Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.
International Association of Educators for
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace
Environmental Protection, Human Rights &
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University
has never been a country in the history of the world that has occupied the
minds of so many nations as the United States. A person is best judged not by the looks, outfit,
wealth and power but rather by the character and personality. These two elements
are generally viewed as sources of credibility and predictability. This means
everyone knows where one stands with such a person in a way that would make us
feel comfortable and at ease all the time.
Positive and Constructive Aspects
If we were to read several
books about the United States we will soon discover how different they may be.
In fact, each of such books may sound to be talking about an entirely different
country that happens to bear the same name. The reason is simple. We may view an
object from 360 angles each one of which tends to give us a somewhat different
perspective. Churchmen, for example, may prefer to focus on American traditional
spiritual values that may include week-end participation in religious services,
the invocation of God’s name in prayer before every major event, and families
united in love and friendship.
Several news-reporters tend to
focus on a variety of sports, football in particular. In fact, quite a few
millions do not miss watching some tournaments especially in their final stage.
Of course, the list in this area may go on and on. Humanitarian groups, along
with philanthropists, talk often about their favorite charities, which may serve
to help the handicapped and the homeless as well as the poor and the hungry. In
this regard, the United States donates yearly more money for just humanitarian
causes than any other nation on earth.
In terms of virtue, Americans
in general are viewed to be good and trustworthy. Most of them have visited
several countries as tourists. In virtue of their presence, they proved to be
the best ambassadors of good will that the United States ever had. Until a
couple of decades ago or so, Americans were not only liked but, at times, envied
as well. As a matter of fact, many foreigners felt the desire to immigrate to
the United States and become also citizens. All of this reveals some of the
positive and constructive aspects of the United Sates.
We need to keep in mind that
viewing the United States from the aspects that have just been presented is not
the same as when viewing this same nation from entirely different angles. The
United States is a capitalistic nation that is ruled in practice by big
corporations, which finance the election of virtually every senator and
congressman. Hence, although in theory people elect their government officials
to represent them; in practice such government officials represent, first and
foremost, the interests of big corporations even when proven to be detrimental
to the American people.
Evil of Communism and Capitalism
When Pope John Paul II was
asked in Mexico during the decade of the eighties as to whether world peace was
feasible he did not hesitate to give a quick reply. He said clearly and
emphatically: “Yes, world peace is feasible but only after two of the
greatest evils of the 20th century are gone.” Then he added
saying: “These two great evils are communism and capitalism because both try
to achieve their goals through the exploitation of people.” Some three years
later, communism collapsed and the world took a great sigh of relief.
This event gave capitalism the
chance to reveal its true self. Instead of embarking on a program of
international disarmament and arms control, the elimination of landmines and the
abolition of all nuclear weapons, the United States embarked on the largest
military build-up in history. Tens of billions of dollars were spent to open
hundreds of US military bases around the world and to literally pollute the
major oceans of the world with warships.
Instead of cooperating with
philanthropists and humanitarian groups in the build-up of a peaceful world
community, the United States assumed determinedly the role of becoming literally
the policeman of the world. Instead of offering nations across every continent
with humanitarian assistance to help eliminate hunger and provide natives with
adequate home facilities, the United States offered governments across every
continent with all kinds of weapons and all military equipment as to enable them
to solve all problems with neighboring countries through struggles and wars.
After the collapse of communism, the
United States had the unique opportunity to become an asset to the entire world.
Yet, it deliberately blew up this opportunity and set on irreversible course of
struggles and wars. As a result, tens of thousands, amounting to millions, of
innocent people were slaughtered mercilessly. The world, instead of becoming
safer, emerged to become more dangerous. Thousands of those who managed to
survive whose properties were destroyed and relatives were killed have now lost
the will to live.
Some non-governmental organizations have
asked children, ages 9 through 11 in both Gaza and Iraq, what it was they wished
to do when they grew up. To their full surprise, more than 80% said unanimously:
“Killing Americans!” When each one was asked as to “why” this was their
ambition, the answer was quick: “Because Americans killed my father, they
killed my mother, they killed or maimed my brother, along with several
relatives; they destroyed our homes and all of our belongings; in essence we
lost our will to live.”
Planting Seeds for Future Terrorism
What will happen when in a few years from
now, these thousands of children become late teens or in their early twenties?
They will surely find ways that would endanger the lives of Americans and even
proceed to destroy their property wherever it may be. Of course, when such
events will take place because they were instigated in the first place by the
Americans years earlier, the US government officials will then label them as
Al-Qaeda or Taliban, even though they might never had connection with any of
these two groups.
