I have been reading awate.com now off and on for about 3 years, and there has yet to be any more relentless display of marxist ideology and miscontruing of history as there was in the last article “It is a crazy world” by Amanuel Sahle. This bad piece of journalism displays the views and, uniquely, the ideas themselves that have been driving Eritrea toward the abyss.
The first is the article author’s retelling of the European colonization, where he paints the wildly different points of view with one big stroke, the idea that they all were diginified people who did not care about gold and were fooled into believing the Europeans were Gods.
If the native americans were so diginified and the sub-theme of your whole article is their disinterest in material things as gold, why had they dug up so much of it? Why were they wearing it around like a modern day american rapper? There were indeed certain tribes namely the Astezs whoe are said to have believed that they were Gods, so they may have been fooled into that. But the question should then be, by whom? Oh yes, by there own religious/spritiual/political leaders and from here I refer you to Florentine Codex who originates the claim to begin with.
Another thing that has to be noticed when one talks about the conquest and subsequent rise of modern civilization in the American continents is the explicit North and South divide that runs through Europe applied to North America and South America, which had two different histories, policies and most obviously results. To lump them together is indefensible, and then to proceed to simply throw in Africa and Asia is even more ahistorical and ridicoulous.
“Of course, all of these plunderers had priests and pastors accompanying them. While the natives were busy being saved in some remote churches in the jungle, the colonists stole and looted as they listed, for they all came with their own versions of Christian values elevating greed to the station of virtue. They ‘saved’ souls as a spiritual investment for a happy life in the hereafter, and saved money to enjoy life to the fullest in this uncertain world.”
It is true that the church did play a role and sometimes a big role in the conquest of South America, and policies enacted on this basis. The actual methaphysical beliefs about souls, and the purity or unpurity of souls also played in the Conquistadors callous behaviour. One example is taken from Bertrand Russell where he relates the story of two priests baptizing native american children and subsequently bashing their heads. The metaphysical claims of the faith is clearly playing a role in this behaviour, that should shock most modern readers. But the answer to the Conquistadores “success” lies not in their religous aspect of the meeting between these cultures, but the biological one: it was the diseases brought along by them that destroyed the native americans of South America not the “diesease” of greed.
The descriptions of the Conquistadores were, of course, only made to set the plank ready for the bashing of all modern wars as plunder wars. The argument that the Iraqi war was in place to serve american oil companies is laughable if not disgusting, as the facts after the war have been a running confirmation that this is not what happened. Here, I shall simply refer you to the awarding of oil contracts from Iraq by Hussain al-Shahristani(the oil minister) in competiton between international consortia largely went to Russian and Chinese firms (Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BB18Q20091213).
Another disgrace to history follows the next one:
“No one ever went, one would add, to colonize other lands with glad tidings of salvation or emancipation or with the motive of preaching liberty, equality and fraternity.”
Wait and let me simply drop names here of the top of my head: The Crusades (to save the holy land from infidels); the muslim conquest of North Africa, Iran and Spain(to emancipate the world from infidel rule); Vietnam war (to liberate the country from communist rule).
I need not go on as the list will be nearly endless.
“Well, the problem was not so much with colonization as with the immense scale with which it was carried out, assisted by the accelerating socio-economic momentum that led to capitalism in all its ugly forms.”
Capitalism in all its ugly forms, that’s an interesting one. The idea that “capitalism in all its ugly forms” is something to be uttered by someone, in post-Soviet time, is laughable. When communist China and socialist India have been leading away from their old models toward freer markets and getting great results, one should think the author is living in a vacuum. The idea of capitalism and colonization going hand in hand is also wrong. The capitalism premise, or should I say free-market premise is exactly opposite to colonization. The free-market promoted from Adam Smith and down, was that one can not and should not for economic reasons force anyone–indeed, that it is voluntary cooperation, a hardly visible mechanism, that moves people to freely improve together with other people of their choosing. The colonization premise is that a superior nation has the right the to make slaves of inferior nations, and rob them at point-blank of property, wealth and labour.
