By Andre Vltchek
June 19, 2015 "Information
- At the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), in Los
Angeles, a gigantic, carnivorous flag with torn ends was waving
in an artificial wind created by enormous propellers.
There were no visitors at the exhibition. For a while I
thought that in all this huge space I was totally alone. But
soon I noticed two figures in black torn dresses, moving slowly,
in semi-darkness, desperately clinging to the walls. Backs bent,
they passed by the bookstore right near the place where someone
had put a small sign on the wall that said, “I cannot breath!”
Most likely it was a performance, a desperate protest action
of one man and one woman, a performance against this giant
“I cannot breath!” A man shouted before he died, before he
was murdered by the regime.
“I cannot write!” I thought. Which to me was almost the same
as not being able to respire.
It was the first time in many years that I had missed my
column, my essays, for several weeks.
Even when I was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
in Kenya, in Senegal, I still managed to write.
I managed to write after a deranged, evangelical and fascist
preacher paid hotel staff to poison me in the Indonesian city of
I wrote in many warzones and desperate slums, from Iraq to
Mindanao, from Haiti to Marshall Islands.
But I couldn’t write in the United States of America. Not one
single line, not one word. Not this time.
I spoke. I was invited to speak and I spoke at some huge
conference in southern California, and I gave talks at peace and
opposition gatherings in Monterey, San Jose and Fresno.
I was asked to speak on my 1.000 page book “Exposing
Lies of the Empire”, which became a bestseller, defined my
stand against the Empire, showing horrors it has been committing
all over the world.
I showed films, excerpts from my films on Africa: on Rwanda
and Congo, on refugee camp for Somali refugees, and on the
horrific slums of Nairobi.
I was asked to show all this and more, but at the end, a man
stood up and asked: “Why are you showing all this to us?”
“Because your country is murdering millions, right now”, I
“What are you expecting us to do?” He asked again, in a cool
As he uttered this, I was still recovering from a monstrous
jetlag, after travelling for 48 hours from South Africa,
arriving in California only one day before the presentation. In
South Africa, I was among my comrades. Everything was different:
there is a tremendous struggle for a better world, poor people
confronting and pressing their government, the great UNISA
(University of South Africa) getting deeply involved. There I
spoke at The 14th International Symposium on the Contributions
of Psychology to Peace. There I spoke and spoke, and fought and
fought, and was involved in negotiations, and was helping to
shape the concepts: of how no peace could and should exist
without justice, without social justice and how no progress
could be made anywhere on the Planet, without confronting
Western imperialism and fascism.
In California it was up side down: all totally different. In
California I stood alone, facing cold faces of self-righteous
crowds; crowds convinced of their superiority, even when they
were, “benevolently” and mildly critical of several murderous
actions committed by their country in countless parts of the
“They are not telling us the truth”, I heard people repeating
on several occasions.
The citizens of the Empire were eager to describe themselves
as “victims”. Did the same spectacle appear in Nazi Germany in
the 1930’s? Most likely yes! “Defeated Germany was hit by
hyper-inflation, reparations, therefore it was a victim!” It
felt it became a victim of the Bolsheviks and the Jews and the
French, and the Roma… The United States was not defeated
externally, only internally. The two settings are different. Yet
there are many similarities, especially in how two empires have
“Do you believe in collective guilt, in collective
responsibility?” Someone challenged me from the public.
“Definitely!” I shouted back. “The responsibility and the
guilt of the West, of the white race, of Christianity, of the
Empire! Collective responsibility and guilt for hundreds of
millions of victims defined as un-people. Victims gassed,
bomber, starved, mutilated… Collective guilt and responsibility
for raping the free will of billions in Africa, Latin America,
the Middle East, Asia and Oceania. Collective guilt and
responsibility for the ongoing global apartheid!”
I felt no urgency from people living in Southern California;
I felt no urgency in Fresno, Monterey or San Jose. Life was
going on. Their life… About other lives, they knew nothing. They
actually made sure to know nothing.
