It would be a good idea if politicians were to take a course in role-playing, especially those in power, those whose acts have a strong or immediate effect on people’s lives. President Barack Obama represents the United States of (North)America. Evo Morales likewise is the Bolivian head of state. Spain, Portugual and France recently turned Evo’s return home into a nightmare. In the background: the manoevres of the CIA to capture Edward Snowden, cloak and dagger operations of all sorts, the virtual kidnapping of the president of Bolivia—detained or delayed or whatever term is most suited in Austria under the suspicion that the 29 year-old fugitive agent had crawled into Evo Morales’ presidential plane.
A popular and legally elected president is subject to suspicion, his plane can’t land in the mentioned countries—without a doubt due to the suggestion of the CIA or of who knows what intelligence agency—in clear violation of international law. Normal procedure in the eyes of U.S. and European leaders. A guy like Morales is considered suspicious for a number of reasons: maybe it is his dark skin, maybe his refusal to accept the notion of the world propagated by the leaders of the “developed world,” maybe because he has insisted on working out trade agreements with fellow latinamerican countries rather than beg loans from international banks; maybe because he has been daring enough to seek trade relations with other nations which do not automatically swallow the line pronounced in Washington, London, Paris or Berlin.
Morales and his Latinamerican supporters considered his “detention” or “kidnapping” to be an indignant and illegal act illustrating the nostalgic underlying colonialist or imperialist mentality of Europe and the U.S.A.
Back to the role playing. What would happen if Bolivia were to “retain” president Obama for thirteen hours in the La Paz airport under the suspicion that in his plane an opponent to Morales had been hidden under one of the executive class seats? How would Washinton react? What would the CIA do? What would the headlines be in leading newspapers such as The New York Times? How would Republican and Democratic leaders react? Can the reader imagine the press conference in the White House called by the vice-president?
Can we imagine the political, economic and cultural consequences of such an act? For many decades Latinamerica has been the victim of an unending number of coups, invasions and other illegal acts perpetrated in the name of “anti-communism” or other slogans and in these operations U.S. or other inteligence agencies, financial interest groups or other organizations have played a key role. Just to mention a few: the military coups that sprouted throughout the continent during the 1970’s, the frequent invasions of countries in the Carribean, the notion of the “big stick” to protect U.S. economic and political interests in the area...
Role-playing helps because in looking at the world from another person’s point of view we are forced to see reality from another perspective. That does not mean we have to accept that reality. The actor must know the thinking of the thief in the play, what motivates him to act, and in the process the vision of the conflict is widened. Role-play teaches us that truth is not a one-sided matter.
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