Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|American policy and it's effects on the world|
|09/24/01 at 23:58:13|
After the assassination of John F. Kennedy ? before today, the most traumatic event for
Americans in my lifetime ? Malcolm X said "the chickens have come home to roost." Malcolm
was reportedly gleeful and rancorous, and his audience laughed at his words: he meant to
convey that Kennedy's death meant very little, compared to what whites had done to his
people. But the phrase would not be inappropriate today ? if said in sorrow ? after
thousands of innocents were killed in the worst terrorist assault in American history.
Whether the World Trade Center perpetrator is Osama Bin Laden, or one of countless Arab
or Muslim subgroups, we should not have any doubt: this attack was welcomed in much of
the Arab and Muslim world. Palestinian leaders may have given it pro-forma condemnation,
but the people on the Arab "street" were smiling and flashing "V" signs when they heard
Before Americans set their sights on revenge, (and revenge is expected, and necessary)
they should at least understand why this attack delighted many, why United States foreign
policy makes it hated in much of the world.
The reasons were spelled out in part last month by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's
foreign policy advisor Osama Baz. He came to Washington carrying the urgent message
from the Arab world's most populous state: the United States would face mounting rage in
the Middle East unless it did something to diffuse the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He was received politely by Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice and otherwise more or less
ignored. A month before, Senator George Mitchell's carefully modulated plan for a Middle
East cease-fire, which incorporated a freeze on new Israeli settlements in the Palestinian
territories, had been allowed to die on the vine after Israel said no dice to a settlement
freeze. America's unanimously pro-Israel pundit class paid no heed to Baz's visit, instead
using their columns to shill for an Israeli military reoccupation of the West Bank, supposedly
to solve Israel's terror problem once and for all.
But the United States, supplier of the tanks and helicopters and rockets which Israel uses
to control the West Bank and assassinate the odd Palestinian leader, cannot opt out of the
Middle East peace process. By its large scale arms shipments and financial subsidies to
Israel, it is already engaged. It is a key partner. The Oslo Peace process has aroused
Palestinian hopes for a viable state, and one can't imagine that they would relinquish them
now. In his attempted mediations, Bill Clinton eloquently gave voice to the reasonable core
of Palestinian aspirations. Now George Bush, whose knowledge of the Middle East seems
little deeper than what he picked up from a ride with Ariel Sharon on a helicopter, has
decided to snub the Arab world.
Israel and Palestine is not the only issue which arouses Arab rancor. The embargo on
Saddam Hussein's Iraq, organized and led by the United States, and now ten years old, is
responsible, UN officials estimate, for the death of more than half a million Iraqi children.
Saddam Hussein ? one of the world's cruelest tyrants, bears no small measure of
responsibility for the current horror in Iraq. But while American policies have left him in
power, they have done grievous harm Iraq's weakest, the old, the sick, the very young.
Americans don't read or hear much of this ? it is not on their front pages or TV screens.
But there now must be at least tens of thousands of Iraqi parents who know that their
children are dead because of the American embargo. It creates a sentiment ? now
widespread throughout the Middle East ? which allows for the perpetrators of today's
horrific deeds to be recruited.
America's airwaves are alive now with ordinary people calling for vengeance against this
most vile of attacks. I don't feel differently, and if I had lost a loved one, would volunteer for
a revenge mission myself. But we shouldn't delude ourselves about why there is so much
hatred for the United States. It does not come out of the clear blue. It is not because we
represent freedom and virtue and light, while the Arabs stand for darkness and
repression. American culture may represent something corrosive and immoral to certain
Islamic sensibilities ? that can't be helped. But that is not what provokes suicide bombers.
American policies often kill, directly and indirectly ? and this is why people are willing to
sacrifice themselves to kill us in return.
|Re: American policy and it's effects on the world|
|09/13/01 at 11:02:41|
|Asalaamu Aleikoum wa rahmatullah,|
[quote]Whether the World Trade Center perpetrator is Osama Bin Laden, or one of countless Arab or Muslim subgroups, we should not have any doubt: this attack was welcomed in much of the Arab and Muslim world. Palestinian leaders may have given it pro-forma condemnation, but the people on the Arab "street" were smiling and flashing "V" signs when they heard the news[/quote]
Seeing as the author seems to have little (if any) connection to the Middle East, Islam or the "Arab "street"" of which they speak, we should take the above comment with a rather large dose of salt.
