It's 2 months after September 11th when my Greyhound bus takes me into
Anaheim, home of Disneyland California. When Cathal Coughlan penned 'only
losers take the bus' (live mp3!!) he wasn't joking (the point of the
song being temporarily lost on me). But I'll spare you my Greyhound nightmares-
there is bigger misery in the world.
The chap next to me, who's been on buses for 2 days to start a new job,
wants to be out there sorting out the Afghans. He can't because he has
an incurable illness and not many years to live. My heart goes out to
someone I feel is decent but misguided. My feelings make me feel like
a patronising git.
The people responsible for September 11th, the ones who treat women (and
men) like shit and who bomb innocent people in the name of religion need
to be 'dealt' with. Grieving people need justice and revenge and I have
no right to talk about respecting other cultures and leaving countries
to sort out their own business, but I do. The cycle of hate, fear and
mistrust goes on. Of course September 11th is as much America's fault
as that of the crazed terrorists. My leftie friends tell me that Saddam,
the Taliban and the like are there because of American interference and
funding and I have no reason to disbelieve them.
So here I am visiting, to millions of people, the land of the enemy. America,
where I am offered a lift to the shopping mall simply because I asked
for directions. Where the people are friendly (friendlier than London)
and appear just as capable of liberal thought and political understanding
as anywhere else in the world. America who offers freedom and opportunity
that most people dream of but built on the back of those very same people
(just like London). Where politicians can win elections with money and
influence coming from those with a vested interest in continuing that
exploitation (just like England). In the birthplace of Multinationals,
Globilisation, Exploitation and Greed, I go to Disney...
is sweet. Tastefully designed it's like fairyland. Cobbled streets, quaint
old fashioned shops selling extortionately priced goods, a pretty castle,
horse drawn carts. The rides are tame but beautifully themed and the experience
is almost, but not quite, akin to visiting some ancient town not yet overrun
by chain stores (oh, the irony). Even the most hardened anti-capitalist
cannot fail to appreciate the joy on the children's faces as the end of
day parade goes past. Sweetness turns to sickyness as the stunning fireworks
display is ruined by Christmas wishes and peace to all men when we're
not even mid November. I get my photo taken with Minnie and buy the least
overpriced presents I can find. It's not the best $43 I've ever spent,
but it's certainly not the worst. They've made a lot of children very
happy and it's a good day out.
of course is a fantasy. Corporate Executives would be horrified to find
a little old man and his dog (so beloved of their films) standing in the
way of a new theme park. Promoting compassion and kindness to children and
animals while teaming up for a promotional link with McDonalds. McDonalds,
the company that exploits children (High court judgement) and torture animals
(High court judgement). The company that makes that Bitch from 101 Dalmations
look like an angel.
If you really don't know about multinationals, want to find out more or
want to get involved try visiting McSpotlight (http://mcspotlight.org/).
You'll find a lot of links from there.
BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM.