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|America, We Feel your Pain, Do you Feel Ours? + other articles|
|10/01/01 at 23:17:26|
|Released September 18, 2001|
The Wisdom Fund, P. O. Box 2723, Arlington, VA 22202
Website: http://www.twf.org -- Press Contact: Enver Masud
America, We Feel your Pain, Do you Feel Ours?
by Ramzy Baroud
A six year old Palestinian girl kneeled and nervously, yet gently laid a flower to join hundreds of other flowers, banners and candles in a small vigil held in Jerusalem to commemorate the death of thousands of Americans in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington.
The little girl rushed back, bashful, and held on her mother's hand and both stood quietly gazing at a burning candle.
At the scene, only a few reporters gathered, none of them represented foreign agencies; they were all Arabs and Palestinians.
But Americans who witnessed the world weeping for their victims, never learned of the deep sympathy that was felt by many Palestinians across Palestine and around the world.
However, they did see, with horror and dismay, a few Palestinian children dancing on an old car, two men shooting in the air and an old woman with thick spectacles waving her arms, in celebration of the attacks, we were told.
Every major American news network prides itself with having its own exclusive footage and reporting. When it came to the scene of the dozen dancing Palestinians, they were willing to share the report, which was syndicated all over the world, and aired endlessly.
A quick conclusion was drawn: Palestinians dance on the pain of Americans.
Even if the short report was accurate, a few kids and an old woman hardly represent the Palestinian population, which consists of millions of people, tens of thousands of them are also American citizens.
If your grief and pain allow you to roll the tape of memory a few years back, try to remember New York City following the Gulf War in 1991.
The American army had just returned from a mission in the Middle East. Former President George Bush described the nature of the mission once on TV, so bluntly and in simple terms, to "bomb Iraq back to the stone age."
Mission accomplished. The American army led the allied forces in the region bombed Iraq for months and killed with no remorse as the whole world watched, and as all Americans watched, the same way they watched the World Trade Center being leveled to the ground.
Those killed in Iraq were mostly civilians, innocent men and women, not any more or less innocent than the New Yorkers who fell to their deaths while sipping their coffee on a seemingly beautiful morning.
American soldiers returned home with hands covered in the blood of civilians, after they bombarded every city, town and village in Iraq, south and north. They used every weapon, they experimented with the highest killing technology against a largely defenseless nation, they bombed, killed, and some times ridiculed their victims.
They were seen on TV loading warplanes with missiles that read "say goodbye Ahmed," "happy Ramadan" and "say hi to Allah."
But when they came, they were not booed; nor were rotten eggs thrown at them; they were celebrated. As far as America was concerned, "our boys and girls" were heroes.
And right in New York, where now half of the city stands in dust and rubble, hundreds of thousands took to the streets, lined up with happy faces and sang the Sparkled Stars for the returning chaps; they cheered and chanted, "USA, USA."
Elsewhere in the United States millions of people celebrated the victory; unlike Palestinians, where only a dozen kids rushed to the streets to celebrate the killing of Americans, nearly every American newspaper, TV station, millions of people, their representatives, young and old danced for the death of Iraqis.
Then, like now, Americans were told that it was a battle between good and evil; the good has won.
Iraqis might have not been able to watch the celebrations in the United States; by that time; their houses were rubble, their dearest possessions were sold in the black market to buy some bread and milk, and their electricity was cut off, for it was too, like their water supplies, hospitals, schools, and every thing else "bombed back to the stone age."
The attacks on the United States was horrid, humanity was in shambles when some people thought they had the right to take the lives of others as an expression of political views, likely, social, or perhaps religious ones.
But the attack lasted for several hours. The Congress three days later assigned $40 billion for emergency funds to rebuild the country, to aid the victims and to secure the country against future attacks.
But the Palestinian tragedy have lasted much more than a few hours; it has lasted for generations.
For 53 years now, Palestinians have been subjected to some of the most notorious military police ever used; for 53 years they were forced to live in concentration camps, to drink polluted water, to have their loved ones killed, their homes razed, their futures shattered, deprived of all God given rights, and even UN given rights. Their were forced to flee for their lives from one place to another, their were imprisoned, tortured, and assassinated.
