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.Friday, July 22nd, 2005
Azmi Bishara - Between the self-promotion and consumerist hype of the Live 8 concerts, it is possible to discern some of the features of an albeit unwritten and unsystematically thought out ideology, which places itself at the centre of, rather than against, current global policies. There are no longer evil forces in the world, not even in the context of African poverty, with the exception, of course, of fundamentalist Islamic movements. The London bombings furnished an opportunity to affirm the sense of harmony and complacency within a culture that has rallied to display its solidarity on behalf of the absolutely abstract victim, poor and defenceless Africa, which cannot, in contrast to the culture of terrorism, play anything but the victim. It is important, too, that our demonstrations of universal solidarity in the fight against poverty and disease be heavily spiced with celebrity appearances and performances lest solidarity becomes boring.Friday, July 22nd, 2005
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”.Thursday, July 21st, 2005
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.Wednesday, July 20th, 2005
Peter Symonds - If one deleted the names and dates from a description of the Dujail massacre, it could just as easily be the description of an untold number of US military operations in Iraq. A convoy comes under attack, helicopter gunships strafe the neighbouring village or suburb, squads of heavily armed troops kill or detain hundreds of suspected “terrorists”, and the arrested are held in detention centres without trial and tortured. The scale of atrocities in Dujail pales in comparison to the US military’s levelling of Fallujah, but the last thing that the Bush administration wants is to have to defend all of the lies that it used to justify its act of aggression. By insisting that the trial take place in Baghdad, the White House has ensured that the US invasion will never become a courtroom issue.Wednesday, July 20th, 2005
Ramzy Baroud - Sharon has once more demonstrated that he is anything but a changed man. His words and actions are the single required testimony. In fact, one might argue that his commitment to the illegal settlements project is approaching the apex: Caging in Palestinians in the whole occupied territories, effectively annexing 58 per cent of the West Bank, expanding the borders of “Greater Jerusalem”, dispatching thousands of Jewish settlers from Gaza to the West Bank, incarcerating tens of thousands of Palestinians behind walls, fences, trenches and locked gates. This is what the Israeli Prime Minister has to offer Palestinians in response to their one sided ceasefire and to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose foremost priority seems to be proving to Washington and Tel Aviv, that he, unlike Arafat, is a worthy and “relevant” peace partner.Tuesday, July 19th, 2005
Iman Al-Saadun - I am sending this letter to the British people and, in particular, to the residents of London. For a period of hours, you lived through moments of anxiety and horror. In those hours you lost a member of your family or a friend, and we wish to tell you, in total honesty, that we, too, grieve when human lives are lost. You don’t know our martyrs, but we know them. You don’t remember them or cry over them, but we do. Have you heard the name of the little girl Hannan Salih Matrud? Or of the boy Ahmad Jabir Karim? Or Sa`id Shabram? Yes, our dead have names too. They have faces and stories and memories. There was a time when they were among us, laughing and playing. They had dreams, just as you have. They had a tomorrow awaiting them. But today they sleep among us with no tomorrow on which to wake.Monday, July 18th, 2005
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.Monday, July 18th, 2005
Francis Wheen - A penniless asylum seeker in London was vilified across two pages of the Daily Mail last week. No surprises there, perhaps - except that the villain in question has been dead since 1883. ‘Marx the Monster’ was the Mail’s furious reaction to the news that thousands of Radio 4 listeners had chosen Karl Marx as their favourite thinker. ‘His genocidal disciples include Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot - and even Mugabe. So why has Karl Marx just been voted the greatest philosopher ever?’ The puzzlement is understandable. Fifteen years ago, after the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, there appeared to be a general assumption that Marx was now [to quote Monty Python] an ex-parrot. He had kicked the bucket, shuffled off his mortal coil and been buried forever under the rubble of the Berlin Wall.Sunday, July 17th, 2005
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.Saturday, July 16th, 2005
Yamin Zakaria - Almost everyday I get email responses to my essays, usually containing lots of two word expletives, almost all from within the USA. Since stereotyping is wrong, I did ask myself the question, are those Americans, exceptional or typical. Anyway, I began to think about those two word responses, and thought of the possibility of my being both, wrong and a “sand nigger”. Thereafter, I renounced all my previous writings, written whilst I was clearly misguided and brainwashed by the Arabs and Muslim terrorists. Listed below is my new view of history and the world. So, let us proceed with the issues, fasten your seat belts, sit tight and I will show you the world according to the neo-cons, Zionists, right-wing Republicans, fundamentalist Christians and the KKK.Saturday, July 16th, 2005
