Inevitable ring to the unimaginable
by JOHN PILGER
IF the attacks on America have their source in the Islamic world,
who can really be surprised?
Two days earlier, eight people were killed in southern Iraq when British
and American planes bombed civilian areas. To my knowledge, not a word
appeared in the mainstream media in Britain.
An estimated 200,000 Iraqis, according to the Health Education Trust
in London, died during and in the immediate aftermath of the slaughter
known as the Gulf War.
This was never news that touched public consciousness in the west.
At least a million civilians, half of them children, have since died
in Iraq as a result of a medieval embargo imposed by the United States
In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Mujadeen, which gave birth to the
fanatical Taliban, was largely the creation of the CIA.
The terrorist training camps where Osama bin Laden, now "America's
most wanted man", allegedly planned his attacks, were built with
American money and backing.
In Palestine, the enduring illegal occupation by Israel would have
collapsed long ago were it not for US backing.
Far from being the terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have
been its victims - principally the victims of US fundamentalism, whose
power, in all its forms, military, strategic and economic, is the greatest
source of terrorism on earth.
This fact is censored from the Western media, whose "coverage"
at best minimizes the culpability of imperial powers. Richard Falk,
professor of international relations at Princeton, put it this way:
"Western foreign policy is presented almost exclusively through
a self-righteous, one-way legal/moral screen (with) positive images
of Western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating
a campaign of unrestricted political violence."
That Tony Blair, whose government sells lethal weapons to Israel and
has sprayed Iraq and Yugoslavia with cluster bombs and depleted uranium
and was the greatest arms supplier to the genocidists in Indonesia,
can be taken seriously when he now speaks about the "shame"
of the "new evil of mass terrorism" says much about the censorship
of our collective sense of how the world is managed.
One of Blair's favourite words - "fatuous" - comes to mind.
Alas, it is no comfort to the families of thousands of ordinary Americans
who have died so terribly that the perpetrators of their suffering may
be the product of Western policies. Did the American establishment believe
that it could bankroll and manipulate events in the Middle East without
cost to itself, or rather its own innocent people?
The attacks on Tuesday come at the end of a long history of betrayal
of the Islamic and Arab peoples: the collapse of the Ottoman Empire,
the foundation of the state of Israel, four Arab-Israeli wars and 34
years of Israel's brutal occupation of an Arab nation: all, it seems,
obliterated within hours by Tuesday's acts of awesome cruelty by those
who say they represent the victims of the West's intervention in their
"America, which has never known modern war, now has her own terrible
league table: perhaps as many as 20,000 victims."
As Robert Fisk points out, in the Middle East, people will grieve the
loss of innocent life, but they will ask if the newspapers and television
networks of the west ever devoted a fraction of the present coverage
to the half-a-million dead children of Iraq, and the 17,500 civilians
killed in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The answer is no. There
are deeper roots to the atrocities in the US, which made them almost
It is not only the rage and grievance in the Middle East and south
Asia. Since the end of the cold war, the US and its sidekicks, principally
Britain, have exercised, flaunted, and abused their wealth and power
while the divisions imposed on human beings by them and their agents
have grown as never before.
An elite group of less than a billion people now take more than 80
per cent of the world's wealth.
In defense of this power and privilege, known by the euphemisms "free
market" and "free trade", the injustices are legion:
from the illegal blockade of Cuba, to the murderous arms trade, dominated
by the US, to its trashing of basic environmental decencies, to the
assault on fragile economies by institutions such as the World Trade
Organisation that are little more than agents of the US Treasury and
the European central banks, and the demands of the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund in forcing the poorest nations to repay
unrepayable debts; to a new US "Vietnam" in Colombia and the
sabotage of peace talks between North and South Korea (in order to shore
up North Korea's "rogue nation" status).
Western terror is part of the recent history of imperialism, a word
that journalists dare not speak or write.
The expulsion of the population of Diego Darcia in the 1960s by the
Wilson government received almost no press coverage.
Their homeland is now an American nuclear arms dump and base from which
US bombers patrol the Middle East.
In Indonesia, in 1965/6, a million people were killed with the complicity
of the US and British governments: the Americans supplying General Suharto
with assassination lists, then ticking off names as people were killed.
"Getting British companies and the World Bank back in there was
part of the deal", says Roland Challis, who was the BBC's south
east Asia correspondent.
British behaviour in Malaya was no different from the American record
in Vietnam, for which it proved inspirational: the withholding of food,
villages turned into concentration camps and more than half a million
people forcibly dispossessed.
In Vietnam, the dispossession, maiming and poisoning of an entire nation
was apocalyptic, yet diminished in our memory by Hollywood movies and
by what Edward Said rightly calls cultural imperialism.
