Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Culture of Empire and the Irish Potato Famine

No famine has ever occurred in a democracy. More proof of that is the Irish potato famine, which people usually describe as just having "happened", instead of being the result of 50 years of British undemocratic rule and exploitive economic policy. While reading the Wikipedia page about the famine, I came across an eerie line:
"Even today, such crises tend to be far away from centers of power such that the subjects of empire, almost by definition, are of distant cultures, languages and religious beliefs. Within the imperial culture, the reportage of a crisis among its subjects more often uses dismissive and dehumanizing terms, and treats otherwise urgent matters with little relevancy or interest."
The United States has an empire that is unprecedented. Its elephantine bureaucracy and military have become so cumbersome and overextended that it's only possible to serve the most narrow of interests.

Re-read that quote. I think it hints at many things to come, and many things past.
When I was teaching Irish literature, students were amazed that English were exporting food from Ireland during the potato "famine." With all of these legal maneuvers like storing captives at Guantanamo and shuttling secret prisoners around to secret remote facilities, we've taken more steps toward that sort of double-standard of callousness. The New York Times op ed today said we can't afford 3 more years of BushCo.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Web Counter
Web Counters