“When you own a big chunk of the bloody Third World, the babies just come with the scenery.”
– Pretenders, “Middle of the Road”
On November 24, 2011, while many of the more privileged humans on Planet Earth marked Thanksgiving—with or without a dead turkey, with or without awareness of the near-extermination of the indigenous population—a US-taxpayer subsidized air strike in southern Afghanistan killed seven civilians. Six of them were children.
The Afghani kids who’ve so far avoided death-by-drone are hardly better off. A decade after the illegal and immoral US-led invasion, Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world—257 deaths per 1,000 live births—while 70% of the population lacks access to clean water.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan, it’s been found that one in seven US drone strikes result in a child fatality.
And we have the balls to wonder: Why do they hate us?
Madeleine Albright sez: “The United States is good. We try to do our best everywhere.”
Ward Churchill sez: “Stop killing our kids, if you want your own to be safe.”
What’s that? You’re not killing anybody’s kids? Au contraire, mon ami…
With 54% of US tax dollars going to the military, the vast majority of Americans have contributed to enough murders to make Kissinger blush.
Exhibit A: The US-enforced sanctions imposed on Iraq from August 1990 and to November 2003—sanctions that were responsible at one point for the deaths of 300 Iraqi children a day.
Did the 1% (of either party) flinch at such carnage?
On the May 12, 1996 edition of 60 Minutes, then US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright had the following exchange with Leslie Stahl:
Stahl: “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And—and you know, is the price worth it?”
Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice but the price—we think the price is worth it.”
Shortly afterwards, noted liberal savoir Bill Clinton named Albright as his Secretary of State. In the world of the 1%, killing brown children by the hundreds of thousands, it seems, is a real boost for the resume.
Howard Zinn sez: “I wonder how the foreign policies of the United States would look if we wiped out the national boundaries of the world, at least in our minds, and thought of all children everywhere as our own.”
It’s not just foreign policy, Howie.
Whether the figurehead calls himself Republican or Democrat, US hegemony and corporate imperialism has helped cultivate and sustain a global culture that produces hunger-related numbers like this:
- Under-nutrition contributes to five million deaths of children under five each year in developing countries.
- One out of four children—roughly 146 million—in developing countries is underweight
- More than 70% of the world’s underweight children (aged five or less) live in just 10 countries, with more than 50% located in South Asia alone
- 10.9 million children under five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60% of the deaths
Overall, somewhere between 25,000 and 30,000 children under the age of five die each day from preventable causes.
Neil Young sez: “There’s one more kid that will never go to school, never get to fall in love, never get to be cool.”
So, where do you stand on all this? Do you block it out or does it keep you up at night? Do you want to live in a society where children are made to suffer and die so that 1% of humanity can accumulate vast material wealth? If not, why aren’t you fighting back?
You may think the Occupy protesters are unwashed or lazy but they’re fighting for those kids.
You may think this is not your fight or believe you don’t have the time or energy to get involved. You may have even convinced yourself that time is not running out.
You just might expect an elected official to do the fighting for you.
Well, the latest liberal savoir, Barack Obama, made his position quite clear on the day he was sworn into office: “We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense.”
We must make our position equally as clear. We must also refuse to apologize for the changes we seek, for the justice we demand, for the children we wish to save.
We must never apologize for our way of life…nor can we ever again waver in its defense. It’s now or never…
Arundhati Roy sez: “Once you see it, you can’t un-see it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There’s no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
Please open our eyes and see and if you can’t find a reason to fight for yourself, then just do it for the children.
We are the 99%. Expect us. Join us…
#OccupyParticipation. #OccupyEndurance. #Occupy4Children.
Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook.