Between Light and Dark

Americans say that in China they must do as the Chinese do, and betray their legacy.

When the sun sets over one half of the globe, it rises over the other half, as everyone knows. Now it is setting simultaneously over both halves - a universal eclipse. In "the war of civilizations," all of the sides are defeated, and it is not the power advantages but rather the value disadvantages that are doing the defeating; someone whose values are being corrupted will find that his power does not stand him in good stead.

When the evil comes from the East, hopes are pinned on the West; but the West is disappointing and the hopes that were pinned to it are plummeting. Bestiality is embracing the world, and there is nothing left. Those who remember the disgrace of the "treason of the intellectuals" will no doubt henceforth remember the "treason of the West" - how the illuminated side of the globe is turning off its lights, and how the border between the light and the dark is being blurred.

In what direction will all the inhabitants of the world lift their eyes today for a better tomorrow? Whence cometh our help? Where is the model for imitation hiding itself? And without a worthy model, it is no wonder that the world is going berserk, people are losing their humanity and life is losing its grace.

The traitor is the United States, which has pretensions of leading the world, and instilling its values everywhere. But without a model there is no leadership. Until recently it used to give grades to countries and their conduct: The annual State Department report on the state of human rights had importance in its day, and even rogue states took it into account or at least pretended to mend their ways. No longer: The report has become a bad joke, because America the great is a pot calling kettles black, and who cares what it has to preach to others?

If Washington has cavils about harm to civilians, it will immediately be reminded of its bombings, and how the just are killed in them together with the wicked; and if America points to people who are abducted and made to disappear, attention will immediately be drawn to its own "black holes," which swallow up suspects-non-suspects, whose whereabouts are unknown; and if it complains about torture in interrogations or violence and humiliations in jails, all eyes will immediately turn to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and the pictures from there and other sites of horrors abroad and at home are a report that itself convicts. Not only is the United States today not loosening the hands of villains, it is holding their hands, for if the great lighthouse has gone out, the suspicious ships are also allowed to set sail in the dark.

And the villains love to refresh the memory of anyone who wants to forget, of the fact that to this day the death sentence is still carried out in the United States - in the electric chair and with injections of poison; and they, the villains, love to direct international attention to the miserable and the oppressed of America, most of them black, tens of millions of people as desperately poor as any in the Third World, of whose travails only a chance hurricane affords a glimpse. To this day, about half a year after the disaster in New Orleans, they are still refugees and their rehabilitation has not yet begun.

And if all this were not sufficient shame and disgrace, even the value that is the holy of holies is perishing - the freedom of speech. America, with all its pretensions, is sending journalists to prison because they did not do as the authorities demanded. And the very worst of all has been happening in recent months: The four largest American companies - Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco - have decided to kowtow entirely to the evil dictates of the Chinese tyranny. The Beijing government has allowed them to enter China and to do business there on condition that it dictate the conditions - what is permissible to publish on Internet sites and what will be erased as though it never existed. And the Chinese censorship is acceptable to the knights of progress; the important thing is that they be allowed to profit.

Not only censorship but also squealing on local journalists who endanger themselves when they write anonymously on Internet sites; with the generosity of the super-companies, the authorities will succeed in laying their hands on opponents of the regime and imprisoning them for many years. And this is not all: The American companies will provide the authorities with aids for detecting and surveillance, by means of which it is possible to catch citizens in their misdeeds, lest they express an opinion or research marvelous and forbidden realms.

In Copenhagen, there is a fight going on ostensibly over the free world's freedom of expression; in Beijing this fight has been decided with defeatist American help.

China is a police state, and its police are also American collaborators. It is often said that money has no smell, but the owners of the money in fact do have a very developed sense of smell for the development of their businesses, and the main thing is to sell - hardware and software. Those who have the money have the say, but only in the capitals of the West. In Beijing suddenly their say is swallowed up.

In their defense they argue that there is no alternative: In China they must do as the Chinese do and "act in accordance with the laws of the host country." What luck that Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco weren't around in 1933.