Tuesday, February 18, 2003


This past Sunday’s LA JORNADA SEMANAL dedicated most of its space to articles about
war. In one article, “De la guerra y sus definiciones”, the historian Lewis Mumford was quoted as defining war as “the religion of death”, capable of making real the secret desires of “the paranoiacs and sadists that a society in disintegration necessarily produces.”

Mumford’s definition is radically different from that of Clausewitz, who argued that “war is the continuation of politics by others means.” “Good Cop” Colin Powell has impunely quoted Clausewitz, and he is not the only one who has expected us to believe him. As if shoehorning war into the parameters of political process somehow makes it a legitimate action, even a civic obligation.

“Any fool”, claims Raven, “can see that war is precisely the opposite of politics, not its continuation.”

Even a bird brain, right?

Raven chewed thoughtfully on a dead leaf, and leveled me one of his slingshot gazes: “Sometimes you are not wildly funny, you know. Have you seen any massive formations of birds running bombing missions around here lately?”

I was not wildly inclined to argue with him, either, but could not help but point out that our small fishing village in southern Mexico is not of acute strategic importance.

“For birds, it is. But we’re not shooting each other out of the skies to get control of all the fish.
Yet you people run around calling yourself civilized, the most evolved species, etcetera.”

What is your point, Rave?

“Being at the top of the food chain doesn’t mean you’re civilized. I don’t see any evolutionary process in your species.”

Well, maybe not. We have been waging war for millennia.

“In fact,” Raven concluded, “you are the same cavemen as you were in prehistory. Only your clubs have evolved into “intelligent” weapons.

You’re forgetting about culture, Rave.

“Culture doesn’t mean a damn to you people. It’s just something more to impose on other people. Fidel Castro was right when he said Mexican children know more about Mickey Mouse than about Miguel Hidalgo.”

But having a culture doesn’t always mean implementing cultural imperialism.

“Let’s put it this way. When you idiots start waging your “cultural” conflicts with nuclear weapons, the only species likely to come out with its culture intact is the cockroach.”

Even a bird brain....

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