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Keith Harmon Snow  » stop imperialism in Africa  » !

Ajouté par , Le septembre 1, 2013 , dans Ethical People, Femmes et Hommes d’Ethique, Paroles Ethiques

Keith Harmon Snow is a writer, photographer, war correspondent, healer, small (organic) farmer, activist, and a leading voice of uncompromising dissent. A former genocide investigator for UNICEF, he is the 2009 Regent’s Lecturer in Law and Society at the University of California Santa Barbara, « recognized for a decade of work challenging establishment narratives on genocide and war crimes. »  One of his most memorable quotes is, « If you are reading The New York Times, you are contributing to your own mental illness. »

A story by Feriel Berraies Guigny

 

Congo038

photo Keith Harmon Snow

Interview with UFFP:

 

1)      Tell us a bit about yourself, who is KEITH HARMON SNOW ?

 

People use all kinds of labels to define themselves, and western society expects these labels to be used, and it is impossible to negotiate the realities of ego when we use these labels.  If i had my preference the first person pronoun “I” (which is usually capitalized) would never be capitalized when speaking about my self.  It is a way to express the sense of awareness of one’s ego or one’s smallness or one’s fleeting unimportance in the greater cosmos: i.   “i” not “I”.   i for self-awareness, substituted for the I of hyper-selfishness and narcissism that defines the people of ‘my’ culture.   (See, language betrays us everywhere: western civilization is a destroyer of culture, a destructor of beauty, a decimator of all things true.  Thus, there is no culture to call “my”[ne], there is only refuse and wasteland. )  And then there is the combat with the auto-correct function of this word-processing program, which does not like the isolated lower-case i and automatically substitutes the capital I.  Even as i write these words i hear that voice, the voice of the man, the destructive capitalist system, the keepers of the permanent warfare intelligence-surveillance-drone apparatus, which says:  “you will NOT use the lower-case i to define your self; you will use the uppercase I that is emblematic of the self-centered nihilistic rugged individualist pirate conqueror that you as a privileged white male are supposed to be.”  Well, i resist, i refuse, i challenge that voice.

i am one small farmer who grew to love nature in the woods on the land that i grew up on, the land my grandfather and his grandfather and his grandfather grew up on, the land i live on today, and where i am raising our child, the land my ancestors stole by force from native Americans (the First nations people of Turtle Island), the land where i am daily confronted by the increasingly obvious realities of global climate chaos.

i am father, brother, lover, son.  i am philosopher and ponderer and spiritual seeker, trying to sort out the right actions, the right ethical and moral choices, the most compassionate and honest way of being.  i spent most of my life in search of some inner peace, without ever knowing that i was in despair.   i am often in despair.  i have witnessed suffering and cannot bear to remain silent afterwards, and i refuse to accept injustice as a normal state of affairs, and the greatest injustice is one that I have committed — I the egocentric me, the unconscious me.

 13_Women_Soldiers

Women soldiers in Congo. photo Keith Harmon Snow

2 photography and reporting since when and why ?

 

Well, i am a former U.S. Government scientist highly paid to imaginer weapons of mass destruction.  With a masters degree in electrical engineering, and a specialty in futuristic antennas, microwaves, radars and satellite communications, and missile guidance systems, i worked in the classified government contracts arena in the 1980’s, resigning from my $52,000 a year salaried job to fly to Thailand to ride an elephant in 1989.  i took a few photos here and there, and wanted to sell them while living in Japan in the early 1990’s, and to do so i had to write captions, which became longer and longer, until i was one day investigating and writing stories about the magazines (and editors) and newspapers (and editors) and photography venues (and editors) that were rejecting my investigative reports for the most spurious and obtuse and dishonest reasons.  This was the beginning of my work as an independent journalist, and it was my meeting with Swiss activist Bruno Manser in Tokyo that led me to work for human rights, especially for indigenous people’s rights.  Having read my independent reports, one day (in 2005) someone from the United Nations Childrens Education Fund (UNICEF) called me up and hired me to work as a genocide investigator in Ethiopia.  After seeing the corruption and fraud and privileges (of whites) from the inside of the system, i then felt compelled to expose the UN.  Why investigate? Why report? Why blow the whistle?  Why expose and shine the light on suffering?   There is such a thing as karma.  There is such a thing as right livelihood — the philosophy defined by Krishnamurti.  We all have choices.  We all have karma.  We don’t know what happens to our souls after we leave the earthly realm, and i am not taking any chances.

 

3)      What is your link to Africa? When have you started travelling to Africa? You have a particular interest to Congo why?

