"TERRORISM: 1. The act of terrifying; use
of force or threats to demoralize, intimidate, and subjugate, esp.
such use as a political weapon or policy. 2. The demoralization
and intimidation produced in this way".
New World Dictionary
We try to
sleep... but sleep won't come. The image of the twin towers of the
World Trade Center imploding into fiery piles of rubble on thousands
of innocent people has been burned indelibly into our minds. Finally,
as the days fade into weeks and sleep does come, other images begin
to sift to the surface of our memories -- other images of horror,
across the giant oceans and far from us, in other places, to other
people. We watched these images on our TV sets, in the comfort of
our "secure" homes; we watched, muttered about the horror
of it all, yet we did nothing. After all, it wasn't happening to us.
But now it
has happened; globalization, in the largest
sense of the word, has challenged our security for all time; the most
powerful nation in the world has been attacked. Who would dare to
do this? Who would dare to challenge the power of the mighty United
States and its NATO allies?
An old man,
interviewed on television, asked the one
incisive question we must all now ask ourselves: " WHY? Who had
reason to hate the United States that much? Why did this happen to
us? What have we done?"
Ahhh, a touch
of sanity in a world gone mad for blood. This attack was thoroughly
planned; the enemy knew the structural weaknesses of the towers, they
knew exactly which planes must be hijacked, and when, and these people
were quite willing to die to effect their purpose. There had to be
us no warning, no declaration of war. Were these people simply out
for American blood in a fanatic and mindless terrorist strike, as
President Bush would have us all believe? Or were these people so
fed up with the policies of the American government, and the untold
innocent deaths these policies have cost, that they just couldn't
take it anymore? We are not innocent of terrorism ourselves; Canada
and Britain, along with France, have backed the U.S. in many diabolical
and terrifying actions meant to bring stubborn countries to their
are unaware that several Canadian government departments are aiding
and abetting the export of Canadian military hardware to many governments
engaged in wars and the violation of human rights. Canada's on-line
data base of military firms claim "export experience" to
many countries, including: Afghanistan, Burma, Colombia, Congo, Guatemala,
El Salvador, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Rwanda, and the Sudan. The U.S. buys
about sixty per cent of Canada's military exports, and has probably
launched more coups, invasions, and military interventions than any
other nation in history, flexing their "super power" muscles
all over the globe.
Is Bin Laden
the man behind the attack on the United States? Maybe; he has certainly
threatened them, time and time again. But through the years, the activities
of the U.S. government has made them many enemies, and a vocal threat
does not necessarily translate into violent action. Proof is absolutely
necessary here, yet we have taken it upon ourselves to kill more thousands
of innocent people in the name of justice.
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB-IBRD) have burdened much
of the Third World with a debt load that can never be repaid. Both
these organizations are specialized agencies of the United Nations
offering lines of credit to governments subject to specific conditions,
and controlled by a group of the world's most powerful and rich nations
led by the world's most powerful, the United States.
In the subject
countries, the people who need financial assistance the most never
see a penny of it, as the small group of ruling rich elite and their
transnational friends syphon off the money, and the poor get poorer
as their taxes rise and their social services like health care and
education are cut to the bone to pay off the compound interest of
a debt they have no hope of ever repaying. Enter, the new slavery;
an enslaved people become an angry people.
has been a country in violent and confusing political upheaval for
years, as has much of the Middle East. In December, 1979, the Soviet
Union invaded Afghanistan, and this served as a pretext for the intensification
of the Second Cold War, initiated several months earlier with the
U.S. decision to freeze the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty.
by the Soviets also triggered a solidarity among
Islamic fundamentalists, and many, financed by Saudi Arabia, travelled
into Afghan territory to fight the Holy War against "Satan".
Billions of dollars in military aid were sent to prop up the ruling
government of Army Chief of Staff, General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq in
Pakistan, as millions of Afghans flowed across the border looking
for safety, and many of the weapons given to the Afghans to fight
the Russian invaders ended up in Pakistan's markets.
Soviets were forced to withdraw from Afghanistan in 1988, and after
many more years of insurgenence and civil war, the Taliban guerrillas,
8000 strong, siezed the capital, Kabul, and the leader of the Taliban
movement, Mohammad Rabbani, took office as the head of a six-man Supreme
Council in 1996. Rebel forces within Afganistan hoped to oust the
Taliban, but Pakistan supported the new regime. Now finally the Taliban
is crushed and life has improved some, but the Warlords remain, and
many of the people still suffer hunger and uncertainty. What will
be the end result of our supposed " war against Terrorism?"
hell still disturb our sleep:
A child bends
down to examine a toy plane shimmering half-hidden in the dirt; he
folds his small hand around it -- and it explodes in his face. His
life is forfeit because some powerful nation decided to target children
in the landmine game. Which nation? We don't know -- but several will
not sign on to the landmine treaty, the U.S. among them.