American foreign policies have been viewed
by many around the world to be very belligerent. Such policies are based on the
slogan: “Do it our own way or else face the consequences!” Such policies
are also seen as an expression of machismo revealed in a determination to haunt
people with fear, which often leads to paranoia. Once paranoia takes over, the
elements of self-control and of solving conflicts through healthy dialogues tend
to disappear very fast. More soldiers mean more killing of innocent people that
is bound to bring more negative and destructive reactions toward Americans.
The US full reliance on the military to
get what it wants by hook or by crook has already put this great nation of so
many good projects and good people on the road to financial collapse. US
government officials as a whole tend to call the countless trillions of dollars
spent on weapons and the military as “defense” money. To this end,
there is always money with no end in sight, even to the detriment of Americans'
lives. And these same US government officials refer to any money for the health
care of Americans as “deficit” money.
In other words, US government officials as
a whole do not even dream to do anything that is substantial for Americans, if
that were to interfere with the financial interests of big corporations. The
saintly Pope John Paul II, who may become canonized in our lifetime, was right
when he condemned capitalism as a great evil because, as he said, “it
advances its causes through the exploitation of people.” Ironically, these
are Americans for whom their government claims to be fighting wars all over the
world “to safeguard their democracy and freedom!”
In recent decades, more people in the
United States and around the world are beginning to believe that this nation
does not have itself the democracy it advocates other nations to have. Also,
Americans do not have the freedom that their government claims it wants to bring
to other nations. Democracy is derived from two Greek words, demos (people) +
kratia (government). In the United States we only have a façade of
democracy. In theory, people elect their government officials supposedly to
View of Democracy and Freedom
However, for anyone to be
elected one must reach the people in their homes through the press, radio and
television. To use such media one must pay millions of dollars. This means that
to have a chance to be elected one must be either very rich or have some rich
sources to finance the campaign. Here is where the big corporations step in.
Once the people elect their representatives through a well prepared propaganda,
commonly known as “advertisements,” then such elected officials proceed to thank
the corporations that financed their campaign by doing anything in their power
to boost their corporate products.
All of this modus operandi reveals
that to have genuine democracy in a capitalistic nation constitutes a
contradiction. As long as the US subscribes to capitalism, it can never have
true democracy. Since democracy and freedom seem to be tied together, let us
examine the concept of freedom of movement, since this is viewed as vital for
people anywhere. When top US government officials advocate to other nations to
give freedom to their people, they will have first to see what kind of freedom
they do give to Americans in the first place.
Although many people of several countries
enjoy the freedom to travel anywhere in the world, even at their own risk,
Americans are forbidden by their US government to travel freely in a number of
countries. That includes Cuba their peaceful neighbor. The US news-media hardly
ever bring any good and constructive news about Cuba, which has been viewed as
“enemy” for almost half century! In fact, the United States has put an embargo
against Cuba for well over four decades. Cuba committed only one “crime!”
When the Revolution freed Cuba from the
tyrannical Fulgencio Batista, the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, made
it clear that “Cuba belongs to the Cubans and not to US big corporations.”
When such corporations realized that he meant what he said, then they asked
US government officials who were elected by corporate money to “punish” Cuba and
the embargo, which is still in operation, was imposed. It’s an example of how US
government elected officials serve more as puppets of big corporations than as
representatives of the people.
A few years ago, Cuba found a cure to some
forms of cancer. While people from overseas went to Cuba to be cured of their
maladies, the American news media did not bring any news about this event. This
was in line with their US corporate policies that news about Cuba must only be
negative and destructive. Only God knows how many Americans died that would have
still be alive if they paid a visit to Cuba to this end. If Americans do not
have freedom of movement to go wherever they want, how can the US government
give other nations such a freedom? Nemo dat quod non habet – No one can give
anything that one does not have.
Self-Proclaimed Christian Nation
The United States is
considered to be mostly a Christian nation. US government officials who feel
proud of their traditional Christian heritage speak proudly of the country’s
traditional belief in God. In fact, the American motto on money and on quite a
few monuments reads: “In God We Trust.” Almost all of these US
government officials attend church religious services on week-ends. The majority
of them view the Master Teacher of Nazareth, Jesus Christ, as their Redeemer and
Lord. All of this is perfectly fine and all of us should feel edified.
However, we are faced with
something ironic here. A good number of these self-proclaimed Christians in the
US government do not seem to hesitate to censure the teachings of their
proclaimed Master Teacher when they feel disagreeable. Whereas the mindset of
Jesus was deeply trenched in the culture of peace, the mindset of most of our US
government officials is deeply ingrained in the culture of war. We all recall
the words of the Master Teacher to the Pharisees:
God you preach is not the God I know. You preach a God that advocates the eye
for an eye and the tooth for a tooth; the God I know is one who when stricken on
the cheek he would not only refrain from retaliating but He would rather be
stricken on the other cheek as well.”