My awakening began in 1990, when i rode a mountain bicycle across India, from Calcutta north, through Nepal, back through India to Bombay, from which i bought a very cheap round trip air ticket to Nairobi.   i cycled around East Africa, Madagascar, and then into Zaire (Congo).  A man named Yafali took care of me when i became ill, and he and his whole family were massacred by the US-backed Rwandan Patriotic Front guerillas in 1997.  But even before 1997 i was outraged by the murder of Nigerian playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa on November 10, 1995, and even more outraged at the nasty propaganda that the New York Times and Newsweek (etc.) produced about Saro-Wiwa after his death.  The scale and nature of atrocities and suffering in Congo compelled me to focus on raising consciousness about who and what are behind the war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide — all in the name of profits by the West — in Central Africa.  So began my work on understanding and exposing the political economy of genocide.

4)      You choose to tackle some nonpolitically correct subjects such as children  soldiers, war, and lastly child trafficking?

Political correctness is just another mechanism or socially conditioned behavior constructed as a means to intimidate people into fear and hence silence the truth.  Most of the ills of the world have their roots in the destructive pathologies of the white western mechanized mind.  Child trafficking, for example, is another socially constructed category used by the powerful to manipulate and intimidate less powerful. The safest place for a child in eastern Congo is attached to the military, or some militia, and with a gun in his or her hands.  If we are going to talk about child soldiers, our point of departure should be the children — immature adults — conscripted, manipulated and indoctrinated by the Western military-intelligence-surveillance apparatus into committing murder for the sake of Empire, which is nothing more than private profits and theft by pacification and war , often bound up in religious dogma.  Trafficking in women and child is, again nothing more than a for-profit enterprise serving the licentiousness, greed and sexual pathologies of other humans.  The most politically incorrect of all subjects to attack is white supremacy, which is one of the root causes of much of the worlds suffering.

 

 

5)      You don’t hesitate to point also some links with the Western World and its negative impacts on Africa ? an American pointing out imperialism  and its insane exploitation of Africa and the emergent world, that’s not so usual? What triggered this quest?

 

How can anyone participate in the suffering of another person, or entire groups of persons, and still look themselves in the mirror?  It is my own experience, my personal history, with trauma and suffering in life that has dictated my conscience and my actions. As far as Africa, the lies and exploitation and suffering are the greatest and the crimes the greatest and the ignorance in the West the greatest. The propaganda and lies and distortions and psychopathologies about savagery, tribalism, exotic sexualities, wild beasts, etc. etc. etc., blah blah blah… dictate that one speak out.  All the justifications for plunder.  All the religious crimes.  All the weapons transfers and pharmaceutical dumping and nuclear waste dumping — clouded behind one big lie about how Africa has nothing we want and cannot easily be understood…  The whole Tarzan / Jane / King Kong phenomena, the white egocentric Eurocentric psychopathologies that created the mythologies and propaganda that have defined Africa, in the white mans mind, since the first white man stepped foot on the continent, are so brazen and wrong that one is compelled to confront them, and that means that one must confront their own positioning vis-à-vis these lies and these crimes and the horror, the horror (literary reference: Heart of Darkness).  The horror lives in the white mans psyche, and that is where the heart of darkness really is.

6)      Lately you wrote about child trafficking in RDC can you tell us a little more? What the proofs you have? Since when it s been going on? What do you suggest we can do as ethical medias to help? What are the solutions in the long term?

Children are being stolen and trafficked out of Congo with the help of the United States government.  This involves a new evangelical Christian movement whereby if you want to be SAVED you must quote adopt unquote (read: SAVE) orphans. But the adoptions industry is a billion dollar industry that is little more than trafficking in persons. Its commerce.  Ethiopia has been a provider of children for the human trafficking market for years. But Congo is newly DISCOVERED as a place to get children fast and cheap and easy.  So in Congo the industry has risen out of the ashes of war mostly since 2005 or so. People cannot begin to solve problems unless they first understand and know about them.  Shining the spotlight on organizations and individuals and even governments — which are nothing more than groups of organized criminals — can make a small difference and is a necessary first step. However, will people reform themselves? I doubt it.  In the long term all we can hope for is the complete collapse of western economies, especially the nexis of power involving the United States/Canada/Europe/Australia/Japan.  But there is no accountability at present. We have a problem with impunity.

 

 

Aren t you worried because you point out issues that can be conter productive for you living in the  US how do you manage?

 

 

No, i am not worried.  The government of Rwanda put me on a <<Hit List >> and I am persona non grata in Ethiopia and banned for life from three elite colleges in the US merely because they are afraid of the truth and protecting their interests.  When people ask me if i am not afraid of retaliation i answer: are you going to sacrifice children (the children, your children) to save your body?  Taking action now is imperative.  i ask people: what are you waiting for?  Economically, of course, it is difficult to know where the money will come from to stay alive. The economics of <<journalism/media >> are defined by advertising and profits, like anything and everything else these days.   By living under the poverty line and maintaining a simple existence — voluntary simplicity — i can manage to have a rewarding life.

