If Gaza Opened Your Eyes To The Empire’s Depravity, Make Sure They Stay Open Forever

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readJun 24, 2024


Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

One of the most important things to understand about the US-backed atrocities in Gaza is that the US-centralized empire isn’t normally this obvious about its criminality. The relatively undisguised nature of the sadism and savagery in this particular case has been a gift to opponents of the US war machine, because the empire has made it much easier for us to open people’s eyes to its depravity.

Normally it’s a lot harder. Normally almost everyone is buying into the mainstream narrative about what’s going on in Empire-Targeted Nation X because of Evil Enemy Dictator Y, with the empire’s role in instigating and perpetuating the violence and suffering being swept under the carpet by the narrative-makers in western governments and their obsequious stenographers in the mainstream press.

It takes a lot of in-depth research and critical thinking to punch through the propaganda narratives and understand things like how western powers and their regional allies intentionally plunged Syria into violence and chaos using heavily-armed extremist proxy militias in an entirely premeditated campaign to topple Damascus and install a puppet regime. Or the fact that the starvation and suffering we heard so much about in Venezuela a few years ago was actually largely caused by US sanctions. Or the fact that the “famine” we heard about in Yemen was actually caused by a US-backed blockade and assault on civilian infrastructure. Or the fact that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was so deliberately and methodically provoked by NATO powers that a great many western strategists and academics spent years warning that those actions were going to get Ukraine wrecked.

Understanding what’s happening in Gaza is a lot easier. There’s nonstop footage of obvious war crimes pouring out of the enclave, and generations of opposition to Israel’s settler-colonialist apartheid abuse of the Palestinians had already succeeded in gaining a foothold in academia and in many fairly mainstream progressive political circles. They’re still saturating the airwaves with propaganda just like they do with all the empire’s other crimes, but because of how much light has already been shed on the situation, the obfuscations aren’t nearly as potent as they normally are, and the mainstream press are even being forced to report on a lot of inconvenient facts to avoid completely losing legitimacy in the eyes of the public.

I emphasize the fact that Gaza is one of the easy ones because it’s so important that people whose eyes were recently opened to the criminality of the empire keep those eyes open to that same criminality after this particular mass atrocity is done. There will with absolute certainty be more evil mass military atrocities performed and backed by the US war machine, and most of them will probably require a much closer look than Gaza.

It probably won’t be as obvious. The crimes of the empire will probably be a lot more carefully hidden. The victims and victimizers probably won’t be quite so easy to discern. The ones being targeted by the US-aligned side probably won’t be quite as reflexively sympathized with.

As a general guideline, if you ever find yourself thinking things like “This time the US is on the right side for once” or “Eh both sides are equally bad,” that’s a pretty good sign that they’ve suckered you. The US empire is the most murderous and destructive power structure on earth by such an immense margin, and is on the wrong side of every conflict so consistently and reliably, that if you ever find yourself viewing a foreign conflict in ways that aren’t completely hostile to Washington, it’s almost certainly because you’ve swallowed the propaganda.

And there’s no shame in that, to be clear. The US empire has the most sophisticated and effective propaganda engine that has ever existed, and its pervasive narrative control and distortions make it very easy to get lost when navigating the complex information ecosystem of the modern world. If you get something wrong and have to change your position after research and reflection, doing so is just a sign of emotional and intellectual maturity on your part. Everyone makes mistakes.

All this to say, please please please don’t let Gaza be a one-off in terms of your opposition to the imperial machine. Keep your eyes fiercely trained on its actions after this is over, and help bring as much attention to its crimes as possible. If you’re not sure about a particular conflict that’s in the news there are many great resources available for helping you sort out fact from fiction with regard to the empire and its propaganda spin.

The empire didn’t just start getting crazy and evil with Gaza. It’s always doing things like this. It always lies about them. The mass media always help it lie. Gaza isn’t some aberration in its usual behavior, it’s just more obvious.

Don’t ever let them lull you back to sleep with their deceptions. Keep your eyes open to what they’ve been opened to. Keep fighting the empire for the rest of your life, or until the empire is fully destroyed.


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