume more tends to reduce ideas, feelings, art, love, friendship and people themselves to consumer products. Everything becomes a thing to be bought, used and then thrown in the rubbish dump. No other society has produced so much waste as ours has. Material and moral waste.

    https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/1990/paz/lecture/

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