Not one day in the calendar passes without Palestinians siting a massacre or two. They go to the streets to protest the killing of a child, they return home carrying another after being shot while protesting.
You might think: I am already overwhelmed by my own grief, why should I worry about yours?
The answer is simple. Every bullet that killed a Palestinian was "Made in the USA", every shell, missile, and tank was "Made in the USA." Every massacre was financed by America.
When three thousand Palestinians were killed in the refugee camps of Beirut in 1982, the killers left the camps with piles of skinned bodies, butchered and raped women, and thousands of empty bullet shells, also Made in America.
Even the bulldozers that tried to hide the crimes in mass graves as the killers departed, were supplied by the United States.
Since the creation of the state of Israel in occupied Arab land in 1948, the United States has paid more than $125 billion, to finance the Israeli army, to construct its illegal settlements and to aid a racist state that sustains itself at the expense of a subdued population.
Just two days before the attacks on New York and Washington DC, President George Bush decreed that the fact that Israel is using US supplied arms to assassinate Palestinians doesn't violate the US policy on Arms exports.
After all of this, unlike what you would expect, only a dozen children rushed to the streets to celebrate the death of Americans.
Despite all of this, most Palestinians mourned the death of Americans and were able comprehend the tragedy, for they have been living the tragedy for decades.
Unlike the millions who celebrated the "victory" against Iraq in 1991, Palestinians didn't parade in the streets, they didn't chant "Palestine, Palestine," they did not raise colored balloons and break champagne bottles; but they stood in lines in Ramallah and in Gaza, cities that have been devastated by American made weapons, and donated blood.
The six year old Palestinian girl at the vigil finally went home with her mother. Their trip to Ramallah from Jerusalem, a trip of half an hour, would take hours because of the Israeli military checkpoints. Nonetheless they decided to come and show solidarity with the American victims and their families.
Close to them stood many Israeli soldiers, gazing with suspicion at the mourning family as they tried to find their way home.
The little girl, who is forbidden to carry a Palestinian flag, held a small American flag and appeared enthusiastic for the idea that no soldiers rushed to take her flag away.
Back in the West Bank town of Jenin, thousands of Palestinians desperately tried to defend their community, as the Israeli army bombarded their homes and killed 11 people in a raid that lasted several days.
"The helicopters are back" screamed a Palestinian teenager, as he was armed with a sling shot and a pocket filled with rocks. The people began running in panic to nearby alleyways. Two American-made apache helicopters emerged from behind the hill and showered the fleeing residents with automatic rifle bullets, American-made bullets.
|Re: America, We Feel your Pain, Do you Feel Ours?|
|10/01/01 at 23:09:53|
|COMMENTARY Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times |
U.S. Pays the High Price of Empire
By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN, Patrick J. Buchanan is chairman of The American Cause, a conservative educational foundation
As the twin towers of the World Trade Center came down in flames, taking 5,000 Americans with them, an unserious era in U.S. history came to an end. "All is changed, changed utterly," wrote poet W.B. Yeats. President Bush has now received full authority to wage war against all who abetted the slaughter. It must be done. Our American family cannot permit the mass murder of our brothers and sisters to go unpunished. But as the president directs the moral outrage of his wounded nation, he will need the wisdom of Solomon.
Our enemy, we are told, is Osama bin Laden. But though he may be the instigator and financier of terror, the war crimes of Tuesday last were carried out by men who live among us. The enemy is already inside the gates. How many others among our 11 million "undocumented" immigrants are ready to carry out truck bombings, assassinations, sabotage, skyjackings?
