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Balzar: Go Back to Class on 'Heart of Darkness'

October 31, 2002

I kept looking for irony in John Balzar's "Peering into Darkness" (Commentary, Oct. 27) but, unable to find it, can only conclude that he was sincere in finding parallels between the Bush agenda and Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness."

Granted, if one substitutes "Bush" for "Kurtz" and "oil" for "ivory," and draws comparisons between 19th century European colonialism in Africa and 21st century American nation-building in the developing world, the analogy is alarmingly apt. But on what basis does Balzar's rereading of Conrad's novel lead him to conclude that "being decisive," i.e., launching a preemptive strike on Iraq, is a good thing?

Balzar's high school English teacher would give him a failing grade on this one -- he missed the point. Bush -- er, Kurtz -- is not really a god.

He's a bad guy. Just another greedy white man in the pocket of the corporations, willing to exterminate the natives in order to exploit their natural resources. Kind of has a familiar ring to it. Maybe Balzar needs to read the novel one more time.

Margaret

Wander Bonanno

Santa Monica

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