August 01, 2020
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Upping the Anti

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Upping the Anti
Perspective, one is told, is everything. Your assessment of any situation depends on where you sit. Accordingly, if you live in Washington or London or Sydney, the carnage being witnessed currently in Iraq becomes legitimate, necessary and moral. And if you live in Chennai or Mumbai? Well, on the street and the city I live in, "rage" just about sums up the perspective. There is a fairly widespread assumption that ‘jholawalas’, bleeding-heart liberals, page 3 socialites, Trots, trade unionists, Narmada Bachao activists, organic food champions (this includes WTO-haters and environmentalists) exclusively make up the crowds of denouncers, protesters, flag-burners and marchers. There is, it is claimed, a silent majority which supports Uncle Sam in India.

As it happens, I have been randomly seeking out Uncle Sam’s constituency in Delhi and I discover that, if anything, they are even more enraged than the much-maligned ‘jholawalas’. A guy working in an American multinational I met last week says he hopes "10,000 US soldiers die" and then quickly apologises for the blood lust implicit in his hope. Ranjit Chib, the father of opinion polls in India, half of whose family lives in New York, is praying for the US to be "taught a lesson". An ambassador from a country supporting the coalition says he "can’t sleep at night because of the stupidity of his government". A fashion designer says she is so sickened by Bush that she may never visit the place again. A CEO of an American company just hangs his head in shame. Two weeks ago, all these people were passionately pro-US.

After 9/11, the French daily Le Monde echoed worldwide sentiment with the headline, "We are all Americans now". George Bush Jr and his rightwing nuts have ensured that "We are all anti-America now".

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