We are told the first target of America's wrath will be the Taliban. But if we rain fire and death on the Afghan nation, a proud, brave people we helped liberate from Soviet bondage, we too will slaughter hundreds of innocents. And as they count their dead, the Afghans too will unite in moral outrage; and, as they cannot fight cruise missiles or Stealth bombers, they will attack our diplomats, businessmen, tourists. Apparently, our first ally is Gen. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. Let us pray that his decision does not bring him down. A pro-Taliban takeover of his country would give fundamentalists the atom bomb. Commentators are demanding that Bush declare war on all who preach hatred against us or have harbored terrorists: Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. William Bennett wants China added to the enemies list. Some are clamoring for an invasion of Iraq. Yet U.S. air, naval and ground forces have been cut in half since Desert Storm. And in any declared war on all the rogue nations of the Islamic world, the first casualties would be our Arab allies: Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The second would be Western unity as North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations, facing the threat of an crushing oil embargo, begged off joining Bush's war coalition.
Consider the diplomatic dilemmas our president confronts. Does he, like his father in Desert Storm, enlist Syria in the war coalition, or are the Syrians enemies?
Does he reach out to President Mohammad Khatami, the elected leader of an Iran that is deeply hostile to the Taliban, or are they too on the enemies list?
Does Bush seek Vladimir V. Putin's help, or does Russia's war against the Chechens, who have committed acts of terror, disqualify them as allies? Do we press for peace between Yasser Arafat and the Israelis, or is that rewarding terror?
What took place last Tuesday was an atrocity. What is coming may qualify as tragedy. For the mass murder of our citizens has filled this country with a terrible resolve that could lead it to plunge headlong into an all-out war against despised Arab and Islamic regimes that turns into a war of civilizations, with the United States almost alone.
In the presidential campaign of 2000, we failed to make foreign policy the issue. But what I said then retains relevance: "How can all our meddling not fail to spark some horrible retribution .... Have we not suffered enough--from Pan Am 103, to the World Trade Center, to the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam--not to know that interventionism is the incubator of terrorism. Or will it take some cataclysmic atrocity on U.S. soil to awaken our global gamesmen to the going price of empire?
"America today faces a choice of destinies. We can choose to be a peacemaker of the world, or its policeman who goes about night-sticking troublemakers until we, too, find ourselves in some bloody brawl we cannot handle."
In his intervention in Lebanon's civil war, President Reagan made a rare blunder. But when our Marines were massacred, he did not send a mighty army to avenge them. He used U.S. power to exact a price, then extricated us from that war. There is no vital American interest at risk in all these religious, territorial and tribal wars from Algeria to Afghanistan. Let us pay back those who did this, then let us extricate ourselves. Either America finds an exit strategy from empire, or we lose our republic.
For information about reprinting this article, go to http://www.lats.com/rights/register.htm
|Spare Afghanistan from U.S. 'Nation-Building'|
|10/01/01 at 23:19:35|
|Release Date: September 30, 2001|
Eric Margolis, c/o Editorial Department, The Toronto Sun
333 King St. East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 3X5
Fax: (416) 960-4803 -- Press Contact: Eric Margolis
Spare Afghanistan from U.S. 'Nation-Building'
by Eric Margolis
The first phase of the US `war on terrorism' will likely be the attempted overthrow of the Taliban regime, which currently rules 90% of Afghanistan. Washington is massing powerful strike forces around Afghanistan and has unleashed a fierce propaganda offensive against Taliban.
The Bush Administration says it will embark on `nation-building' in Afghanistan. Translation: imposing a pro-US regime in Kabul that will battle Islamic militants and open the way for American oil and gas pipelines running south from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. Washington clearly hopes to make the Northern Alliance, a motley collection of anti-Taliban insurgents, the new ruler of Afghanistan, perhaps under its 86-year old exiled king, Zahir Shah.
Before we examine this truly foolish plan, a quick review of Washington's record of `nation-building' in the Muslim world- ie overthrowing unfriendly governments and replacing them by compliant ones:
* Syria 1948 - US overthrows the regime; Syria turns anti-US.
* Iran 1954 - the US overthrows nationalist Mossadegh, puts the Shah in power. Result: Khomeini's 1979 Islamic revolution.
* Egypt 1955 - the US tried to kill nationalist Gammal Abdel Nasser. He turns to the Soviets.
