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Old October 16th, 2001, 06:41 AM
crazy-sexy-cool-babe's Avatar
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Petition

I just recieved this mail from an American firend of mine .So just feel like sharing it

__________________________

In a message dated 9/21/01 6:04:39 AM, CindySym@austin.rr.com writes:
Recently, the editor of Chatelaine (Sally Armstrong, ex Homemaker's
Editor) was interviewed on CBC radio. She had just returned from a trip
to Afghanistan to see the present state of affairs for herself, having
been told the situation had "improved". She stated that the situation
has deteriorated even further, as is detailed in the following message.
She noted that there has been a worldwide outcry against the Taliban's
recent destruction of ancient Buddhist statues, far more vocal than any
outcry against the Taliban's destruction of Afghan women! With the
speed
and scope of Email, we can, if we persist, provide not 9,000, but
9,000,000 signatures to the governments of the free world. Let's do it!
Subject: Afghani women - If you decide not to forward this, please send
it back to me. This is an actual petition, and "signatures" will be
lost
if you drop the line. Please take a few minutes out of your
life to do your part for our sisters in Afghanistan. Be sure
to include other members of your household who are willing to sign.
Oprah recently had a show about this atrocity and it was heartbreaking.
Petition to the United Nations Background Information: Madhu, the
government of Afghanistan, is waging a war upon women. Since the
Taliban
took power in 1996, women have had to wear burqua and have been beaten
and stoned in public for not having the
proper attire, even if this means simply not having the mesh
covering in front of their eyes. One woman was beaten to death by an
angry mob of Fundamentalists for accidentally exposing her arm(!) while
she was driving. Another was stoned to death for trying to
leave the country with a man that was not her relative. Women are not
allowed to work or even go out in public without a male relative;
professional women such as professors, translators, doctors, lawyers,
artists and writers have been forced from their jobs and restricted to
their homes. Homes where a woman is present must have their windows
painted so that she can never be seen by outsiders. They must wear
silent shoes so that they are never heard. Women live in fear of their
lives for the slightest misbehavior. Because they cannot work, those
without male relatives or husbands are either starving to death or
begging in the street, even if they hold Ph.D.'s.
Depression is becoming so widespread that it has reached
emergency levels. There is no way in such an extreme Islamic society to
know the suicide rate with certainty, but relief workers are estimating
that the suicide rate among women must be extraordinarily high: those
who cannot find proper medication and treatment for severe depression
and would rather take their lives than live in such conditions. At one
of the rare hospitals for women, reporter found still, nearly lifeless
bodies lying motionless on top of beds, wrapped in
their burqua, unwilling to speak, eat, or do anything, but
slowly waste away. Others have gone mad and were seen crouched in
corners, perpetually rocking or crying, most of them in fear. It is at
the point where the term "human rights violations" has become an
understatement.
Husbands have the power of life and death over their women
relatives, especially their wives, but an angry mob has just as much
right to stone or beat a woman, often to death, for exposing an inch of
flesh or offending them in the slightest way. Women enjoyed relative
freedom: to work, to dress generally as they wanted, and to drive and
appear in public alone until only 1996. The rapidity of this transition
is the main reason for the depression and suicide; Women who were once
educators or doctors or simply used to basic human freedoms
are now severely restricted and treated as subhuman in the name of
right-wing fundamentalist Islam. It is not their tradition or
'culture',
but it is alien to them, and it is extreme even for those
cultures where fundamentalism is the rule. Everyone has a right to a
tolerable human existence, even if they are women in a Muslim country.
If we can threaten military force in Kosovo the name of human rights
for
the sake of ethnic Albanians, citizens of the world can
certainly express peaceful outrage at the oppression, murder and
injustice committed against women by the Taliban. STATEMENT: In signing
this, we agree that the current treatment of women
in Afghanistan is completely UNACCEPTABLE and deserves
action by the United
Nations and that the current situation overseas will not be
tolerated. Women's Rights is not a small issue anywhere, and it is
UNACCEPTABLE for
women in 2001 to be treated as subhuman and as so much
property. Equality and human decency is a fundamental RIGHT, not a
freedom to be granted, whether one lives in Afghanistan or elsewhere.