In Iraq, a
beautiful seventeen-year old lies in a hospital dying of cancer; she
is old enough to know that she is dying. Many of the victims are too
young to understand why they feel so sick. During the Gulf War, more
ordnance rained down on Iraq than was dropped in the whole of World
War Two. Unknown to the public or the Allied troops, much of it used
on Iraq was coated with depleted uraninum (DU). This radioactive coating
burns on contact, producing a fine dust which can be ingested and
inhaled, and which enters the food chain via water and soil.
remains active for four thousand, five hundred million years. If cancers
continue to rise, they will affect forty-four per cent of the population
within ten years; sounds a lot like genocide, doesn't it -- a crime
against humanity? To our shame, DU weapons have now been sold to seventeen
countries. Deformities and birth defects are also on the rise. Of
course, the unsuspecting Allied troops were also affected, and many
have since died as a result of the effects of using DU weapons.
weapons have been designated by the UN as weapons of mass destruction,
along with napalm, fuel air-bombs, and cluster bombs, depleted uranium
was used in Bosnia in 1995, and also used extensively in the Balkans.
Since the poisonous stuff floats on the air, radiation readings in
Hungary, Bulgaria, and Greece have recorded readings forty times over
the recommended safety limit.
In 1990, the
United Nations imposed tight sanctions on Iraq in order to force it
to pull out of Kuwait. This failed, and the Gulf War followed. But
sanctions remain in place and to-day two hundred and fifty people,
mostly children under five, die every day as a result. Over a million
people have died in Iraq since 1990 as a direct result of sanctions.How
many of us have given a sweet damn?
1999, the US and UK have unilaterally conducted almost daily air-strikes
in the "no-fly zones". Madeleine Albright, the U.S. Secretary
of State promised that the sanctions and bombings will continue until
Saddam Hussin leaves. These sanctions and bombings do not affect Hussin;
they impact on the helpless civilian population who cannot afford
to escape the country. So we will continue to sacrifice innocent little
children and their mothers; so much for humanitarism, NATO style.
Is this not itself a form of terrorism?
At one point
US Attorney General Ramsey Clark thought so. He headed a Commission
of Inquiry which he hoped would include human rights activists, trade
unionists, international jurists, medical personnel, rank-and-file
soldiers from NATO who were in Yugoslavia during the US/NATO bombing
of Yugoslavia, and people who were living there during the bombing.
Hearings were being organized throughout the world, at the conclusion
of which an International War Crimes Tribunal was to consider all
the evidence. This indictment got nowhere, of course.
veterinary medicines factory was suspected of manufacturing chemical
weapons, and rendered inoperable by a United Nations Special Commission
(UNSCOM). The Director of Veterinary Services in Iraq, Dr. Fadal Abbas
Jassem, said that they were not manufacturing any chemical weapons
and felt that there was another reason. "Iraq was supplying vaccines
for diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease at cost price or free
to other countries in the Middle East. It was vital to the whole area,
and we were undercutting the multinationals".
Iraq now accuses
the US of complicity in a plague of foot-and-mouth disease and screw-worm.
Consignments of veterinary medicines are routinely vetoed by the Sanctions
Committee. Screw-worm, indigenous to the US, Mexico, and Central America,
but unheard of in Iraq prior to 1996, infects the wounds and orifices
of warm-blooded livestock, and can affect humans. The larvae can consume
an entire cow in five to seven days, and at least forty people have
since fallen victim to the worm.
no idea how it got here, in the heart of the country," Professor
Basil of Iraq's Ministry of Agriculture, said. "But to date,
there have been over 70,000 reported cases." An article in the
Baghdad Observer in July, 1997, suggested "that these
Latin American parasites are now found in Iraq should provoke a few
questions about the probability of biological warfare. ... To answer
the question about how the flies came to Iraq, one does not have to
look very far... in boxes in a small plane. The only flights in or
out of Iraq are those of the UN, and more recently, the bombings by
US and British planes."
The CIA has
admitted a range of biological attacks on Cuba,
and certainly Iraq has every right to suspect the US of deliberate
introduction of the screw-worm. In July, 1999, Ian Broughton, a New
Zealand national employed by the UN, was expelled from Iraq for allegedly
planting boxes of locust larvae in the north of Iraq, an allegation
the UN denies.
from the pages of the New Internationalist, September 1999,
in a column by Reem Haddad:
back, I can't really remember which of the firefighters was Wissam
Chaaban. They all looked so young and eager when I stepped back to
let them pass into the blazing inferno inside the building. I remember
debating whether I should sneak in after them. But the soldiers were
forcefully preventing all reporters from entering the burning electricity
warplanes had bombed the station less than an hour before as part
of a wide-ranging series of air strikes against the country's infrastructural
targets. The air strikes, the heaviest in three years, were in response
to a rocket attack by Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas against northern
Israel earlier in the day. The rocket assault, in turn, was retalliation
for the wounding of six Lebanese civilians over the previous four
days ... the residents living around the power station were fleeing
the area ... Then unexpectedly, the warplanes returned for another
raid ... amid screams, the journalists and soldiers ran in panic trying
to seek shelter ... the firefighters were badly burned ... five were
killed outright ...... Wissam Chaaban, age twenty two, was one of
the dead ..."
