28 August 2008

Is it madness?

Please, someone explain:

America is one of the nations that recognises Kosovo as an independent state, as being now separate from Serbia. According to many different historic accounts, Kosovo tried repeatedly for sovereignty and for whatever reason it kept being denied, voted out, rescinded...remember, I'm just going for brevity here. (There's a long history.) Basically Kosovar Albanians desperately want this sucession; Serbs in the area don't. Nonetheless, Western nations demand that Kosovo's independence be recognised.

Now, Abkhazia and South Ossetia have declared independence from Georgia. I know that, at least for South Ossetia, this independence was debated at least while Georgia was still a member of the USSR. Now, it tries yet again to be recognised; Georgia destroys its capitol as retaliation for dissidence, and Russia comes in to aid an ally. Western nations do not recognise this declaration of independence and decry Russia as the "Cold War-era bully of times past".

I don't understand. What makes one people's desire for autonomy any more --or less-- valid than another's, as far as America is concerned? Is it decided by oil reserves? Whether or not the nation boasts a pro-Western government? I often wonder about such things, how money plays into how America reacts. China and North Korea have documented slave labour and rape camps: no problem. Ethiopia invades Somalia, effectively destroying any chance for the majority-Muslims to create anything other than an interim government: that's fine with us. Tamil children in Sri Lanka are denied schooling and medicine, and crimes against them go unpunished because they are an undesired minority: sure, why the hell not. Americans rarely hear anything about such issues (let alone care) because we're worried so much about the possibility of losing our posh way of life. Communism is evil, Islam is evil, illegal immigrants are evil, Grand Theft Auto is evil. Mention concern for the environment, human trafficking, war crimes, or the PATRIOT Act...well, either you're a hippie or un-American, and therefore also evil.

What the fuck people? Try to be a little more intelligent than the government wants you to be, glean you water-cooler talk from something other than CNN or FOX News or NPR...go beyond all that. Go beyond your comfort zone. No one wants to be the thought criminal, the overzealous speaker, the one stirring the shit-pot, the known protestor, the name on the Homeland Security Watchlist. But the current state of affairs isn't getting any better.

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