1) Giuliana D. Black, Daly City, CA, USA
2) Mariam Nayiny, Palo Alto, CA, USA
3) Sunaina Gulati-Ruh, Palo Alto, CA USA
4) Megan McCaslin, Palo Alto, CA USA
5) Blake Hallanan, San Francisco, Ca. USA
6) Kit Henderson, Sacramento, CA USA
7) Kara Myers, San Francisco, CA
8) Ellen Tilden, San Francisco, CA
9) Vanessa Ross, San Francisco, CA
10) Jenna Shaw- Battista, San Francisco, CA
11) Jeanne Racik, B!erkeley, CA
12) Julie Silas, Oakland, CA
13) Renee Longstreet, Tarzana, CA
14) Susan Johnson, Encino, CA
15) Kenneth Johnson, Encino, CA
16) Terri Treas, Los Angeles, CA
17) Amy Retzinger, North Hollywood, CA
18) Babette Crooms, Los Angeles, CA
19) Olivia Kienzel; Santa Barbara, CA
20) Sean Dexheimer, Los Angeles, CA
21) Elio Chavez, Jr., Pasadena, CA
22) Gregory Kastigar, Los Angeles, CA
23) Robert Collie, Los Angeles, CA
24) Jeff Garvin, Brea, CA
25) Tricia Allen, Shermn Oaks, CA
26) Joleen Nordstrom ~ Hollywood, CA
27) Theresa Donahoe - Martinez,CA
28) Jennifer Horn - Concord, CA
29) Roxanne Ryan - Alamo, CA
30) Miriam Tyler- San Jose CA
31) John Burns- San Jose CA
32) Kristin Lynn Minick- Fort Worth TX
33) Jeff Neal- Marietta, GA
34) Anna Neal- Marietta, GA
35) Frances Murley-Fort Worth, TX
36) David Murley-London, England, UK
37) Jillian Dykhouse, Colleyville, TXant.
38) Bonnie Dykhouse,Colleyville,TX
39) Nancy Williams, Colleyville, TX
40) Georgene Farr, Sterling Heights, MI
41) Joanne Arensberg, Riverview, MI
42) Luann Ouellette, Vermillion, SD
43) Sandie Sullivan, Vermillion, SD
44) Troy Nelson, Minneapolis, MN USA
45) Joseph Miller, Minneapolis, MN USA
46) Kathleen Miller, White Bear Lake, MN USA
47) Jerry Marquis, Mpls. Mn. USA
48) Julie Stokes, Coon Rapids, MN USA
49) Tracy Ford, Blaine, MN USA
50) Sheila Lawrence, Monticello, MN USA
51) Brenda Kitchen, Westlake Village, Calif!ornia,USA
52) Teresa Burke, Sherman Oaks, CA, USA
53) Bruce Ehrlich, Sherman Oaks, CA USA
54) Yllania Francis, Los Angeles, CA USA
55) Drew Hedin, Los Angeles, CA USA
56) Laura Paridon, Laguna Woods, CA USA
57) Jeanie Hagedorn, Des Moines, IA USA
58) Sue Christensen, Des Moines, IA USA
59) Sybil Finken, Glenwood, IA USA
60) Luke Finken, Earth
61) Doug Gerace, Lincoln, NE USA
62) Cheryl Gerace, NE
63) Sheri Lew, CO
64) Raven Grace, Boulder, CO
65) Martha M.Mertz, EL, Michigan
66) Colleen R. Cooper, Okemos, Michigan
67) Barbara J. Sawyer-Koch, East Lansing, MI
68) Margaret A. Meyers, Okemos, Michigan
69) Mary Helen Espes, Okemos, Michigan
70) Maureen Kirchhoff, Allenspark, CO
71) Bart Johnson, Err, France
72) Sharon!O'Connor, Olympia, WA USA
73) Nancy Irving, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia
74) Martha Lindley, Seattle, WA, USA
75) Judith Alexander, Woodinville, WA, USA
76) Arlene B. Hawkinson, Seattle, WA, USA
77) Christine E. Mobley, Bothell, WA, USA
78) Trudie Breen, CA, USA
79) Catherine Standiford, CA, USA
80) Beverly Truett, AZ, USA
81) Christine Meehan,AZ,USA
