IT'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #9.9
Part 4 - more additions 2

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

 

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 there?

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 criminal force.

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 for all.

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!

 

RETALIATION
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 terrorism?

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 times.

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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