Isn't this kinda freakin' surreal
Poking around CNN.com yesterday (bad habit, I know) and came across a headline on one of their sidebars - something about someone composing a "thank you" song for George Bush. "The HELL!?" I thought, and tried to flip back to see what it was about. Naturally it was gone, and I was hoping I just hallucinated it until I did a search.
Nope, I wouldn't have been so lucky:
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) -- In a humid rehearsal studio, Liberia's pop queen is practicing her newest single -- a song called "Thank you" to be released for President Bush's visit here next week.
Her head tilted back, Juli Endee pulls the microphone close and belts out, "Thank you, George Bush."
"Thank you for democracy," she croons over the electric guitar, shaking her hips wrapped in yellow cloth. "Thank you for the rule of law," she sings. "Thank you for debt relief."
Well! I guess he took all that from America and sent 'em over to Liberia, 'cause we're sure as hell missing democracy, rule of law and debt relief HERE.
And call me crazy but what the HELL is up with the writing in this article?
Endee, the pop star, has no time to discuss critiques of Bush's foreign policy. In her studio, she is busy finishing not only her song, but also a welcoming dance. It begins with dancers asking each other, "Have you heard who's coming to Liberia?"
When one answers, "George Bush is coming to Liberia," they explode into dance.
Whee! Is it just me, or is there a whole subtext there about how THOSE people (YOU KNOW) just love to sing and dance? Natural rhythm and all that. (I mean, no, it isn't as racist as some, but cripes!)
Um, I hate to spoil Endee's party, but meanwhile in the real Liberia:
Bush will end his trip by spending a few hours in Liberia. There he will try to cast himself in the role of the compassionate conservative who successfully intervened in Liberia’s long civil war, thus heralding in a shining new democracy led by Africa’s first democratically-elected female president. In his February 14 press conference, Bush celebrated increasing private capital flows to sub-Saharan Africa. But the workers supposedly benefiting from foreign private investment in Liberia might have a different perspective.
For example, Liberia’s largest investor and employer, Firestone, has been exploiting workers on its rubber plantation for over 80 years. The company has been the focus of an international campaign and a lawsuit in U.S. courts because of its use of child labor and abuse of workers’ rights. Affidavits collected from child laborers on the plantation recently filed in the lawsuit show clearly how foreign direct investment and trade often do not benefit workers.
Sixteen-year-old James Roe IV is a typical example of a Firestone worker. He began working at the age of nine on the plantation, cleaning cups of latex and cutting grass with a machete. At the age of 11, he began collecting latex and applying toxic chemicals to trees without any protective gear. When he was nine, James was injured at work when he cut his foot with a machete. But he could not get proper health care because he lacked an ID card required by the company to access the Firestone Hospital. Since he works from 4 a.m. to 3 p.m., he has been unable to attend school and has only achieved a second-grade education. James was forced to work to help his father meet his daily production quota because if he failed to meet the quota, his family would not be able to afford food.
Somehow I get the feeling James would be disinclined to dance at the thought of Bush visting.