Refusing to Allow Your Knee on My Neck is not a Crime

Making sense of Western propaganda: David and Goliath struggles, from Cuba to Palestine

False narratives, as poisonous as dyed flowers. Photo by Urel Landetne on Unsplash

I had a feeling I shouldn’t click on the article How Fidel Castro Survived 638 Assassination Attempts, but I confess, the title drew me in. I was like a poor bee getting lost in a half-dead, dyed floral arrangement. Desiring to find a bouquet of nectar-filled flowers from the fields of human knowledge, I found instead, that my senses were being assaulted by factory-formulated scents from the nearby plug-in diffuser — the propaganda-machine of the world’s greediest, all-consuming Empire.

Several of the articles by the author Andrei Tapalaga ✒️ had already left me frustrated at the banal and shallow repetition of the prevailing, propaganda-like perspective, that has become ubiquitous across most of the West’s media. As the great Noam Chomsky said, ‘Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.” And so reading Tapalaga’s article proved to be — yet again a dip into poorly considered facts melding into that amorphous sort of mockery of a nation struggling to survive against great odds. This time he wrote in relation to Cuba and its famed leader so respected by other peoples also engaged in David and Goliath type struggles against Anglo-American power.

The author William Blum, who once worked for the US State Department, writes that, ‘Throughout the period of the Cuban revolution, 1959 to the present, Latin America has witnessed a terrible parade of human rights violations… But not even Cuba’s worst enemies have charged it with any such violations’. In considering health and education, Cuba’s record is better than most countries, a fact asserted by President Clinton himself, continues Blum, in his book, Rogue State. (2002: 169)

And yet … there were so many CIA organised and funded assassination attempts on Fidel Castro. Tapalaga does not even try to explain this anomaly, this bare-faced criminality, let alone condemning it. There are so many things that are both untrue and also hardly cohere to make sense in his article on assassination attempts against the Prime Minister of Cuba, that any response in trying to unpick this cancer-like spread of a false narrative, could run into pages. So, let’s focus on one just one short paragraph: the writer’s claim of Castro’s ‘tyranny’ against the United States and the claim that ‘his character had been described as manipulative’.

The main problem is that no facts are provided to back up these claims.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, tyranny is, “oppressive power, especially: oppressive power exerted by government.”

What tyranny against the USA did Castro commit? Where’s the proof that Castro attempted to assassinate any of the USA’s leaders? Or provide bribes to unseat its government? Or fund attempts at an invasion or coup of the USA? Oh, does Tapalaga mean, Castro didn't bow down to white America and do its will? How exactly is that ‘tyranny’? And how is giving a very long speech, ‘manipulative’?

Dead people cannot offer a defence

So yes, I'm sorry to have to say, this is yet another poorly researched article, peddling at best, half truths lacking any substantial analysis. I feel readers have a right to expect a higher standard from an author claiming to write about actual people and historical events, not fiction! Dead people cannot offer a defence. So you would think that extra care and thorough research would be the order of the day. Words carry weight and have influence in shaping our perception and experience of the world. That’s why it matters that as writers, we move beyond narrow elitist and national interests to look beyond, at the common good.

Doesn’t it say a lot about the author’s moral compass that he doesn’t offer one word of condemnation for the USA’s assassination attempts on this leader of a sovereign nation? The way he juxtaposed certain points in the paragraph I am quoting, means that Tapalaga manages to give the impression that, due to Castro giving such a long speech, the assassination attempts on him began! Teachers of English would justifiably be tearing their hair out — or falling off their chairs, laughing! When there are both logical and linguistic mistakes being made, it’s safe to say that neither sense nor many smidgens of truth can be drawn from such accounts.

The author does not say a word about the courage of Castro and the people of the Cuban nation as a whole, who over decades of viciously applied sanctions, stood firm to live their lives by their own values, refusing to be dictated to by the worlds' biggest bully. Such omission is one form of deception. Another example of lying by omission, is there is no mention of the many other leaders of nations and movements killed in horrific ways over the past 30 or so years by America and its powerful allies — and that such crimes are continuing to the present day.

Leaders of the greatest integrity, of the stature of Patrice Lumumba, Ben Barka and Steve Biko were murdered for challenging the Western Empire’s rape and exploitation of lands far outside of Europe’s borders. Such leaders were murdered under the tutelage and funding of American intelligence and military forces, when they were not being directly and openly assassinated by the CIA and its operatives.

This is really just another carelessly thrown together article, like the one excusing America's nuclear experiment on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Having suffered the blind spots and omissions in that article, it has to be said that the article on Castro has been written in similar vein. So I feel impelled to ask, as writers, should we be part of the trend of throwing up texts that lack rigour in both depth of analysis and moral acumen? Who does that benefit, if anyone?

Perhaps those of us, however inadvertently, or unconsciously, trying to please and placate those with power, the big bully boys, stomping across the world, with their military outposts positioned close to everyone else's borders, do we lose perspective so that, right becomes wrong and wrong becomes right? For when Castro had the temerity to do the same to the USA, (that is, position nuclear missiles close to America) he was vilified forever more by the USA and its lackeys.

