In the '50s Castro and the rest of the communists were villianised hugely. Special emphasis was put on their crimes, even when the West's crimes were of the same nature, or worse. At the time, if anyone had words of sympathy for them or their cause, they were fiends, supporters of evil. People would segregate them socially, and the government would investigate them criminally.
The same is now true for us and our current enemies.
Stalin (and a more contemporary example, Saddam Hussein) was a genuine criminal, a very nasty piece of work, whose crimes genuinely do outweigh those of our leaders - a man who consistently killed thousands of people over the years, letting those alive lead a life of terror. (Although, as far as Hussein is concerned, it could be argued that our leaders should take responsibility for his actions, as we placed him in power).
But, Castro, who is still demonised in the media today, has committed no crime that the American government haven't.
Castro treated gays appallingly - but this was at the same time and not long after the American government and public were lynching blacks. America has just as much to apologise for on the human rights abuse scale as Castro - treating their black population just as badly as - or, arguably, worse then - Castro treated his gay population.
Another common criticism of Castro is that he imprisons people indefinitely and without charge for political reasons. Currently, America is running Guantanamo bay, and has admitted to having more secret prisons around the world. Why is Castro so evil when the brightest beacon of freedom is carrying out the same practices as he is, but on a much wider scale?
Another sin of Castro's is that he invades his people's privacy, monitoring them big brother style - for their own protection, of course, from anti-revolutionaries. The trait of all propaganda based government - the idea that if you oppose a bit of government policy (not necessarily all of it) you are "anti" whatever system you tried to change - "anti-Soviet", "anti-revolutionary", "anti-American". It makes dissent much harder and undermines democracy.
However, despite the privacy criticism, Castro never passed the Patriot Act, that one was an American invention - and surely an invasion of privacy far greater then Castro has ever committed.
So far we can't think of a Castro Crime that the Americans haven't carried out - but he's still painted as the bad guy. Why? What terrible things has Castro done that we can get him for without having to get Uncle Sam for too?
Don't get me wrong - these things are disgusting. I'm not justifying any crime committed by either Castro or the American government - what I'm doing is highlighting the fact that the Western media will put a special emphasis on the crimes of the governments that Western leaders have decided are the bad guys, in order to justify any kind of military action that Western leaders may want to take. All of Castro's listed crimes are despicable - but America is just as guilty of them, and the media purposely ignore that.
Here's an example of this you can look up in History textbooks. The Cuban Missile Crisis is seen as a blatant act of aggression from Castro and The Communists, which proved that those Cuban rascals were up to no good. But in all the hubbub everyone forgets to mention that JFK had cunningly placed missiles aimed at Russia in Turkey - which resulted in the missiles arriving in Cuba. JFK was the one who upped the level of aggression. The missiles in Turkey were sending the same message to the Russians that the missiles in Cuba were sending to the Americans. But it's the Cuban missiles that were immoral.
Now we move on to today's enemies.
These days, America has killed literally hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterns - in their homeland - over a prolonged and oppressive period of 6 years (since the invasion of Afghanistan).
America was in fact killing Middle Easterns long before 2001 as well. America has been regularly bombing Iraq since 1991 - killing civilians, just like the Middle East did on September 11 - except that the Middle East had been suffering a 10 year period of attack. Clearly, 10 years of attack is much more violent and aggressive then one hour and twenty minutes of attack, especially when America set up and funded the government (Saddam Hussein) it was making life hard for.
Yet the Middle East are the bad guys. They have one day of attempted retaliation after living with ten years of sustained bombing - and they're labelled "extremists". Those countries who do not roll over and let America do what it wants are "rogue states" - they are the dangerous ones, even if America has been using an excessive amount of force on them- seemingly unprovoked, for ten years, until they make an attempt at retaliation.
America caused the September 11 attacks by attacking a foreign land. That foreign land (Bin Laden was acting on behalf of the whole of the Middle East) then retaliated, in a relatively pathetic way in relation to the amount of casualties they received, and the Western public genuinely believe that these attackers are the violent ones, the ones blinded by indoctrination. It's irony on its biggest scale. Our leaders can launch a ten year death campaign on a defenceless country, have one day of retaliation and up the amount of military action as a result, and it's the defenceless country that's dangerous, mad with hatred and false ideals.
The media portrays the situation in an incredibly over simplified way - Osama bin Laden attacks the World Trade Centers, so we have to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. The media conveniently leaves out the fact that Bin Laden has repeatedly said that the reason America was attacked is because of it's military activities in the Middle East - more military activities in the Middle East will only fuel Al Qaeda with more angry young men willing to fight for it's cause. Indeed, in 2001 Iraq was pretty much an Al Qaeda free zone. Now the place is crawling with them - we've helped Osama recruit more soldiers.
What we should have done instead is stop bombing them, and then maybe they wouldn't want to bomb us.
It's a ridiculously simple solution that a child could have figured out. But the fact is, war is a profitable business, and the Powers That Be don't want too many of us realising that security comes when you stop provoking aggression.
This is how powerful the media is. They can take away our basic logic, and convince us to support a war without researching for easily obtainable facts.
I'm rather eager here to make it clear that this article is by no means an endorsement of terrorism. I am a pacifist. I can only justify violence in an extreme situation (such as stopping the Nazis in WW2) - and even then the violence should only be directed at soldiers, military bases, unmanned power plants etc. Killing civilians can never be justified. I do not support Al Queda or any organisation that kills civilians - e.g. the IRA (no matter how sympathetic I am to the IRA's cause). I also want to say something pre-emptively to anyone who might suggest that I am encouraging religious fanaticism - if you read one of my previous blog posts I make it quite clear that I disapprove of religion being twisted by a political figure to manipulate people into supporting a cause. Islam is not an exception, and Osama bin Laden is about as manipulative and right wing as they come. Put it frankly, he's a fucking murderer. And so are Bush and Blair. I am of the opinion that if you want to change something (such as America's foreign policy) you should take the Nelson Mandela approach. It works.