It must be a struggle

Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museum (Photo credit: Moh Tj)

Man, I was just thinking to myself, “I wonder when the next war will start? It’s been at least a couple of months since the last one.” Sure enough, France has launched airstrikes in Mali to combat the ever elusive, omniscient and legendary “Islamic militants”. These guys appear to be channeling Waldo in their ability to pop up randomly and at will around the world and it seems lately everywhere that the Waldos went the Western/NATO bombers are sure to go along for the ride. Maybe France is getting tired of the other Western powers making them look like Quakers who didn’t get their recommended daily allowance of oatmeal. Like a good consigliere, France’s President Hollande made sure to get a “seconded” from the don, himself, before going ahead with military actions. Well, at least they picked one of the poorest countries on Earth due to drought and debt, one that just happens to be a gateway to the mineral rich African continent on the global ruling class’s honey do list to usurp. Geez, this critical thinking and analysis of current events is giving me a headache, I wonder how the Idol auditions are going…


War (Photo credit: jwelcher)

This is a brief post as I’m preparing an in-depth look at the education issues taking place in America but I do want to mention the Idle No More movement taking place in Canada, which is getting virtually no coverage in the mainstream media. God knows, it’s not as important as Oprah’s interrogation of Lance “I done did dope” Armstrong but to the First Nation people of North America, it is a teeny bit relevant to their lives and, ultimately, ours as well. I do want to say how much I admire whoever came up with the name for the movement, it perfectly encapsulates their attempts to change the status quo in the Canadian government’s and the society at large’s treatment of the indigenous population. The tale as old as time plot line of men with arms taking land from men, women, or children with slingshots is once again playing out in a Western country. The administration of Prime Minister Harper is making moves to remove environmental protections and privatize the land deeded to the tribal people in the Indian Act, reminiscent of the sacred “treaties” that were the educated man’s way of subjugating a people who used oral storytelling rather than trust funds to pass along their culture to their descendants. The members of INM are no doubt aware of a certain agency’s (with lots of intelligent employees) propensity to co-opt such uprisings and…well, let’s just leave it at that.

Idle No More

Idle No More (Photo credit: jonathonreed)

Sociology professor Catherine Corrigall-Brown, who studies social movements and indigenous politics, observed, “All social movements have a struggle, which is how do you deal with a chronic problem and make it salient? ” Petitions only go so far and eventually, it’s time put on those pair of comfortable walking shoes and say, “Rubber soles…meet road”.  The youth in Quebec have also led the way in standing up to the architects of austerity in Montreal this past summer, eventually winning concessions in proposed tuition increases for university students and backing off of a ban on public demonstrations. It will take courage to stand up to the ruling class and true shared sacrifice, which many Americans have become tiresomely accustomed to doing, whether it be sending sons and daughters off to war without end or unceasing cuts in wages, job benefits and standards of living. Meanwhile, the elites and ruling class in America make not one single relinquishment of the opulence and wealth that fuels lifestyles beyond Robin Leach’s wildest champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Finally, peace to Bradley Manning who was told by a military judge that he could not use the whistleblower defense in his trial but it was okey dokey to bring it up in the sentencing phase. At least, he’ll get four months off a possible life sentence because the judge determined “that he was subjected to excessively harsh treatment in military detention.” You can’t make this stuff up.

Fist Bump

Fist Bump (Photo credit: mnemophobe)

A virtual fist bump to anyone who knows what quote the title of this post came from and who was the speaker.

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20 Responses to It must be a struggle

  1. 1baltic1bullet says:

    Came here to say that the reason of France attacking Mali is , again, Oil and Gas. Mali is just under Algeria and Algeria is the famous old colonial piece of Africa for France. And near is Libya. The North-African oil and gas production is vital for France and Europe. And the late signs of hard-core islamists, or deep-core, or “those-who-got-balls-to-fight-back” -islamistsis are nerving France and Europen Union (and USA, Canada etc.).

    As we know, middle-east is in chaos and anarchy and they don’t want it to spread into North-Africa. That’ll cut of Suez-canal, Mediterranean route and lot’s of other shit, ie. Israel (read USA/Nato) will try to occupy Suez by force etc. etc.

    France is doing this shit under the co-operation of the president of the USA. Or shall we say under the Capitalistic Oil Markets in Benefit for rapier Climate Change aka “system overload”.

    btw. very good blog! keep up !


  2. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Thanks for filling in some of the blanks on Mali. Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report has a good analysis of events in Mali and who is pulling the financial strings.


    • 1baltic1bullet says:

      The Algerian Gas station hostage incident was a huge mess. Over 80 dead and most of the Norwegian hostages were killed. Message: we don’t negotiate with “terrorists”.

      Anyway, they now pulled Norway into this shit. Norway is a Big oil and gas producer and is looking to become a much bigger one in future: the Arctic warming is exposing new oil and gas reserves and they are in the game with Denmark and US (Nato). There is a possible conflict coming in the future with Russia (China?) about those reserves.

