A response to the Sept.11, 2001
Terror Attacks in NYC and DC
By Minister Faust
Originally broadcast on
The Terrordome Afrika All-World News Service,
2001 September 19
The following is, without question, the most difficult piece of writing I have ever created for The Afrika All-World News Service. It is difficult because the circumstances that motivate are so deeply upsetting, for reasons that will become clear. And it is difficult because I am aware of the repercussions that I may face for giving voice to what many people feel or believe, but think that they cannot say.
Still, the Honourable Malcolm X teaches us that “If you’re afraid to tell the truth, you don’t even deserve freedom.” This programme has aired on CJSR FM-88 since 1991, and it has been dedicated since its inception to discussing the truth about the Afrikan world, about anti-imperialism and the pro-democracy movement that is covered up or misrepresented elsewhere. That will not change tonight.
This editorial concerns the event and context of the terrorist attacks on the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the incorrect diagnosis of the cause and incorrect prescription for cure, the actual cause, what we must avoid in response, and what we must do in response.
SORROW FOR VICTIMS
Some people who are angry about international crimes, even crimes against humanity, committed by the United States, are making the ghastly and immoral error of gloating about the appalling attacks of Tuesday. Some people--not many, but some--have felt and expressed glee at what they see as pay-back for American arrogance, bullying, terrorism and mass-murder.
As human beings, as people of faith, we must reject such thoughts and behaviour completely. This is no time for gloating or glee. While it is indisputable that the US Government is responsible for innumerable crimes, the people who were killed were not.
Many people have said, “You reap what you sow.” But in regards to the attacks on New York in particular, such a remark is callous and grossly incorrect. It is not ordinary American workers and mums and dads who send the stealth bombers and the depleted uranium shells to the Gulf, it is not hard-working janitors and cleaning ladies who detonate nuclear bombs on the South Pacific islands or over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is not taxi drivers and tourists who sent fleets of slaving ships for the European Holocaust against Afrika, it is not typists and photocopier repairmen who carved up the motherland of humanity and ripped out its resources, enslaving its peoples to permanent, crushing debt, it is not lunch counter waitresses and short-order cooks who stole entire countries and granted them out as foreign policy police stations to willing colonialists... it is not ordinary American workers who launched coup after coup or trained the coup leaders, who orchestrated the assassinations of numerous democratic anti-imperialists, who created, financed and directed terrorist armies and put half a world into thrall.
The ordinary folks--parents and kids--who died on Tuesday and who will be found dead in the days to come, did nothing to deserve such a premature and horrifying end to their lives. We must mourn them, for they are us. They are the vast bulk of humanity... innocent people who work and pay bills and treat folks decently, who are just trying to do the right thing on a day to day basis.
What happened on Tuesday was not insanity, although many short-sighted and shallow analysts will call it that. What happened on Tuesday was very sane--cold, calculated mass murder. Call it “insanity” and you excuse us of our responsibility to explain its real causes. Sink into this type of moronic recitation and we stop having to use our minds to understand why innocent people are killed. If we avoid such foolishness, and instead gaze into the machinery of death, we have the hope of stopping it.
Evil was committed on Tuesday.
Hijacking airplanes filled with innocent people and ramming them into buildings filled with more innocent people so that the collapsed buildings will crush and kill still more innocent people on the ground--this is unforgivable evil.
Walking into airports and slaughtering civilians with machine gun fire... this is unforgivable evil.
Invading a country to steal its oil, while using poison gas against the ethnic and religious minorities among your own citizenry... this is unforgivable evil.
Stealing someone’s country and its water and land and resources while claiming that your right to do so comes from God, or the Bible, or history, or science, or evolution... this is unforgivable evil.
Committing or assisting genocide against Arawak, Taino, Beothuks, Namibians, Congolese, Armenians, indigenous Amazonians, Chinese, Jews, Cambodians, Tibetans, East Timorese, Tutsis... this is unforgivable evil.
Forced relocation and enslavement of fifty million people, mass-liquidation of original nations and destruction of civilisations on both sides of the Atlantic... this is unforgivable evil.
Dropping thousands of bombs and firing thousands of shells made of radioactive waste that becomes a lethal aerosol on impact, or defoliating the land with deadly herbicides, or dropping atomic weapons, all of which kill and maim and deform and kill again for generation and generation to come... this is unforgivable evil.
Conquering the world, and then enslaving it with debt to you as a perverse, reverse invoice for everything you’ve stolen and all the people you’ve murdered and all the cultures you’ve destroyed, while that very same debt strangles them and their children to slow deaths... this is unforgivable evil.
