It may sound incredible, but it is true: in countries that have been damaged, even totally robbed and destroyed by the West, many people are still enamored with Europe and North America.
For years, I have been observing this ‘phenomena’, even in the most plundered, devastated war zones and slums. Often I was shocked, other times thoroughly desperate. I did not know how to respond, how to react, how to describe what I have been observing.
Then, a few days ago, in Syria, right next to the Idlib battlefield, close to the deadly positions of Al-Nusra Front, in a country where the West and its allies have murdered hundreds of thousands of people, one of my interpreters exclaimed in a ‘patriotic’ outburst: “Look how beautiful this land is! It is almost as beautiful as Europe!”
And at night, another guide of mine began nostalgically recalling his glorious days in Europe, when he could still go there; before the Syrian war began.
An interpreter did not know who Fidel Castro was (I had his portrait, lighting up cigar, as my phone screensaver), but both of them – my local companions at the battle ground – were fluent in Western slang and the worldview. They knew, however, near zero about China.They were patriotic and they fully supported their country, but at the same time they admired the West and Western journalists from the mainstream media – those very same propagandists who helped to bring their beautiful and unique Syria to the state in which it is now.
It all felt schizophrenic, but definitely not new.
I could not take it, anymore. I decided to write this story, despite the fact that it is an intellectual ‘minefield’. I decided to write it, because it is how it is. Because I have to tell it; someone has to. And above all, because it is absolutely essential to combat the crooked selfie image with which the West has been infecting almost all nations of the world, including all those that it has been plundering and raping.
Are we dealing with the so-called “Stockholm Syndrome” here? Most likely, yes. The victim falls in love with her or his tormentor.
For long centuries, the West has been colonizing, usurping, literally terrorizing the entire planet. Hundreds of millions have died as a result of colonialism, neo-colonialism, and imperialism. Wealth, cultural and educational institutions, hospitals, transportation, parks – all that Europe and North America possess to date and boast about, was constructed on mountains of bones, on genocide and unbridled plunder.
That cannot be disputed, can it?
Slavery, mass murder, genocidal expansions; the West robbed the world, and then consolidated its power, promoting its exceptionalism through relentless brainwashing (called ‘education’), propaganda (called ‘information’), and twisted entertainment for the masses that inhabit poor countries (called ‘culture’ and ‘the arts’).
Shockingly and absurdly, Europe and North America are still loved and admired by many, even (or especially) in such places where Western governments and companies plagued everything like locusts, leaving to the locals only burned land, poison and miserable slums.
How is it possible?
For years, I have been working in Africa, a continent which was entirely subjugated by the U.K., France, Germany, Belgium and other European expansionist nations. Africa from where millions of men, women and children were brought in chains to the “New World”, as slaves. Where millions died during the ‘hunt’, where millions died in ‘transit centers’, and then, on the open seas. That’s tens of millions of ruined lives. The complete plunder of the resources,the unimaginable humiliation of the people,broken cultures,genocides and holocaust against local individualsfrom what is now Namibia, to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Great African heroes like Lumumba assassinated by the Western rulers.
And yet, many Africans see the West as some great ‘example’, as a ‘guiding light’, as a severe but respectable ‘daddy’, who uses the belt when it is necessary, but who also rewards justly those of his ‘children’ who ‘behave properly’.
It is repulsive, but undeniable.
The greatest African writers are now teaching at U.S. and U.K. universities. They have been ‘neutralized’ and ‘pacified’, many of them out rightly bought. In many countries, African judges wear comical white wigs, doing their best to look like their British counterparts.The children of corrupt elites are collecting diplomas from the U.K. and French universities, imitating upper-class European accents.
To behave, to look and sound like the colonizers, is something that brings respect.
The same on the Sub-Continent, of course.
The mannerism among the upper classes in India and Pakistan are those of the U.K. (and lately, of the U.S.). Elites there go out of their way to be more British than the Brits; more Californian than the inhabitants of the U.S. West Coast. Countless private Indian universities call themselves ‘American’ or ‘British’, with ‘Oxford’ or ‘Cambridge’ frequently ‘decorating’ their names.
‘To be accepted’ in Europe or North America is the highest honor, in almost all former colonies, therefore, in almost the entire world.
‘Well groomed’, well-educated and modern Asians, Latin Americans, Africans and the Middle Easterners are expected to ape Westerners;to dress like Westerners, eat (and drink) like the Westerners and to ‘defend the same values’ as them.