In this regard, I do thank Andrei Tapalaga for including the fact that it was the USA' s action in “installing nuclear missiles in Turkey — bordering on the USSR’s territories”, that triggered the response from the USSR and Cuba. However, he seemed unable or unwilling to draw out any sensible conclusions from this.

One obvious conclusion that my fourteen year old nephew would point out is that : doing to the bully what a bully does to others, will always make said bully scream and yell and play the victim!

The World is in Crisis

Author’s photo, June 2021 UK: Citizens Protesting the USA’s funding of Israeli’s murderous tyranny in Palestine

Surely, the advantage of writing many years after events have occurred means we can encompass a wider, deeper vision. But if historians and commentators continue to maintain a one-sided mish mash of half truths, then we are effectively crippled, lacking the means by which to learn from the past and thereby, negotiate and properly address present-day realities.

Hello… wake up… the world is in crisis, on multiple fronts! From plastics choking life in rivers and seas, that survive for 500 years, to rising sea levels, droughts, floods, species death, increasing radiation causing cancer in one out of two people… millions of people trying to escape wars, the illegal occupations by Israel, and conflicts armed and/or funded by the white dominant nations… when we have millions of people seeking to escape malnutrition by migrating to the lands which are rich from centuries of pillage and plunder… shall we ask where does white America and Cuba lie on this spectrum? From whence do our present-day pandemic-filled, catastrophic realities emerge?

Since Castro became Cuba’s leader, Cuba has sent its doctors and its soldiers to support the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and other parts of colonised Africa and South America, subjugated by the USA and its allies. The Cubans themselves, are at least partially, the descendants of people who resisted enslavement and imperialism. Meanwhile, the people who rule America are the descendants of the white immigrants, the genocidal enslavers who were immigrants from Britain and Western Europe. Yet in a publication dedicated to understanding history, isn’t it strange that these pertinent considerations were not even mentioned?

What is the purpose of thinking and writing about historical events and figures, if not to shed light on the concatenation of present day events to provide some insights and answers concerning how, what and why things are the way they are?

There are the continuing systemic abuses of human rights within the USA's borders, necessitating the Black Lives Matter movement, continuing outrages against women that have necessitated the Me Too movement and we are also witness to the continued misrepresentation, manipulations and assassination of courageous individuals standing up for their peoples' rights such as the heroic leader, Qasem Soleimani of Iran, assassinated by US forces.

Are not such acts of state violence, a provocation to war with Iran? Can we think of which leader of the genocidal West has been assassinated by the nations they seek to exploit, undermine and erase? Is it possible that youth are asking these questions and are making up their own minds? Tragically, this is leading to random attacks on civilians in the West, while the politicians responsible for the policies massacring civilians in the Black and Brown nations, remain safe in their well-guarded bulletproof limousines.

In the eyes of the entitled, resisting your subjugation constitutes an attack on their rights. So whether you are breathing while Black in America, or as a Palestinian kid, throwing stones at tanks demolishing homes in Gaza, or you are Cubans fighting occupation led by CIA forces, you are the wrongdoer, because you see, you are resisting your oppression.

In conclusion, we should ask of the panoply of writers, commentators, journalists or historians why so many of them have failed to question the USA's historical and current attempts at murder of other nations’ leaders? Why is it that those who ask such questions, such as the remarkable intellectual, Noam Chomsky, are marginalised or muzzled by the mainstream media?

Invasions and assassinations aimed at triggering mayhem and the horrific suffering of civil war, should surely be condemned. What about the reckless pursuit of world-wide domination, disguised as the spread of knowledge and ‘civilising’ technology? What is America and it’s so-called progress, if not sheer propaganda disguising centuries of land occupation, genocide and exploitation?

The painting below, is titled, ‘American Progress’, by John Gast, Prussian immigrant to the USA. He probably wouldn’t be allowed a Green card these days. On second thoughts, maybe he would, because being white, makes him alright, like the recent white immigrant, Melania Trump.

American Progress (Library of Congress)

In this whitewashed landscape, we see no sign of the, ‘Strange Fruit’, the poem written by Abel Meeropol and then sung like a lament by Billie Holliday.

“Southern Blood trees bear a strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root/Black bodies swinging at the southern breeze/Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees”.

The mindset that has been lynching Black men on American streets, is the same mindset that feels justified in firing the latest gadgets to pick off leaders of other nations who are refusing to be fodder to white supremacists’ made-up ideas such as ‘Manifest Destiny’.

To present numerous assassination attempts on another country’s leader as if they are a joke, attests not only to a lack of humanity but also to a denial of the right to sovereignty of nations refusing to kowtow to the desperadoes of Western depredation.

References/Bibliography

Blum, William. ‘Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower,’ 2nd Edition, Zed Books, 2003.

Herman Edward S. and Chomsky, Noam. ‘Manufacturing Consent’, Pantheon books, 1988.

I’m an artistic writer who loves to use pen, paper, clay and computer to support self and societal health, empowering thru the light of truthtelling stories.

I’m an artistic writer who loves to use pen, paper, clay and computer to support self and societal health, empowering thru the light of truthtelling stories.