In April 1937, when General Franco was struggling to overthrow the elected Government of Spain, he sought help from Hitler. The enemies of fascism deserved a dose of shock and awe. The Luftwaffe obliged by flattening the pesky city of Guernica, raining its bombs on homes, farms and schools; machine gunning families at the crowded outdoor markets. The world was appalled. More than a million Parisians thronged the city in protest. An enraged Picasso created the mighty canvas that many consider to be the greatest artwork of the 20th Century - Guernica. It serves to commemorate the first massive, cold blooded attack against a non military target in modern warfare; an act of savagery since surpassed and repeated many times over. The bombing of Guernica lasted three and a half hours; the bombing of Falluja has been going on for six and a half weeks, still counting. Troops were reportedly ordered to shoot all males of fighting age seen on the streets, armed or unarmed, (though many women and children copped it as well).
The assault on Guernica aroused the conscience of the world and gave us an immortal icon. The assault on Falluja revealed the complicity of the mass media and its embedded cheerleaders, as well as the deadened souls of the celebrity-sodden shopaholic cowards who are its major consumers. Falluja also gave us George Bush as Time’s “Man of the Year” (for “sticking to his guns”). But he is so much more than that, don’t you think?
Not convinced? Go here: www. fallujapictures.blogspot.com
Congratulations to Feng Qian, 22, who made history at a Beijing opera house last weekend, when she won the title of Ms Artificial Beauty. Finalists had suffered procedures to nose, ears, breasts, eyelids, the upper and lower jaw, as well as much softening of skin and removal of body hair. Will this surface sculpturing change the inner human? Probably, by boosting confidence. Self improvement by any means necessary is 21st Century religion. Future beauty pageants are likely to feature Ms Genetically Enhanced, Ms Cyborg, Ms Nanotech.
While the human body rapidly evolves, the moral stature of Western leadership continues to shrink.
The lust for power, the re-birth of belief in nutty Old Testament prophecies, the creeping shadow of fear, including the fear that our lifestyle requires adjustment.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF THIS MORAL DECLINE?
The reversal of human rights, the rewarding of public figures who behave in bad faith, the culture of lying at the highest levels of leadership.
Look again at the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Almost half of its 30 famous Articles are now more honoured in their breach than in their implementation. Not just in Uzbekistan and Pakistan, but in Washington, Westminster and Canberra.
Article 5: No one shall be subject to torture or to cruel or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.
Article 9: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Other Articles promote rights that are fast fading: judgement by “independent and impartial” tribunals, the presumption of innocence, the right of a public hearing, the right to seek asylum, to change nationality, to freely exchange information, regardless of frontiers, to enjoy privacy, the reasonable limitation of working hours, and the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well being ……
The three men who champion the trashing of freedoms say they are expanding freedoms with bombs, torture and lying. Tony Blair compares himself to Winston Churchill. John Winston Howard now poses in the style of Churchill and boasts he has enhanced Australia’s “confidence”. By which he means our COMPLIANCE with the world bully, our COMPLICITY in the murder of a 100,000 Iraqis, our CRUELTY to refugees. Still, Christmas is coming. A time of photo ops for politicians at Carols by Candlelight trying to look holy, a time to hit the Iraqi town of Hyt, west of Baghdad, with warplanes. According to www.english.aljazeera.net ,shops, homes and buses have been destroyed, as well as the civilians within.