In fact, they are expected to be much more Western than the Westerners.
But ‘expected’ by whom? Yes, you guess correctly: very often by their own people!
Ask and many in the ‘South’ will tell you: everything that comes from the West is beautiful, progressive and dandy.
“Every bule is beautiful,” I was informed, recently, by a young indigenous professional lady in the totally environmentally plundered island of Borneo/Kalimantan. Bule is a vulgar, derogatory Indonesian word for the ‘whites’, and literally means ‘albino’. However, the lady was not joking, it was a compliment: she was brought up believing that every bule is actually superior and fine-looking.
In the indigenous Mexican state of Yucatan, right after the elections that brought to power the left-wing President Obrador, I overheard the conversation of a dozen or so upper-class housewives in a Western chain café. Their references were fully European and North American: From vacations in Italy and Spain, to the films they were watching, books they were reading. Europe was their ‘mother-continent’, while Miami, their only true comparison. Before Obrador came to power, indigenous people were increasingly living in misery, their roofs broken, jobs disappearing. But the elites were, as always, in a European state of mind.The real Mexico was not on their radar. It did not matter, or didn’t even exist.
Even some of the poor in the ‘conquered world’ who are actually ‘concerned’ about Western imperialism, see it as an abstract problem.They see it as a strictly political, military or economic issue. The fact that Western imperialism has ‘culturally’ immobilized entire nations and continents is hardly addressed.
Even in those proud countries that are determinedly struggling against Western imperialism – China, Russia, Iran, or Venezuela – the Western narrative of exceptionalism has already managed to cause tremendous damage.
In China, for instance, almost everything ‘Western’ had been, until recently, associated with modernity. Being ‘against the West’ was considered boring, gray and outdated, somehow connected to the ‘Communist propaganda’ of the past (the fact that the ‘Communist propaganda’ was often correct, mattered nothing). This attitude allowed the great infiltration of Chinese universities by Western academia, as well as the injection of Western nihilism into Chinese arts, culture, even way of life. Only recently, has this dangerous trend been reversed, but not after it had already caused great damage.
The admiration of everything Western destroyed the greatest progressive experiment of modern history – The Soviet Union and the so-called “Eastern Bloc”.
The power of negative Western propaganda packaged together with the promotion of extreme individualism, selfishness and consumerism, literally wiped out all internationalist zeal, humanism and higher principles,from the minds of tens of millions of young Czechs, Poles, East Germans, Bulgarians, and even Soviets.
The once proud Communist Eastern Bloc, after liberating dozens of countries from colonialism, after fighting for an egalitarian world, showing solidarity with all oppressed nations, was then gradually defeated by such shallow bullshit as blue jeans labels, the nonsensical lyrics of rock and pop songs (a favorite weapon of the West), greed, religions (another Western weapon), and slogans like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ (the Western world which has been denying freedom and democracy to almost all countries on our planet, cynically turned the truth upside down, and fooled East Europeans, by skillfully applying centuries long propaganda methods).
In the end, confused and increasingly cynical, what many East Europeans demanded was not ‘freedom’, but more money, more labels, and the ability to join the bloc of the countries that have been plundering the world.
So, what makes the West so successful, when it comes to brainwashing people all around the world? How is it possible after all that banditry, terror and ruthlessness, that most of the oppressed and conquered countries are still showing plenty of respect to the masters that reside in New York, London or Paris?
I believe that if we find the answers to this question, we will be able to save the world, and reverse this deadly trend.
First of all, after interacting with thousands of people in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Oceania and Latin America, I am coming to the conclusion that the West (and Japan) is often admired forthe ‘high standards of living’.
In such miserable and collapsed countries like Indonesia, I often hear nonsense like: “European countries are more ‘Muslim’ than we are. They treat people much better than we do.”
Middle and upper class Southeast Asian families are travelling to Netherlands or Germany, and then exclaim after returning home: “Look at their parks, hospitals, bicycle lanes, trams, museums… We have to learn from them! They do so much for improving our world.”
That’s precisely what Africans admire about Europe. That’s how many ‘educated’ Indians or Southeast Asians feel. That’s what Peruvians, Hondurans or Paraguayans love about their Miami.
Are they wrong? Isn’t there, after all, plenty that poor countries could learn from the West?
