Thursday, March 27, 2003


Raven has been rampantly lyrical on this beautiful spring morning here in the tropics. He was shrieking at 6:30 from the roof, ready to sing along with The Best of Gato Barbieri. I am crawling around with my coffee cup, facing the prospect of reviewing Robert Fisk’s trip to a hospital in Bagdad with my students.

Raven is unruffling his feathers and humming as he reads the morning news.

“The Leo of Your Dreams, Hugo Chávez, was rabble-rousing in Caracas yesterday.”

Fabulous! That’s something he does well. What was he rousing about?

“Business, primarily. It was an assembly of Businessmen for Venezuela. But then here he starts talking about Jimmy Carter—“a man dedicated to finding the solutions to conflicts—looking for political ways, diplomatic ways, peaceful ways.” He goes on to say:

‘I raise my voice, again, which is the voice of Venezuela against the invasion of Iraq; Venezuela has no other option but to say Peace! No other opetion but demand respect for international law, for the sovereignty of countries. Venezuela has no other path but to demand a return to the framework of the United Nations because it is very dangerous for the world that international order is broken, and that we are entering the phase of the law of the jungle--where always the strongest imposes his will. This is very grave, indeed. Lula, our brother President of Brazil, said it well a few days ago—and I repeat: No country, no matter its name--in this case its name is the United States of America—has the legal authority to decide what is good and what is evil in the world. Or to invade countries or bomb cities where there are children, women. For God’s sake! Innocent human beings—this can’t be. Who has given whom that legal authority to drop bombs on cities? From here we ask for peace, and I repeat again the demand that we use the United Nations.’”

Sounds good to me, Rave.

“He goes on to say, and I don’t know if he is being sarcastic or what—that some people there have suggested that after the US destroys Iraq they should come after him....”

Considering that one of the highest priorities of the US government is the destruction of OPEC, it would not be that far-fetched. They certainly put enough money into the two coup attempts against Chávez last year. But what disturbs me, Rave, is that although folks are talking in the General Assembly of the UN, no concerted proposal for a resolution has yet been made against the US for this completely illegal invasion of another country.

“A bit of activity is happening here in Latin America, though. In Rio Bush was officially declared persona non grata by the city council. There was a protest outside of the US embassy in Quito. The Secretary of State of the Dominican Republic resigned in protest of the government of his country’s backing of the US invasion. And in Managua, Nicaragua, the Vice President declared himself a dissident within his government for the same reason.”

But it isn’t changing the reality of what Chávez says—that the law of the jungle has taken over in world affairs. Colin Powell has even had the nerve to say that neither the UN nor any other country will be involved in Iraq after the US takes control. He’s saying it will be a US colony! The real problem is that until a critical mass of dissent is formed WITHIN the US the law of the jungle will continue to prevail.

Rave looks uncomfortable.

“You know what? I have been running this law of the jungle phrase around in my mind, and I’m just not comfortable with it. We have the jungle pretty much right here, and even though it’s mating season—with all the competition that creates—the jungle is, as always, a relatively peaceful environment.”

So? What’s your point?

“My point,” Raven cocks an eye quickly in my direction, “is that the jungle is peaceful because the human species—Tarzan fantasies aside—is normally not represented there.”

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