In Operation Phoenix, in Vietnam, the CIA arranged the homicide of
around 50,000 people. As official documents now reveal, this was the
model for the terror in Chile that climaxed with the murder of the democratically
elected leader Salvador Allende, and within 10 years, the crushing of
All of it was lawless. The list is too long for this piece.
Now imperialism is being rehabilitated. American forces currently operate
with impunity from bases in 50 countries.
"Full spectrum dominance" is Washington's clearly stated
Read the documents of the US Space Command, which leaves us in no doubt.
In this country, the eager Blair government has embarked on four violent
adventures, in pursuit of "British interests" (dressed up
as "peacekeeping"), and which have little or no basis in international
law: a record matched by no other British government for half a century.
What has this to do with this week's atrocities in America? If you
travel among the impoverished majority of humanity, you understand that
it has everything to do with it.
People are neither still, nor stupid. They see their independence compromised,
their resources and land and the lives of their children taken away,
and their accusing fingers increasingly point north: to the great enclaves
of plunder and privilege. Inevitably, terror breeds terror and more
But how patient the oppressed have been.
It is only a few years ago that the Islamic fundamentalist groups,
willing to blow themselves up in Israel and New York, were formed, and
only after Israel and the US had rejected outright the hope of a Palestinian
state, and justice for a people scarred by imperialism.
Their distant voices of rage are now heard; the daily horrors in faraway
brutalised places have at last come home.
* John Pilger is an award-winning, campaigning journalist.
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Compassion and Revenge
The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are occasions
of great significance. They are opportunities for you to feel inside,
to find those parts of yourself that are in fear, and to make the decision
to move forward in your life without fear. That is the challenge for
each individual on this planet today. The pursuit of external power
- the ability to manipulate and control - creates only violence and
destruction. The painful events in New York and Washington are living
examples of that reality.
The causal chain that created this violence is one in which compassion
and wisdom are absent. Are wisdom and compassion present in you as you
watch the television, and read the papers? It is important to realize
that you do not know all that came to conclusion, or into karmic balance,
as a result of these events. Because you are not able to know all that
can be known about them, you are not in a position to judge them.
When you are able to look at the events of the Earth School from this
perspective, you will see clearly the central importance of the role
that you play in it. That role is this: It is for you to decide what
you will contribute to this world. Many will be asking your opinion
of these events. Each question is an opportunity for you to contribute
to the love that is in the world or to the fear that is in the world.
This is the same opportunity that presents itself to you at each moment.
If you hate those who hate, you become like them. You add to the violence
and the destructive energy that now fills our world. As you make the
decision to see with clarity and compassion, you will see that those
who committed these acts of violence were in extreme pain themselves,
and that they were fueled by the violent parts of ourselves - the parts
that judge without mercy, strike in anger, and rejoice in the suffering
of others. They were our proxy representatives. If you can look with
compassion upon those who have suffered and those who have committed
acts of cruelty alike, then you will see that all are suffering. The
remedy for suffering is not to inflict more suffering.
This is an opportunity for a massive expression of compassion. It is
also an opportunity for a massive expression of revenge. Which world
do you intend to live in -- a world of revenge or a world of compassion?
Author Gary Zukav ("The Dancing Wu Li Masters") challenges
accepted thinking in an essay called "Compassion and Revenge,"
which he sent out to readers and can be found
at his website, http://www.zukav.com
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On September 11
By Scott Kalechstein
Written on September 11th and 12th, 2001
"If I understand what Gandhi is saying, nonviolence requires something
far more difficult than merely turning the other cheek; it requires
empathizing with the fears and other feelings that provide that impetus
for people to attack us. Being aware of these feelings we have no desire
to attack back because we can see the human ignorance leading others
to attack us; instead, our goal becomes to provide the education for
our attackers which will enable them to transcend their violence and
engage in cooperative relationships with us." - Marshall Rosenberg
On September 11, 1906, Mahatma Gandhi launched the first mass campaign
of nonviolent struggle the world had seen, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
I am writing this exactly ninety-five years after Gandhi's actions,
the day of the terrorist attacks.
I feel sad, shocked and tremendously shaken up by this. At times I
also feel quite calm, as if I was the center of a hurricane, an Eye
of peace in the tumultuous storms around me. My focus has been to breathe
in the suffering of those in pain and breathe out my love and blessings
to them. A Course In Miracles teaches us over and over that all perceived
attacks are a call for love in disguise, and that miracles happen when
that love is given.
Today I am sending love. Today I am asking the question of God: How
can I relate to this event in a way that brings healing to the world?
And the answer comes in a gentle, powerful and earth-shaking whisper:
Extend compassion and empathy to everyone involved. And everyone is
involved. Nobody on earth can pretend they are separate from this event.
It is that big. What potential for joining and healing, movement and
Rather than just labeling the terrorists as evil, can you imagine the
consciousness of those who would give rise to such behavior? Can you
begin to empathize with the pain that would inspire people to hate that
way? I can. And I believe we must, if healing is to come to our world.
