LIGHT OMEGA

Nov. 29, 2004Articles and commentary regarding world events
THE 'NORMALCY' OF DECEPTION


     There are moments and times in history when an event that is real also becomes a symbolic event, a 'meta'-event, playing upon the consciousness of mankind in unseen ways, evoking responses that are pre-conscious or subconscious. This expansion of a moment in history is not about manipulation by the news media, nor about the direct appeal of a nation or people to possess a portion of the world stage. Rather, it is a reflection of 'currents of consciousness' that are global - passing through much of the world's population as it evolves into a greater understanding of itself.

     Events that participate in this current - that send a 'signal' to global consciousness, may not be the most significant events to the world as a whole, though they may be. Rather, such events create an interaction with the inner meaning of the event. They awaken dormant attitudes within us as we respond in some measure. The massive protest in the Ukraine is one such event. It may be given undue coverage by American media, as compared, for example, with the still present crisis in Iraq and in Darfur. It may be manipulated by American media for purposes of news sales or even by government spokespersons to distract from other issues. Certainly, our awareness of the drama in Kiev can only exist because of media itself - because of technological advancements which allow us to see, hear, and feel something 'live' taking place. But all this does not add up to the 'signal' value of an historic event. The 'signal' value is the 'inner voice' of the event. It is life and God speaking through history, evoking a step-wise progression of the expansion of consciousness.

     What is the protest in the Ukraine about? One young woman in the gathering in front of the Presidential Palace on Tuesday, Nov. 23rd, put it this way when asked by an NPR reporter what the assembled crowd wanted. She said: "We want truth; just truth," referring to the purportedly widespread election fraud that had just taken place, resulting in the election of Viktor Yanukovych rather than Viktor Yuschenko, the opposition candidate. This is the 'signal' that comes from Kiev. It is the protest against deception on behalf of truth. It is also a protest against government secrecy, on behalf of accountability to the people. To take it seriously is to begin to notice how accustomed we are, not just within the United States but within the world as a whole, to believe that governments will deceive us. The list of examples of accusations of deception, when one begins to think about it, is quite long. Here are but a few:

       Election fraud in Ukraine

       Election tampering in the U.S.

       Israel's intentions toward Lebanon, Syria

       Iran's hidden nuclear intentions

       Sudanese former denial of complicity with the 'janjaweed' and current denial of continued military action, despite a truce signed with the rebels

       U.S. misrepresentation of intentions in conducting war in Iraq

       U.S. misrepresentation of the nature of the 'insurgency' in Iraq as 'foreign terrorists'

       U.S. intentions toward Iran

       Russian policy toward Chechnya

       U.S. intentions via "Patriot Act II".

     Within this list, we are talking about questions raised concerning deliberate deception - deliberate misrepresentation of facts related to the above. There are, of course, actions taken by governments that do not qualify as 'deliberate'. Rather, they should be called 'semi-deliberate', or partly conscious, partly unconscious.

     The world as a whole is facing a 'crisis of truth'. It is facing within itself the tendency to accept and foster deception as a practice in order to insure that certain goals will be met. The public, both in America and elsewhere, have become accustomed to governmental lies and coverups. Some feel that this is more true in the U.S. than elsewhere. It is hard to say if this is so. It may be that it is more shocking when deception occurs within a nation whose history is so thoroughly based in principles of democratic government - government which involves accountability to the people.

     What is important about the Ukraine, then, is not only to care about the people and their genuine striving for a more honest government, but to hear the 'signal' that we are being sent. For not only the election results are on trial here. The election results may be changed, they may be upheld. There may be more protest. There may be confrontation between opposing factions. But what is really on trial is our capacity to believe in truth and in the government of nations - to believe that truth and accountability to the people will triumph over the hidden and not-so-hidden agendas of a select few. This is of concern not only abroad, but at home as well. What is on trial is our determination to live in a world where everything is not just 'spin' - where hope and trust remain that a better world is possible. This is why the Ukraine speaks to us. It is because it infiltrates both our fears and our hopes, our disillusionment and our dreams, so that we become more aware, however subliminally, of where we stand in relation to these issues.

