Okay, war is on our minds. No surprise there. We’re in the middle of a society being militarized, locked down, and dossiered. We’re “at war.” Perhaps there’s even a new language developing to fit the world we Americans now find ourselves in. Note Timothy Garton Ash’s comment on the phrase “boutique skills,” applied not to selling caftans or hand-crafted hammocks but to the specific war-making abilities American officials would like various European nations to bring to the NATO response force Rumsfeld is now pushing so hard for.
Still, what if Timothy Garton Ash (in a recent piece below from the Guardian) were right? What if, NATO was being transformed from the inside, against all American desires, into an ever spreading “peace and democracy” movement, peace delivered ironically enough by a military alliance formed in the heartland of all the last centuries global wars at the Cold War moment when planetary suicide became a possibility! That would be a kind of quiet miracle. Improbable, certainly. Irrational — given that the European Union, a peaceable, economic organization of democratic states, would be the more likely vehicle for the spread of peace and democracy, but still… stranger things have happened. Tom
Love, peace and Nato
In Prague, I watched John Lennon meet George Bush. We should all welcome the result
By Timothy Garton Ash, November 28, 2002, The Guardian
Something very peculiar happened in Prague last week: Nato became a European peace movement. At times, it even looked like a peace movement.
Near the end of the grand Nato summit dinner in the gothic Vladislav Hall of Prague Castle, ageing rockers in black leathers, one with shoulder length hair, another in dark glasses, sang Power to the People! John Lennon’s song was mixed with Smetana’s My Country, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the American spiritual Oh, Freedom and the Marseillaise, in an outré medley of hymns to freedom commissioned for the occasion by the summit host, Vaclav Havel. I could see exactly what this meant to Havel – the spirit of 68, Czech style, memories of the “velvet underground” in the long years of oppression and of the velvet revolution that catapulted him into the castle in 1989.