Noise about Nazis

There has been a huge uproar about recent images of the English royal, Prince Harry. Third in the throne queue, Prince Harry appeared at a friend’s costume shindig dressed as a Third Reich Afrika Korp desert uniform, complete with the reviled Swastika armband.

Now, the Afrika Korp were not strictly Nazis, that is members of the National Socialist Party, nor particularly institutionally racist or anti Semitic. By all accounts they were regular army soldiers, whose duty was the defence of their country. Of course, General Rommel was suspected of conspiring to assassinate Hitler. All this is beside the point.

Since this picture was published, no doubt entirely for sensationalist gain, there have been calls for a personal public apology to be made by Prince Harry. Others have called for the re-education of Harry in the horrors the Nazis wrought upon 10 million innocents (6 million Jews and 4 million other ethnic minority groups – labelled as ‘undesirables’ by the Reich) – presuming of course the Harry was educated about anything of the Holocaust or the atrocities of WWII.

It seems to me that there are two views anyone interested in this news piece could take.

One, it was simply a case of bad judgement on Harry’s part. After all he is only 20, youthful exuberance and an unquestioned behaviour make troublesome bedfellows. He is unfathomably wealthy, with great wealth comes great responsibility – he is only 20, he cannot be expected to be responsible. Whether he and his friends have any understanding of the significance of their behaviour is open to question.

Or two, all his wealth and privilege has only compounded the arrogance and historical elitism of the class from which he comes, this view of empire and of being rulers of the world has seen British imperial rule in a third of the world. Whilst colonial control has dwindled, that mindset has remained alive and well in the British aristocracy and it seems, in the new generation. After all, his great uncle was a Nazi sympathiser. So Harry behaviour simply makes him the most visible aspect of a very entrenched feeling. The theme of the party was ‘Natives and Colonials’ – a society that still thinks such language is acceptable is quite obviously not yet ready to accept the damage that type of language represents. So much for multicultural Britain.

If I know anything about the media it is that every issue has its clichĂ©d ‘fifteen minutes’. It will be made to grip the public for finite period of time and then become old news. Harry will undeniably fade from the headlines for this story, his life will continue unhindered and he will get into Sandhurst, if it is still something he wants to do.

I’m a firm believer that everything will eventually turn to comedy, no matter how tragic. It seems to me a fundamental part of moving on. Monty Python for example, parodied the Spanish inquisition to great applause. In time, the World’s slave past and colonial era shame will also move into the comedy mainstream. As will Hitler, the Nazis and the Holocaust. But for now, deep wounds exist on these and other issues which should be respected.

Iraqi Elections

Any kind of election was what was required in Iraq. Any kind of election would satisfy the requirements of its main organisaers.

As widely predicted, most Shias voted and most Sunnis didn’t. Of course this has to do with decades of Shia oppression, who incidentally are in the majority, by Saddam’s despotic regime. Are the tables turning in Iraq? Will the balance of power horribly tip in favour of the Shia? Will Iraqi be faced with a Shia version of Saddam, instilled with the scars of decades of tribal bitterness?

In the months leading to the elections, insurgents, driven by a variety if motivations – nationalistic and religious – have waged a bloody campaign of ‘guerilla’ warfare. Kidnappings and hostage execution, bombings , assasinations and other attacks, resulting in an enhanced climate of fear. Of course the presence of the US and their documented abuses in Iraq already raised this fear to desperate levels.

Despite all this, what remains clear is that whoever forms the ‘new’ administration of Iraq will face more than insurgency. With the tab running on its liberation – $174 billion so far by the US alone – (lets not forget how much protection cost the Saudis in Gulf War 1), this is new economic slavery unfolding right before our very eyes.
On this issue of debt accumulation, the US and its allies in Operation Iraqi Liberation, OIL (oops) , I mean Freedom, have called for debt forgiveness. Of course they would. Legacy Iraqi debt was principally to Russia and other Arab nations. They now want old debts forgiven to make way for insurmountable new debt, to them. A debt that will guarantee peonage to generations of Iraqis.

After years of sanctions, there is no social infrastructure to speak of. Electricity is basic, communications , health, education. The list goes on. The human resource of Iraq is decimated. To be fair, Saddam was responsible for much of this, but that does not excuse the West’s role. Its complicity in the pauperisation is well documented.

The amount of investment required to reinstate basic services is monumental – the UN and World Bank initially estimate $55 billion for the rebuilding. Where is the money for this investment to come from.

It is said that wealth, like energy is never destroyed. Like energy, it also continuosly flows. Well Iraqi wealth, like the Saudis’ and the Kuwaitis’ will flow, as oil and rebuilding contracts, back to the the US.

We have introduced ‘democracy’ to Iraq, our brand that discourages dissent of Empire and forces upon its recipients the wonder of private property and as a bonus prize, the Law that ensures the compliance of all. We have unleashed upon Iraq a system of greed and the unending pursuit of wealth and we shall reap the benefits of our undertaking. Of course, elections will result in huge aid pouring into Iraq. The West will line up to recognise the new administration as well as agree contracts.
Levis, Starbucks and other envoys of ‘democracy’ will no doubt pitch their stalls, in support of freedom. In time, the West will get a return on its investment in Iraq, far more than it ever put in.

So let us hail the Iraqi elections, our economies will be better for it. Iraq will buy guns from us and soon to follow will be contracts to kit out schools, hospitals and other destroyed infrastructure. Correction, Iraq will buy from the US and they will decide which of its coalition of the bribed, bullied and beaten will be offered the crumb.