Baby, my cash money

by Maniza Naqvi

SecretServiceWould this sentence be a fair illustration of the entire terms of engagement of the rest of the world with the United States? From Foreign to Economic to Defense Policy it is a narrative as though of a paid intercourse: “Baby, my cash money.”

This latest scandal, too will probably be obfuscated and news cycled out of our imaginations—but for this moment this paradigm is clear. Many complain that the US simply does not build relationships based on principles of social, human and cultural rights. The US engages only on the basis of financial transactions: it gets what it can’t get otherwise by simply buying it. If it is refused it simply removes the offending resister usually an elected leader of a country which has resources that the US wants and puts into place those who are compliant and willing to be paid for their services. And when, and if, they are not paid what they were told they would be paid, then well that’s when the whole thing becomes a conflict zone, like the corridor of the Hotel Caribe on the early morning after the “previous night’s intercourse.”

Ironically, this happened at an Economic Cooperation Summit where the agenda includes economic issues and those of Corruption and of Security or as it is called now Terrorism. The scandal around the Americans, involves 11 Secret Service agents and as many military personnel including green berets and so forth. Entrusted to protect the President of the United States the team had arrived in Cartegana ahead of the President who attended the Summit of the Americas conference organized by the 34-member Organization of American States.

What brought this behavior and breach to light was that the Secret Service agent refused to pay the agreed US$800 and paid only US$30. Which points to the probability that such behavior is routine and par for the course and charged to the tax payer. Would the world be better off if only the US would refuse to pay more often or that the rest of the world would stop soliciting?

But there is a rise, in the Security and Intelligence Infrastructure globally, which have at their epicenter, the United States policies to finance and encourage this sort enterprise. Everything including foreign policy and Development is viewed through this prism: The Role of Security in Development and Maximizing Opportunities. And oddly enough, at almost any development conference nowadays—it’s easy to pick out who represents the US because they reflect their country's mindset. They resemble the secret service agents, in haircuts, the wrap around sunglasses and the vehicles.

For all the good that is done which still remains lean and paper thin, the underbelly is huge. How many girls and boys are destroyed each hour because of all the different forms of human trafficking? A scourge which world leaders speak against alongside the issues of violence in forums such as the one in Cartagena. And yet those entrusted with protecting the leaders, the speech makers, are themselves agents of harm. Take any country termed as being in need of assistance and rescuing from the “bad guys” and you will find that hotels there, at night, where these so called “good guys” are entrenched, are also filled with call girls going up to their rooms —young women—forced by poverty into prostitution. Selling their bodies to these touts and apostles of privatization and free market enterprise.

What will it take to realize that it isn’t about war and blood money? I don’t know what it is about but I know it isn’t about that. And the reaction by President Obama to such a grave breach in his security by the guards meant to protect him seems more appropriate to a prisoner rather than the President. This is cause for concern. And it took an impoverished single mother earning a living at the kind of job that the system allows her, to have had the agency, to stand her ground for her fair share and to bring all of this out into the open.

Other Writings by Maniza Naqvi:

The Middle Way, the Difficult Way—Sharper than a Sword and Narrower than a Hair

A Matter of Detail: The Masonry of Graffiti and Symbols

Red Moon Rising


Impossible Shade of Home Brew

The Kreutzer Sonata in Addis Ababa

Permit Me to Protest

Battle Songs: These Children Can’t Be Bought

Notes On Zuccotti Park

Hitched In History to Crimes Against Humanity


The Great Land Grab: Beyla

The Kiss


Rahima's War

Imagining Lyari Through Akhtar Soomro

The Boxer


Divining Water

Rimbaud and Insider Information on Disasters Foretold

Expressing Fidelity Through Sorrow's Hope

Jijiga Nights


Moharram and Me

Genetics of Blueberries


At the End of a Match

Who in Hell is Imam Feisal


Static Kill

The Trappers and the Trapped


A Hit at the Bambino

Interview with Tariq Ali

Shame on Us

Losing the Plot: Habits of the Heart (Complete Novel)

The Art of Resistance: Under Siege

A Brief Acquaintance


That Sara Aziz (A Play)

The Leftist And The Leader (A Play)