DUMPY SAT ON A WALL
James Skinner on Iraq and Texas
all over, at least the bombardment, the shooting, the downfall of the
regime and the final liberation of the oppressed people of Iraq. Or
so we are lead to believe. General looting of Saddams goodies
soon followed and continued with the destruction of priceless jewels
such as the Baghdad National Museum and Library and finally, the inevitable
uprising of the religious Muslim fanatics who immediately demanded the
departure of the infidel invaders. The whole area however has been screwed
up and is now up for grabs. Such is the summary of the shortest war
in modern history. So what next?
Picture the following surreal scenario for the 21st
China is the sole super power of the world following the end of the
Cold War. The USA has retreated into deep isolationism; the European
Union continues to bicker about insignificant issues such as agricultural
policies and ineffectual labour laws that discriminate against women.
And the rest of the world; oh well, who cares!
But deep in the heart of the state of Texas a ruthless governor by the
name of John Tree has been demonising its people and subjecting them
to a life of misery for over twenty years. Despite large oil reserves
and severe economic sanctions, Governor Tree continued to ignore the
threats of the United Oriental Nations who had been demanding access
by their inspectors to Texas manufacturing sites of illegal weapons
of mass destruction. Hamburgers were deemed to be a hazard to world
health, but John Ts dictatorial government continued to serve
out double whoppers with freedom fries regardless of the
international threats. Although the UON was against any military action,
China nevertheless went ahead and dropped a couple of baby nukes on
Austin and Huston and immediately ended the reign of terror of Mr. John
T. The whole world vomited fire and then retreated into the usual what
next mode of apathy. Reconstruction was the name of the game!
Texas had everything in working order. Electricity, communications,
water supplies, manufacturing and agricultural production and a public
service infrastructure that allowed its population to live some sort
of a daily existence no different to the rest of the world. The people
were oppressed all right, but they didnt really give a damn as
long as they could return home every evening, eat their hamburger, and
listen to John Ts sermon on Texas righteousness whilst condemning
the evil Orientals. They could always change channel and watch the Simpsons
re-runs instead. The population was mainly orthodox Christian, yet John
T. imposed his Born again version and arrested and tortured
anyone caught worshiping the wrong God. He usually shot them. The atomic
attack ended it all. The Chinese took over. The rest of the States jumped
up and down but did nothing. And suddenly the Texan way of life was
The previous paragraphs
are obviously absolute crap!
Not even Orwell or Poe could have dreamt up such a universal idiotic horror
story. Yet there is one element that stands out as a parallel to the recent
past and present situation in Iraq. Despite the overnight destruction
and consequent disruption, the overthrowing of an evil regime, and the
awakening to future uncertainty of a stunned population the fact remains
that the most dramatic change is the appearance of a massive alien force
ready to implant a new way of life. The Texans confronting a Chinese war
machine willing to introduce hot and sour soup and chopsticks as their
daily bread is no different to the Iraqis staring into the gun barrel
of a US marine as he tries to hand out popcorn and teach them to play
baseball. Texan radio stations would start listening to the ballads of
Chin Fu Lin whilst Madonna would be blasting through the airwaves into
the downtown Baghdad slums. Grey uniform suits would prevail in Texan
boardrooms whilst blue jeans and love America T-shirts were
handed out to university students in Basra. But what is going to be the
real problem of rebuilding a devastated area of the world, when one system
of way-of-life is imposed on another in such a dramatic takeover bid?
What fundamental basic issue should be considered as the most important?
Language! The problem of communicating of one human being with another
is the real challenge. The spectre of the Tower of Babylon will always
raise its ugly head whenever humanity decides to rebuild from the ashes
of its own inflicted destruction.
The day the war ended, or rather the Anglo-American coalition decided
to stop shooting, Iraq, as an operating country was out of action. One
could truthfully say that it was at a standstill in every sense of the
word. No power, no sewage, no water were some of the understandable and
obvious stoppages. Every one of these sectors would require massive engineering
and operational input from the outside world to get back up and running.
Then we have the infrastructure of communications and services, such as
phones and television, hospitals and schools, government offices, security
and a sleuth of other areas that needed addressing and fast! Most of all
was the need to secure some sort of a governing body that could begin
to return the country back to normality in basic living standards. But
what about the people, the core of the nation, your true blooded Iraqis
that remained stunned by the whole circus act that took place over the
past couple of months? What were they beginning to make of it all? Here
are the baby boomers of the flower power era running around the nation
trying to sort out all these problems whilst Hazmin and her nine children
were wondering what had happened to the local bazaar. How could she find
out if she couldnt speak English? Captain Joe Stuart wasnt
able to understand her Arabic language let alone the signs that she was
pointing to in the town square. Yet another bombshell is also ticking
away! How long will it take before the Iraqi people lose their patience?
The all-important element of time is also an overwhelming factor in the
rebuilding of a nation. There is no doubt about that. There is a limit
to which more that 25 million human beings can sit and wait for a light
to come on, a tap to quench their thirst and their small kids go back
to kindergarten. Workers can hang on for so long or housewives brood whilst
the bread is being baked before their idleness turns to violence. The
new ruling leaders realise this danger. Yet no matter how they wish to
transform the country for their own good they still must overcome the
gruesome hurdle of transmitting their goodwill message and in the peoples
own idiom. But that is not all, not only is it a language barrier, it
is also a cultural battle that has to be literally won and soon! No use
assuring the clerics that their Islamic faith has been restored. The latter
have got to believe it. So, in a nutshell Humpty Dumpy had a great fall.
As opposed to the childrens rhyme, lets hope all the Kings horses
and all the Kings men can put the bloody broken egg back together
© James Skinner May 2003.
Media At War
Skinner on embedded journos
James Skinner on
the origins of the current conflict
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Is this the coalitions slogan as they forge their way through
Iraq to destroy oppression and liberate the people?
The Sinking of The Prestige
James Skinner on the poisoned beaches of Spain
'Much too little too late'
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