82) Janice Gilbert, Valley Center, CA, USA
83) Dawna Upchurch, Anchorage, AK USA
84) Roxanna Groves, Olympia, WA USA
85) Lynda Lynde, Helena, MT USA
86) Constance Gelu, University Place, WA USA
87) Jodi Woolett, Tacoma, WA USA
88) Lisa I. Reeves- Lynden, WA USA
89) Amanda James-Bow, WA USA
90) Kelli J. Smith, New Port Richey, FL USA
91) Chris Poirier, Largo, Fl USA
92) Mike Carpenter, Palmetto, Fl USA
93) Alice Pryor, Melbourne FL USA
94) Ellen Catano, Manchester NH USA
95) Bevely Jennings, Cincinnati OH USA
96) Linda Feely, Norwood,OH USA
97) Sherry Stidham, Norwood OH USA
98) Brittany Brown, Cincinnati OH USA
99) Sandy Brown, Cincinnati, Oh USA
100) Tim Brown, Cincinnati, OH USA
101) Pat Brown, Cincinnati, OH USA
102) Amy Cregger, Memphis, TN USA
103) Kay Emerick, Logan, OH USA
104) Trina Bookman, Logan, OH USA
105) X-Mozilla-Status: 0009uis, Mo USA
106) Jeannette Ward, Memphis, TN USA
107) Elisabeth Davis, Memphis, Tn USA
108) Rose Klimek, Memphis, TN USA
109) Barbara K. White, Hoquiam, WA, USA
110) Paula J. Eriksen, Palm Harbor, Florida USA
111) Rag!nar Eriksen, Palm Harbor, Florida USA
112) MARILYN KING, CLEARWATER, FL, USA
113) Barbara Stiner,Oldsmar,FL,USA
114) Jac'line Weisgerber,Clearwater,FL,USA
115) Charlotte Beadles, Douglasville, GA, USA
116) Jody Hoadley, Powder Springs, GA, USA
117) Hope Howard, Atlanta, GA, USA
118) Cliff Howard, Atlanta, GA, USA
119) Kay Chicoine, Atlanta, GA USA
120) Mark Chicoine, Atlanta, GA USA
121) Paula King, Lexington, KY,USA
122) Sally Weissman,Minneapolis,Mn,USA
123) Susan Abbott, New Brighton, MN USA
124) Rachel Fine, St. Louis Park, MN, USA
125) Deb Harley,Eden Prairie, MN,Usa
126) Barb Handahl,Faribault, MN,USA
127) Ann Olson,Chamberlain S.D.USA
128) Deb Hunt,Sioux Falls S.D.USA
129) Anne Frankman, Sioux Falls, SD USA
130) Susie Kostel, Tabor, SD USA
131) Julie Anderson, Mount Prospect, IL USA
132) Janet Tilden, Fremont, NE USA
133) Debbie Bowman, Kingston Springs, TN, USA
134) Shari Watkins, Franklin, TN, USA
135) Teresa Beck, Columbia, TN USA
136) Amy Stephens, Brentwood, TN, USA
137) Vicki Warren, Lyles, TN, USA
138) Linda Lupo, Westland, MI, USA
139) Cathie McClary, Clinton Twp. MI, USA
140) Diane Catellane, Clinton Twp. MI, USA
141) Judy Mellen, Clarkston, MI, USA
142) Donna Waite, Lake Orion, MI, USA
143) Ann Acton, South Lyon, MI, USA
145) Tami Hall, South Lyon, MI, USA
146) Wendy Belsley, South Lyon, MI, USA
147) Gretel Coombs, East Lansing, MI, USA
148) Mike Jones, Lansing, MI, USA
149) Jeff Jones, Atlanta, GA, USA
150) Marion Jones , Atlanta, GA , USA
151) Pat Scott, Enumclaw, WA, USA
152) Bob Panzer, Houston, TX, USA
153) Pat Panzer, Houston, TX, USA
154) Joe Schwartz, Jacksonville AL USA
155) Stefanie Walfield, Fayetteville, NC, USA
156) Liz Dunkley, Milledgeville, GA, USA
157) Christine Dunkley, Milledgeville, GA, USA
156) Mike Dunkley, Milledgeville, GA, USA
157) Randy Parsons, Eatonton, Ga.