Once in a while they protested, to feel good about
I was pushing speeches, presentations and talks about what I
saw in Africa and the Middle East: perpetual wars, destruction
of entire nations, millions of corpses piling on top of the
others. I gave examples and showed films. I was offering
in-depth analyses about how the West has been antagonizing China
At one point I began talking, passionately, about Latin
American revolutions: about poetry and music, about stories,
about the quixotic beauty of rebellion. I spoke about poets like
Neruda, Paz, Cardenal and Parra. I was trying to ignite the
crowd. Then, suddenly, I felt there was something wrong… dead
silence. I looked in front of me: most of the “crowd” consisted
of women over 80-years old, some on wheelchairs, several of them
“Young people here are… into themselves,” I was told. “It is
not easy to make them join…”
Day after day I was questioning what I was doing here; in the
middle of the country responsible for mass murders all over the
Planet. Was I also becoming insane, like several editors of the
pseudo left-wing, Eurocentric publications in both North America
and Europe, who preach to the world that the people in Spain,
Greece and the US actually suffer as much or almost as much as
billions of un-people worldwide? As if most of them have not
been, despite everything, enjoying tremendous privileges paid
for by lives and blood of Africans, Asians, and Middle
Easterners. No, I still knew what was going on! I still knew who
the real victims were. I still wanted to get out of there, as
quickly as possible!
Here, it was all one tremendous nonsense; the “feel good”
empty stuff! Peace movements… Almost no blacks, very few
Hispanics or Asians! They were not buying any of this. They knew
it was not for them.
The people that I kept meeting did not really want any
change, it was patently clear. They did not want to “know”,
either. Information has been available on-line, from RT, from
Counterpunch, it was everywhere, really everywhere! But to
actually know would mean that one could not hide behind his or
her ignorance, anymore; to know would mean that one would be
obliged to act!
There are almost no revolutionaries left in the United States
or Europe, just the morally defunct masses, emotionless,
insincere, selfish individuals scared to lose their privileges.
At least the right-wingers are honest!
The regime takes full advantage of the situation. It feeds,
and upholds the state of things. But both the rulers and
selfish, hypocritical masses became inter-dependent; they push
the same line. That is why fascist parties are never voted out
of power: almost everyone in the US and Europe wants the
exploitation and rape of the rest of the world to go on!
Does anyone really believe that those protesters in Spain and
Greece are fighting some internationalist battles, battles for
humanity? Or do they simply want their social and economic
privileges back? Those privileges they were swimming in just one
or two decades back, privileges delivered through grants and
subsidies, while millions of un-people in the poor world were
being plundered and sacrificed, so their lazy fellow human
beings in the EU and the US could live the high-life, because
they were born white and in one of the ‘right places’?
The left wing lost in both North America and Europe. It lost
patently and shamefully. But until now it is so arrogant that it
dares to address countries like China or Russia with that
Western, Christian air of superiority: it dares to think that it
has right to decide whether China or South Africa are actually
socialist or Communist or, to use that idiotic Western
propaganda slogan, “more capitalist than the West itself”.
During my two-week stay in California I detected no remorse.
When I showed and explained how millions have been killed by
Western imperialism, people would say “oh how terrible!”
Because, that is what they were trained to say. But there was no
determination to change things, no true feelings.
Wherever I went, I felt thoroughly out of place. I was
expected to “fit”. I was told not to show images too shocking,
as people were “very sensitive”! Eventually, I decided not to
show any images at all. It was understood that I should be
polite. While all I wanted was to shout insults to the faces of
those self-righteous men and women, who were following that
appalling Christian tradition: do some good while ignoring real
evil, all in order to buy some credit before facing eternity.
I kept hearing cliché statements about peace, about
democracy. Some wanted justice and an end to wars, but clinging
desperately to the symbols of the Empire, to the legacy of its
old collaborators, like Vaclav Havel, Pope John Paul II, Dalai
Lama, Mother Theresa…
I couldn’t breath. I lost the ability to write. I felt anger
building inside me. The anger was suffocating, strangling me. It
was unhealthy anger, mixed with frustration! It was not that
sacred anger one feels when going to a battle against great
evil. It was also somehow petty, indescribable, and pathetic. It
was breaking me, humiliating me.
I hated the fights I had to fight here.
I tried to see the reality that was surrounding me with
different eyes but wherever I looked I saw only a dysfunctional,
sad, collapsing country and culture.
I drove on freeways full of patches and bumps. I rode on a
primitive rail system. I encountered people who were absolutely
not interested in working or improving their country. I was
confronted by individualism, by egotism. I saw people who
clearly disliked each other, but pretended that they are full of
concern and courtesy.
But one wrong move, and hatred and explosion would follow.
I saw a country where basic positive human instincts and
values have already collapsed.
To function in this society was humiliating. I tried to send
a package. At Clermont post office I was made to repack it three
times, as I did not have the right box (only the post master
knew what the right box actually was, but he would never bother
to show me). At the train station, a woman who was idle, banging
into her smart phone, informed me that the train station does
not sell tickets. I had to go out, into the terrible heat, and
try to buy them from a vending machine. I could not see – the
sun was merciless. I returned, and asked again. “Call the train
company and complain”, I was told. “Could I buy my ticket on
board?” “No”, I was told. “And if you board your train without
ticket, you can get arrested”.
