“The end of the Cold War lessened the fear of full-scale nuclear war. But it did not bring an end to conflict or a universal acceptance of Western liberalism.”
The fall of communism at the end of the cold war, and the victory of the Gulf War were crucial events that brought Americans back the confidence that was lost after the Vietnam War. As U.S military leaders got over the Vietnam Syndrome, the Bush administration decided to enforce their military power, despite the absence of any enemies, in an attempt to maintain global stability. However, the defeat of the Iraqi was not a total success as it interfered with Bush’s plans of stability. Massive amounts of arms “flowed into the hands of insurgent movements, criminal enterprises, and terrorists”, making the Middle East an eternal force against global stability and burden to the United States. Although communist power decreased and western-democratic ideology were adopted by more nations, the phrase “new world order” failed to provide global stability.
“High oil prices enabled the Soviet Union, the world’s largest oil producer, to fund groups in Africa, and else where with which it felt political kinship”
Following the Iranian Revolution there was a major anti-Western attitude that led to the growth of the left-wing force in Africa, the Near East and Latin America. Wealthy families and groups in the Far East supported fundamentalism financially and so encouraging the spread of the left-wing power. In Central America, the Sandinista from Nicaragua tried to take over the government, and also aided the guerrilla movement FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front) in El Salvador. With the uprising of these left-wing groups, President Reagan’ s policies were being challenged not only by the eastern countries but also by the southern countries as well.
I chose the song Where is the love? by The Black Eyed Peas. I find the lyrics of this song very powerful and meaningful as it mentions the issues that have been going on here in the U.S and around the world, and still does. The title of the song goes beyond the question Where is the love?, there is a lot of meaning behind it, its a very deep question with more questions that come along with it, like where is the peace? why do people fight? why do we kill each other? don’t you see the innocent suffering? where is your love?.. It talks about discrimination, racism, war, innocent people and kids dying, the selfishness government leaders, inequality, negativity from the media, lack of moral values and respect, etc…
I love this song because it’s a reminder of what is going on around us. Sometimes we get lost in our own little world being selfish, and thinking only about ourselves, our problems, and we complain, a lot, we forget that there are so many more things going on out there that might or might be worse than our problems, but nevertheless, as citizens of the world we are responsible for them as well.
The world has not never been at peace, and even though we know how to create it, we can’t accomplish it, so in the song there is a cry for help from a higher power, higher than the government and all, help from God. We can’t only be part of the problems, we also have to be part of the solution. “Can you practice what you preach?… Where is the love?”
“He went to the boss man but he closed the door
Well, it seems you’re not wanted when you’re sick and you’re poor
You ain’t even covered in their medical plans
And your life depends on the favors of man…
..Black lung, black lung, oh your hand’s icy cold
As you reach for my life and you torture my soul
Cold as that water hole down in that dark cave
Where I spent my life’s blood diggin’ my own grave” – song by Kathy Mattea
In one of the scenes of this documentary, a mine worker is having a conversation with a NYC cop during their protest in the financial district area. This is one of my favorite scenes from the documentary because during their conversation, the cop admits that he would not want to go into the mines, he said it was “too dangerous”, then the mine worker asked “is your job real dangerous too?”, the cop’s facial expression was priceless as he nodded and said “this is all I do, a lot of bull***”. The irony in this scene is how the cop admits to getting “all kinds of healths” (benefits), and a retirement plan for a job that far less dangerous than the miner, who on the contrary, does not get any health benefit plan, nor retirement plan and must live with the risk of dying in a mine explosion, or due to black lung disease.
Unfortunately, these mine workers were not only vulnerable to unexpected mine explosions, but also to contracting any type of respiratory disease due to inhaling coal dust for several hours every day. Black lung disease was the most common for mine workers. In the documentary, we can see how the men had to live with this disease as a consequence of their labor in the mines. They struggled with talking, walking and even just breathing. But worst, they struggle with no medical and retirement plan.
In essence, while coal companies benefited from a 170% profit, they could not afford, or chose to not afford, to offer their mine workers a better salary and working conditions, or a retirement plan, or at least a decent medical plan. Instead they let their miners retire with black lung disease, if they were fortunate enough to not die in a mine explosion.
“So the Vice President travels to Europe and Japan, the Secretary of state to the Middle East and Russia, the UN ambassador to Africa. No one of comparable stature comes here.” Chang, pg 24.
As the streets of the Bronx turned into a hell on earth, the government lacked participation to prevent the corruption from the building owners to escalate into such chaos. Countless families were victims of not only the danger provided by the gangs that were forming at the same time, but also from being misplaced from their homes due to the greed of these building owners. These “slumlords” would hire junkies or thugs to set their buildings on fire in order to collect insurance money for the damages. Slumlords as well as insurance companies would benefit from these arrangements as more policies were sold. My question is where was government intervention when entire apartment buildings would burn to ashes and hundreds of families would find themselves homeless on a weekly basis? The government surely failed the citizens of the Bronx to provide a solution to this fast growing problem. The comment of New York’s democratic senator, Patrick Moynihan, “the time may have come when the issue of race could benefit from ‘benign neglect'”, was what finally caught president Nixon’s attention. The government took some action regarding the crisis the Bronx was suffering by cutting back on social services to the inner cities, and by so, removing more than seven fire companies from the Bronx. Unfortunately, this action resulted in what was called “a ‘contagion’ of fires” leaving behind blocks of abandoned destroyed buildings which later on would serve as clubhouses for the developing mass of gangs and cliques.