I had a very interesting conversation at the dinner table today, made me think about a lot of things. Two of my flatmates are greek, and there was another Indian girl with us. We started with a little Bush bashing. Well, let me give some background. I was listening to Talking Points (BBC) - and there were a lot of callers from all over the world giving their view about Bush and Iraq et al. Now, I'm very used to the anti-Bush brigade, having been a part of them for ages. But what I am really curious about are the pro-Bush supporters. Because, I want someone to convince me that I'm not seeing the whole picture. It takes me back to what it must have been like when Reagan started his anti-communism campaign and I'm sure people protested then, but isn't democracy the best form of government? Even if we have to fight hard to establish it? Now, I don't think Bush is a visionary but I do like to think of a bigger picture. Sure, he's got some twisted reasons for going into Iraq, and sure, Iraq is a big mess at the moment. But, if it does spark the desire for freedom in the Middle East, is it not a good thing?
We started talking about terrorism and how the world changed. I was telling the girls that I believe more than just that 9/11 happened in New York (a city I am deeply fond of) the point is that for the first time we saw a terrorist attack- from start to finish- happen in real life, real time.. and the entire world could witness the destruction. That changed everything. I'm studying the media, and indeed visual images are far more powerful than the written word. My earliar post was about this too- what I felt when I saw the BBC documentary about events that I had only read about.
We went on to discuss civilizations, because at the end of the day, America might be a world power but an old power it is not. Its only been on the top of its game for 40 years. Talking to Greeks and Indians (including myself) .. after all, we boast of ancient civilizations. We began to discuss how Iraq was invaded and that itself makes it wrong- not my rubbish about "but what if the fallout is good?" We talked about how the Americans leave things in a mess- Vietnam, Afghanishtan, South America, Iraq... and went on to talk about how the British Empire operated. The Greeks seemed to hate the British far more than we did; it confirms my theory- that the main reason we do not hate the Brits is because we got freedom in peace (props to Gandhi) and ultimately that allows you to let go of your anger because the violence is that much pre-dated. But the partition between India and Pakistan was so horrific that we cannot make peace to this day. [I said something like it reminds me of two girls and a guy, invariably the girls hate eachother but both still seem okay with the guy... it did get a giggle out of them!]
The Brits just had diplomacy in their blood- they - and aren't they a tiny little island- ruled the world. But they knew how to get into the blood of the people .. they knew how to make alliances with those in power so as to keep subjecting the weak. They knew how to stab you in the back while smiling in your face. The Americans just cannot compare. This in turn led us to discuss how the British have such old artifacts that belong to all our countries but do not give it back. I suppose thats their history- as conquerers, but it takes away ours. I said that I definately want all the Indian stuff back but a little part of me is happy the British have had so many jewels, paintings etc because they have taken such good care of it- something we would not have done in India. Not everyone appreciates history in the same way, case and point, the Taliban and the Buddha stuff... (Bamiyan.. I can't remember right now, sorry) and the Greeks told me of what the Turks did to their church .. Sophia was it? I'll edit ths later, its quite late.
In the end, its all about how the world turns, and I agreed that if history just went the way it was 'meant' to go, with no aggression and no domination, we just wouldn't be the same planet. This is why I never understand.. with so much happening and so much that HAS happened in our world, how do people find history boring? Why don't they put on the news? Its far more racy than any soap opera can aspire to be..