So, the other day I'm chewing on some khat with my buddies. We're jawing about Israel and Lebanon and Israel and Gaza and the US and Israel when all of a sudden the door to the hookah bar crashes down and there's a frickin' SWAT team in what's left of the doorway. They're wearing those baseball caps that say DEA on 'em. You know, like the ones they sell on St. Mark's Place over on the Lower East Side. One dude -- I'm figurin' he's the bossman -- has a big ol' pistol in his hand and he tells us to line up along the wall. We do so. I mean, who's gonna' argue with a bunch of guys dressed like that? They proceed to rip the place apart. I'm wondering what it is they're looking for. Is the owner of the place a terrorist or a heroin kingpin? Maybe he killed his wife? They finish up, take our names and search us, knock a couple of us around and then leave. Geez, I think to myself, good thing this ain't Baghdad or Gaza. Of course, we leave as soon as those stormtroopers crawl inside their humvee and drive off.
The next day in the New York Times I see this piece about a nationwide crackdown on khat. So that's what it's all about. Millions of freakin' dollars spent to bust a bunch of Arabs and Africans for chewing on some weed that makes them feel better about life. It's not like us chewers are robbin' people to pay for our non-existent habits or nothing. Hell, I picked up a taste for the stuff in France when I was working over there illegally. Meanwhile, I gotta' pick up six or seven syringes every damn morning before I open the convenience store where I work. Now, I'm not against drugs per se, but I get really pissed when I see those needles just layin' around where some kid might pick one up. Plus, any drug that needs a needle to deliver it is plenty more dangerous than khat or weed. It's gotta' be the Arab-African thing that caused the feds to go after these folks.
Thinking about that Arab-African thing. What the hell does Condi Rice think she's doing? After going to Lebanon and a couple other places and telling the world that Washington is not interested in an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah, she issues a warning to Iran and Syria that they better not block any ceasefire. Of course, by the time she issued that warning, those two countries were on record calling for an immediate ceasefire. Washington wants something else, of course. Something like what happens when a dog rolls over for another dog. Lebanon being the dog rolling over, of course and Washington being the alpha canine. All of this is going on with the mayhem and murder of Israel's latest war on Lebanon blasting away in the neighborhoods and villages of southern Lebanon. Oh yeah, and their other front in Gaza. And Washington's freakin' mess in Iraq and Afghanistan. As for that Baghdad thing, how about those Democrats gettin' all upset because their boy in Baghdad, Maliki, questioned the Israeli war on Lebanon and Gaza. They got some nerve considerin' how he's takin' a lot of the heat for their little empire building thing in Iraq.
Don't worry, says the midwife called Condi, these are just birth pangs of a new Mideast. Happy effin' birthday is what I say. I got a feeling that new Middle East is gonna' look a lot like the old one that the British Empire ran back in the day. Only this time it's gonna' be the American Empire if Condi and her boys get their way. That's what this fight's about. Hell, that's what this fight's been about for awhile now. The world doesn't just need an immediate ceasefire on Lebanon. We need one everywhere. Before these adventures run by Tel Aviv and Washington get even further out of hand.
Ron Jacobs is an anti-imperialist and library worker. He is the author of The Way the Wind Blew: A Hstory of the Weather Underground (Verso 1997).
Other Articles by Ron Jacobs
Stunts and Public Policy