Seikilos Blog

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Two kinds of censorship: the explicit one, in Cuba, where internet was banned. The implicit one, in the United States, where the media controls what the citizens will want to search in the internet anyway.


Thursday, January 22, 2004

Yesterday I saw again, after many years, the Wall in Berlin concert. It’s a huge Roger Waters concert celebrated because the Berlin Wall was falling, back in 1990. There’s a documentary in the DVD, and I couldn’t help but trace a parallel between two apparently totally different facts: our Falklands/Malvinas war and the Iron Curtain fall.
In 1982, we had a military dictatorship with Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri as the head of it. The government wasn’t very popular by then: thousands of missing people, tortures, death, lack of freedom: the usual reality of the Latin American countries by then. “Galtieri took the Union Jack”, as Roger Waters wrote it, and the war began against the United Kingdom. The United States, the country that educated Galtieri in the (in)famous “School of the Americas”, swore to support Argentina, and all the people were by then in the main square cheerleading. I was a kid by then, less than ten years old, but I still remember that extraordinary excitement, supporting the government or the country, I don’t know, showing a patriotism that only football can provoke on Argentineans. It was a stupid war from day one, and of course the United States didn’t back us up but England, our kids went to the islands to die, while we were shown figures saying we were winning the war. Again: I can’t take out of my mind that image of peopleenjoyingthe war, to say it somehow, again the same metaphore: like watching a football match. Now, more than twenty years later, it all seems pretty ridiculous. What we were doing? What kind of a spell was that? What was that we were celebrating?
And then, now seeing that documentary on the Berlin Wall, I saw the same: the Berlin Wall falling, and all those people with champagne in their hand, toasting for a new age, the cold war was over, and everyone was talking about… peace. Roger Waters then made a big statement against war, and it was suitable at that moment. He was singing “the tide is turning”, and at that moment it seemed really so, that the cold war was over, so the logical conclusion was that there won’t be any more wars. I remember Umberto Eco saying that humans were no longer able to think about wars, that humans finally grew up. And all those people there, with the champagne, drinking to the “true values of capitalism and democracy”, id est, toasting to the United States, the winner of a cold war by becoming the biggest military power and, paradoxically, the harbinger of peace? How could we be so stupid to think the USSR was the only “enemy” around? How could we be so stupid to think that all those weapons would be destroyed, as there was no evident use for them? And it’s only little more than ten years since then. It’s no longer important “who holds the aces, the east or the west”, as Roger Waters was singing back then. During the Falkland wars, again, he wrote in a song:

fuck all that, we’ve got to get on with these,
got to compete with those wily Japanese:
no need to worry about the Vietnamese,
got to bring the Russian bear to his knees.
Well, maybe not the Russian bear,
maybe the Swedes.
We showed Argentina, now let’s go and show these:
make us feel tough.

More or less ten years later, the United States brought the Russian bear to his knees, and people began to talk about a new peaceful age. Mo