Monday, December 14, 2009

Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark

Historically, Denmark has stood apart from the rash and reckless herd. It was Danish royalty who, during the Nazi persecution of Jews in Denmark donned the yellow Star of David in solidarity with the victims. How sad that now during the Climate Summit taking place in Copenhagen the Danish police have been granted the power of summary arrests and are exercising that power to suppress demonstrations critical of the manipulations by the world's wealthy nations to preserve profits over the welfare of people; how sad that Denmark has sided with a cynical conception of the Summit, one that elevates corporate profit as "law and order" against the preservation of the planet as "anarchy and activism."

To those of us in the U.S., long accustomed to such false framing of events, we might not even register the sadness of what the Danish Police are pursuing in the summary arrests of demonstrators. We accept without a flicker of doubt the assignment of the word "terrorist" to students in California who bravely and boldly seized University buildings protesting the state's economic blackmail threatening their education; and too many of us still believe as Joe Bageant recently wrote that "most terrorists just happen to live where all of the world's oil is." We live, as the title of Chris Hedges' recent book has it in an "Empire of Illusion", or as Henry Miller had it years ago, in "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare."

Long accustomed to the betrayal of our own ideals we may well scratch our heads in disbelief at the effrontery of those rabble-rousers gathered in Denmark who are trying to have their voices heard over and above the indifferent chatter of statesman.

Our abilities to deflect the costs of our rapacious appetites with the fog of consumerism and its resulting indifference to reality only demonstrates that , in the words of William Butler Yeats,

We had fed the heart on fantasy,
The heart's grown brutal from the fare.

And in Denmark, a cell door clangs shut on the conscience of the world.


anno said...

interesting news... and interesting that I hadn't heard of this story until finding your post. Something is rotten, indeed

jbull51264 said...

Sad that this is going on, especially in Denmark. Europe in general has usually been more tolerant of a wider range of views. Suppressing opinion just isn't right here or there! You have it right--corporate profits seem to be the juice that really runs the world and we allow it to continue with our complacency.