* Iraq 1958 - US puts Col. Kassem in power. He turns into an anti-American lunatic.
* Indonesia 1967 - the US overthrows Sukarno, army and mobs kill 500,000 Sukarno supporters.
* Libya 1969 - the US helps a young officer, Muammar Khadaffi, seize power in Libya, then tries to kill him in 1986.
* Iraq 1975 - the US helps young Saddam Hussein seize power. In 1979 the US gets Saddam to invade Iran in an effort to crush Iran's Islamic revolution - 700,000 die in the war.
* Lebanon 1983 - US forces intervene in the civil war to prop up the Christian government, 240 US Marines die.
* Kuwait/Iraq - 1991 US goes to war against former ally Saddam, but keeps him in power.
* Somalia 1992 - US intervenes in civil war, loses men, flees.
* Iraq 1996 - US attempt to create a Kurd min-state collapses under Iraqi attack. CIA agents run for their lives.
Not a record to boast about. But undaunted by failure, the US has found its latest client, the Northern Alliance, and is moving with new-found ally, Russia, to quickly to implant them in Kabul. This is a historical irony of epic proportions: in the 1980's the US spent billions to oust the Russians from Afghanistan; now it is inviting them back in.
I write about the Tajik-dominated Alliance with unease. Its leader, Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani, is an old, respected friend of mine from the earliest days of the great Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union. A classical Persian scholar and poet, Rabbani is held in great esteem by his fellow Tajiks, Afghanistan's best educated, most sophisticated ethnic group.
Rabbani's military commander, Ahmad Shah Massoud, was killed by Arab suicide bombers two days before the mass attacks against the US. Massoud was adored by the western-media, and was being groomed by his foreign backers as the next leader of Afghanistan. Few outsiders knew that the dashing Massoud was regarded as a traitor by many Afghans for allying himself with the Soviets during the war and turning against his fellow mujihadin.
In recent years, Northern Alliance has been armed and financed by a very odd assortment of bedfellows: Russia, Iran, the US, India, and France. The Alliance controls a toehold in northeast Afghanistan next to Tajikistan, a Russian satellite state where Moscow has 25,000 troops.
The mainly Tajik Alliance has recently been lately joined by the Uzbek warriors of Gen. Rashid Dostam, a brutal communist warlord who collaborated for a decade with the Soviets and was responsible for mass killings and atrocities. America should have no dealings with such criminals. Without Russian helicopters, armor, and `advisors,' the Alliance would have long ago collapsed.
In all my years as a foreign affairs writer, I have never seen a case where so many Washington `experts' have all the answers to a country that only a handful of Americans know anything about. President George Bush, who before election could not name the president of Pakistan, now intends to redraw the political map of strategic Afghanistan, an act that will cause shock waves across South and Central Asia.
Anyone who knows anything about Afghans knows:
1. they will never accept any regime imposed by outsiders
2. an ethnic minority government can never rule Afghanistan's ethnic majority, the Pashtun (or Pathan), roughly half the population. Taliban are mostly Pushtun. Tajiks account for 18-20% and Uzbeks for 6% of Afghans.
Washington's plan for `nation-building' in Afghanistan is a recipe for disaster that will produce an enlarged civil war that draws in outside powers.
Let Afghans decide their own traditional way, through a national tribal council, called a loya jirga, to create a new, post-Taliban government whose strings are not pulled from abroad. As for King Zahir Shah, he is discredited as a `foreigner' in Afghanistan and too old to even be a figurehead. Prof Rabbani would make a good president, provided he was seen first an Afghan, and only secondly a Tajik.
Pakistan, which until lately backed Taliban, has only one interest: a stable, unchaotic Afghanistan. Islamabad will likely agree to a regime in neighboring Afghanistan that keeps order and is not the creature of its Russian, Iranian, or Indian enemies.
Washington's `experts,' would-be crusaders, and re-born Cold Warriors should look twice before they leap.
