Monday, 24 March 2003

The War

by Eduardo Galeano

Just think. In the middle of last year, when this war was still only gestating, George W. Bush stated that 'we have to be ready to attack in any obscure corner of the world'; ergo, Iraq is an obscure corner of the world. Does Bush believe that civilization began in Texas and his fellow Texans invented writing? Has he really never heard of the library of Niniveh, the tower of Babel or the hanging gardens of Babylon? Has he really never heard even one of the tales in the thousand and one nights of Baghdad?

Who elected him president of this planet anyway? I was never asked to vote in any such elections. Were you?

Would we elect a president who was deaf to the population? Would we elect a man incapable of hearing any but the echoes of his own voice? A man deaf to the ceaseless thunder of millions of voices in the streets declaring peace on war?

He has not even heeded a word of friendly advice from the German writer Günter Grass. Realising that Bush felt driven to demonstrate something very important to his daddy, Grass suggested that he see a psychoanalyst rather than bombing Iraq.

In 1898, president William McKinley declared that God had commanded him to seize the Philippines in order to civilize and christianize their inhabitants. McKinley said that he had spoken with God at midnight as he roamed the corridors of the White House. Over a century later, president Bush assures us that God is on his side in the conquest of Iraq. What time was it and where was he, we wonder, when he got the divine message?

We might also ask why the messages to Bush and to the Pope at Rome were so contradictory.

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