It all began when I arrived. After travelling some 48 hours
from South Africa to Southern California, carrying films and
books for the conference, I was not even met at the airport. So
I took a taxi. But nobody met me at the place where I was
supposed to stay. I stood on the street for more than one hour.
A few days later, moving to another place, the person who was
supposed to take me there was two hours late. When I commented
on that, in a matter-of-fact tone of voice, he began shouting:
“Do you want to walk?”
I was not expecting much from people living in a country that
is murdering millions, but the arrogance that I encountered, was
still mind-blowing. It was not just the arrogance from airport
security personnel: it was the arrogance coming from the
I also detected an unbelievable lack of discipline. In China,
India, Vietnam, people would get fired if they would adopt the
tone of voice and performance of many US employees. I heard many
times “we don’t want to end up working like people in Asia”.
“Great!” I would reply. “Fine! But then don’t expect people
worldwide working overtime, or even dying for your lethargy”.
What a luxury, such attitude!
Leaving the US for Ecuador, I tried to check luggage to my
final destination. The Delta employee had no idea where Quito
is, and at 05:20am she obviously did not want to learn. She
checked my luggage only to Mexico, and when I protested (I would
have to drag my suitcase through Mexican customs and re-check it
again), she began regurgitating some rules that she invented at
the spot. I insisted. She called her supervisor. She was told to
check me all the way to Quito. But she had no idea how. Was she
apologetic? Not at all! The longer it took her, the more bullish
It was obvious that the Empire had learned how to murder
un-people long-distance, and how to control them remotely.
The Empire’s citizens have been bitching that their
privileges have been disappearing. Well, they are melting away,
but most of them are still there. No country outside the Western
realm could survive with such low work ethics, performing so
In the West, to be “left wing” means demanding greater
privileges and benefits for the Westerners, therefore exploiting
more slave laborers abroad.
To us, the left wing means “internationalism”.
The two visions are antagonistic, not complimentary. The
goals of the left wing in Ecuador or Venezuela would suffer, if
the left wing in the West actually wins.
Colonialism never died!
Apartheid was never dismantled; it just became global.
Slavery was renamed but it continues.
Otherwise, how could the United States and Europe survive in
their present shape?
During those two weeks I met some of the greatest thinkers
living in the United States: Michael Parenti, and John Cobb.
Some time ago I worked with Michael on two books, one his and
one mine, but this was our first face-to-face encounter. I
discussed Christianity with John Cobb, trying to define what is
encoded in it that allows the most horrid atrocities to be
committed in the name of the Cross. It was deep, philosophical
discussion, and we will convert it into a book, soon.
I also spent one wonderful evening in LA, with CounterPunch
editor Joshua Frank and his wife Chelsea, both brilliant and
good hearted and fun to be with.
I worked and travelled with a dedicated radio host and
activist, Dan Yaseen and his partner Camille.
Yes, of course, there are bright, good and devoted people
living in the United States. But even they know and admit that
the group is just too small for the size of the country, too
tiny to stop the crimes that the Empire is committing.
I was shocked by the state in which I found the United
I left many years ago. I left New York, which was, for more
than a decade, my home. I never returned, except to launch my
books and films, and to see my friends. I never stayed for long
time. Two weeks, this time, was the longest in years.
This visit broke me. It exhausted me. It thoroughly depressed
I saw clearly how grotesque pseudo-morality, disgusting
religious concepts and hypocrisy influenced and ruined entire
nations, client states, worldwide, especially in Asia and
Yes, I believe in collective guilt. Holding US citizenship, I
share the guilt. And therefore, I work non-stop, not to wash my
hands, but to stop the madness.
I am convinced that the West, the white race and its lackeys
abroad, have no right to rule over this Planet. I saw enough to
back my conviction.
The West is finished, its culture dead. What is left is
unattractive, even horrifying. There is no heart, no compassion,
and no creativity. And those billions of people beyond the
Western realm should not be dying, while forced to support the
aggressive individualism of the post-Christian, post-Crusade
colonialism and fascism of Europe and the United States.
During those dreadful two weeks, my ability to write
collapsed, but only until that moment when the landing gear of
my airplane that was heading south, towards Latin America,
detached itself from the runway of Salt Lake City airport.
After that, everything went back to normal. The engines
roared, and I opened my Mac, and began typing. By the time I
landed in Mexico City, half of this essay was written. And in
Quito, surrounded by warmth, kindness of local, mainly
indigenous, people, I felt happy, strong and alive once again. I
began writing; I was able to write. Therefore I survived. My
nightmare was over.