Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Let Freedom Reign

The note from Rice to Bush announcing Iraqi 'sovereignty' is a brilliant piece of manufactured history. Unfortunately, it is too clever by half, and thus tips the Administration's hand. There is simply no way that Bush would write these words without the coaching a speech writer before-hand. The words are simply too well chosen, too redolent of the history of liberation in the 20th century for them to be the spontaneous reaction of a man of Bush's limited intellectual scope.

I might be able to accept the phrase that some suspect Bush actually meant, "Let freedom ring," from the 19th century spiritual by Samuel Smith. Everyone knows the first verse, though few know any more of it.

1. My country,' ‘tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
land where my fathers died,
land of the pilgrims' pride,
from every mountainside let freedom ring!


This would be an appropriate sentiment for the Resident. Schmaltzy, rooted in ecumenical cant, and accidentally chauvinistic, referring as it does to America's own unique acoustical properties, the sentiment would be a perfectly natural response to the news by Bush.

But "let freedom reign," is a horse of a different color. It's origin is a poem entitled 'African Rain' by the obscure Sherol Northover.

Oh Africa, let freedom reign
Oh Africa, let freedom reign.
Rain down a storm on the white man's home.
Let him see that God is watching over all.
Let the thunder clap its hands
Together we will stand
Hand in hand
One and all
Africa


Steeped in the decolonization movement of the 50s and 60s, it strikes exactly the right note for the 'transfer of sovereignty' if one wished to make a adroit statement about imperialism and colonial power. In addition, the phase was borrowed by MLK Jr. in his speech hailing the passage of the Civil Rights Act. "Let freedom reign! Free at last, free at last! Thank God almighty, I'm free at last." As such, it deftly adds an overtone of securing civil rights and freedom after a long bondage.

Finally, it was also used in the first inaugural address by Nelson Mandela following his election to the Presidency of that nation upon the demise of apartheid. The phrase thus delicately directs attention to the freedom of a nation from the internal oppressions of an unjust and tyrannical order.

In short, it would take a mind steeped in the historical and literary dimensions of language to select such a lyrical and appropriate phrase for the occasion. Ergo, Bush did not select it; he's simply too thick. One of his speech writers selected the phrase in advance for him to pen in 'spontaneous' response to the joyous news. He was probably even coached in the proper spelling. Once he dashed off the note, an image of it was oh-so-conveniently released to the press by an Administration normally so secretive that not even an act of Congress makes them cough up documents. This was a plant; an effort to manipulate the historical record and make Bush's tawdry little sovereignty shell game seem a integral part of a historical march toward freedom and democracy.

The most appropriate missive would have acknowledged Bush's honest intent in Iraq, saying instead, "Let Terror Reign!"

2 Comments:

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you with any shred of proof say that this did or did not come from anybody! You think that just because you have an opinion it is worth while? Unless you can give some real proof and not some hypothetical jargon you have no right to discredit anything. Blogger is this jornalistic news or opinions. I do not have an acount on this so called publishing area, so here I am William Berglund. When you have some proof that can substantiate you opinion then maybe you should give it. I doubt you could even get proof. This letter or scap of paper may not be a true article, but for you to say Bush could not have thought or it on his own is just down right lying. So shut up till you have something you can prove and then say it.

 
At 9:35 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Hmmm... interesting comment. How to respond? Oh, "go soak your head you facsist pig," comes to mind. I have no intention of shutting up, and my opinion is perfectly valid, despite your desire to suppress it or odd idea that I need to meet some incontrovertable standard of proof. No one forced you to read this entry. I am perfectly justified in offering the opinion that a man who cannot effectively conjugate a verb, or get through a sentence without deep contemplation and strenuous effort, is incapable of writing so appropriate a note.

 

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