IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #9.9
Part 4 - more additions 2
Parts 1, 2,
3, 4, 5,
I still can't sleep. I can't recall the last time I've felt so out of
my head. It's getting better. We went out to a dinner tonight that was
organized by the Muslim Student Association. Personally, I don't get the
Muslim thing any more than I get the Christianity thing. But it was nice
to meet up with friends and eat with a variety of different people without
feeling the need to talk about Tuesday. But I can't stop thinking that
now that I'm coming to turns with the sickness I feel about the WTC attacks,
we are now about to go to war. Watch TV for half an hour and it feels
like we're trapped in right wing conspiracy and there's no way of stopping
it. War seems likely, though I hope and I hope that I'm wrong. Civil liberties
are about to be thrown out the window as part of the "crackdown on
terrorism". What the government is now telling us is that in order
to protect our freedoms here they'll need to take them away. Oh yeah,
freedom for the rich.
I was watching this Peter Jennings thing today where he was talking
to children about the attacks. I just wanted to see what funding cuts
for education had wrought in America. I actually learned something that
I found surprising. This may be old news to everyone, but did you know
that less than 60% of all Muslims in the US are Arab? There are more African-American
Muslims than Arab and even more Asian Muslims. It's just another insight
about American racism, as it exists under these circumstances.
Anyway, here's a little observation I made about how the media has been
reporting on reactions from around the world. I've also included statements
from RAWA (The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan)
and Howard Zinn. People keep asking me about reprinting or forwarding
my newsletters or posting them elsewhere. Feel free.
HOW THE MEDIA REPORTS ON CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD
I don't want to get into the debate as to whether or not the footage of
Palestinians celebrating is real or not. As many of you know, there is
some debate as to whether or not it's stock footage from '91. CNN has
a tendency to do that sort of thing. Still, I don't know what to think,
as I haven't heard any real facts about it. But there are a few points
I wanted to mention.
First of all, asking any reporter or tourist who has been there, point
a camera at a kid in Palestine and they're gonna jump up and down and
go crazy for you. Kids are like that everywhere. Israelis may be bombing
them at the moment. But they're still excited for the cameras. They're
kids! It's how they cope with living in a state of war. They weren't holding
up any banners or burning American flags…
Secondly, we're seeing the same footage over and over again of the same
20 or so people. There is something like 8 million Palestinians in that
area. Is there any reason to think that those 20 celebrating represent
the people as a whole? Why isn't there any other footage of people celebrating
Also, the South China Morning Post (the English language newspaper for
Hong Kong) reported that many people in China celebrated the attacks.
Here's a bit of what was said.
"According to a teacher at Beijing Broadcasting Institute, one
group of students held a celebration party, while others watched re-runs
of the planes crash. "The perception that the incident was outrageous
but justified pervaded among some. `While I'm completely shocked and disgusted,
I also hope America starts to understand what this kind of loss of life
feels like, to know how Iraq felt when their innocent civilians were bombed.
I don't think this would have happened if American foreign policy weren't
so aggressive,' said one university graduate. "Milton Wong, a Chinese-American
working in Beijing, said: `I was eating dinner with some business associates
when the news came in, and one woman actually started clapping, saying
that America brought this on itself because it always tries to act like
the 'world police'.'
"One visitor to a Chinese chat room on the Internet queried: `Why
is it that America has suffered the wrath of terrorists? This can't be
without a reason. I think that after they killed so many innocent people
in Yugoslavia and Iraq, why wouldn't most people completely hate the USA?'
"Another wrote: `America has suffered a great economic loss, and
although all those people perished, in a sense it gives the people of
the world a kind of victory. I just feel kind of happy, because it will
teach the imperialists a lesson.'"
It's interesting that the Western media would report so heavily on Palestinians
celebrating and not report at all on the celebrations in other countries.
Is it because the US is helping wage war against the Palestinians while
trying to get China into the WTO? It certainly is selective journalism.
I hope you've all been following what is now going on in Palestine.
According to the French Press Agency, the Israelis have used the time
to further invade taking control of the Palestinian city of Jericho. Under
the support of tanks and helicopters, troops moved in from the North,
South and East of the city. The first thing they did? Bulldoze the fields
where the locals grew food. Gunfire could still be heard after the Israeli
troops moved into the autonomous zone. Remember Apartheid?
REVOLUTIONARY ASSOCIATION OF THE WOMEN OF AFGHANISTAN (RAWA)
The people of Afghanistan have nothing to do with Osama and his accomplices.
On September 11, 2001 the world was stunned with the horrific terrorist
attacks on the United States. RAWA stands with the rest of the world in
expressing our sorrow and condemnation for this barbaric act of violence
and terror. RAWA had already warned that the United States should not
support the most treacherous, most criminal, most anti-democracy and anti-women
Islamic fundamentalist parties because after both the Jehadi and the Taliban
have committed every possible type of heinous crimes against our people,
they would feel no shame in committing such crimes against the American
people whom they consider "infidel". In order to gain and maintain
their power, these barbaric criminals are ready to turn easily to any
But unfortunately we must say that it was the government of the United
States who supported Pakistani dictator Gen. Zia-ul Haq in creating thousands
of religious schools from which the germs of Taliban emerged. In the similar
way, as is clear to all, Osama Bin Laden has been the blue-eyed boy of
CIA. But what is more painful is that American politicians have not drawn
a lesson from their pro-fundamentalist policies in our country and are
still supporting this or that fundamentalist band or leader. In our opinion
any kind of support to the fundamentalist Taliban and Jehadies is actually
trampling democratic, women's rights and human rights values.
