. They have become a straightjacket on humanity. Not their geography. Not the people. Just the words: 'America' and 'American'.
They are all the more restrictive coming from such a frequently thought-provoking journalist as Fareed Zakaria. I realize he has chosen to work within their borders, but last night he used them as often as the word 'innovation', in a program about, well ... Innovation!
'America' has lost the lead on Innovation to Asia. 'America' has lost the lead in Education to India. 'America' has lost the lead in manufacturing to China. The 'American' dollar will cease to be the world's settlement currency. 'America' is fostering anti-Americanism with its war on terror. 'America' perpetuates organized crime by criminalizing soft drugs. 'America' isn't preparing for global warming. 'America' doesn't get Hugo Chavez's jokes.
I hadn't realized how nauseous this mindset made me feel until I heard George W. Bush stand at ground zero mere hours after 9-11, amidst the legacy of three thousand human beings from all over the globe, and speak to the planet about an attack on 'America'.
What a travesty. What a lost opportunity for humanity to look at ourselves as a community, for a change. Ten years later, the so-called Arabian Spring has come along to awaken us all to those overdue sentiments.
Against all odds, I'm glad to say I saw it coming. Highly unusual for Nahonky. (A North American of undiluted Caucasoid genealogical ancestry.)
Two years ago I discovered Al Jazeera English. I devoured its new look and feel, its bold invitation to view news and information from a global perspective. The relief from relentlessly Eurocentric, northern and western hegemania (sic) was overwhelming. I actually cried sometimes watching Witness, Listening Post, People & Power and Empire. Such an oasis in the media desert we otherwise face in North America.
No more Lou Dobbs! A break in the Blitzer-krieg. A refuge from the shrill staccato of embedded propaganda and pharma-petro-dollar advertising.
By contrast, Al Jazeera deliberately highlighted their low-key tone and matter-of-fact delivery with devastating content and unprecedented honesty. Outright daring. Their deeper intent became obvious when, amidst exclusive broadcasts of the earliest Bin Laden tapes, Al Jazeera's most senior editor was threatened with death for broadcasting the simple question, "How can we possibly aspire to democracy when we aren't even allowed to argue with our own fathers?"
The stage was set. Those who had ears, heard.
That ground breaking thrust in the global public narrative came from the Arabic-speaking crescent of our planet. After more than a century of Euro-centric obsession with national boundaries, ethnic loyalties and inter-ethnic conflict, an arabic-speaking and predominantly Muslim cluster of societies defied all sovereign hierarchies and reached out universally, horizontally, to neighbouring contemporaries who shared this ground swell of aspiration.
I beg of you, Al Jazeera, do not surrender the tone, nor the accent, on which your remarkable trust is based. Do not succumb to the temptation to CNN-ize your presentation during the North American segment of the global broadcast day.
We in North America need to know, viscerally, that we are hearing of the world through Doha, Kuala Lumpur and Lima. Not through London, and not through Laurel. (Maryland)
It is simply too soon for the overly affable 'American' likes of Tony Harris.