On Funerals and Postmortem Snubs

This is how one understands imperialistic hypocrisy. President Obama and other heads of state went out of their way to attend the funeral services for the medieval, oil drenched, head-chopping King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who mercilessly persecuted religious minorities, crushed political dissidents and maintained a system of misogynistic, theocratic oppression. Obama even cut short an important state visit to India to attend. The eulogies for this monarchial monster gushed from the lips of most of them, calling the King a “friend” and “visionary.”  In contrast, several heads of state, including Obama and Justin Trudeau, have declined attending the funeral of Fidel Castro. 
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Castro was not a saint.  No leader is.  In fact he was, by many accounts, an authoritarian leader.  And his failings are not above condemnation or critique, from the early persecution of the queer community and political dissidents to his marginalization of devout Catholics.  But all of this cannot be understood in the vacuum created by the quislings of the corporate media.  And Castro did offer apologies and amends for many of his early mistakes and outright cruelties.  All of it however, like anything, is meaningless without context.

Before Castro the island nation was governed by Fulgencio Batista, a US backed, mafia associated dictator who came into power via a coup and whose regime tortured and murdered up to 20,000 people.   In the years since the revolution to oust Batista, and his class of robber barons and fascists, the United States spent every waking hour imagining ways to subvert the Cuban government including an attempted invasion (the Bay of Pigs) and terrorist plots aimed at innocent civilians.  One plot was successfully carried out against a Cuban airliner.  All 73 passengers aboard Cubana de Aviación Flight 455 were killed when timebombs were detonated by CIA backed militants.  Incidentally one of the CIA affiliated terrorists, Luis Posada Carriles, is living comfortably in Miami, Florida.  Under Castro it is estimated that there were upwards of 5000 killed in the revolution (far fewer than the American revolution) and a little more than a two hundred via execution in the years that followed.

Torture is never justified, murder should always be condemned, and those of us who have not taken one life have every right to criticize. But when comparing the sheer numbers of one government to another one can see that this postmortem snub by certain world leaders has nothing to do with Castro being a “dictator” and everything to do with his defiance of US and Western capitalist hegemonic power.  The US alone is responsible for millions of deaths the world over through its aggression and support of repressive and despotic governments.  And its internal death toll via police and prison violence is an international embarrassment when it comes to the staggering deaths and incarcerations of people of colour.  In other words, it has no leg to stand on in judging any other government.

fidel-castro-1964-elliott-erwittCastro’s successful defiance of ruthless US imperialism is unmatched and praiseworthy, surviving over 600 assassination attempts several of which were orchestrated or supported by the US.   And the triumph of the Cuban people to build a society with an internationally renowned universal healthcare system (they send medical teams all over the world) and free education (literacy rates are at 99.7% compared to 86% in the United States) even under a brutal and inhumane US embargo is a testament to their resilience, spirit and will.  Unlike the monstrous monarch from the medieval house of Saud whose regime is slaughtering thousands in neighboring Yemen, Castro’s Cuba did lend support to the struggles against racist apartheid in South Africa and Palestine, but never invaded or launched a war against any other nation.

The onslaught of negative coverage, outright lies and propaganda soundbites about Cuba since the death of Fidel Castro is not surprising to daily observers of the machinations of the US corporate press. They have served as a mouthpiece for American imperialism since their inception and cannot change who they are intrinsically.  This is, of course, why they are so keen on exposing so-called “fake news.” Of course that “fake news” does not include the lies they told on behalf of the Pentagon and a murderous military establishment that spurred the criminal invasions and destruction of countries like Iraq or Libya and beyond.

Now that Castro has died the US corporate media has been feverishly painting the late President with every villainous color they can find. Interestingly enough they never did this when the murderous fiend of Saudi Arabia died even though his legacy was drenched in gallons of beheaded blood.  But the “good King” was a dear friend to US business interests, so the press spent their time praising the medieval despot for “advancing women’s rights” even though his kingdom had scores of women and others executed for the so called crimes of witchcraft or apostasy.  But grasping irony or seeing blatant hypocrisy is not a gift of the ruling elite.

To be sure, it is probably best that these leaders do not attend the funeral of Fidel Castro.  If they did the stench of their hypocrisy might overshadow the space as it did at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.  And after all, who could tolerate watching Bono again and the sickening spectacle of elitist selfies?
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Kenn Orphan  2016

One thought on “On Funerals and Postmortem Snubs

  1. If most Americans should look towards Cuba, they would not be able to see it through the dense smokescreen of lies they have been conditioned with. They have eyes but cannot see. That socialist utopia is not far away, but it might as well be on another planet as far as most of our citizens are concerned.

    Did I say utopia? Most do not understand that a socialist society does not have to be perfect in order to be lightyears better than their own sick and failed culture. Perfectionism is just another way to hide from a truth that might be too painful to realize.

    Liked by 1 person

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