[Eric Margolis is a syndicated foreign affairs columnist and broadcaster, and author of the just released War at the Top of the World - The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet which was reviewed in The Economist, May 13, 2000]
Copyright © 2001 Eric Margolis - All Rights Reserved
|Justice, Not War|
|10/01/01 at 23:24:37|
|Justice, Not War |
By Kevin Danaher
Saturday, September 29, 2001; Page A27, Washington Post
A momentous decision confronts us as a nation: Do we define the violence of Sept. 11 as an act of war or as a crime against humanity? If we define it as war, it couches the issues in nationalist sentiment and separates us from the people of other nations. If we define it as a crime against humanity, it holds the potential for uniting humankind against the scourge of terrorism.
Defining our national stance as "war" takes us more in the direction of the garrison state. We are already one of the most heavily armed societies in history. Need we go further in that direction -- killing innocent foreigners and restricting our own freedoms -- before we realize it is the wrong direction for our country?
Rather than relying on the failed policies of the past and pushing the world into a descending vortex of violence, we need to help people move forward to a world of justice and peace.
Much as we may want to demonize the people who organized the mass violence of Sept. 11, we must admit that the sophistication of the attack tells us these people are capable of rational thought. If we attack indiscriminately and kill innocent people, the photos of those dead Muslims will be the greatest recruiting tool the terrorists could ask for. Do we want to strengthen their outreach capabilities among the 1 billion Muslims of the world?
The twin pillars of U.S. power in the world -- money and weapons -- have spawned many enemies. And now that we have been wounded, to lash out with more violence will only throw fuel on the fire. Just imagine events like those of Sept. 11 happening on a regular basis, and the warmongers calling for more and more retaliation as the horror escalates. If violence were capable of ending violence, we would have had a peaceful planet by now.
Instead of relying on the money values and weapons that got us into this trouble, we should rely on the greatest source of U.S. legitimacy around the world: our belief in the inherent right of all human beings to speak their minds, to assemble freely to petition government for change, to worship as they please and to participate actively in running their government. These human rights -- and being the most diverse population in the world -- are the pillars upon which we can rebuild U.S. credibility in the world.
Yet, if we reject the call for more violence, how do we go about the process of eliminating terrorism from the planet? First we must remember that we are not the only victims of terrorism. When terrorists massacred tourists in Egypt, that country could not declare "war" against the world. Algeria has been tormented by terrorist violence for decades, and it has not attacked other nations.
Many countries have suffered from varied terrorist acts, some perpetrated with U.S. weapons (American companies are the largest arms merchants in the world), and the people of those countries would love to end terrorism once and for all.
So let's redefine the attacks of Sept. 11 as a crime against humanity. Do we want to be seen by the world as a violent bully, mainly concerned with consuming a disproportionate share of the world's resources, or do we want to be seen as a global promoter of even-handed justice?
The perpetrators of the recent attacks can be apprehended and brought to justice without killing innocent civilians if we have the support of the world's governments. If America were to engage the world in setting up an effective international criminal court system, the support from other nations would be so strong it would be impossible for any country to shelter the perpetrators of mass violence.
Yes, a long trial exposing information on who these people are and where they learned their deadly craft would be embarrassing to some people in our government. But God help us if we are unable to criticize our public servants and rectify mistaken policies of the past.
As citizens, we cannot sit back and assume that our current policies and our current leaders will rectify the problem. We are now in uncharted waters, and the ship of state is being steered by some of the same people who got us into this mess in the first place. This is a time for the citizens of America to stand up and demand internationalism rather than isolationism, justice rather than revenge, and love rather than hate.
As the father of the Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln, once said: "The only safe way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend."
The writer is co-founder of Global Exchange, an international human rights organization.
© 2001 The Washington Post Company
|Re: America, We Feel your Pain, Do you Feel Ours? + other articles|
|10/02/01 at 00:29:10|
|Salaam Sis Sofia|
Thank you for all the articles.
I feel so sad, so very very sad. Sometimes I wonder, after all the barrage of news will we be numb ?
Ya ALlah, please grant us wisdom and peace and strength. Please grant us love and kindness in our hearts. Amin.
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