Peace and Socialism

Jung Chang’s Wild swans: Three daughters of China, 2004 [1991], skewers Mao and Maoism like no other memoir of the surreal hell that China descending into from 1954 until the death of Mao in 1976. Both her parents were model communists, her father one of Mao’s early disciples in Yunan, the golden age for Mao. Both were tormented starting in 1954 until 1973, when the horrors of the cultural revolution had reduced the country to a state of collapse, and the surviving old guard comrades were being quietly recalled to try to save the country from ideology gone berserk.

The current Chinese leadership is trying to sweep all this under the carpet.

Lao she's Cat country (1932) is a kind of playful Nostradamus, full of prescient insights, inspired by China's century of humiliation at the hands of greedy, downright horrible imperialists and the scattershot attempts at revolution in the early 20th century. It is the only notable Chinese contribution to sci fi, and was poorly received and then politely ignored. It is without doubt the cause of his persecution by Red Guards in 1966. It's a miracle Lao reached the ripe old age of 67, in the hospital with bronchitis. Zhou Enlai visited him and advised him to stay put, but Lao was a writer, considered one of China's great modern ones – the revolution didn't produce many – and wanted to see firsthand what was going on. Very much like the protagonist of Cat country, who crashlands on Mars and becomes embroiled in the tribulations and joys of these catpeople.

The Taliban’s clever parody of American exceptionalism quickly went viral. They have every right to be proud of defeating the Empire single-handed. Ok, with help from their Pakistani, Saudi and Emirati friends, and in the final lap, the Empire itself as it abandoned state-of-the-art boy toys.

The photoshopped collage provides a neat set of bookends for the Empire. 1945--2021. America’s declaration of empire in 1945, and America’s (sort of) admission of the end of empire in 2021. Japan surrendered to the US September 2, America’s formal departure from Kabul is slated for August 31, though the real anniversary could be August 15, when the Taliban captured the presidential palace in Kabul, prompting other collages comparing the follies of empire and the real thing.

a nice piece on nigeria's 5 years of protests. i'm on at 19:00.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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