It's the same thing with the Toronto Star. The problem with the Star is their often mewling, scuzzy, laughable support for the Liberal Party and all the neoliberal imperialism and hypocrisy that requires.
The contrast between good stuff and bad stuff was on display in this last Sunday's Star. And, before going on, I want to establish that by "bad" I don't mean that I disagree with it. The "bad" on display is demonstrably caused by arrogance and ignorance.
In the article "Dredging up Haiti's past" writer Sarah Barmak discusses deposed Haitian president Aristide's statement (made in the wake of the return of former dictator Duvalier) that he would like to return to Haiti “Today, tomorrow, at any time.” This, Barmak pronounces, is a terrible idea:
It would have been hard for Aristide to get his timing worse. Haiti is in the throes of a democratic crisis, with a potentially divisive runoff vote to be held as soon as this week and the surprise return of former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier last week. Adding a former leader who still commands allegiance into the mix in the coming days could throw a wrench into Haiti's precarious political landscape.Who is Sarah Barmak? As recently as 2009 she appears to have been a U of T journalism student. Nothing wrong with that. I didn't think myself incapable of commenting on world affairs when I was in college. But she gives the whole game away in her conclusion:
With the country busy dredging up its past, its electoral future has been thrown further into doubt. And the longer it is leaderless, the longer international aid commitments will stay on hold, stalling Haiti's earthquake rebuilding effort.
Aristide may believe he can help his troubled country if he returns. But according to U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley the reappearance of former leaders is “last thing that Haiti needs.”Nothing reveals Barmak's ignorance on the subject of Haiti than her deferral to some U.S. State Department asshole about what is in Haiti's best interests. The USA has long supported murderous dictators and has twice destroyed Haitian democracy (in the two overthrows of Aristide) the second one with the assistance of Canada and France. Under the tender benevolence of the "responsibility to protect" of these nations and MINUSTAH the people of Haiti had been reduced to eating dirt (and that was in the "good" years before the earthquake hit). After the earthquake, Haitians have continued to suffer under the fraud, mismanagement, incompetence, and cruelty of the international community.
Unless Barmak's useless editorial was meant as continued (deceitful) support for the Liberals' role in overthrowing Aristide, I'd say it's more the case that Barmak is just completely ignorant and too arrogant to restrain herself from writing such garbage. Like other journalists who manage to get paid for writing such drivel.
Then, the Star goes on (on the very next page!) to provide evidence that it can be a good newspaper. The people's rebellion in Tunisia is a very important story. It's the story of people pushed to the wall by the dictatorship and corruption of President Ben Ali and a series of "pro-market" governments serving the goals of the IMF and international capitalism. The people of Tunisia have spat in the faces of both the homegrown authoritarian thugs that Western racists say is the natural form of government for the Middle East and the international technocratic monsters who allow these thugs to persist and allow them to skim-off the proceeds of their desperately proceeds in return.
Obviously, both of these corrupt, callous groups have responded to this rebellion with disdain. But it was with great pleasure that I read Mona Eltahawy's retort to them. In "Raining on the Tunisian revolution" she gives a powerful defence of the people's actions and a severe criticism of the naysayers:
On one side was the expected group: a host of Arab dictators. From kings and emirs whose monarchies ensured continuity to longtime dictators of republics on the verge of becoming dynasties, as sons inherit countries from fathers with the ease of a family estate changing hands, the men who rule the Arab world watched in horror as one of their own was kicked out of a country he robbed blind with one hand and suffocated into submission with the other.Make no mistake about it. The Tunisian Revolution is but one facet of the Third World War. It's part of the larger world battle being fought now in Greece, in Ireland, in Honduras, in Venezuela, and elsewhere, including cyberspace thanks to Wikileaks. Our side just won (for how long, it's hard to say) in Tunisia. Whether it endures depends upon whether enough of us learn from voices like Eltahawy's, or whether we listen to ignorant, arrogant voices like Barmak, who try to convince us that deposed democrats must not be allowed to return, that protesting neoliberal tyranny is bad, that exposing government crimes can only be the act of an egotistical maniac.
But let me tell you what really distresses me off: a host of Western “analysts” and “experts” determined to outdo our despots in coming up with reasons why the Tunisian revolution will fail and why it's impossible to replicate.
What's most appalling is the sense that they're suggesting the Tunisian revolution is economically bad for our region. Some economists dealt with it as an unwelcome nuisance, almost saying ‘How dare they revolt and challenge or disturb our political-risk calculation?' ” Allam said. “Many ignore the fact that economic growth did not trickle down to most Tunisians and that it was anger with corruption more than anything that fuelled the uprising.”