In a time where the Eritrean population sufferes chronic food shortages, and many are unfed because leaders take food to “redistribute it properly”, one should observe how lethal and dangerous the idea of economic control is. The free-market precisely is against that idea: it does not recognize any virtue or solution, or even right to economic control. Adam Smith simply set out to discover why certain policies were more economically beneficial, what indeed caused people to cooperate on such large scales without one single mind grasping and planning the cooperation. Subsequently the birth of a new science came fourth. One can also explain to the author of the article in question that disparages Adam Smith: Adam Smith was very much opposed to colonization of all kind (including slavery and Empire), and publicly railed against. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Smith .)
“I don’t mean that greed was invented by Europeans. God forbid! Why should it be when sin (of which greed is only a component) had already infected mankind during creation? All men are created equal with equal count of greed genes in their blood. But, just as the HIV-AIDS virus had to wait for centuries hidden in some corner of our frail body for an opportune time to strike with a devastating impact,…”
Here the scientist in Amanuel comes out again, alert the Nobel lauerate! He has discovered the “greed gene-s”! Genes and creation? Genes are modern scientific theories that have nothing with creation. And if genes can be infections, then a gene for growing hair, hands and feet are too. But incidentally here we strike upon the results of cashing such ignorance, the idea that HIV and AIDS have been waiting in our bodies latenly is obscene and wrong!
First HIV is a virus that can develop into AIDS. The virus spreads out through body and develop to a point of killing of your immune system, which is the point that one is diagonised as having AIDS. HIV and AIDS are not same thing, the first being a virus which can give a person the second form of syndrome.
Then he continues to blame greed for every vice and brutality, and makes absurd claims such as:
“The frightening thing about greed and all its attendant sub-vices was that it could easily lend itself to institutionalization.”
“Now with all the rich people getting richer and the poor getting poorer, things were getting dangerous. Adam Smith wanting to accommodate greed by all means advocated for capitalism.”
“Marx, in his anti-greed campaign, wanted to reverse (or maybe to correct) the course of history by preaching communism.”
“And prior to these gentlemen, we had Hobbes, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Locke, who presented themselves as physicians and tried to find the proper balm, if not medicine, to cure the rising social and political ills of the time.”
“Most of the physicians who diagnosed the disease were either reluctant or simply hesitant to take the necessary but painful steps for a lasting remedy, which was nothing else but the application of the principle of human rights, equality, justice and tolerance.”
“And as man-made disasters multiplied, Tarzan-oriented NGOs moved into action whose cure was, more often than not, more painful than the disease itself, including innumerable do-gooder organizations who went around dressing up wounds that could never heal.”
The view of mankind as depraved, sinful, evil and destructive at heart can never be articulated any better I suppose. The line is standard, ”man is entirely wicked and needs rulers to curb their wickedness, to restrain the evil bastards, as a master restrains his dog with a leash and his horse with a whip”. And the question it raises should be clear, who restrains the master?
Is this not the rhetoric of Isaias himself, to blame all evils on outsiders, to position himself as having the antidote to inherent stupid eritrean who can not think for himself, work for himself and improve his life on his terms, but who has to have all the terms to every minute detail set by some absolute ruler? Who has to sacrifice for the great cause?
The fear mongering continues for a long line of paragraphs; doom is promised, no man-made solution can be done. The basic premise of this polemic seems to be against greed.
It it is not at all against greed, it is against self-interest. And nothing could be worse to write a polemic against. The idea that self-interest as a problem is the idea that lets Eritrea’s president says things like ”the Sawa deserters are selfish wimps”(my phrasing), and those same deserters go to through intense obstacles to reach Europe, not Kassala. Not to whine about their conditions, but to improve them. Not to get handouts on other peoples terms, but to work and produce and be their own masters.
These people who look to the future and do not live in the past have a self-interest in their families condition, in their country, in their future, indeed in the future of the whole world.