Thursday, 26 May 2011

The doublespeak of the Orientalist narrative

At the press conference of David Cameron and Barack Obama held at Lancaster House in London yesterday during the president's state visit, Cameron said as follows:




"Protestors braving bullets, bloggers toppling dictators, people taking to the streets and making their own history.
If global politics is about spreading peace and prosperity, then this is a once-in-a-generation moment to grab hold of.
It’s not a time for us to shrink back and think about our own issues and interests.
This is our issue – and this is massively in our interests.
Those people in Tahrir Square and Tripoli just want what we have – a job and a voice. 
And we all share in their success or failure.
If they succeed, there is new hope for those living there and the hope of a better and safer world for all of us.
But if they fail, if that hunger is denied, then some young people in that region will continue to listen to the poisonous narrative of extremism."
The extent of such hypocrisy is remarkable. When UK Uncut protesters peacefully dissented in protest against Cameron's government's agenda to marketize the National Health Service outside the offices of privatization advocates 2020 Health, the morning of the very same day he made this rhetoric, they were arrested. When the people of western administrations such as Cameron's take to the streets to make their own history, to want a job and a voice, to grab hold of their generational moments of subversivance, like Arab nations, they are victims to police brutality, assault and "detainment" by riot squads for hours on end, and arbitrary arrest and imprisonment without trial. By the corporate media's propaganda model, they are overwhelmingly ignored, or portrayed as rioting felons according to the line of the authorities, while identical scenes from the Arab Spring are rightfully portrayed as remarkable advances towards freedom and democracy. 
So many of those in the Middle East and Northern Africa taking to the streets have been enraged by the overwhelming unemployment in their countries. Youth unemployment in Spain is the highest in Europe, while in the UK it is higher than since records began, alongside the injustice of budget cuts and severe debts to the right and opportunities of education. Cameron is right to say we share the Arab Spring's successes and failures, because the nature and resistance of their revolutionary struggles are mutual to ours, in Tahrir and Tripoli, in London and Madrid.


Update: 


We now learn the UK's military is holding training courses for homicidal assassins crushing the Arab Spring in Bahrain. It is exemplary cognitive dissonance. Chief commander of the torture of revolutionaries Sheikh Khalifa Bin Ali al-Khalifa, was afterall invited to the royal wedding.

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