Levine: Dark Side of Globalization
Don’t miss Mark Levine’s excellent meditation on the US occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as elements of uncontrollable “globalization” from an Arab point of view.
Mark, an excellent Arabist who teaches at UC Irvine, recently visited Iraq unembedded. He writes of Iraqi public discontent:
‘ But most Iraqis aren’t even interested in high politics; they’re worried about the same things as Americans – jobs, healthcare, and education. And the story is grim. Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and USAID officials refuse to publish vital health statistics and rarely visit hospitals, but hospital officials continue to collect data that reveal woeful rates of mortality and sickness, as well as acute shortages of drugs and equipment. The CPA budgets only $10,000 to “rehabilitate” schools that then receive little more than a paint job by CPA-hired contractors; Iraqi principals complain that they could do the job for $1,000, and wonder where the other $9,000 is going. While security in daily life is improving around Baghdad, political violence and suicide bombings are escalating. The social rights granted to women by an otherwise oppressive Baathist system, are being eroded in the new Iraq. And the plight of women is being compounded by a growing religious conservatism, massive unemployment, and lack of education and healthcare. Iraq is sliding toward chaos; a state that many Iraqis increasingly believe is exactly where the US wants them to be. A prominent Iraqi psychiatrist who has worked with the CPA and the US military explained to me that “there is no way the United States can be this incompetent. The chaos here has to be at least partly deliberate.” The main question on most people’s minds is not if his assertion is true, but why? ‘