Naima Bouteldja - Front-page horror stories of extremist preachers filling the heads of young British Muslims with suicidal thoughts are a crude but effective means of helping to create the environment necessary for authoritarian action. They also help to sell newspapers. So it is that, since the tragic events of July 7th, Fleet Street’s fundamentalists have focused on “mad” Omar Bakri Muhammad, “bad” Abu Qatada and, of course, the tabloid favourite: the one-eyed, hooked-handed Abu Hamza. However, caught in the spotlight are some of the very thinkers Muslims and non-Muslims need to hear.
John Pilger - The enemy then was fascism. The enemy then was a great world power, rapacious, with plans of domination, of capturing the world’s natural resources: the oil fields of the Caspian and the Middle east, the mineral riches of Africa. They seemed invincible. The enemy then was also lies. Deceit. News dressed up as propaganda. Appeasement. A large section of the British establishment saw fascism as its friend. Some understood the nature of fascism, and they saw through the lies ands the deceit and the appeasement. They also knew that the true enemy didn’t always wear arm bands, and didn’t always strut, or command great rallies, but were impeccable English gentlemen who supported ruthless power behind a smokescreen of propaganda that appropriated noble concepts like “democracy” and “freedom” and “our way of life” and “our values”.
Mike Whitney - There are only two implements in the imperial tool-chest; fear and deception. Any serious investigation of the London bombings must keep this in mind; fear and deception are the lone forces that animate the administration and move policy. We will never completely know the level of government involvement in the London bombings, nor do we need to. We know that terror serves the greater interests of the state, props up the flagging careers of inept politicians, savages civil liberties, incites violence against minorities, divides society into hostile political encampments and vindicates the war agenda. We also know that Blair’s fear mongering on the attacks has enhanced his standing with the British people and increased his ability to manipulate public opinion.
Guest Editorial from MediaLens - Terrible ironies attend the use of violence for political ends. Despite their ostensible opposition, two warring factions are often united in their fundamental view of the world. Both insist that continued violence is the only realistic option. Both insist the enemy is the incarnation of mindless evil, completely beyond reason. Both reject as treasonous rational analyses indicating their own responsibility for promoting violence and rejecting non-violent alternatives. In other words, patriotic clichés and rousing rhetoric come at a high price. To the extent that rational thought and compassion for suffering are drowned out, the forces of violence are empowered.
Jerry Mazza - Is the “Rapture” of Evangelical Christianity really a rupture from biblical truth? For thousands of years certain Christians have been predicting the end times. Armageddon and the Second Coming were just around the corner - but not before the rise of the Antichrist and seven years of battle. These Christians also believe the “Rapture” the Bible supposedly spoke of would allow certain true believers to be swept up to heaven to watch the end times, like the War in Iraq from their living room TVs. Yet scholars say the word “"Rapture"” is not anywhere in the Bible. So the first rupture is from the reality of the good book. The “Rapture” ruptures itself from law in the name of absolute religious truth, which is neither absolute, really religious nor the truth, but a belief system designed for and by a certain sect of people to gain specific ends.
John Pilger - In all the coverage of last week’s bombing of London, a basic truth struggled to be heard. It has been said quietly, politely, guardedly, as if it might somehow dishonour the dead, instead of speaking truth to the cause. While not doubting the atrocious inhumanity of those who planted the bombs (as if anyone could), no one should doubt that these were “Blair’s bombs”; and he ought not be allowed to evade culpability with yet another unctuous Bush-inspired speech about “our way of life”. The bombers struck because he and Bush attacked Iraq, having been warned by the Joint Intelligence Committee that the “by far the greatest terrorist threat” to this country would be “heightened by military action against Iraq”. Indeed, this was the one reliable warning from British intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
Frederick Douglas - Fellow Citizens: Pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called to speak here today? What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions, whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are today rendered more intolerable by the jubilant shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world.
David R Hoffman - As any first year government student will confirm, it is the role of the United States Congress to pass laws, and it is the role of the courts to review, interpret and determine the constitutionality of these laws. As such, Congress already possesses the power to pass a law prohibiting the “physical desecration” of the flag; therefore the proposed amendment is unnecessary. But the legislative antics surrounding this amendment demonstrate that Congress is NOT requesting the power to pass laws prohibiting flag “desecration.” It is demanding the power to supersede the constitutional review process, thereby exempting certain laws from judicial scrutiny even when they clearly violate the Bill of Rights.
Tony Soldo - The American flag is a propaganda tool. It’s subliminal power enchants Americans to proudly follow their leaders, without question. For centuries, people by the millions have marched off to their death for no other reason, but to “defend” an image, colors on a cloth. Flag burning is a form of expression that relates a message to all that you are not happy with the actions of the government. No constitutional freedom is more important to a free and open society than freedom of speech. If we compromise on this one issue, we lose all freedom, because then, anyone can be charged with a crime for merely expressing themselves. As Huey Long stated, “If Fascism ever came to the United States, it would be wrapped in an American flag”.
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