Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Christmas Message - Ignore the Bombs

I am about to head into Broadmead – not hat I want to, but I stuff to do and so need to step back into the consumer maelstrom. Watching Xmas TV I noticed that the air-wave assault of consumerism did not lull – as the 25th arrived, the adverts changed from Xmas to January Sales with practiced ease, like a well oiled military operation. Indeed the Guardian had a column describing the pre-xmas shopping period as 'war'; "...shoppers force themselves forward at the furious pace of commuters...anxiously debating presents on their mobile phones as if calling in a missile strike. This is guerrilla Christmas shopping, a deadly serious exercise in brinksmanship, consumers pitted against their favourite shops...". On the day I read that piece I had the misfortune to end up in the massive Tesco Eastville, and while I waited for a friend I could not help be notice how little like a war, and how much like a process the whole thing was: Huge lines of people were processed through the isles, stripped of individuality as their purchases are scanned into stock and marketing data and then their money (aka time spent earning it in wage-slavery) was handed over for the privilege. It is no wonder that one in every eight pounds spend in the UK goes to Tesco. They process consumer units like a well oiled military machine

But to describe this was war or war-like is to demean the terror of war.

For example: At the moment Broadmead, as the so-called Bristol-Alliance development gets underway, looks a bit like a bomb-site. Thought-connections: The Weather Underground, a US radical group of the 60s and 70s, used to perform bombings in the US mainland under the slogan 'Bring the war home'. That war was Vietnam and their bombs were an attempt to make people sit-up and realise that there were civilians dying in their name. We should not need a Weatherman to tell us which way the wind is blowing; in Iraq, the bomb-sites are not metaphorical: "Until the end of August, US warplanes were conducting about 25 strikes a month. The number rose to 62 in September, then to 122 in October and 120 in November." These war planes are dropping 500 pound bombs – these are military munitions designed to attack other military forces. In Iraq they are being dropped on houses and fields against insurgents. If a 2000-pound bomb has a blast radius of about 4000 feet, it is reasonable to assume that a 500-pound one has a blast radius of about 1000 feet. If insurgents were in a safe-house, would that house, and only that house, be destroyed in the air-strike? Does your home fit into a neat 1000 feet radius? Unless you are in a Clifton mansion you will see why so many civilians are dying as Bliar and Bu$h clear Iraq of terrorists.

How much did Bliar spend on an xmas present for Bu$h? 500 pounds?

No! Wait! But they have had elections! Yes – that is democracy in action. Amidst the re-runs of the Two Ronnies and the Queens speech did anyone notice that Qusay Salah al-Din, a guy organising protests against what he saw as rigged elections was found dead. Hands tied behind his back and a bullet in his head.

And the prices fall in the January sales.

And the bombs fall in Iraq.

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