lundi 11 août 2008

Moscow Rules. . .

Just because we're lefties over here at REL does not mean we are somehow 'pro-Russian'. After reading all the boooks 1917, the purges and the second world war, though, it is difficult to jump immediately on the anti-Russian bandwagon that is rolling in the media over the Ossetia question.

Take France 2 news last night. The Olympics (and surely the Georgian aggression last week was timed to perfection to coincide with the opening ceremony) and the war were the top stories. The news from the Olympics was that a Georgian judo player had lost in the first round. The explanation? Those dastardly Russians invading his country had kept him up all night with worry. The fact that he was rubbish might have had something to do with it, but that would have spoiled the propaganda effect presumably. Then on to a candle lit vigils outside the main Olympic building - held not for the Ossetian civilians killed in the Georgian attack, but for Georgian 'territorial integrity' , a candle 'SOS' message to urge the world to come to Georgia's aid ('Help we thought we could get away with this now it looks like we fckd up. Please send us some troops and stuff') and then a fully subjective report from the Georgian capital mainly about how everyone is feeling ok about the invasion. Throughout, the news gave the impression that it was Russian aggression that was at the root of this episode and that France would be condemning Moscow in stringent terms.

British media, same schpeel. Today's Guardian news story tags on the end of its latest hate piece that "Moscow says 2,000 civilians were killed and thousands made homeless when Georgia attacked South Ossetia last week in an attempt to bring the separatists to heel. Witness accounts suggest the death toll was far higher." with, after the bias in the rest of the article, the "Moscow says. . . " the tag at the start of the sentence acting as a bracing dose of scepticism to the Russian claims. No such doubt is expressed over Georgia's position of innocent victim in this terrible, tragic farce.

The Americans are in their element here, at once annoyingly self-righteous, belligerent and meddlesome. 'Self righteous' in their condemnation of the hallowed Goergian territorial sovereignty (a claim after Yugoslavia, Iraq etc. that bears no further examination for its sheer criminal hypocricy) 'belligerent' in that Cheney has made some threatening noises over the issue with clear intent to ramp up the crisis, and 'meddlesome' in the provocative intervention of flying the 2000 Gerogian troops currently stationed in Iraq. Russian jets and US transport planes in the same air-space - - what a good idea.

Clearly, socialists are on no one's 'side' in all this other than that of the working class - the class of people who end up paying the most for these Summer warfest media entertainment shows. But it is clear that the consistent western media bias in this putrid affair reveals a profound rivalry that has far more deeper roots than the cold war. In a heavily armed capitalist context amidst one of the worst economic crises of the last hundred years, one would be justified, at the moment, for feeling a little bit nervous. Arise ye masses from your slumber, indeed.