“A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.”
(Hamlet, act 4, sc. 3)
Comment. Nothing can better represent the chasm, the divide, the dichotomy and the abyss between the classes of the 1% and of the 99% than the difference between the funerals of Margaret Thatcher and Hugo Chavez.
Thatcher was honored with the same pomp, circumstance and ceremony as Winston Churchill, almost 60 years ago. But the British public supported Churchill’s farewell ceremony. He had been the leader a national unity government at a pivotal point of XXth century history. In contrast, Thatcher was an object for contempt for millions of Britons. Readers will have watched the chanting crowds jubilating at her death. Radio stations had to be forbidden, by government injunction, to play a song on the air, requested by thousands, “Din Don, the witch is dead”.
Ironically, the funeral and the day of mourning have cost an estimated 16 million dollars to the British taxpayers, including the extra air fare for MPs who interrupted their overseas vacations. The Parliament session was skipped and even Big Ben was prevented from chiming the hours.
The extraordinary mourning and the military parade were mere and simple ideological propaganda. Given the hatred and contempt for Thatcher, the stunt was almost an act of dictatorship by the ruling elite, in celebration of unfettered capitalism and of its twin ally, imperialism. Dictatorial funeral ceremonies for a dictatorial political figure.
Thatcher was the scourge of the unions and the pillar of hard-core capitalism. She relieved the impatient and restless 1% from the intolerable yoke of democracy by orwellianly declaring herself her champion. Her leadership turned government into the rule of a parasitic financial oligarchy. She brought poverty to workers by destroying their source of employment and successfully eroded the foundations of society by claiming that it does not exist.
Yet, notwithstanding the jingoism and nationalistic pride shown at her funeral, it was Thatcher who triggered the conversion of Britain into an obedient and subservient vassal of the US of A.
On the other side of the ocean, and oceans apart in thought and soul, Hugo Chavez was mourned by millions of Venezuelans and millions around the world. Readers will already know about some of Chavez’ achievements – the drop in poverty, the cooperatives, the dramatic improvement in education and the export of oil to Cuba in exchange for doctors so as to provide universal health care in the country. In the US universal health care is a sacrilege, the private insurance system a sacrament, one extra reason to hate Chavez.
Chavez had the audacity to declare that the oil under the ground of Venezuela belongs to the Venezuelans and not to the multinational giants. A revolting and disgusting neo-con congressman on US television claimed unashamedly that this was robbing the rich to give to the undeserving poor.
But there were also those who cheered at Chavez’ death in Florida, the 1% Venezuelan émigrés and the Venezuelan Florida-weekend commuters. Evidence shows that they lost none of their rights or privileges in Venezuela. What they regretted was the loss of status and a reduction in awe by the 99% of the population when they displayed the fruits of rapine in monuments of ostentation.
Wikileaks provided a very interesting and noteworthy document sent by the US Ambassador in Caracas to the State Depaertment. It shows the steps taken and the millions spent by the US to destroy Chavez. No doubt they will now redouble their efforts. They may even succeed.
Still, after decades of imperialist domination, Chavez showed Venezuelans that there is an alternative to slavery and domination. He gave hope to his people and to the people of the world.
If another Horatio were around, he would probably say, “Good night, Hugo Chavez, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
In the play. Hamlet philosophizes on kings, fish and worms.
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