Our Hypnotic Trance

by Berry Friesen (June 8, 2016)

Harold Pinter, the playwright awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature, used part of his acceptance speech to describe US international crimes in the post-Second World War era.

“Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America's favored method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as 'low intensity conflict'. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued - or beaten to death - the same thing - and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer.”

Of most interest to Pinter was the “vast tapestry of lies” that veiled people’s minds and caused them not to recognize the millions of deaths the US has caused in pursuit of world domination.  He called it “a highly successful act of hypnosis.”

“Did [these deaths] take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes, they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it.

“It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

Glen Ford, executive editor of Black Agenda Report, is a voice trying to break the spell. Here is a portion of his June 1st commentary.

“The U.S. claim that it is waging a global ‘war on terror’ is the biggest lie of the 21st century, a mega-fiction on the same historical scale of evil as Hitler’s claim that he was defending Germany from an assault by world Jewry, or that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a Christianizing mission. In reality, the U.S. is the birth mother and chief nurturer of the global jihadist network – a truth recognized by most of the world’s people, including the 82 percent of Syrians that believe ‘the U.S. created the Islamic State’.”

This coming Saturday (June 11), this hypnotic trance will be addressed in a paper I prepared for the Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference and Festival in Waterloo, Ontario.  Entitled “Equipping Western Christians to Resist Imperial Propaganda:  An Opportunity for Anabaptists,” the paper proposes that Mennonite World Conference team up with Anabaptist academic institutions in the US and Canada to provide a web-based source of news, perspectives and personal accounts related to global hot-spots.

You can find it here or by clicking on the "Misc." button on the top-of-the-page toolbar.

Instead of reading the latest news about Trump, Clinton and Sanders, have a look at these three perspectives—Pinter’s, Ford’s and mine—for yourself.  It is past time we take an honest look at who the US actually is in the world.