INCORRECT DIAGNOSIS of the CAUSE and INCORRECT PRESCRIPTION FOR CURE
We have already heard, and we will continue to hear in the weeks to come, numerous incorrect analyses of and prescriptions against the horror of September 11.
The incorrect analyses will include:
“The people who did this just aren’t like us... people where they come from, in their religion, just don’t have the same regard for human life that we do.”
“The people who do this are simply insane. They jealously hate us for our hard work and success. Our countries have never done anything to cause any sane person to want to strike at us.”
“These things happen because we’re too slack with our borders and our immigration.”
It will also be wrong when some people say that “humanity” is responsible as a whole, that there is some evil in the collective human heart. What about the Americans of all races and creeds who have lined up to donate part of their own bodies--their blood--in order to save lives? What about the Americans who defy the genocidal sanctions of their own government against the Iraqi people in order to restore human decency to international relations?
The incorrect prescriptions for cure will include:
“We should stop all immigration.”
“We should kick out the people already here who don’t share ‘our’ culture and ‘our’ values.”
“We should forget about funding education, health care, multiculturalism or multilingualism--what we need is more guns, more armies, and a space-based missile defense system.”
And “Because the people who did this just don’t place the same value on human life that we do, we should just kill all of ’em. Nuclear-style.”
It is understandable, in a way, that so many people cry out for vengeance. After all, how can one not be angry when one has been hurt? The suddenness and scale of these atrocities shock us and appal us. We are filled with horror at these vicious murders, committed by unrepentant technicians of death. How can anyone NOT by moved by such calculated, cynical acts of mass murder?
The answer is simple.
People in the West are unmoved by such unforgivable outrages and evils every day, so long as they are committed by Western military forces in the interests of Western political and corporate power, and are distorted or covered up by Western corporate or national press.
At work two days ago I saw many people deeply moved, some to tears, by the evils done against innocent Americans. These reactions are human and decent. But I have never seen tears from any of these people over the course of my entire career with them for the hundreds of thousands and even millions dead from the Congo War, from the sanctions against Iraq, from civil war in Sierra Leone, from the occupation of Tibet, from the war in Chechnya or in the former Yugoslavia.
Why are only some people deserving of our tears?
Is is skin colour? Arabs and Congolese don’t matter, but Bosnians do, right? Is it religion? Chechyns don’t matter, but Northern Irish do? But what about White Serbians? Weren’t they bombed by NATO? What about Muslim Kuwaitis and Muslim Bosnians? Weren’t others bombed supposedly to save them?
When any group of people is dehumanised and made out to be worthless or lacking in human dignity, we prepare that group for exploitation, violence and death.
US President George W. Bush has said that “No distinction will be made between the perpetrators and those who harbour them” in reference to who will be punished, and how much. But what about all the unreconstructed Nazis of the Third Reich, not only scientists but political operatives, smuggled via the American Rat Line into the US and Canada and across Latin America, given jobs and comfort and wealth? Does not President Bush’s remark give Israel the right to bomb Argentina... or Washington itself?
It is wrong to delight in the murder of innocent people, and it is wrong to preach hypocritically about who has respect for human life and who doesn’t, when you call for swift, violent, indiscriminate attacks against anybody who even looks like an enemy.
CAUSE: US CRIMES, US TRAINING
It is well-known that the US trained-- if not Osama bin Laden personally, at least forces around Osama bin Laden--in their Afghan war against the Soviets, just as the US also trained former allies including Saddam Hussein of Iraq, the Shah of Iran, Manuel Noriega of Panama, Somosa of Nicaragua, Batista of Cuba, Mobutu Seso Seko of Congo, Botha of the Dutch Reich in South Africa, the Duvaliers of Haiti, Marcos of the Philippines, the terrorist armies of UNITA in Angola and the Contras in Nicaragua, death-squad governments in El Salvador, Chile, Guatemala, Indonesia, East Timor... and on the list goes.
The United States creates monsters who, after completing their work of butchering poor people (and usually poor people with brown skin), predictably turn on their masters.
But the calls for retribution are clearly short-sighted and ignorant of even recent history. Take Sudan.
After two US embassies were bombed in Tanzania and Kenya, the US bombed Afghanistan and Sudan. In the case of Sudan, they claimed that they attacked a chemical weapons plant. What many knew at the time, but what was proven later by international inspectors, was that the plant actually was a pharmaceutical facility, making half of all medicine consumed by this very poor North Afrikan country. That the chemical weapons claim was bogus is proven by the lack of American opposition to a lawsuit filed against it for their unjustified, brutal and criminal attack. How many Sudanese will suffer and die, denied medicine by US terrorist bombs, dropped at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal... as if that were just a coincidence?