If it is established that the suspects of the terrorist attacks are
outside the US, our constant claim that fundamentalist terrorists would
devour their creators, is proved once more.
The US government should consider the root cause of this terrible event,
which has not been the first and will not be the last one too. The US
should stop supporting Afghan terrorists and their supporters once and
Now that the Taliban and Osama are the prime suspects by the US officials
after the criminal attacks, will the US subject Afghanistan to a military
attack similar to the one in 1998 and kill thousands of innocent Afghans
for the crimes committed by the Taliban and Osama? Does the US think that
through such attacks, with thousands of deprived, poor and innocent people
of Afghanistan as its victims, will be able to wipe out the root-cause
of terrorism, or will it spread terrorism even to a larger scale?
From our point of view a vast and indiscriminate military attacks on
a country that has been facing permanent disasters for more than two decades
will not be a matter of pride. We don't think such an attack would be
the expression of the will of the American people.
The US government and people should know that there is a vast difference
between the poor and devastated people of Afghanistan and the terrorist
Jehadi and Taliban criminals.
While we once again announce our solidarity and deep sorrow with the
people of the US, we also believe that attacking Afghanistan and killing
its most ruined and destitute people will not in any way decrease the
grief of the American people. We sincerely hope that the great American
people could DIFFERENTIATE between the people of Afghanistan and a handful
of fundamentalist terrorists. Our hearts go out to the people of the US.
Down with terrorism!
By Howard Zinn
The images on television have been heartbreaking. People on fire leaping
to their deaths from a hundred stories up. People in panic and fear racing
from the scene in clouds of dust and smoke. We knew that there must be
thousands of human beings buried alive, but soon dead under a mountain
of debris. We can only imagine the terror among the passengers of the
hijacked planes as they contemplated the crash, the fire, the end. Those
scenes horrified and sickened me.
Then our political leaders came on television, and I was horrified and
sickened again. They spoke of retaliation, of vengeance, of punishment.
We are at war they said. And I thought: they have learned nothing, absolutely
nothing, from the history of the twentieth century, from a hundred years
of retaliation, vengeance, war, a hundred years of terrorism and counter-terrorism,
of violence met with violence in an unending cycle of stupidity.
We can all feel a terrible anger at whoever, in their insane idea that
this would help their cause, killed thousands of innocent people. But
what do we do with that anger? Do we react with panic, strike out violently
and blindly just to show how tough we are? "We shall make no distinction",
the President proclaimed, between terrorists and countries that harbor
terrorists". Will we now bomb Afghanistan, and inevitably kill innocent
people, because it is in the nature of bombing to be indiscriminate, to
"make no distinction"? Will we then be committing terrorism
in order to "send a message" to terrorists?
We have done that before. It is the old way of thinking, the old way
of acting. It has never worked. Reagan bombed Libya, and Bush made war
on Iraq, and Clinton bombed Afghanistan and also a pharmaceutical plant
in the Sudan, to "send a message" to terrorists. And then comes
this horror in New York and Washington. Isn't it clear by now that sending
a message to terrorists through violence doesn't work, only leads to more
Haven't we learned anything from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Car
bombs planted by Palestinians bring air attacks and tanks by the Israeli
government. That has been going on for years. It doesn't work. And innocent
people die on both sides.
Yes, it is an old way of thinking, and we need new ways. We need to
think about the resentment all over the world felt by people who have
been the victims of American military action. In Vietnam, where we carried
out terrorizing bombing attacks, using napalm and cluster bombs,on peasant
villages. In Latin America, where we supported dictators and death squads
in Chile and El Salvador and other countries. In Iraq, where a million
people have died as a result of our economic sanctions, And, perhaps most
important for understanding the current situation, in the occupied territories
of the West Bank and Gaza, where a million and more Palestinians live
under a cruel military occupation, while our government supplies Israel
with high-tech weapons.
We need to imagine that the awful scenes of death and suffering we are
now witnessing on our television screens have been going on in other parts
of the world for a long time, and only now can we begin to know what people
have gone through, often as a result of our policies. We need to understand
how some of those people will go beyond quiet anger to acts of terrorism.
We need new ways of thinking. A $300 billion dollar military budget
has not given us security. Military bases all over the world, our warships
on every ocean, have not given us security. Land mines, a "missile
defense shield", will not give us security. We need to rethink our
position in the world. We need to stop sending weapons to countries that
oppress other people or their own people. We need to decide that we will
not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the
media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against
innocents, a war against children. War is terrorism, magnified a hundred
Our security can only come by using our national wealth, not for guns,
planes, bombs, but for the health and welfare of our people - for free
medical care for everyone, education and housing guaranteed decent wages
and a clean environment for all. We can not be secure by limiting our
liberties, as some of our political leaders are demanding , but only by
expanding them. .
We should take our example not from our military and political leaders
shouting "retaliate" and "war" but from the doctors
and nurses and medical students and firemen and policemen who have been
saving lives in the midst of mayhem, whose first thoughts are not violence,
but healing, not vengeance but compassion.
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