And when His disciple Peter tried to defend Him by taking out the sword, Jesus
was quick to tell him: “Put the sword away for he who kills by the sword will
die by the sword.” The mindset of this Master Teacher was truly ingrained in
the culture of peace.
This mainly Christian nation, whose
mindset is deeply trenched in the culture of war, has defied the instructions of
the Master Teacher, through its weapons, struggles and wars. Its troops in Iraq
and Afghanistan need to be replaced with humanitarian agencies. The US can still
provide world leadership to bring world peace. This would need first of all a
shift from the mindset of the culture of war to the mindset of the culture of
peace. US military bases could become humanitarian quarters. Besides, US war
ships floating over the oceans need to be changed into floating hospitals to
help save the lives of many.
If what has been stated sounds
clear and obvious, how come nothing is being done to change the role of the US
military from one of destruction to one of construction? It is more noble and
humane to preserve human life from every aspect than to destroy it brutally! The
traditional US governmental philosophy of the culture of war needs to be
replaced with the virtual unanimous people’s urge toward the eventual
implementation the culture of peace.
Questioned United States Leadership
Is there any hope for the
United States to emerge as an instrument of harmony and peace instead of
struggles and wars? The answer is yes if all those who are concerned with the
creation of a harmonious and peaceful world were to become involved. We cannot
leave our constructive actions for tomorrow for as Frank Sinatra said in one of
his songs: “Let’s forget about tomorrow for tomorrow never comes.” Here
are steps to help replace the culture of war with that of peace.
against war policies are needed to
demonstrate to our politicians our outrage and condemnation of
Legal actions against those politicians
who became millionaires through
weapons and wars should be taken and have all of their money confiscated.
should be put on government officials to close 50% of the hundreds of US
military bases overseas. This would allow the American people to have all the
money they need for their health care and education.
Clergymen and physicians,
who are responsible for the people’s spiritual and physical needs, should
condemn openly the “abuse of power” involved when the US military destroys
cities and kills thousands of innocent people.
Corporations must be
made fully aware of their moral obligation to change their destructive products
into constructive ones; instead of making tanks for soldiers they could make
tractors for farmers.
Courage and determination
should be revealed by those working in the manufacture of weapons to quit
immediately their job and to seek for a kind of work that is constructive and
beneficial to our earthly community..
should stop cooperating with the United States when it comes to the manufacture
and sales of weapons and the promotion of struggles and wars. They should say
loud and clear: Satis est satis - Enough is enough!
A nation cannot be the seat of capitalism
and the seat of democracy and freedom at the same time. As stated earlier, this
constitutes a contradiction. In capitalism the power lies with big corporations
where government officials are merely puppets of such elements, which financed
their election. The real hope of the United States lies with the American
people. Their courage and perseverance to move forward is bound to bring about
constructive results in due time.
It is written:
'Therefore just as the Holy Spirit
“Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as when they
provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers
tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was
angry with this generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their
heart; and they did not know My ways; as I swore in My wrath, They shall
not enter My rest.'"
The Peril of Unbelief
“Take care, brethren, lest (for fear that) there should be in any one of you
unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God.
Theory Versus Practice (Excerpts)
February 25, 2002
Charles Mercieca Ph. D Professor Emeritus Alabama A&M University
President World Peace Academy
Of all the nations in the world the United States
is perhaps the most vocal against human rights violations. Yet this
nation has increasingly become a great violator of human rights in
recent decades. Most Americans are not aware of this because they keep
busy with plenty of work just to make ends meet. Besides they are unable
to know what is going on since all the major news media is controlled by
big industries headed by the weapons industrial complex. It is not
in the interest of big industries to expose their methods of people's
exploitation and the great suffering they inflict in the world at large.
Dark side Exposed As a
capitalistic institution, the United States is not a democratic society.
It is a plutocratic* nation governed by the rich for the
rich Although theoretically the government is the ultimate
authority of a nation, in practice the ultimate power lies entirely in
the hands of big industry headed by the weapons complex. This
industry is primarily concerned with the sales of its lethal
products to anyone who would give the right price, friends and enemies
alike, as witnessed in the Iran/Contra affair.
When a nation becomes powerful that does not mean
that such a nation can do what it likes. Everything must be done with
deep respect in accordance with laws of higher order. I am referring
here to the divine positive law, the natural law, and the ecclesiastical
divine positive law consists of the Ten Commandments we find in the Bible,
which are found in virtually every religion conceivable.
The natural law deals with the law of nature, while the ecclesiastical law
deals with rules and regulations enacted by religious authorities.
"Big Business has a political agenda to
push... our public policymakers openly serve the giant corporations that put
them in office. ... Big Ag uses its influence and access to the World Trade
Organization (WTO) and the World Bank to dictate international food policies
that maximize profits far more than they improve nutrition."
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