Doesn't it wind you up when writers who complain about the media and the view that it gives of things then fall victim to the same media?
|Re: American policy and it's effects on the world|
|09/14/01 at 03:00:42|
|They can't see why they are hated|
Americans cannot ignore what their government does abroad
Special report: Terrorism in the US
Thursday September 13, 2001
Nearly two days after the horrific suicide attacks on civilian workers
in New York and Washington, it has become painfully clear that most
Americans simply don't get it. From the president to passersby on the
streets, the message seems to be the same: this is an inexplicable
assault on freedom and democracy, which must be answered with
overwhelming force - just as soon as someone can construct a credible
account of who was actually responsible.
Shock, rage and grief there has been aplenty. But any glimmer of
recognition of why people might have been driven to carry out such
atrocities, sacrificing their own lives in the process - or why the
United States is hated with such bitterness, not only in Arab and Muslim
countries, but across the developing world - seems almost entirely
absent. Perhaps it is too much to hope that, as rescue workers struggle
to pull firefighters from the rubble, any but a small minority might
make the connection between what has been visited upon them and what
their government has visited upon large parts of the world.
But make that connection they must, if such tragedies are not to be
repeated, potentially with even more devastating consequences. US
political leaders are doing their people no favours by reinforcing
popular ignorance with self-referential rhetoric. And the echoing chorus
of Tony Blair, whose determination to bind Britain ever closer to US
foreign policy ratchets up the threat to our own cities, will only fuel
anti-western sentiment. So will calls for the defence of "civilisation",
with its overtones of Samuel Huntington's poisonous theories of
post-cold war confrontation between the west and Islam, heightening
perceptions of racism and hypocrisy.
As Mahatma Gandhi famously remarked when asked his opinion of western
civilisation, it would be a good idea. Since George Bush's father
inaugurated his new world order a decade ago, the US, supported by its
British ally, bestrides the world like a colossus. Unconstrained by any
superpower rival or system of global governance, the US giant has
rewritten the global financial and trading system in its own interest;
ripped up a string of treaties it finds inconvenient; sent troops to
every corner of the globe; bombed Afghanistan, Sudan, Yugoslavia and
Iraq without troubling the United Nations; maintained a string of
murderous embargos against recalcitrant regimes; and recklessly thrown
its weight behind Israel's 34-year illegal military occupation of the
West Bank and Gaza as the Palestinian intifada rages.
If, as yesterday's Wall Street Journal insisted, the east coast carnage
was the fruit of the Clinton administration's Munich-like appeasement of
the Palestinians, the mind boggles as to what US Republicans imagine to
be a Churchillian response.
It is this record of unabashed national egotism and arrogance that
drives anti-Americanism among swaths of the world's population, for whom
there is little democracy in the current distribution of global wealth
and power. If it turns out that Tuesday's attacks were the work of Osama
bin Laden's supporters, the sense that the Americans are once again
reaping a dragons' teeth harvest they themselves sowed will be
It was the Americans, after all, who poured resources into the 1980s war
against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul, at a time when girls could go
to school and women to work. Bin Laden and his mojahedin were armed and
trained by the CIA and MI6, as Afghanistan was turned into a wasteland
and its communist leader Najibullah left hanging from a Kabul lamp post
with his genitals stuffed in his mouth.
But by then Bin Laden had turned against his American sponsors, while
US-sponsored Pakistani intelligence had spawned the grotesque Taliban
now protecting him. To punish its wayward Afghan offspring, the US
subsequently forced through a sanctions regime which has helped push 4m
to the brink of starvation, according to the latest UN figures, while
Afghan refugees fan out across the world.
All this must doubtless seem remote to Americans desperately searching
the debris of what is expected to be the largest-ever massacre on US
soil - as must the killings of yet more Palestinians in the West Bank
yesterday, or even the 2m estimated to have died in Congo's wars since
the overthrow of the US-backed Mobutu regime. "What could some political
thing have to do with blowing up office buildings during working hours?"
one bewildered New Yorker asked yesterday.