One of the
fortunate firefighters who escaped with his life, but was badly burned,
asked: "Why do they do this to us? Israelis have firefighters
in their own country. We were only there to put out the fire and protect
people. We don't even carry knives. Why would they do this?"
Why, indeed? And who, until very recently, has backed this madness?
The United States.
American invasion of Vietnam, the U.S. took over an air-strip in Thailand
called Bo Fai. There they mixed together several toxic chemicals,
and dropped this mixture called Agent Orange from a variety of military
planes on the Vietnamese. Between 1962 and 1975 (when the Americans
fled the country), the U.S. Air Force dropped fifty million litres
of deadly Agent Orange on Vietnam.
left, they simply buried what was left of this
poisonous crap in barrels at the end of the runway. Dioxin poisoning
is now everywhere. The IMF and the World Bank encouraged Thailand
to have no investment in environmental protection in order to encourage
the investment of foreign capital, (one of their usual conditions
to open the door for multinational exploitation of resources), so
there are no effective laws against this dioxin. To date, the U.S.
government has denied liability.
many such images. In the province of West Papua in indonesia, the
military control the province's resources and its people, using killings,
torture, rape, buring villages, and land dispossession. The West Papuans
requested international help to establish independence from Indonesia.
This plea was ignored by Australia, Britain, and the U.S. The U.S.
was the first to betray these people by making a deal with the Dutch
to leave West Papua and hand over the administration of the territory
to the U.N., then quietly allowing Indonesia to take over the province,
and human rights be damned.
is probably the most profitable real estate Indonesia owns, due to
its rich mineral resources. The chief mining enterprise is the world's
largest copper and gold mine, the American company Freeport McMoRan
Copper and Gold. The Indonesian government has a nine per cent stake
in the mine, and Britain's mining giant Rio Tinto owns nearly fifteen
per cent of Freeport's share capital. West Papuans will get nothing
but a ruined environment out of the mine. Freeport dumps seventy million
tonnes of tailings a year into the Ajikwa river, and will leave a
huge scar in the jungle when the mine closes in thirty years.
many such examples world-wide, too numerous to mention. We have meddled
in other sovereign nations' affairs where we should not meddle, and
delayed intervention when we should have intervened. We have protected
multinational investment and activities by turning a blind eye to
their use of a country's military force against civilians who protested
their unfair and disastrous environmentally destructive practices
in the name of profit. We, too, have innocent blood on our hands,
and now we have brought hatred down upon ourselves.
So now we
face a "Holy War", or a "War against Evil Doers".
No war can ever be called "Holy"; there is nothing holy
about killing your fellow human beings, regardless of race, color,
or religion, yet both sides in this equation seem to think they are
fighting for the glory of God, and have God on their side.
were behind the terrifying attack on the US may have thought they
had a reason, but they certainly had no right. Now the US will retaliate
in kind, and then we can expect further reprisals, and so on, and
so on. Death and destruction could envelope the entire globe very
quickly, with plagues due to bacterial and chemical warfare, DU bombings,
and even nuclear devices. What have the children of the world done
to deserve this?
anyone involved in the attack on the US should be brought to justice;
that's a given. But must we inflict untold misery on millions of innocent
people in the name of revenge? Vengence is not ours to take, remember;
we are well warned against this. It is time to change some of our
policies that inflict pain on other nations, and reexamine our own
are told to "love one another ... love your enemies... do good
to them that hate you..." by Jesus Christ. The Hindu, Krishna,
taught people to "Be humble, be harmless, be upright, keeping
the body and mind in cleanliness ...". The Buddha, also from
India, taught his followers: "Not to commit any sin, to do good,
not to blame, not to strike, and to purify one's mind". Then
there came the Moslems from Arabia with Islam, the religion of the
prophet Muhammad, who taught through the Koran: "Seek help through
patience and prayer, and feed with food the needy wretch, the orphan,
and the prisoner, for the love of Him (God) ... Do not evil in the
earth, causing corruption." But it is difficult to find love
in our human hearts when our hearts are filled with hatred.
peoples from all over the globe give us a ray of hope when they speak
of a time of the coming of the "Warriors of the Rainbow"
which their prophets have foretold:
rainbow is a sign from Him who is in all things. It is a sign of the
unions of all peoples like one big family. Go to the mountaintop ....
and learn to be a Warrior of the Rainbow, for it is only by spreading
love and joy to others that hate in this world can be changed to understanding
and kindness, and war and destruction shall end."
Amen to that.