Saturday, February 12, 2011

In Egypt, Eos, Dawn Goddess, has Opened Her Gates; in the USA, Denial Overflows, & in Darfur, Denial Merges with the River Styx

Eos, Goddess of the Dawn, opens the gates of the east prior to riding her chariot through the sky. Herbert Draper - Gates of Dawn (1900)

It is clear that the vast majority of the citizens in the world are looking for a just world where distribution of education, health, jobs and wealth is much more equitable and where 'global common goods' are agreed and managed, such as sustainable and just climate agreements. However, the power is at this point still in the hands of rich minorities, an elite world class which interconnects banks, corporations, governments, corporate media and sometimes criminal networks. IPS Interview w/ SYLVIA BORREN, co-chair of GCAP

Whatever happens in Egypt, there's an elephant in the room, and it's pink. Freedom of women is what the Al Qaeda jihadis, as much as the Muslim Brothers in Egypt, most revile about the West. Nina Burleigh, Huffington Post, 2-5-11

In Egypt, Eos, Dawn Goddess, has Opened Her Gates; in the USA, Denial Overflows, & in Darfur, Denial Merges with the River Styx

By Richard Power

The virtual press at Words of Power had been held in suspended animation since the days of the uprising in Tahrir Square, waiting to see which way Egypt would turn ...

Now it is time for the presses to roll again ...

Tell Old Pharaoh, Let My People Go

There are great dangers ahead for those 80 million Egyptians, and formidable obstacles strewn on the path before them (after all, think how far even we have fallen from our celebration in Grant Park 2008); nevertheless, there are positive signs and portents in the fall of Muburak.

Savor the moment.

Whatever happens next, however it turns out, this wondrous event should be celebrated.

What happened in Egypt over the last 18 days was not a revolution, it was an EVOLUTION: crowd-sourced, and non-violent, i.e., plowshares not swords. The old way, the way that failed was "Revolution comes from the barrel of a gun," the new way, the way that must not fail is "Evolution comes from citizen journalism and crowd-sourced, non-violent mass action."

Nor was this some counter-revolution led by misogynistic, homophobic Islamic fundamentalists. No. It was Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mohammed El-Baradei who spoke in the name of the hundreds of thousands in the streets of Cairo; it was a young Google executive Wael Ghonim, who spoke in their name, it was the writer and human rights activist Mona Eltahawy who spoke in their name: 21st Century voices articulating a 21st Century imperative, i.e., an end to oligarchy.

Meanwhile, in the USA, the Waters of Denial Continue to Rise

The contrast was over those 18 days was stark and disturbing.

In Egypt, creative evolution crowd-sourced, and non-violent, i.e., plowshares not swords. In the USA, a populace passively acquiescing in its own devaluation, its collective psyche, addled and oxygen-deprived, in the suffocating double-vise of Beltwayistan and Infotainmentstan.

Incredibly, it has only been two years since Barack Obama was sworn in as POTUS.

And yet, the cable TV news' coverage of the "100th Birthday" celebration for Ronald Reagan was bizarre enough to make me wonder if perhaps I had slipped into another dimension, an alternate universe.

After all, the Reagan presidency began our descent into societal decline & spiritual disease; it is evidence of our dysfunction and denial that we celebrate it.

Robert Parry of Consortium News writes of Reagan's "thirty year time bombs."

Indeed, many of today’s worst national and international problems can be traced to misjudgments and malfeasance from the Reagan years – from the swelling national debt to out-of-control banks, from the decline of the U.S. middle class to the inaction on energy independence, from the rise of Islamic fundamentalism to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Robert Parry, Ronald Reagan's 30-Year Time Bombs, Consortium News, 1-28-11

See also 10 Things Conservatives Don’t Want You To Know About Ronald Reagan, Think Progress, 2-5-11

And just to make the break with sanity even more undeniable, there was POTUS sitting down for an interview with Bill 0'Reilly of Faux News.

Yes, POTUS shaking hands with O'Reilly, whose hands have blood on them. Yes, blood. The blood of Dr. George Tiller, murdered attending church on one Sunday in Kansas, after O'Reilly had repeated "Dr. Tiller Baby Killer" over and over again in prime time TV. No mention was made of the consequences of O'Reilly's hate speech.

Nor was any mention made of the violent and increasingly bizarre rhetoric of O'Reilly's fellow Faux News host, Glenn Beck, or the relationship of Beck's inflammatory speech to threats against the Tides Foundation and death threats against Francis Fox Pivens, a respected political science professor, and an elderly Jewish woman. "It's harm not to myself, but to American democracy that I fear from the Fox News host's paranoid theories of social collapse." Francis Fox Pivens, Guardian, 2-8-11

Sorry, but no matter how hard little Jon Stewart clicks the heels of his ruby red shoes together, there is no moral equivalency between these dangerous and disturbed individuals and a passionate Ed Schultz or a hard-hitting Keith Olbermann. None whatsover. To perpetuate this false meme is to be complicit in corporatist psyops.