     If we have become accustomed to deception, we should take heart from the now visible protest going on in Kiev - not because it is necessary that we take to the streets as well, but because through this participation in consciousness, it is possible to reinvigorate our own ideals. And if it turns out that the protests do not achieve the results they seek at this time, but a different result, this will not change anything concerning the 'signal' that is being sent to mankind's consciousness. For the 'signal' does not only concern the immediate outcome of this particular situation, at this moment in history. It concerns, more importantly, the hundreds of thousands who have gathered together to stand for something. It concerns courage, and dedication, and hope, and risk, in braving both the extreme cold and the possibility of governmental reprisals in order to express what they believe in. This is the 'signal' that the media sends out as it creates extensive coverage of the Ukranian post-election process.

     The battle between truth and deception is not over today, nor will it be over no matter which side 'wins' in this present conflict. For the battle between truth and deception is also a battle between light and darkness. It is important for us to know this so that we can become more active in choosing to participate on the side of light. We do this by remaining aware, by holding God within our hearts, by listening carefully, by caring deeply, and by commiting ourselves to bringing greater truthfulness into our own lives so that we may stand for what we believe in as well.



"Analysis: Ukraine's poll drama." (Nov. 23, 2004)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4035249.stm

"In pictures: Ukranian poll rallies." (Nov. 24, 2004)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/4032765.stm

"Ukraine state TV in revolt." (Nov. 26, 2004) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4044791.stm

"Behind the scenes at Kiev's rally." (Nov. 28, 2004) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4050187.stm



AFRICA REBORN

The following invocation/prayer was written in relation to a group of articles that came to my attention this week about Africa, and also because of the pain of the poor, the uneducated, the women with HIV, the weary in Africa - they are 'our' people.

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Images of a new world
     in which the difference between black and white,
     red or brown, doesn't matter.
In which whites do not try to look younger,
In which blacks do not try to look whiter,
In which people do not try to be other than they are.

Images of a new world
     in which all are in kindergarten with folded hands,
     learning to share as children do,
     learning to be called on, each in their turn,
     learning respect, the nature of 'we'.

Images of a new world in which sheets do not have to be the softest,
In which clothing does not have to be the finest,
In which innocence is more precious than cleverness,
In which all are children under God's open sun.

In this world, Africa would not be so far away.
The people of this world would say:
I will eat less, buy less, travel less,
     so that you may eat at all.
They would say, my breath is your breath -
     therefore I will not diminish the air you breathe.
They would say, I will have less, so you may have more.
They would say, How can I help you, my brother?

Images of a new world in which those who are overfed
     would get tired of overeating.
In which those who are climbing out of poverty
     would reach their hand down to their brothers.
In which those who have meals, and cars,
     and expensive college educations
     would be the first to help educate everyone.

Images of a new world in which Africa would be new.
In which Asia would not be a nameless, faceless mass
     of invisible, toiling people.
In which terror would have no reason to be.
In which power would be based on the virtue of love.

This is the world of the heart.
May it come soon.
May it come quickly.
May it come on the wings of God's love.

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"Tanzania counts cost of 'white skin'." (Nov. 23, 2004)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4032837.stm

"Latifa is a hairdresser and all around the hair salon where she works are images of young black African women with light, almost white, skin... These are the images of beauty that are influencing young women not just in Tanzania but across Africa, images which equate beauty with having a whiter complexion."

"'The Genocide of a Generation'." (Dec. 3, 2003) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/special/aids/3244113.stm

"Tutu warns of poverty 'powder keg'." (Nov. 23, 2004)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4035809.stm

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has warned that South Africa is sitting on a "powder keg" because millions are living in "dehumanising poverty". "What is black empowerment when it seems to benefit not the vast majority but an elite that tends to be recycled?" he asks.

