Home | About | Donate

We Are in Pitiless Times


We Are in Pitiless Times

Vijay Prashad

A week of horrible carnage – bomb blasts in Beirut and Baghdad and then the cold-blooded shootings in Paris. Each of these acts of terror left dead bodies and wounded lives. There is nothing good that comes of them – only the pain of the victim and then more pain as powerful people take refuge in clichéd policies that once again turn the wheel of violence.




"You will not be outraged at the history of these countries, of the death they have occasioned, of the misery they have concocted and then denied.": And, at least regarding the USA, this is so because they have not faced their own history of genocide and slavery. Amnesia and stubborn refusal to consider, let alone atone for these wrongs, is the order of the day and it it equally true for many, if not most, "progressives" who think these crimes are not reverberating today. Hell, The US honed its brutal skills on the scalps of indigenous people, across the backs of black folks.


I must appreciate the writer to show the exact picture of this day. The western greed, arrogance and domineering attitude would ignite the entire world. Of course the common innocent lives will be lost. People should come out to stop this stupidity. It is insane to play with the fire. The creators of terrorism are now facing their own evil at the cost of innocent lives. In a strange way all the corporate media are helping this insanity. The question is why? why? Every life anywhere in the world does matter, it is precious.


The chilling aftershock of a brush with death
(with English captions)


Je ne parle pas Francais.


Thank you for posing the question - 'why?' To me it is is also to recognize the necessity and benefits of applying the precautionary principle. To do this today is virtually taboo in the hyper aggression advanced by the historically colonizing and now hegemonic powers.

If we can move beyond simply calling the abuses by the powerful a 'dumbing down' of society, we might also uncover patterns that are intended to infantilize society. That is, if you are not permitted to question with 'why', then it is an authoritarian intent to force the individual into the position of a child.


Science does not support the personal projections of your assertion - just one example:

Compassion: Our First Instinct
Science shows that we are actually wired for compassion, not self-interest


Oops - thanks for the heads up. I added a link to the site - weird, the captions don't carry over into embedded video.


Turn on the subtitles in the little box on the lower right.


"The west has not been willing to confront its main west Asian
allies – the Saudi kingdom and the Gulf emirates, whose funds continue
to lubricate the networks of extremism"

Just which angle of shit are these statements? Personally, these and others sound like truth to me. Perhaps you might give a more detailed analysis to support your conclusion?


Thank you!


What angles is this author being totally full of s--t, or pick just one.

I'm just wanting to understand your thoughts on this my friend, because I think he speaks many truths. Thanks in advance.


Oh I see now where you have qualified your civil criticism with a suggestion that if he would just overcome a certain psychological pathology according to your learned diagnosis then he is fully correct. So until he recovers his arguments are wrong I suppose. Fascinating take on things Matt. Thanks a whole bunches and stuff.



“America...just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable” -- Hunter S. Thompson.


Wall street,the pentagon,and CIA are cheering!MSNBC,CNN,FOX "News" are cheering! The Bush family is cheering! Hillary and Bill are cheering!----THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE MADNESS! And here is a hint -its not through more violence.


Your assumptions - and that is all that they ever can be - are based on a derivative model of science as TECHNOLOGY. Please note that HEURISTIC means to discover, to find out. This is tacit statement that the unknown is being approached, not only that, but being approached from a perspective already shaped by a specific cultural framework. Also worth noting are how these are so clearly expressed in the examples you provide as basis for your argument. You might want to consider the consequences, so abundant around us, of precisely this arrogation of what is yet to be discovered, but discovery of which is recognized as being of such profound importance. Humility, rather than a weakness is a window onto the unknown. Keep in mind that a window, particularly in this metaphorical instance, is a human construction concept.

Regarding anthropology, you might want to become familiar with the rigors of the discovery processes the discipline itself is working through rather than asserting 19th century CULTURAL assumptions, which having revealed those very HEURISTIC flaws leading to the most rigorous reassessments in the history of the discipline.


I often harken back to Zinn during these times and his experience based wisdom, having waded through a bit of shit himself in his long significant lifetime. We are fed some of the worst of it and asked to believe that that is all there is........I beg to differ. We have a great capacity to do good in the world for little hope of self compensation and also to choose higher ethical ground when we heed our inner promtings.

“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
― Howard Zinn

The author asks if there is another way and sites investigation, diplomacy and patience as having been successfully used after such dire circumstances. We can choose to begin there.




You are truly a profound mess. Arrogance, pre-judgement and mean spirit just ooze from your posts.


I am reading the same excellent book and it gives much food for thought...