U.S. Citizens, Welcome to the World

There are speeches that I think everyone should hear, and Arundhati Roy gave one such speech in September of 2002. The transcript can be found here.

A few quotes from her speech:

Flags are bits of coloured cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap peoples’ minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.


Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons. They’re usually fought for hegemony, for business. And then of course there’s the business of war. Protecting its control of the world’s oil is fundamental to U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. Government’s recent military interventions in the Balkans and Central Asia have to do with oil. Hamid Karzai, the puppet president of Afghanistan installed by the U.S., is said to be a former employee of Unocal, the American-based oil company. The U.S. Government’s paranoid patrolling of the Middle East is because it has two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves. Oil keeps America’s engines purring sweetly. Oil keeps the Free Market rolling. Whoever controls the world’s oil controls the world’s market. And how do you control the oil?

Nobody puts it more elegantly than The New York Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman. In an article called “Craziness Pays” he says “the U.S. has to make it clear to Iraq and U.S. allies that… America will use force without negotiation, hesitation or U.N. approval.” His advice was well taken. In the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in the almost daily humiliation the U.S. Government heaps on the U.N. In his book on globalisation, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Friedman says, “The hidden hand of the market will never work without the hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas… and the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corp.” Perhaps this was written in a moment of vulnerability, but it’s certainly the most succinct, accurate description of the project of Corporate Globalisation that I have read.


Donald Rumsfeld said that his mission in the War Against Terror was to persuade the world that Americans must be allowed to continue their way of life. When the maddened King stamps his foot, slaves tremble in their quarters. So, standing here today, it’s hard for me to say this, but ‘The American Way of Life’ is simply not sustainable. Because it doesn’t acknowledge that there is a world beyond America.


The last quote reminds of The World According to Americans Map. As a side note, I also think of that map whenever I hear USians complain that they couldn’t understand the person they called for help with technical difficulties. If you support with your dollars companies that produce goods outside of the US or US companies that outsource, stop whining about the consequences.

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