Monday, March 16, 2009


Gwyneth Paltrow, or a small brown country of no consequence

In case you missed it, Salvadorans voting in Sunday's election put Mauricio Funes of the FMLN, the former rebel party, in control for the first time, ending two decades of right wing Arena party rule.

The US media didn't highlight the story, and it figures. The U.S. should be ashamed of its history with the tiny Central American country. The U.S. isn't very good at finishing things (Afghanistan, Iraq, V...) but it sure jumps into bed with plenty of nasty people for expediency sake.

Jennifer Anniston, or the CIA secretly torturing prisoners at "black sites"

According to CNN ("Leftists Claim El Salvador Presidency," a nice value-laden header):

"Mauricio Funes, a member of a political party that waged guerrilla war against the government 17 years ago, claimed the presidency of El Salvador on Sunday night." It goes on, almost in passing. "The FMLN, which is the Spanish acronym for the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, was formed in late 1980 as an umbrella group for five leftist guerrilla organizations fighting a U.S.-backed military dictatorship. The guerrillas and the government signed a peace pact in 1992 and the FMLN became a legitimate political party. By some estimates, 75,000 Salvadorans died during the war."

Mauricio Funes, or the cast of "Friends"

Bury that below the fold. A newsreader might stumble upon the phrase "U.S.-backed military dictatorship" in a country where "75,000 Salvadorans died." It's kind of messy and requires explanation, and we Americans (Norteamericanos, that is) are so busy, go, go, go. We don't have time for the follow-up story. Or the backstory, for that matter. Or history in general.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, or thousands of "disappeared" dissidents

Dictatorships are depressing, and our attention span is short. News crews need to cover more important things, such as the ongoing love story of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and poor jilted Jennifer Aniston. Or the woman with octuplets. Or anything that affects our pocketbooks, and jostles our Comfort Zone. Besides, news needs to be flashy to compete with "America's Most Idle" and "Big Fat Loser." A few important stories slide.

Don't get me wrong. The El Salvador story is out there. But not nearly as prominently displayed as one would think considering our history propping up this quasi-fascist police state for so many years. I'm not naive; I don't expect the news to trumpet shameful episodes of our past, but I expect some sense of recognition and historical responsibility, especially regarding conditions we've helped create. We can be a force for great good, or we can continue to support convenient bullies, and we won't know the difference without a truly independent news media asking tough questions.

Julia Roberts or nameless Salvadoran exercising democracy

Jack Kennedy once said that those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable. In this rare instance, the revolution was peaceful and that should be celebrated.

¡El Cambio es Hoy!


Anonymous said...


To our comrades in the FMLN, the vendors, the Women’s Secretariat, SETA, the healthcare workers, the students, the BPS, and so many others that have worked so hard for this incredible and hard fought victory, your strategic and tenacious grassroots work for decades continues to inspire us in the belly of the beast. Overcoming the legacy of the ruling class in El Salvador, endless US military, political, and economic intervention is a huge feat that will continue to build hope throughout the world for another kind of power.

To CISPES, for your loyal and committed partnership with the people of El Salvador-you are an inspiration to solidarity work throughout the world-using the power and privilege in the US to the advantage of the Salvadoran people and social movements.

Congratulations all, we wish we were there! Amor! Cambio! Revolucion!

Brooklyn 4 el salvador

Bob Rini said...

Thanks, Brooklyn! It's a great day to celebrate. After all these years of hard work, the revolution is non-violent and victorious. It's a great day. Maybe with Bush out of the White House we won't be supporting so many right wing thugs abroad. I hope that Obama reaches out to the Salvadorans and we become allies in their fight for land reform, economic justice, and human rights. That would be a switch!