Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More from the "great and the good"

We'd like to think we in the West are the good guys, right? Certainly some of the borderline racist bile I read on message boards would suggest that we're sitting on an unassailable moral perch.

Square that thought with Monbiot's comment regarding the illegal arms deals Britain has been encouraging with despotic Arabian governments for over 40 years (click here). This Labour government is just one in the long line of British administrations that have pursued this policy. But it undermines everything we think about ourselves in Britain: far from being morally superior and whiter than white, it makes us as muddied as the foes we now fight against. Just because we don't engage in blatant tactics like blowing people up and fighting guerrila wars doesn't give us any claim to moral superiority. Every time we choose to save money by buying cheap goods from sweatshops we're perpetuating poverty; by systematically demanding to pay less than a fair price for goods we've driven all kinds of industries off these shores and into the hands of a Communist regime in China (funny how we tend to turn a blind eye to all the atrocities that go on there - I wonder how that protestor in Tiananmen Square would feel about it all?). And then our thirst for consumption is driving people on the margins in Africa, India and elsewhere towards a slow, painful death from starvation.

And still we call ourselves the good guys. Yeah, right...

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