Eduardo Galleano
Eduardo Galleano

 I noticed the other day — a Eduardo Galleano’s book got me started — that not only did Che, Sandino and Zapata each die before they reached their 40th birthday, Malcolm X and MLK were both assassinated at the age of 39; Malcolm and Sandino both bought the farm on February 21st, believe it or not. The powers that be have little tolerance for those who are truly disruptive.

James Baldwin pointed out more than once that Lorraine Hansberry died at the ripe old age of 35 because of what the powers that be subjected her to (not because of the official pancreatic cancer cause), and one could argue that Flannery O’Connor — far from having the kind of profile you’d associate with activism — suffered immeasurably witnessing the injustices and insanity she was subjected to in the Deep South, her lupus-related demise a secondary cause, its genetic basis notwithstanding. Her differences with Baldwin notwithstanding.

The upside down sick dynamic which Galleano describes so well in his beautifully written and invaluable Upside Down: A Primer for the Looking-Glass World (1998) makes a good case for how conditions which upset us and keep us down can lead to suicide, living a walking death and striking out at innocent others. And I do believe that many sad statistics can be traced to the terrible momentum which corporations and their enablers have created for us all. Early heart attack? Were you designing deadly rockets, working seven nights a week in a slaughterhouse, or trying to raise three kids with a dwindling number of food stamps? Perhaps you’ve been reduced to theft in order to keep yourself in high tech gadgetry and/or proper sneakers.

You get the easy point. But the real reason for writing this article has to do with future musing which Galleano did when he brought up Osama bin Laden in his pre-2001 volume.  He wrote — under the umbrella of A Star Is Born? — the following:

“In mid-1998 the White House put another villain up on the global marquee. He uses the stage name Osama bin Laden; hes an Islamic fundamentalist, sports a beard, wears a turban, and caresses the rifle in his lap. Will this new star’s career take off? Will he be a box-office hit? Will he manage to undermine the foundations of Western civilization or will he only play a supporting role? In horror movies, you never know.”

The italicized boldface which is underscored above is mine.

Prescient Eduardo!

Rolf Foley is an independent journalist. He can be reached through the Rich Pilger Group at




Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Subscribe to our Telegram channel


Comments are closed.