Monday, June 04, 2007

Indymedia are idiots

Regarding Pakistani strongman General Pervez Musharraf, a recent story in the left-of-Trotskyist Indymedia inquires, "the US media 'discovers' Musharraf is a dictator" before conspiratorially inquiring, "why now?"

Before we begin, I realize that despite assertions to the contrary, Indymedia is more of an echo chamber for disaffected left wing activists than it is an actual news organization, much less one that provides any sort of insight or analysis. And yes, I'm aware of the collaborative nature of the Indymedia project, and I'm aware that's why it often reads like the rantings of deranged lunatics who sense a Jewish conspiracy behind every action of the American government.

That said, the American press has never made any secret about the nature of Musharraf's rule in Pakistan. They did not hide the fact that he seized power in a blatantly illegal coup d'etat, nor pretended that he's somehow been good for the promotion of democracy in Pakistan. What's more, the American press has always portrayed America's co-operation in the war on terror with Pakistan as a marriage of convenience, as it was during the Cold War. It didn't take Musharraf's sacking of chief judge Iftikhar Chaudhry for the American press to snap out of some sort of self imposed torpor to realize that Musharraf is a dictator - in fact, that merely reinforced a storyline the mainstream media has been advancing all along about Pakistan; "Musharraf is a dictator, and shame on that hypocrite George Bush for talking about freedom while doing business with Musharraf".

It's not exactly news that world history is full of deals with the devil, and America's unsavory relationship with Pakistan is just one of thousands of relationships between repressive governments and ostensibly progressive nations that should know better around the world, such as those between Spain and Cuba, Zimbabwe and South Africa, or China and, well, everybody. We shouldn't overlook the fact that these relationships suck, but we also occasionally have to remind ourselves why they exist to begin with.

UPDATE: Victor Navasky, former editor of The Nation, seems to have a problem with the dictator word himself. We trust Indymedia will fill him in.

1 comment:

Joshua Foust said...

To a lot of people in that crowd, only right wing dictators deserve scorn. If they mouth the pleasing socialist platitudes of the Old Soviet (or hate Jews sufficiently), they get a pass.