How about Iraq? The US and Britain bomb Iraq almost everyday and have done so at least since 1998. The US-Britain led sanctions against Iraq have claimed 1.5 MILLION lives since their imposition. 41 per cent of them, or about 623,000, are children under the age of five. “When [Madeline Albright, then US Secretary of State was] asked on US television if she thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children [from sanctions in Iraq] was a price worth paying, Albright replied: ‘This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.’” (John Pilger, "Squeezed to Death", Guardian, March 4, 2000 - [Note from 2006: After a vast outcry from people around the world, Albright has since repudiated this statement]). Can you find a greater articulation of fanaticism? Can you find a better articulation of people who do not share our value of human life? Who will pay for this? Where are the calls for retribution for this?
The recent World Conference Against Racism saw the United States in particular and European countries and settler colonies like Canada pull every trick in the book, with their corporate media and CBC allies collaborating every step of the way, refuse to take responsibility for their crimes against humanity--the European Holocaust in Afrika of enslavement, deportation and colonisation, and their genocides in and conquest of the rest of the world. So it is no surprise that when innocent Americans are murdered by evil men trained by the US itself, that the US government refuses to acknowledge its own culpability.
Instead, blame someone else. Make an enemy. Dehumanise someone and everyone who looks like them at home and abroad. And then murder them.
It is time that we had an authentic definition of terrorism. One that included the greatest masters of them all. The alliance of wealth, government, and armed forces.
WHAT MUST WE DO?
What must we do in the pro-democracy movement? We must relentlessly educate our fellow citizens in our churches, our clubs, our schools, our shops, or unions, our lodges, our families, about the real reasons that innocent people are killed either in our countries, or by our countries.
We must organise so as to force our governments to seek a diplomatic solution to this crisis, such as having bin Laden and his henchmen extradited to an Islamic country to be tried by an international panel of judges representative of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, including judges from Muslim countries.
We must organise so as to force our governments to halt the proposed military “crusade,” which, if history is any guide, will slaughter, poison and starve hundreds of thousands, if not millions--particularly of the very people who are the primary victims of the Taliban.
We must organise so as to force our governments, especially the US government, to cease creating and funding terrorist armies and dictatorships around the world, especially through its military academy, the School of the Americas, dubbed “the School of Coups,” cease overthrowing foreign governments (especially democratically elected administrations), and cease commissioning the assassination of foreign leaders.
We must organise so as to force our governments, especially the USG, to end the illegal sanctions against Iraq which, to date, have killed 1.5 million Iraqi citizens, including 623,000 children under five.
We must organise to support the large-scale anti-sanctions movement, so that innocent people living under dictatorships formerly sponsored by the West, or in countries with governments which opposed absolute Western dominance, are allowed medicine and food and technical assistance to support human life and expand an international community of decency and justice.
We must organise so as to force our governments, especially the USG, to conduct international economic, political and social relations to foster prosperity and stability among poor nations impoverished further via Western exploitation (especially through the economic Structural Adjustment Policies of the IMF and the World Bank), rather than the international system of exploitation and destabilisation that creates widespread resentment and rage against Western wealth, indifference, violence and greed, which is a major cause of terrorism against innocent Western citizens.
We must organise our minor and major unions to create a democratic alternative to the corporate press--a national or international union weekly, and eventually daily newspaper and cable television station, that can accurately report on the real functions of wealth and power in this world--their own enrichment, at the expense of everyone else.
We must inform the citizens of our countries of independent and on-line news media that provide genuinely balanced coverage of national and international affairs, so that citizens may vote, organise and buy with regard to justice.
We must inform the public with accurate lists of which companies earn money from the manufacture and sale of conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction, so that citizens may boycott these companies which grow fat from mutilation, destruction and death.
We must inform the public with accurate lists of which companies conduct their manufacture and shipping of goods within socially and economically just conditions, and which do not, so that citizens may economically reward just companies that promote stability and economically punish those which promote misery and instability.
We must give blood, or funds for medicine or machinery, or our labour, to help our American brothers and sisters murdered in this outrageous acts of evil... and also in other countries such as Iraq.
We must pray and organise for peace, we must love and take care of our neighbours... we must oppose evil no matter the colour or the nationality or religion of the perpetrator... and we must help our fellow human beings... no matter the colour or nationality or religion.