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October 2001

Operation Infinite Injustice?

by Frank Scott

"Please forgive us for being the most violent government on earth"-Martin Luther King

While hundreds reacted heroically in the moments after the tragedy of September 11, the president and most politicians reminded us of the words of Martin Luther King. At a time demanding shock and grief, but also thoughtfulness as to why this horror took place, most spoke of vengeance and retribution, charging there was pure evil in the world, as though we all float on a sea of pure goodness. This is the ultimate 911 emergency. Our theoretical democracy may be further threatened by our reaction to this tragedy, more than by the tragedy itself.

The horrible bombings in New York and Washington gripped most of us with dread, but millions across the globe may have been glad to see us suffer the way that they have, sometimes for ages and not just for one terrible day.

Americans need to understand why others hate us enough to do such a bloody and desperate thing, but they won't if they only hear the hate dogma of our fundamentalist politicians and pundits. The other fundamentalists have their own dogma, if not an air force, to set them on their paths of retribution. And whether in New York, Washington, Baghdad or Belgrade, only the innocent suffer, never the power elites or their toadies, and that is a lesson we must learn from 911.

We can no longer tolerate a double standard that finances Saddam Hussein to kill Iranians, and later calls him a monster ; that supports Osama Bin Laden when he kills Russians, but later calls him a demon ; that finances terror all over the world , murders hundreds of thousands in Iraq , that in the past 20 years has bombed Libya, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, and Yugoslavia, but only calls it mass murder when it happens to us.

That the horrendous events of 9/11 took place shortly after our performance at the Durban conference on racism may have been a coincidence, but our behavior there exemplified what makes us a rogue nation. 160 countries attended that conference , but the big news here was the walkout of the Israeli and U.S. delegations. These two, historically joined at the wallet and the bible, were distressed that Palestinians called Zionism a racist and colonial policy. Apparently, settling on other people's territory, making them second class citizens in their own homeland and killing them when they resist should be seen as western hospitality.

Had there been justice at Durban, the U.S. and Israeli delegations would have been thrown out bodily, given their insufferable arrogance. Turning the old maxim on its head, they believe words speak louder than actions, that calling something democracy in word negates racist bloodletting and murderous disrespect in action .

The cultural collision in Durban and the murderous tragedies in New York and Washington, were about political economics as much as anything . Media gas bags declaiming about our values and freedoms as reasons why we're hated are no better than the slight-of-word shysters at Durban who deemed the words "crime against humanity" too strong. They were really in fear of law suits that might result from admissions of guilt .

Slavery was a crime against humanity, as were the 911 terror bombings, but only the one day tragedy is so labeled, while the hundreds of years of the African Holocaust are deemed something less, in racist retrospect.

The major factors in the walkout at Durban, and the tragic 911 events, were the denial of responsibility by the US and its colonial junior partner , Israel, for injustice in the Arab and Muslim world, and the West's refusal to admit that a major part of the historic base for its economic power rested on slavery and continues to rely on the debasement and subjugation of billions of people around the world .

The indebtedness of poor nations in Africa and elsewhere, reduced to abject poverty at least in part by the plunder of their resources by the west, is only one reminder of the past. The descendants of slaves still endure unreasonable hardships in Africa , and in the USA, where long after the sop of affirmative action there are still more black men in America's prisons than in America's professions.

Growing support for financial reparations for the crime of slavery was the motivating factor in the walkout at Durban, not the cover story about Zionism . The history of racism and colonialism needs to be faced with responsibility, to amend the savage practices of the past, which continue in forms sometimes more cosmetic, but no less damaging to the body and soul of individuals , nations and cultures. Our corporate leaders won't do it, but we must.

The world-wide terrorism of hunger, disease and oppression torments millions every day of their lives; it is at the root of the unrest sweeping the planet and fomenting atrocities like the terrible slaughter that shocked this nation.

Our behavior towards that global majority must change. That majority is not western, white, Christian or Jewish, and not interested in having our values or our religion shoved down their throats. We need to start respecting them, and stop respecting the rich despots who rule them, often because they sell us cheap gasoline and buy our expensive weapons.

And we need to stop supporting politicians who prize money more than democracy, who give a blank check to troubled corporations and a blank look to troubled citizens. Their cowardly support for repressive legislation will make our democracy weaker, if not impossible. And a far more powerful democracy is the only way to end the threat of future horrors worse than the events of 911 . These words from America the Beautiful ring more true than ever:

"America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law."

Amen, Awomen

 

 

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