[This essay is part of the ZNet Classics series. Three times a week we will re-post an article that we think is of timeless importance. This one was first published Nov. 10, 2002.]
Half of the population of
Allende’s executioner, Pinochet, paid homage to his victim every time he spoke of the "Chilean miracle." Pinochet never confessed it, nor has it been mentioned by the democratic rulers who came after him, when the "miracle" became the "model"–but what would happen to
Our Indians were born in the American continent, not in
The World Bank praises the privatization of public health in
Four years ago, journalist Richard Swift arrived in the fields of western
Rich countries, which subsidize their agriculture at the tune of millions of dollars per day, forbid agricultural subsidies in the poor countries. A record harvest by the
The cows of the North earn twice as much as the peasants of the South. The subsidies received by each cow in Europe and the
Producers from the South go to the world markets in disunity, while sellers from the North impose monopoly prices. Since the World Coffee Organization disappeared, ending production quotas, the price of coffee has hit rock bottom, and lately it’s been worse than ever: in
Charlemagne, founder of the first great European library, was illiterate.
Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail solo around the globe, did not know how to swim.
The world contains as many hungry people as obese. The hungry eat garbage from garbage cans; the obese eat garbage from McDonald’s.
Progress causes bloating. Rarotonga is the most prosperous of the
The best-known line attributed to Don Quixote ("They are barking, Sancho; it’s a sign that we are moving") does not appear at all in Cervantes’ novel. Humphrey Bogart does not say the most famous line ("Play it again, Sam") attributed to him in the movie
Contrary to what is commonly believed, Ali Baba was not the leader of the 40 thieves, but their enemy; and Frankenstein was not the monster, but its inventor.
On first thought it seems incomprehensible, and on second thought as well: in the places where progress has progressed the most, people work the longest hours. The illness caused by too much work leads to death. It is called karoshi in Japanese. Now the Japanese are adding yet another word to the dictionary of technological civilization: karojsatsu is the name given to suicides caused by hyperactivity, an increasingly frequent occurrence.
In May of 1998,
Technology produces cubic-shaped watermelons, featherless chickens, and a lifeless labor force. In a few hospitals in the
According to the Gospel, Christ was born during the reign of king Herod. Since Herod died in 4 BC, Christ was born at least four years before himself.
Christmas Eve is celebrated in many countries with thundering salvos. Silent night; holy night! The sound of the fireworks drives dogs insane and deafens women and men of good will.
The swastika, which the Nazis identified with war and death, had been a symbol of life in
When George W. Bush suggested that forests be cut down in order to end forest fires, he was misunderstood. The President seemed a bit more incoherent than usual, but he was being consistent with his ideas. These are his holy remedies: to cure a headache, we shall behead the sufferer; to save the people of
Our world is a great paradox that turns around in the universe. At the rate we are going, the owners of the planet will soon outlaw hunger and thirst in order to forestall shortages of food and water.
[Translated by Francisco Gonzalez]