Already, the Bush administration is assembling an international
coalition for an Israeli-style war against terrorism, as if such
counter-productive acts of outrage had an existence separate from the
social conditions out of which they arise. But for every "terror
network" that is rooted out, another will emerge - until the injustices
and inequalities that produce them are addressed.
|Re: American policy and it's effects on the world|
|09/14/01 at 03:04:25|
|September 11 Was a Day of Sadness, Anger and Fear|
Copyright: http://www.iviews.com Published Wednesday September 12, 2001
By Robert Jensen
Like everyone in the United States and around the world, I shared the deep
sadness at the deaths of thousands.
But as I listened to people around me talk, I realized the anger and fear I
felt were very different, for my primary anger is directed at the leaders
of this country and my fear is not only for the safety of Americans but for
innocents civilians in other countries. It should need not be said, but I
will say it: The acts of terrorism that killed civilians in New York and
Washington were reprehensible and indefensible; to try to defend the would
be to abandon one's humanity. No matter what the motivation of the
attackers, the method is beyond discussion.
But this act was no more despicable as the massive acts of terrorism -- the
deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes -- that the U.S.
government has committed during my lifetime. For more than five decades
throughout the Third World, the United States has deliberately targeted
civilians or engaged in violence so indiscriminate that there is no other
way to understand it except as terrorism. And it has supported similar acts
of terrorism by client states.
If that statement seems outrageous, ask the people of Vietnam. Or Cambodia
and Laos. Or Indonesia and East Timor. Or Chile. Or Central America. Or
Iraq, or Palestine. The list of countries and peoples who have felt the
violece of this country is long. Vietnamese civilians bombed by the United
Timorese civilians killed by a U.S. ally with U.S.-supplied weapons.
Nicaraguan civilians killed by a U.S. proxy army of terrorists. Iraqi
civilians killed by the deliberate bombing of an entire country's
So, my anger on this day is directed not only at individuals who engineered
the Sept. 11 tragedy but at those who have held power in the United States
and have engineered attacks on civilians every bit as tragic. That anger is
compounded by hypocritical U.S. officials' talk of their commitment to
higher ideals, as President Bush proclaimed "our resolve for justice and
To the president, I can only say: The stilled voices of the millions killed
in Southeast Asia, in Central America, in the Middle East as a direct
result of U.S. policy are the evidence of our resolve for justice and
peace. Though that anger stayed with me off and on all day, it quickly
gave way to fear,but not the fear of "where will the terrorists strike
next," which I heard voiced all around me. Instead, I almost immediately
had to face the question:
"When will the United States, without regard for civilian casualties,
retaliate?" I wish the question were, "Will the United States retaliate?"
But if history is a guide, it is a question only of when and where.
So, the question is which civilians will be unlucky enough to be in the way
of the U.S. bombs and missiles that might be unleashed. The last time the
U.S. responded to terrorism, the attack on its embassies in Kenya and
Tanzania in 1998, it was innocents in the Sudan and Afghanistan who were in
the way. We were told that time around they hit only military targets,
though the target in the Sudan turned out to be a pharmaceutical factory.
As I monitored television during the day, the talk of retaliation was in
the air; in the voices of some of the national-security "experts" there was
a hunger for retaliation. Even the journalists couldn't resist; speculating
on a military strike that might come, Peter Jennings of ABC News said that
"the response is going to have to be massive" if it is to be effective.
Let us not forget that a "massive response" will kill people, and if the
pattern of past U.S. actions holds, it will kill innocents. Innocent
just like the ones in the towers in New York and the ones on the airplanes
that were hijacked. To borrow from President Bush, "mother and fathers,
friends and neighbors" will surely die in a massive response.
If we are truly going to claim to be decent people, our tears must flow not
only for those of our own country. People are people, and grief that is
limited to those within a specific political boundary denies the humanity
And if we are to be decent people, we all must demand of our government --
the government that a great man of peace, Martin Luther King Jr., once
described as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world" -- that the
insanity stop here.
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