I was away in Menorca, incomunicado, the last few days and hadn’t heard anything about the bridge collapse in Minneapolis until I opened my email this morning and found this letter that my friend, Fadi, sent to CBS regarding its coverage of the tragedy. As is always the case, Fadi has a great way of putting things into perspective. Check it out:
I don’t usually listen to the corporate media news but today I’ve heard Mrs. Couric deliver on the CBS evening news her final thoughts on the tragic accident in Minneapolis that was isolated from the “geopolitical” context!
I am living in a geometric desert where I still dream of a news Editor that will have an awakening by looking at a Samuelson economic 201 textbook –the one I’ve used at the American University of Beirut and which helped me notably get a consulting job at the World Bank– where the first graph was about a society choice to produce guns or butter… Back in the cold war, this graph was made to naively illustrate the difference between the “fattening” USA and “explosive” USSR …
Today, this naiveté was unfortunately turned into a bridge tragicomedy… Back to the Roman Empire, the Emperor was a Pontificus (pont ificus and title inherited by the Pope) – a bridge builder to: (i) reach out metaphorically to the other peoples the Roman Empire was “Romanizing” to develop the economic trade routes and secure the flow of strategic resources (minerals, wheat, etc.); and (ii) build “physical” bridges in Rome to improve the mobility and freedom of Romans…
Isn’t it surprising that the policies of Mr. George W. Bush are destroying both metaphoric and physical bridges… with Iraqis being butchered day in day out without being even mentioned on the news and USers being killed because bridges are ill-maintained here at home.
New Orleans was under water because dikes were never reinforced; cracks in dams are being reported all over the country; and the Minneapolis bridge is just one of thousand bridges that need attention. Please, have the guts to mention these simple choices between butter and guns… between the choice of maintaining an infrastructure that is crumbling at home or perpetuating overseas the bloody and militaristic destabilization of the Middle East , whose aim is to control oil resources.