158) Bonita Platner, Kirkwood, NY. USA
159) Ralph Platner, Kirkwood, NY. USA
160) Charles Lundquist, Binghamton, NY USA
161) Tracy Rowe, Hollywood, CA USA
162) Daniel Raphael New York, New York USA
163) Ann Brameier, New York, NY USA
164) Kazuko Tao, Healdsburg, Ca USA
165) Shelley Zavat, Rio Nido, Ca. USA
166) Kendall Smith, Fort Bragg, Ca USA
167) Candi Zizek, Sacramento, California USA
168) Annette Blackwood, West Hartford, CT USA
169) Frank Sentner, West Hartford, CT USA
170) Ann Steadman, Roanoke, VA USA
171) George Steadman, Roanoke, VA USA
172) Elizabeth Byam,Washington, DC USA
173) Mary Dougal,Montclair, NJ USA
174) Kathleen Ennen, Champaign, Il. USA
175) Patricia S. Berky, Baltimore, Md. USA
176) Wahiba Abu-Ras, Old Bridge, NJ. USA
177) Magdi Awad, Old Bridge, NJ USA
178) Melissa Joralemon, NY USA
179) Vida Cofie-Robertson, NJ USA
180) Sema Gurun, NY, USA
181)Sahika Yildirim, UB, Mongolia
182) Ayse Taylan, Istanbul, Turkiye
183) Kemal Gencay, Istanbul, Turkiye
184) Vehbi Gencay, Ankara, Turkiye
185) N. Suzan Kincal, Ankara, T?rkiye
186) Handan Tezel, Ottawa, Canada
187) Ayse Senatalar, Istanbul, Turkiye
188) Zeynep Ilsen Onsan, Istanbul, Turkiye
189) Jak Kornfilt,Istanbul, Turkiye
190) Ilona Kornfilt,Istanbul,Turkiye
191) Anna Droste
192) Ersin Takla,Istanbul, Turkey
193) R. Oguz Bozkurt, Istanbul, Turkey
194) Sevda Bozkurt, Istanbul, Turkey
195) Liliana Saban, Strasbourg France
196) Yael Albukrek, London, UK
197) Fabiana Di Porto, Rome, Italy
198) Micaela Pavoncello, Rome Italy
199) Marnie Silver, Toronto, ON, Canada
200) Mike Wilner, Toronto, ON, Cana
201) Judy Shabtai, Toronto,ON, Canada
202) Suzanne McColl, Torontom ON, Canada 203)John Trigiani,
Toronto , Ontario, CANADA
204) Jon Gillette, Bognor, Ontario, Canada
205) Helen Kay. Bognor, Ontario, Canada
206) Elizabeth Huyer, Owen Sound, Canada
207) Nikki Huyer, Helsingor, Denmark
208) Lynn Chambers, Toronto, Canada
209) Laura Allen, Toronto, Canada
210) Shirley Hilton, Ingersoll, Canada
211) Rosina Brown, Caledon East, ON Canada
212) Judi MacDonald, Markham, Ontario, Canada
213) Nancy Drewry, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
214) Susan Bartlett, Toronto, Ontario Canada
215) Anja Sagan, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
216) Sharon Slater, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
217) Mona Adams, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
218) Paul Adams, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
219) Ruth E. Voetberg, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
220) Jeffrey F. Searle, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
221) Kelly L. Robinson, Dayton, OH, USA
222) Vernon G. Haas, Stewartstown, PA, USA
223) Connie L. Haas, Stewartstown, PA, USA
224) Bassem Youssef, Vienna, VA, USA
225) Leila Youssef, Vienna, VA, USA
226) Peggy D. Hart, Stafford, VA, USA
227) Pat Peebles, Alexandria, VA, USA
228) Olivia White, Dallas, TX, USA
229) Elizabeth Nash, Nottingham, UK
230) Debra Chauhan, Leicester, UK
231) Alison Termie, Leicester, UK
232) Lindsay Termie, Leicester, UK
233) Andy Haynes, Leicester UK
234) Ian Leaver, Leicester, UK
235) Richard Leaver, Sydney, AUS
236) Liz Duckett, London, UK
237) Lise Colyer, London, UK
238) Rebecca Oatley, London, UK
239) Fiona Robertson, London,UK
240) Colin Powell, London, UK
241) Alastair Orr Ewing, Hanoi, Vietnamr
242) D. Baron, Seattle, Washington
243) G. P. Cohen, Sunland, California, USA
244) Craig Schiller, Marina Del Rey, CA, USA
245) Linda Henry, Guatemala, Central America
246) Lori Legator, Galveston, TX, USA
247) Kathleen Bourke, Austin, TX, USA
248) Milton Lower, Austin, TX, USA
249) Carolyn Davidson, Austin, TX, USA