      Denmark is already drilling near Greenland. And Denmark is a Big friend to US at the moment: they have to secure their oil and gas with Nato (US).

      Are we going to see new bombs from extremist Islamist in Scandinavia? Remember Breivik, who killed over 80 young alone in a huge attack in Norway, he was a neo-nazi and pulled out a manifesto in the internet and called right-wing extremists (nazi’s and shit) to a fight against Islam…

      Time will tell.


  3. petronmb says:

    I would like to recommend Pepe Escobar’s recent analysis (and all of his analyses) in the Asia Times (Asia Times online), another of his interpretations grounded in what he calls “pipelinistan.”


    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      I second that recommendation, I merely make commentary on the hard work and investigation other journalists, bloggers and activists on the front lines do every day and who deserve all the credit.


  4. Jeff Nguyen says:

    That would require I read the Economist, I’m more of a New Yorker kind of guy. 🙂


  5. E.L. Beck says:

    “It will take courage to stand up to the ruling class and true shared sacrifice, which many Americans have become tiresomely accustomed to doing, whether it be sending sons and daughters off to war without end or unceasing cuts in wages, job benefits and standards of living.”

    In old speak, that’s called civic engagement. Most Americans embrace it like they embrace the intestinal flu, i.e., they don’t. It’s easier to be spectators, which is how how democracy evolved into a plutocracy.

    BTW – Nice blog, and thx for dropping by mine.


    • SenderElla's Attic says:

      Yes, I agree… “embrace it like the intestinal flu.” I once worked as a state trooper. I have watched family members and friends be raped by the system and have to take it because otherwise it just costs them more and more. I am ashamed I contributed to such nonsense as corrupt county governments become as blatant as the state and federal government.

      I am looking forward to reading about ‘Idle No More’, I have done much volunteering in the inner city schools. The leave no child behind legislation is destroying what little creativity there was for teachers to connect with students. If you have not read Shame of the Nation by Jonathan Kozol.


  6. debcorreia says:

    History does repeat itself doesn’t it? Again the homes, lives of the tribal people are being threatened? This cannot be allowed to happen. Shame on the news media for not getting the information out there. Yes, Lance Armstrong, Beyonce lip syncing, and the football players hoax were far more important topics to address. Shame on us!


    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Well spoken, the shame is on us if we continue to passively accept the corporate media’s interpretation of events around us. Journalists must work fiercely to maintain their independence and integrity and I admire those who do.


  7. Does the speech date from the Left’s infancy (ie, ‘struggle’ as in Theory 101?).
    I ruled it out as a reference to a fundamentalist evangelical hymn based on the Book of Revelation 🙂
    I increasingly admire the way you reclaim a frame of reference from the margins, returning it to the center where it belongs. A global perspective, framed by an understanding of the ongoing, shattering impact of colonialism – this was once at LEAST a part of the national vocabulary. But its been replaced by a huge social/historical and political vacumn: everything that happens just drops out of the sky, after numerous centuries Muslims want to destroy us, and nothing is ever America’s fault.
    I like the way you position yourself smack into Life’s main highway, treating your position as the human one and engaging the dynamics of oppression. (As for me, if this were a small Latin American country, I’d be just about ready to head for the mountains to organize a Resistence at this point.)
    I read your stuff with care and appreciation – your perspective is another beautiful thing we took from Vietnam
    PS Oh – the latter isn’t a reference to your family – I hope its broad political point is clear.


    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      You win the virtual fist bump for effort! The title of the post is part of a larger quote by Frederick Douglass, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

      No worries, I did not take your reference to Vietnam personally.


  8. Pingback: It must be a struggle | Young Canadian Voice – Hopeful?

  9. Caleb G. says:

    It’s interesting that Europe’s latest grab for imperialist expansion should be Mali, a country whose history I remained very ignorant of until only recently! I was amazed to learn about the generous Islamic Black leader, Mansa Musa, who Forbes now says was the wealthiest man who ever existed. He was the emperor of the great Malian Empire and one of the most advanced empires in the world at a time when Europe was still in its dark ages. He traveled the world and was not selfish with his vast amount of gold. I think this is quite possibly the time when Europe really realized Africa’s natural abundance of resources and looked to it as a place to be destroyed, ravaged and colonized. I’ve read comments on hear stating France’s invasion is mainly due to oil and gas, but I was wondering if Mali is still a producer of gold as it was in the 1300’s? If so, it could be yet another reason for France to be placing itself in this situation.


    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      The historical facts you’ve shared help give more context to the situation, I’m sure you’re right in your thinking that gold is a factor in this “intervention”. Land for military bases, airspace and local armies indebted to the West may also be part of the equation.


      • Caleb Gee says:

        True. I know more about the ancient Malian kingdom than I do of current-day Mali, of which I know next to nothing. So I’m not even sure if there is still gold there or it’s all been stolen.


  10. Pingback: “Deconstructing myths” and “what were you thinking?” |

  11. Jay says:

    I really enjoyed this post. Keep up the great work in speaking out for social change!


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