 

 

7)      How about the complicity of some African dictatorship with the West, that is the biggest problem don t you think ? how can civil society act ? today the populations want to master of their destiny and nothing can stop human tsunamis look at the window that was opened by the arab awakening, how do you see things in Bresil, in Spain, in Greece, is  it a sign that savage capitalism  must cease?

 

No, i don’t think complicity of people of color is the biggest problem. One must recognize that the western power apparatus is really like a grinding machine — it chews up and spits out people of color. Any real true leader who has risen to power in Africa and sought to help Africas people has been marginalized, co-opted, purchased, or assassinated.  We can throw out a few names: Frantz Fanon, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Steve Biko, Ken Saro Wiwa, — but there are hundreds or thousands of people who have resisted the colonial/imperial enterprise and have been ground up and destroyed. Most we will never know their names.  So for people of color it is a matter of survival. Do we dictate that the black man should not be allowed to feed his family, by any means necessary? No. We ask: Why is the black man starving when we have so much? Why is the black man suffering slavery on an Elwyn Blattner Plantation in Congo when we are eating fancy wrapped Belgian chocolate bars labelled Cote d-Or?  Why are people suffering rapes and sexual atrocities in South Kivu (DRC) while Canadian Banro Gold Corporation has a shiny clean mining operation, protected by private military companies (read: mercenaries)  on the nearby hills? So, its not the complicity that is the biggest problem, though it is a problem. The biggest problem is the (mostly) white power broker who is purchasing or co-opting or assassinating, and today this happens quite literally under the cover of so-called humanitarian aid and charity.  Even the Pentagon and EUFOR and NATO banter about these slogans of humanitarianism — such as RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT. What utter fascism!.

We know that savage capitalism must cease, and it will cease as the climate ramps itself up. The sooner we can take it down the better. And it is every man and every woman/s imperative to do that. Again, what are people waiting for? Fear is the very enemy itself.

 

 

 

8)      What would you like to say to our community of altermondialists and believers of a sustainable planet and more humane and ethical?  Any projects you would like to tell us?

 

i do not believe we can achieve sustainability. i believe it is too late. We have already crossed the thresholds of climate mayhem, and now positive feedbacks are at work and it is an irreversible process.

We have but a few years before it will become uninhabitable on earth.  Sustainability is a huge lie.  Science is the problem.  Arrogance is the problem.   The Dalai Lama is the problem.  Tourism is the problem.  Development (as we know it) is the problem.  Hope is the problem.

 

And, for those people who might imagine that i would support colonization of Mars, or Jupiter, i say that is irresponsible and immoral and unethical adventurism.  Anyway, exploration requires raw materials and these are being stolen from Africa (Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Brazil) by way of genocide.

 

Given these personal beliefs, which are easily backed up by obvious evidence, everything i have already said still applies. We must every day and always work for a better world.  We must sacrifice.  We must make personal sacrifices.  Nothing is worth anything if it does not come at some personal cost.  It is an imperative. We still don’t have any idea what happens to our souls, even if the earth no longer sustains life.  We must resist.   Resistance has to take many forms, and i believe in armed resistance as one appropriate form, but also sabotage and destruction of earth and people and nature destroying technologies.  And we must find ways to mitigate the suffering that is yet to come.  We must prepare our Self(s).

 

As Mohandes Ghandi said — <<everything you do will be meaningless but you must do it.>>

 

9)      You graciously gave your pictures for the books Children and War violence, what does this mean for you?

 

 

The images i have taken (and given to you) do not belong to me, they are merely expressions of my consciousness.   i  hope that they will make a difference to people who see them.

 

10)      What would you like to say to our community of altermondialists and believers of a sustainable planet and more humane and ethical?  Any projects you would like to tell us?

i do not believe we can achieve sustainability. i believe it is too late. We have already crossed the thresholds of climate mayhem, and now positive feedbacks are at work and it is an irreversible process.

We have but a few years before it will become uninhabitable on earth.  Sustainability is a huge lie.  Science is the problem.  Arrogance is the problem.   Hope is the problem.

And, for those people who might imagine that i would support colonization of Mars, or Jupiter, i say that is irresponsible and immoral and unethical adventurism.  Anyway, exploration requires raw materials and these are being stolen from Africa (Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Brazil) by way of genocide.

Given these personal beliefs, which are easily backed up by obvious evidence, everything i have already said still applies. We must every day and always work for a better world.  We must sacrifice.  We must make personal sacrifices.  Nothing is worth anything if it does not come at some personal cost.  It is an imperative. We still don’t have any idea what happens to our souls, even if the earth no longer sustains life.  We must resist.   And we must find ways to mitigate the suffering that is yet to come.  We must prepare our Self(s).

As Mohandes Ghandi said — <<everything you do will be meaningless but you must do it.>>

 


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