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A message from the pathfinders general

Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, and satiny-jowled mafflard David Cameron have allegedly collaborated to produce an article about the future of Libya, in which “they” admit that they do not have a mandate to “remove Qaddafi by force” but, um, because it’s unthinkable and unconscionable and impossible that he remain in power, they are going to continue bombing Libya until such time as he “go[es] and go[es] for good”, which is nothing like removing him by force, is it, readers?

More interesting, perhaps, than this shameless contradiction which gaily treats the citizens of the US, France and Britain, and let’s face it the rest of the world too, as meek-eared morons, is the inspiring metaphor of a pathway to peace:

Even as we continue our military operations today to protect civilians in Libya, we are determined to look to the future. We are convinced that better times lie ahead for the people of Libya, and a pathway can be forged to achieve just that. […] There is a pathway to peace that promises new hope for the people of Libya […]

Is a pathway to peace a bit like a stairway to heaven? It has more alliteration (like everyone’s favourite pipes of peace) and maybe involves fewer drugs. It makes, too, for an interesting comparison with the notorious roadmap in Israel/Palestine. Whereas a roadmap is an aerial view of the whole terrain, with lots of roads and other interesting features like concrete fences or rocket silos, a pathway is a single route. I’m really feeling it from a first-person perspective, like some morose arthouse videogame. A pathway is, of course, more reliable than a mere path (which might be a garden path up which some joker is leading you). It is authoritarian (because unidirectional) and yet smirks with a complacent pretence of friendliness (it is earthy and trodden rather than industrial and macadam’d). Nonetheless the message is clear: it’s our (path)way or the highway.

  1. 1  Euripides  April 16, 2011, 8:49 pm 

    It may be related to ‘Pathways to Work’, in which the unemployed,(‘customers’) including people who have been found ‘fit to work’ (in a process so corrupt that people who have been found ‘fit to work’ have died before their appeal tribunal) are forced to attend programs with ‘service providers’ who proceed to force large groups of people into a stuffy room for 13 weeks. They are then humiliated, degraded and bullied into ‘Jobsearches,’ which involve a dial up Internet connection, two computers, a filter which filters out the jobcentre, and about 30 people.

    If any of the ‘customers’ break under the strain and try to get a ‘work placement’ they are then forced into a ‘job’ at somewhere like ‘Poundland’ where they gain ‘experience of a work environment’ for the princely wage of £0 for the the 13 week period.

    At any stage of the ‘pathway’ claimants can find themselves on the wrong side of the ‘service provider’ who will then proceed to get the claimants benefits stopped without warning or appeal.

    Alternately, in my area at the moment is a ‘Gateway’ project, which involves demolishing poor peoples homes and replacing them with ‘Properties’ that said poor people cannot afford to move into, although their disappointment at this unfortunate occurrence will surely be tempered by the proposed giant statue of a bronze pig to welcome weary travelers to our city.

    Such a ‘Gateway’ would not be as appreciated in Libya at the end of their ‘Pathway to Peace’ I assume.

  2. 2  sw  April 16, 2011, 11:15 pm 

    An unfamiliar or nondescript “pathway” also requires of us that we have knowledgeable guides to lead us there, guides whom we must simply trust.

  3. 3  shadowfirebird  April 18, 2011, 12:57 pm 

    Could inspire some fresh aphorisms (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms).

    “The pathway to peace is paved by the carpet-bombing of political necessity”, perhaps?

  4. 4  Leinad  April 18, 2011, 8:16 pm 

    The pathway to peace is grouted with the blood and bones of dictators (and anyone else who got in the way).

  5. 5  dave  April 19, 2011, 10:34 pm 

    Impossible, unconscionable, impossible… I’ve recently been struck by the increasing use of ‘unacceptable’, sometimes intensified by the (rather tricksy) modifier ‘simply’. Clegg and Cameron love it. Obama sometimes does it too. I was amused when my five-year-old came home from primary school with the phrase ‘unacceptable behaviour’. But I find it unsettling when politicians wag the peevish finger like this.

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