The motto of the United States of Consumption is "In More We Trust." The contribution of American culture to humanity is consumption obsession. Our epidemic of obesity, our land gluttonous suburban sprawl, our monster-size environmental footprint, our ravenous automobile addiction, and our heartless greed are symptoms of a deep-seated, sick mental state that keeps the economy humming. And it keeps increasing economic inequality and apartheid.
The death of the President-for-Life of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, on 21 December 2006, the shortest day of the year, has again proved that all humans are mortal, and that death is the great equalizer. The Turkmenbashi, "Father of all Turkmen" had set the stage for his own immortality, having written down from heavenly sources a two-volume book The Ruknama (The Book of the Soul) on the model of the Koran which was dictated to but not written by the Prophet Muhammad.
It's all too convenient for the BBC website to describe the ongoing bloodshed between Hamas and Fatah supporters in the Gaza Strip as "inter-factional rivalry", and it's equally fitting for the Washington Post to narrate the same unfortunate events - which have left many Palestinians dead and wounded - as if they are entirely detached from their adjoining regional and international milieus.