It is said that if we could read the secret history of our enemies,
we would find sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all our hostility.
I am not saying we should accept violence because these people have
suffered so deeply. Empathy is not an excuse to condone terrorism. It
is a way to create the climate for healing so it is not repeated.
Those who have experienced horror after horror and know not how to
grieve, to process the layers of their pain, find their un-cried tears
hardening into bullets and warfare. All energy moves to expression.
If at all possible, I believe these people must be caught and prevented
from taking further actions of terrorism. And if force is needed to
undertake such prevention, so be it. But force as a means to punish
or to regain power only continues to feed the problem. In Gandhi's words:
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
My hope is that we all allow ourselves to be shaken up by this, shaken
out of our comfort zones that tower us Americans above the suffering
and poverty that most of the world experiences. Perhaps all ivory towers
of separation have to come crashing down for the healing of separateness
in our world.
If healing is to come, it will come through the consciousness of oneness.
I am one with the hearts of all the people affected by these events.
I am one with the people who lost their mates, the children whose fathers
and mothers didn't come home. And I am one with the tortured hearts
of those who took these actions. We are all in this together.
Here is a question I am pondering: How do these terrorists reflect
a part of my consciousness? Is there a part of me that believes that
acting out my anger is justified, and that sometimes it is necessary
to violate someone to make my point or express my frustrations? Have
I ever thought that inflicting pain on someone would wake them up, teach
them a lesson, or accomplish something of value? Do I ever feel so hurting
and helpless that the best I can do is throw a tantrum? Of course! My
actions may not ever be as dramatic as what has been acted out on this
day, but I do own the shadow part of my consciousness that has contributed
to such events.
The United States has a shadow too. We stampeded across this country
through the genocide of the Native Americans, and we have contributed
to violence all throughout the world since then. To the extent that
this shadow is disowned and denied, a large part the world feels compelled
to hate us and some even attack us. Just like an individual recovers
from an addiction, we as a nation need to hit bottom, come out of denial,
make amends for those whom we have inflicted violence upon, and own
our weaknesses as well as our strengths. My hope is that the twin towers
crumbling down can serve as our national bottom.
Are the terrorists evil and is our country an innocent victim? Are
things ever that black and white?
I would like to quote the words of Michael Moore, who made the movie
Roger and Me and has been a prominent political and social activist:
"WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden! Where did he
go to terrorist school? At the CIA! Don't take my word for it -- I saw
a piece on MSNBC last year that showed that when the Soviet Union occupied
Afghanistan, the CIA trained bin Laden and his buddies in how to commits
acts of terrorism against the Soviet forces.
We abhor terrorism -- unless we're the ones doing the terrorizing.
We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in
the 1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians.
We have orphaned so many children, tens of thousands around the world,
with our taxpayer-funded terrorism (in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in
Will we ever get to the point that we realize we will be more secure
when the rest of the world isn't living in poverty so we can have nice
Let's mourn, let's grieve, and when it's appropriate, let's examine
our contribution to the unsafe world we live in.
It doesn't have to be like this...
To enjoy more of Scott's writings, please visit the San Diego sections
of Awareness Magazine at: http://www.awarenessmag.com
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The Belly to Do What Needs to be
Ansary is the author of over 60 books, for kids and immigrants.
I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back
to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed
that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing
to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept
collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard
some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what
must be done."
And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because
I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years
I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone
who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.
I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is
no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity
in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.
But the Taliban and Bin Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even
the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics
who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal
with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin
Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan"
think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only
that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were
the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would
come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international
thugs holed up in their country.
Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban?
The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering.
A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000
disabled orphans in Afghanistan -- a country with no economy, no food.
There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these
widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the
farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons
why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone
Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already.
Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses?
Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their
hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine
and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.
New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at
least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the
Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away
and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans,
they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying
over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the
criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making
common cause with the Taliban -- by raping once again the people they've
been raping all this time.
So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with
true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there
with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do
what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the
belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral
qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the
sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just
because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan
to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that, folks. Because to
get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would
they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first.
Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're
flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.
And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he
wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's
all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might
seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam
and the west, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust
in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's
even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in
the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would
last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who
has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else? T.
We are not a government run web site. We do not support any act
of terrorism; we condemn it in all its forms.
This page is dedicated to the plight of the Afghan Woman. Currently,
there are thousands of widows in the capital of Afghanistan. Women are
forced to cover themselves from head to toe, denied access to education
& proper health care, forbidden to work in order to support their
families, and face brutal beatings if they do not comply with the rules
set forth for them by their oppressors. The world needs to know about
this tragedy; our hope is that this page will become a good source of
recent news and information pertaining to the current struggle women
in Afghanistan are facing. The current oppression of women in Afghanistan
is due to politics and ignorance, not Islam!
courtesy of http://www.salon.com
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