Stefan Christoff - The distance between Montreal and Lebanon stretches thousands of kilometers over oceans and continents, but is only a short distance in Ahmed’s eyes and living memory of an existence shaped by the daily struggle of statelessness. Ahmed’s deportation, and continuing struggle against statelessness in Lebanon is now etched into Palestinian history. Human stories of those who struggle for justice in the most difficult circumstances, like Ahmed’s, are inspiration for those who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people throughout the world. From the refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh in southern Lebanon to the streets of Montreal, Palestinian refugees are a living example of a people who carry an identity defined by a will to resist oppression.Friday, July 15th, 2005
Waleed Aly - Do not let the injustice of others lead you into an injustice, says the Koran. With every terrorist attack attributed to Muslims over the past four years, I have witnessed a community shifting more and more into outrage at the barbarism done in its name. Reason and coherence are products of distinction and discernment rather than crude generalization. But terrorism is about the most sinister of generalizations, where a whole nation, a people, a planet is essentialised and deemed indiscriminately unfit for human existence. There are no people any more. There are only causes. In this way, terrorism is itself what it begets: the suspension of reason, the annihilation of coherence. And without reason, we become like cattle.Thursday, July 14th, 2005
Guest Editorial - What is the difference between a bombing campaign launched by America or Britain and a terrorist attack? The answer to this question is very pertinent in the wake of the recent London bombings and is also very simple. Whenever America and Britain attack and bomb, killing tens of thousands of civilians around the world, it is a justified “war” in “self-defence” against often exaggerated or phantom enemies. Whenever others in response give them a taste of what they readily dish out to many others, it is a different story. The most horrific aspect of the London bombings from the West’s point of view is not so much the carnage itself. It is the fact that Britain, the great imperialistic warmonger, has been attacked at all, despite being immune for centuries from the hatred they have generated among the people they have attacked and oppressed.Wednesday, July 13th, 2005
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.Tuesday, July 12th, 2005
Immanuel Wallerstein - We know now that George W. Bush confided to one of his friends before he was president that he wanted a war with Iraq and that, unlike his father, he would get rid of Saddam Hussein. And so he has. But as the U.S. polls turn seriously against him and a majority of Americans today say that the war wasn’t worth the loss of lives, it is time to take a reckoning of what Mr. Bush has accomplished. He wanted a quick war, and he didn’t get that. Mr. Bush also wanted a regime in power that would be a strong, long-term ally, capable of running the country. So far he hasn’t got that either. And finally, like the narrow-minded provincial that he is, George W. Bush expected that the U.S. would flourish at home. Instead, the United States is living through a national culture war that is massive and threatens to turn violent in the next decade.Saturday, July 9th, 2005
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.Monday, July 4th, 2005
Linsdey German - When we talk about debt cancellation, let’s not mention the more than $30 billion write-off of Iraq’s debt last November in order to speed privatisation and Western capital investment in the run-up to the Iraqi elections. Make Poverty History (MPH), the loose coalition which organised Saturday’s demo, has colluded in this silence by refusing to allow the Stop the War Coalition (MPH) to affiliate to it. A refusal to allow the affiliation of the largest mass movement in Britain shows a political refusal to take on a government that has brought poverty and war to the world. Brown, so keen on this agenda, is the same person who only a few months ago on a visit to Africa proclaimed that Britain had no reason to apologise for its empire. The danger with the MPH attitude is that the protest becomes an uncritical backdrop for the G8, not the critique of its policies and politics that is so sorely needed.Monday, July 4th, 2005
Yamin Zakaria - George Bush referred to Iraq resistance as “hunting down terrorists”. So now they are not even “insurgents” in their own lands! There was no “terrorists”, no Musab al-Zarqawi, no car bombs, no kidnappings and no beheadings in Iraq prior to the war. Therefore, what the US is hunting now is its own creation - these phenomena are the consequence of its action and not the cause! The “insurgents” became “terrorists”, and then they were referred to as “foreign fighters”, as if the Iraqis are simply spectators in the entire thing. “Foreign fighters” have come from other neighbouring Arab/Muslim countries, constituting less than 1% of the resistance. If those Arab/Muslims from Saudi, Syria, and Jordan are foreigners, what are the Poles, Aussies, Brits, Japs and Italians in Iraq?Sunday, July 3rd, 2005
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