Amidst the banter, one of the dominant themes that emerges is an angry critique of the contemporary left.Roy is scathing of NGOs that accept corporate charity.“When you look around and see how many NGOs are on, say, the Gates, Rockefeller, or Ford Foundation’s handout list, there has to be something wrong, right? And then there’s always the game of pitting the 'funded' against the 'unfunded,' in which the funder takes center stage.”Roy is not opposed to groups being funded, she goes on to say, “because we’re running out of options”, but says it’s important for everyone to recognize who is controlling whom.
All we seem to be left with now is paranoid gibberish about a War on Terror whose whole purpose is to expand the War, increase the Terror, and obfuscate the fact that the wars of today are not aberrations but systemic, logical exercises to preserve a way of life whose delicate pleasures and exquisite comforts can only be delivered to the chosen few by a continuous, protracted war for hegemony -- Lifestyle Wars.”For those who might be critical about singling out the Left for critique when the Right does all these things with such greater dedication, Cusack shares a quote from Daniel Berrigan, the now deceased Jesuit priest and anti-war activist: “Still it should be said that of the political left, we expect something better. We put more trust in those who show a measure of compassion.
Non-violence, she responds, is misunderstood and frequently co-opted.
“Nonviolence should be a tactic -- not an ideology preached from the sidelines to victims of massive violence,” she argues. The indigenous people in the forest don’t have that capital, that drawing power.
After an early career trying her hand at film and other projects, Roy emerged in 1997 with the international bestselling novel The God of Small Things.
Since then she's garnered a range of awards, although she’s dedicated most of her subsequent writing to social and political causes.
When activists on both the right and the left, on the security side and on the freedom side alike, contest each other the frame of reference for both sides remains the US, what’s best for the US? Are the whistleblowers American patriots or American traitors?
Neither side considers how the rest of the world is affected by Americans’ security, and freedom, alike. Within this constricted matrix of morality, other countries, other cultures, other conversations -- even if they are the victims of US wars -- usually appear only as witnesses in the main trial.
What the white, educated middle-class is now afraid of is that they might come to be treated the same way.
Roy, ever the incisive observer who turns perspective upside down (or perhaps, right-side up), points out the whole whistle-blower, security versus freedom debate in the US lacks any sort of broader global perspective.
“The best thing that the best people in our country like Ed [Snowden] can do is to go to prison… Snowden warns that the security work he was privy to demonstrated “how armies were being turned into police forces to administer countries they have invaded and occupied, while the police, even in places like India and Pakistan and Ferguson, Missouri, in the United States -- were being trained to behave like armies to quell internal insurrections.” Ellsberg, meanwhile, warns that the United States is “one more 9/11” away from becoming a police state, with Muslims and perhaps other non-whites rounded up into camps much like white Americans did with Asians during the Second World War.
Then he catches himself: black, poor people in America are living in a police state, he observes.