Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Man Who Came to Dinner... or 'F#ck You America

The Man Who Came to Dinner

John Swinton, the doyen of the New York press corps, upon his retirement , made the following speech:

“There is no such thing, at this stage of the world’s history in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dare write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my papers, before twenty four hours, my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting of an independent press? We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”

I do understand that you have to eat like all of us and therefore must keep your mouth shut. You are Jewish and so am I. (Sephardic).
For the sake of truth, I will give you here another side to the Libyan story. Just imagine a country where there is no electricity bill. Electricity is free to all its citizens. There is no interest on loans, banks were state owned and loans given at zero percent interest by law. Having a home was considered a human right. All newlyweds received US$ 50 000 from the govt to buy their first apartment and to help them start a family. Education and medical treatments were free. Before Qaddafi, 25 % of the population were literate. Today this figure is 83 percent. Should Libyans want to take up farming, they would receive land, a farmhouse, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick start their operation, absolutely free of charge. If citizens could not find the education or medical facilities they needed, the govt would fund them to go abroad, free of charge, and would get some US$2,300 per month for accommodation and car allowance. Cars were government subsidized to the tune of 50%. Fuel prices were $0.14 per litter. The country had no external debt and its reserves amounted to some $170 billion, now frozen globally plus some 27 tons of gold, which the new regime found safely in the National Bank. Any graduate unable to find a job would get the average salary for the profession, as if he/she was employed, until employment found. A portion of oil sales were credited once a year to every citizen bank account. A mother who gave birth, immediately got some $5000. Forty loaves of bread cost $0.15. 25% of citizens have a university degree. An immense project bringing water from aquifers in the south made it available all over the country, free of charge.

That is what that “tyrant” Qaddafi gave to his people. There are some 150 tribes in Libya and a strong hand was necessary if the country was to remain in one piece. Every citizen was in possession of a military weapon. Qaddafi was not frightened of his own people. The so called rebels who took over, so we are told, would not have lasted a few days without NATO air power, British and French commandos and thousands of mercenaries. Those are the winners.

Now another Karzai has been installed in Tripoli, and the country can be plundered at the victors’ whim and fancy. It takes $1 to extract a barrel of Libyan oil and today’s price is over $100. Total the French company has already grabbed some 30% of the Libyan state oil company. BP is starting exploration. And of course massive contracts for the reconstruction of Libya will be handed over to US and European companies. Of the sovereign fund, only some 1.2 billion have been released out of the $170 billion. With the state of the European economy, I doubt very much if Libya will see the rest any time soon. Now Libyans are free as you say, but as Janice Joplin used to say…freedom is just another word for nothing else to lose, as Libyan queueing for funds at their bank’s door are finding out. Qaddafi is gone and so are the perks. What will be left is a terrible civil war. The price of democracy!

“It is the joyous jiggling dance Americans do –USA! USA!- when their government slaughters someone illegally. It is primitive, but it is positively Libyan”. Wrong. It is positively American! Just saw a movie on the training of the US Army before going to Iraq. Soldiers running and singing:”Kill the women! Kill the children! “Then we are shown the results when civilians are gunned down in the streets by those braves. All on film. When they come back home, realising what they have done, they just commit suicide! These are ordinary Sunday soldiers with families.
We can hide the truth with prison sentences, but the truth eventually come through, and unfortunately for us we cannot plug the dyke any longer.

I told you guys when they are at it in was for cheap Libyan oil, it was because Ghadaffy has grown too big for his shoes; it was because Ghadaffy himself had become cleverer and gone into Africa, Chad and all to compete for oil.

Same thing with Saddam. He was getting to big. But at least during his time Shia was not slaughtering Sunnis and Sunnis , Shia; people did not live and eat where they shit.

Yes Saddam and Ghadaffy by Western standard can be called 'tyrants' but where are we now ?

Nik Howk


Yes doc, you did, and you were absolutely right. Many of us felt the same way.

But dictators, "elected" or otherwise, tend to ignore the rule that a leader must have the cachet of legitimacy. This legitimacy must be demonstrated institutionally by transparent, fair elections. Such elections not only serve to establish the cachet of legitimacy, but it also provides the mechanism of a peaceful change of government. We live in the 21st century industrial state, not a 9th century tribal society. Elections are an indispensable institution of a modern state.

In the absence of such a basic institution, rulers tend to believe that they are there permanently by divine right. In such a situation, change can only be affected through violence. Pressures build up internally. A situation is, thus, ripe for foreign intervention to lance the boil. Case in point - Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

In Islamic countries, there is often the romantic yearning for a 'benign caliph' to lead the country, and dictators often view themselves as this benign caliph. This is the seed of their own destruction. This is the lesson that Hosni Mobarak of Egypt, and Zainal A'bidin of Tunisia, demonstrated. This is a lesson that the generals in Egypt have yet to understand.



Dato',at least in Saddam's time people had their decent meals and they did not have to live within their own sewer and Sunnis were not killing Shia and Shia killing Sunnis..
When will we 'stupid Muslims' ever going to learn that the so-called 'secular' descendents of the old days ahlil kitabs are not our friends ? And I am putting this too mildly.....

Where is my friend, Nadzru....he is being too quiet now. I wander whether his construction business in Libya picks up with the new regime ? Good luck to him.

Nik Howk
ps : ...and by the way if you have to deal with 150 tribes, all hard core jahiliah type, typical of Arabs of the desert and Northern Africans, it is not easy to rule. If you are 'lembik' like NTR or Pak lah, and not spilled some recalcitrant 'brains and blood' on the tarmac, you cannot run countries like Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq.

A million Muslims, men, women and children have died in Iraq since the 'crusaders' took over. So what is the meaning of 'democracy' Dato , if I may ask ?
What price 'democracy' if that damn place is not yet ready with institutions and people for i ?.
Let us not join the bandwagon of parrots longing for 'democracy, democracy, democracy....


from Grand pa :

You right doc Nik Howk.if the philosophy in your life is to have 4 square
meals every day without fail: Perhaps Iraqis should wake Sadam up from the
dead and rule again and flog Iraqis and instill fear into the people of
Iraq again so that they can have that 4 square meals every day in the
living hell of their life.

In the first place he is known to have killed hundreds if not thousands of
Kurds- Kurds are Muslims. That is genocide. I would kill Sadam even if I
was not an Iraqi (Figure of speech)

Grand Pa


From Ruslan,

Always remember that the news we get internationally are from ''intellectual prostitutes''.
At least locally, we have two ''versions'' of newspapers to read, but internationally, we have no choice but to read & rely on what were given to us, whether they are from Arabic or non-Arabic sources.


My sentiment exactly like yours Doc.... Countries like that need strongman rule.... what we leant in history as 'benevolent despots', ... except after 20-30 years in power they dropped the 'benevolent'. and add 'ruthless'.

But I agree with you... Iraqis under Saddam or Libyans have 4 square meals... maybe 3... but they are not at each others throats.

Dato' Nik Sidek


Other articles on the blog :
A world gone mad, click here
The Ugly American, click here
Noam Choamsky Interview, click here

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