Yes; definitely they are wrong. Totally wrong!
Let’s see ‘why’?
The West ‘arranged’ the entire world in accordance with its own feudal system of the past centuries. It brought the system of shameless oppressive regime to the global level.
To admire this monstrous and regressive global system would be like admiring the arrangement of European societies some three hundred years ago. It would be essentially like saying: “Look, the aristocracy of France or England was actually quite fine, egalitarian, educated and healthy, and we should learn from how they lived, and copy their examples!”
Of course, the aristocracy, the royalty and the church of Europe has always lived well, even 300 years ago. They had good schools for their children, they had decent medical care, palaces, summer villas, sanatoriums with mineral waters, theatres, lavish parks, and tons of servants.
The only ‘tiny’ problem was that some 95% of the population had to work for the luxury they enjoyed, subsisting in total misery. Plus, of course, those tens of millions of un-people in the colonies were being exterminated like animals.
The same is happening now. The entire Europe (with the exception of the poor people there) has moved to the bracket of new aristocracy, at least comparatively. And the rest of the world is laboring, dying, being raped and plundered, in order to maintain this ‘wonderful-looking’ social-state project of the West. Even the U.S. and its relatively brutal turbo-capitalist model is still ‘socialist’ (for the U.S. citizens), compared to such countries as Indonesia, India, Peru or Nigeria.
Western standards of living cannot be replicated elsewhere. To believe that the West would allow Africans or Southeast Asians to build a social state is naïve, almost intellectually insulting. Singapore, South Korea and Japan are rare exceptions, where the West closed both eyes, for strictly strategic reasons.
In order for the West to prosper, maintaining a super high standard of living, with all the benefits for its citizens, billions of the ‘serfs’ all over the world have to suffer, sacrifice themselves, and work for close to nothing;the more of them that live in hell, the better.
Nature has to be plundered in places like Borneo and Papua, DR Congo and soon in Brazil.
People have to be ruled by pro-Western corrupt oligarchs, and by the military and religious leaders. Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and now Brazil, are perfect countries for the West: they happily and willingly sacrifice their own people, guaranteeing Western prosperity.
You did not know? Nonsense! You did not want to know. All those people who matter are very happy with this arrangement: The Western rulers, citizens of Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as the rulers/elites in the poor countries. The only ones who are truly suffering are those billions of the poor, worldwide, but they matter nothing, and they are not told anything anyway, because the media is in the hands of the West and their lackeys, and so is ‘education’.
And as they are not told anything, they – the wretched of the Earth – are admiring the West, too. They eat Western junk food if they can save few dollars a month, they drink Nescafe instead of their traditional coffee, listen to the shittiest music, watch pirated Hollywood blockbuster movies, wear fake sneakers and jeans, and masturbate to Western porn (if they have internet). They also dutifully follow religions, which were injected and upheld by the West, into their countries.
The poorer the country, the greater appear to be the green hills and pastures of the Western paradise.
And so, it goes on and on.
In India, Indonesia, Uganda, Jordan, Fiji, Honduras, I hear the same crap, from semi-educated, or West-educated local citizens: “People in the West are actually very good people, but their governments are bad.” Are they sure about that? I wonder.
Frankly and honestly, I am tired of this status quo. And I don’t find this amusing at all: hearing admiring statements about European and other Western countries in the middle of the monstrous war zones, famine-stricken areas, brutal mines, on the banks of poisoned rivers and inside the slums.
I am an ‘old-fashioned’ revolutionary. Slaves have to rise and fight, if necessary die for freedom; not to admire their masters and tormentors.
The crimes of the colonialists have to be exposed. The insane arrangement of the world has to be defined and then smashed into pieces.
The cute trams, bicycle lanes, parks, museums, operas, cafes, universities and hospitals in Europe are built on rivers of blood and the bones of ‘The Others’. I said it three years ago on the floor of the Italian Parliament, and I will repeat it again and again, wherever I go.
There is no other topic that matters, right now, on our planet.
Everything is connected to this, including the fear and hate that the West feels and spreads about countries like Venezuela, Russia, China, Iran, South Africa, Syria or Cuba.
They hate us; they hate those who resist, who are standing tall. And they should and will get back the same in return, hopefully, if the truth is pronounced often enough!
[First published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook]
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Four of his latest books are China and Ecological Civilization with John B. Cobb, Jr., Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism, a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.