Monday, October 20, 2008

Mosquito Bite Vision

Is it me, or does it sometimes seem like the world is completely unraveling? Failures in honest and prudent diplomacy have lead to quagmire wars, corporate corruption and predatory lending have robbed honest workers of their buying abilities and plunged the world markets towards destruction, and human rights violations continue to abound.

In Milan, in a hotel room I shared with my aunt Karine Koroukian, I woke up at 4am with a devastating itch. Karine had cracked our windows open to let in some fresh air seventeen stories above the city’s centrale stazzione. She had inadvertently let in a few mosquitoes that had a feast on my blood. I could not stop scratching myself, trying to ignore the pain, trying to fall asleep. Sleep escaped as the itch spots seemed to take over my body and my hands felt useless in alleviating the burning need to fix it. Then, images of the global economic crisis and cyclical war flashed in front of my eyes, and I had this inexplicable urge to sit and write. I did not want to turn on the light and disturb Karine’s sleep, so I went by the window and let the lighting of a nearby skyscraper illuminate the paper as I frantically scribbled these ideas pouring out of my mind, trying my best to make my arm move as fast as my mind was. Here is what I was able to capture from this “vision”. You may disagree with what I say as these sometimes represent some of my more extreme views, but I hope you do recognize that our world is reeling. Let’s go:

Our world is falling apart because we can’t take it anymore. Many of the rich are feeding off the misery of the poor. We’ve got a global distribution of wealth so unbalanced it makes my head spin. While consultants of various sorts and the aristocratic wealthy feast day after day, and Americans continue getting fatter (a sign of wealth, after all), the millions of poor across the world remain poor beyond repair – hungry, marginalized, desperate, sick, malnourished, deceived.

In last night’s debate, Obama said something to the effect of, “If Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda are hiding out in Pakistan and the Pakistani government does not do anything to rout them out, then America must act, even if it means bypassing UN permission (the logic being that Russia and China would block the passage of any such resolution).” Obviously! That’s what any nation desperate to consolidate and preserve its power would say – and its become this double standard where other nations that use this kind of “f u world” rhetoric are perceived as dangerous threats who do as they please, and when we use it, it is no big deal. Every nation acts to promote its interest. Russia invaded Georgia to promote its interest without UN permission, but because America remains antagonistic towards Russia (on the surface because they do not promote “democracy” which supposedly America does…give me a break…but in reality because Russia’s wealth threatens America’s stability as the world’s strongest nation), the invasion enters the political discourse, thanks in part to the shallow debates and its narrow-minded “luminaries”, as a negative one because it is becoming clearer and clearer that that which is good for Russia, is bad for America. Unfortunately the political arithmetic is sadly simple.

Cyclical poverty drives humans to desperation as it generates greed, excess of consumption, and resource exclusivity. Those who benefit from this cycle do what they can to maintain it, believing in a system so delusional that it cannot see the world for what it truly is. It is as if man’s inherent goodness just stepped out of a shower, and looks into the mirror and sees only a faint silhouette of itself mired in a hazy fog. This figure reaches to wipe away the fog, but a man emerges from the mirror and slices off any and all extremities that attempt to remove the fog and reveal the reflection’s true nature. Indeed, the perpetuators of this system go so far as to mask it as fairness, right, and goodness, calling it “democracy, freedom, and capitalism”, and banding together with allies to promote these superficial ideals that mask what is really behind all of the world’s poverty, violence, and disillusionment -> the filthy, intoxicating pursuit of power.

For example, why does America insist that that Israel is its strongest world ally? Might it have something to do with how America’s Jewish vote and financiers are some of America’s most influential? Some might accuse me of anti-Semitism for suggesting such a thing, and those who do 1) know nothing about my love for my Israeli and Jewish friends and their cultural heritage, and 2) might react in such a way because they depend on this cycle as it forms part of their fundamental personal credo.

Political violence is increasing. Genocides are happening. The wealthy nations continue their relative strength against the poorer nations as poorer nations and people have no choice but to turn to desperate measures to destabilize a global economic and political status quo structured to keep them weak. And we have the audacity to characterize some of these desperate individuals as “terrorists” without examining the root of the issue. We are facing a global crisis that is just not financial, but shows how economies respond to these abuses of wealth and power. Rather than overhauling an unjust system in total disrepair, we fight to keep it alive, pumping in billions and billions more into “rescue packages”.

The world needs healing, but we keep investing our intellectual, financial, and moral resources into a smokescreen system that to me is just unsustainable. It will be our fall as a human race if we continue down this road. The more make up you use to mask your true face, the more you erode and ruin the natural beauty you already possess, replacing it with a delusional self-representation masking the true self.

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