And then there was POTUS' speech to the Chamber of Horrors.

For an update on the Chambers shameless anti-social behavior, consider the news that Think Progress broke the same week of POTUS' speech.

Yesterday ThinkProgress released an exclusive investigation into the underhanded and surreptitious campaign waged by a lobbying firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing association representing big business. The report detailed how Hunton & Williams, a lobbying firm hired by the Chamber, solicited “private security” companies to investigate the Chamber’s political opponents, including ThinkProgress, the labor coalition Change to Win, SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and Their tactics included planting false documents, creating fake personas, and targeting opponents’ families and children. Think Progress, 2-11-11

Not one mention of Climate Change in POTUS' speech to the Chamber of Horrors.

The Climate Crisis, and the Sustainability Crisis that lurks behind it, constitute the greatest threat to our national security, economic security and food security; and yet POTUS dare not mention it to the captains of industry and commerce.

"Billions of trees died in the record drought that struck the Amazon in 2010, raising fears that the vast forest is on the verge of a tipping point, where it will stop absorbing greenhouse gas emissions and instead increase them." Guardian, 2-4-11

We've been able to forget that fact for the last 10,000 years, the period of remarkable climatic stability that underwrote the rise of civilization. But we won't be able to forget it much longer. Days like yesterday will keep slapping us upside the head, until we take it in. The third rock from the sun is a very different place than it used to be. Bill McKibben, Huffington Post, 4-2-11

I understand the political calculation. I understand that the strategy is triangulation on steroids. I also understand that POTUS is not only motivated by these cynical calculations, but also by a Quixotic compulsion to bring some of elements of the Right back from over the edge to sanity and decency. Yes, yes, he is placating climate change denial (an immoral and psychologically disturbed behavior) in the hope of wearing it down, or outlasting it, or making progress on an end around. But there is an unavoidable question, and it is looming larger and larger: at what point, does this placating itself become an immoral and psychologically disturbed behavior?

Denial Flows into the River Styx

And then there is the CHANGE for the WORSE in U.S. policy on Darfur since 2008.

Writing in The New Republic, Rebbecca Hamilton asks: Is The White House Echoing The Sudanese Government's Propaganda About Darfur? The New Republic (2-9-11)

Tragically, the answer is yes.

"Certainly we must ask about the wisdom of “de-coupling” Darfur at a time when humanitarian reach is contracting yet further, violence and civilian displacement are escalating, and the UNAMID peacekeeping operation is essentially paralyzed—all forces putting millions of innocent civilians at risk. Terror in the west of Sudan is far from concluded. Eric Reeves, Sudan Research, 2-9-11

Turning Pain into Power

But the world is not without hope, there are those who bear the light as Galadriel promised. ("I give you the light of EƤrendil, our most beloved star. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.")

In Burma, the light of hope is held aloft.

The ultimate goal of our network is to achieve democracy and human rights in Burma, said pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her party's second youth conference in Rangoon ... Suu Kyi Casts Her Net, Irrawaddy, 2-8-11

Even in the Congo, there is the light of hope.

For years, diplomats, aid workers, academics and government officials here have been vexed almost to the point of paralysis about how to attack this country's staggering problem of sexual violence, in which hundreds of thousands of women have been raped, many quite sadistically, by the various armed groups who haunt the hills of eastern Congo.
Sending in more troops has compounded the problem ...
For [Eve] Ensler, the feminist playwright who wrote "The Vagina Monologues" and who has worked closely with Congolese women, the answer was simple.
"You build an army of women," she said. "And when you have enough women in power, they take over the government and they make different decisions. You'll see. They'll say 'Uh-uh, we're not taking this any longer,' and they'll put an end to this rape problem fast."

Fighting Congo’s Ills With Education and an Army of Women, NYT, 2-7-11

Do not think that concern for the plight of the women and children of Darfur and the Congo is some sort of boutique humanitarian cause; it is in your enlightened self-interest to address their suffering. You and I and those who follow us are not many clicks of the dial from descending into similar hell-realms.

After all, the Zombie Cult formerly known as the Republican Party, the one that "We, the People" put in control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, has just spent much of the last couple of weeks trying to re-define rape, intensify its attacks of Planned Parenthood, repeal healthcare reform, slash all services, starve state governments, defund the UN, and further deepen the denial of climate change and the profound crisis it has brought upon us.

Remember, Denial flows into the River Styx. In reality, we do not really live very far from the camps in Darfur, or from the madness that drives a people into such wastelands.

'City of Joy' assists and empowers survivors of sexual violence in DR Congo

Do you know why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love? Go to for the answer.

Richard Power's seventh book, Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself, is now available. Here are links to purchase it from, or from CreateSpace.

You can also visit Richard Power author's page at