"How South Africa has changed." (April 13, 2004)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3608149.stm

"Lacking Doctors, Africa is Training Substitutes. (Nov. 23, 2004) http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/23/international/africa/23ethiopia.html
NY Times articles are free of charge for 7 days post-publication.



Money or Freedom? An Activist Speaks Out About China

     An extraordinary NPR interview on Nov. 26th with Harry Wu, Executive Director of the Laogai Research Foundation and former labor camp prisoner in China's Laogai Camp, brings into focus poignantly, dramatically, supported by facts and details, the need to remain awake and connected to the situation in China - to the people who are suffering under persistent domination by a repressive regime.

     Harry Wu was sent to Laogai Labor Camp for being publically critical of the Soviet Union's invasion of Hungary in 1956, and, as a result, spent 19 years in forced labor in the Laogai Camp. Following his release, he formed the Laogai Research Foundation and made numerous trips back to China from his residence-in-exile in the U.S. in order to document human rights violations.

     Harry Wu calls Laogai "The Chinese Gulag." He estimates that in China there are between 3 and 5 million prisoners being held at present - many of whom are political prisoners, some who are Tibetans, some who are actual criminals. The actual numbers cannot be known. His interview on NPR was a profound reminder and current disclosure of the ways in which the Chinese Communist regime continues to commit human rights violations, even now, as it enjoys "most favored nation" trade status. Examples include:

1) the ready arrest and imprisonment of anyone expressing political or religious dissent,

2) the continuance of policies toward prisoners that violate basic human rights:

     a) the widespread use of torture

     b) a national policy which gives the government permission to remove prisoner organs in a for-profit transplant, following their death or execution,

     c) the employment of public sentencing rallies and subsequent execution of dissidents and criminals in order to instill fear in the public. These rallies have, over the years, been held in stadiums, some of which may be the same stadiums to be used in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The rallies also violate the rights of children who as recently as Sept., 2004, were brought to watch the public display.

3) the territorial acquisition and colonization of Tibet as part of China

4) the establishment of a new 'internet police force' which regulates the kinds of postings that can be placed on the internet. Such postings can lead to arrest and to jail time.

5) the establishment of a new 'software policy' which will require that all who use the internet purchase government regulated software which links their computer to government computers. This will make it illegal to use one's own PC without this software linkup and without a government-regulated ID card.

also,

6) the appropriation of profits coming into the country from foreign trade so that they do not go to the people, but to the government for the purpose of expansion of their own policies.

     Harry Wu's position as former prisoner, dissident, and Chinese scholar is clear: the West, including and especially the U.S., must declare a policy of "no free lunch" rather than a policy of "engagement" which is presently in place. This policy of 'engagement', developed in the Clinton era, creates "most favored nation" trade status for China based on the following 'false' ideas:

1) that 'capitalism' and 'democracy' are the same - that by opening up free trade, we will open up a democratic process. This, Harry Wu believes, is totally wrong. It is like trying to "convince a tiger to become a vegetarian." According to H.W., there is nothing within history that shows that a repressive Communist regime will, on its own, become converted into a democracy.

2) that money going into China will help raise the living standards of the people. According to H.W., this has only marginally been the case. The growing economy improves the life of the middle class in China which is 'the elite', but not life for the masses - the 1.3 billion people who form the population of China. The image that Western media and officials have of China progressing wonderfully is an illusion, according to Harry Wu. Freer trade policies are not helping the masses nor changing the human rights situation.

     What Harry Wu presents to Americans is this question: "What is the #1 necessity for China today - money or freedom?" His answer is clear. It is freedom. It is a "no free lunch" policy that has "more teeth" in it than what presently exists - a policy in which economic benefits are exchanged for political reforms. "No free lunch" means that Americans, both government and business, place freedom above money, and become true advocates for the Chinese people.


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