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Godot, Gulliver and Peace in our Time


Gulliver conversing with two Houhynhms, Gulliver's Travels, Wikipedia

Beckett's play Waiting for Godot with its endlessly circular, inconsequential, trivial discussions between two tramps Estragon and Vladimir who wait for Godot to arrive, but who never does is a play about waiting, about unending expectations emphasising a pathetic banality in which only limited motion is possible in virtually the same place. Does this sound familiar?

Gulliver's Travels published by Jonathon Swift in 1727 is classic political satire, recounting four voyages, the first an obscure island, Lilliput where the inhabitants are tiny, the second where Gulliver is tiny in a land of giants Brobdingnag, the third, Laputa where houses are built from the roof down and where floating islands make their appearance, and finally, Houhynmns -horses- were pulled by hairy Yahoos in carriages ensured Swift, (Gulliver) confronted himself as an unregenerate savage, a Yahoo, lectured not by a wise human, but, by a whinnying horse. Does the human savage seek peace as he prepares for war?

Netanyahu lives in an Alice in Wonderland construction of his own making, keeping the Palestinians waiting like Godot, eight years for the Oslo Accords to be implemented, sounding off like the Queen of Hearts, with scarcely a concern for facts, possibilities, and the existence of other interests in the world besides his.

China has the Uighars and Tibetans; Russia has the Chechens; Donny from Queens has Muslims, African Americans and Immigrants which include two wives; Erdogan has the Kurds; is this the White Man's Burden

in reverse?The United States in the Middle East has had all the success of Gulliver in Lilliput, ultimately trapped in the local politics by its own illusions as to its strength and its moral authority. Size and authority are not the same thing.

The United States has a legacy of interfering in other countries as described by General Smedley Butler in the magazine Common Sense 1935: 'I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for National City Bank to collect revenues. I helped the raping of a number of Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street, this is racketeering. I helped make American fruit companies 'right' in Honduras in 1903. I helped purify Nicaragua for Brown Brothers Banking 1902-1914. I helped American sugar interests in the Dominican Republic in 1916. I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests 1n 1914. I may have helped Al Capone, yet, he operated only in three city districts, we Marines operated on three continents.' This US policy endures to this day in Iraq and Afghanistan

Can this murderous policy be reversed? USAAF planes took off, full of holes and wounded men, in reverse from an airfield in England..The formation flew backwards over a flaming German city, opened their bomb bay doors, extinguished the flames, stored them in cylinders, stored them in the bomb bay.

On return to their bases, the cylinders were removed and returned to the United States, where factories dismantled the cylinders, separating the dangerous content into minerals. Kurt Vonnegut Schlosshof Funf.

Source: The End of the Peace Process, Edward Said, Granta Books, London, 2002; Colossus, The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, Niall Ferguson, Penguin, 2004

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