250) Anne Palmer, Austin, TX, USA
251) Leighton Hodges, Ph. D. , Austin Tx, USA
252) Deborah Goldstein, Austin, TX, USA
253) Cindy Symington, Austin, TX, USA
254) Nicholas Symington, Austin, TX, USA
255) Wendy Cutler, Los Angeles, CA, USA
256) Gillian Eaton, Plymouth, MI, USA
257) Sue Wood, USA
258) Suzan Zeder, USA
259) Roberta Rude, South Dakota, USA
260) Mo Neal, Lincoln, Nebraska USA
261) Teresita Fernandez, Brooklyn, NY
262) Melissa McGill, Brooklyn, NY
263) Georgie Stout, Brooklyn, Ny
264) Susan Sellers, New York, New York
265) Michael Rock, New York, New York
266) Stephanie Sellers, Holland, PA
267) Pamela Aviles New York, NY
268) Daren Woodward New York, NY
270) Joe Abe, Brooklyn, NY
271) Javier Castillo, Portland Or.
272) Nirel Jackson, Portland, OR.
273) Jorge Alvarez, Portland Or.
274) Larryjohn Stupey PDX
275) Matthew W. Featherston, Portland, Oregon
276) Cindy Casciato, Kelso, Washington
277) Marcy J. Wilkerson, Vacaville, CA USA
278) Betty Patton, Rio Linda, CA USA
279) Cliff Patton, Rio Linda, CA USA
280) Jean Boyles/ Cabot, AR USA
281) Jane E. Rowell, Mooringsport, LA, USA
282) W & S. Hargis, Bossier City, LA, USA
283) Richard NieMiera TX
284) Peggy NieMiera Tx.
285) Matthew NieMiera Tx.
286) Eileen Bauer MD.
287) Marney Ford MD.
288) Janice Johnson MD.
289) Melissa NieMiera Tx
290) Rosella Ross Tx.

DIRECTIONS: PLEASE COPY this email on to a new message, sign
the bottom
and forward it to everyone on your distribution lists. If
you receive this
list with more than
300 names on it, please e-mail copy of it to:
sarabande@brandeis.edu
Even if you decide not to sign, please be considerate and do
not kill the petition.
Suzan L. Zeder >>
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  #2  
Old October 16th, 2001, 07:17 AM
crazy-sexy-cool-babe's Avatar
crazy-sexy-cool-babe crazy-sexy-cool-babe is offline
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Another mail recieved

>Subject: The Truth - long but worth a read.
>Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2001 11:04:31 +0000
>
>"The algebra of infinite justice" - Arundhati Roy
>Saturday September 29, 2001
>The Guardian
>
>In the aftermath of the unconscionable September 11 suicide attacks on
the
>Pentagon and the World Trade Centre, an American newscaster said:
"Good and
>evil rarely manifest themselves as clearly as they did last Tuesday.
People
>who we don't know massacred people who we do. And they did so with
>contemptuous glee." Then he broke down and wept.
>
>Here's the rub: America is at war against people it doesn't know,
because
>they don't appear much on TV. Before it has properly identified or
even
>begun to comprehend the nature of its enemy, the US government has, in
a
>rush of publicity and embarrassing rhetoric, cobbled together an
>"international coalition against terror", mobilised its army, its air
>force, its navy and its media, and committed them to battle.
>The trouble is that once America goes off to war, it can't very well
return
>without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake
of
>the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war
>begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its
own,
>and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place.
>
>What we're witnessing here is the spectacle of the world's most
powerful
>country reaching reflexively, angrily, for an old instinct to fight a
new
>kind of war. Suddenly, when it comes to defending itself, America's
>streamlined warships, cruise missiles and F-16 jets look like
obsolete,
>lumbering things. As deterrence, its arsenal of nuclear bombs is no
longer
>worth its weight in scrap. Box-cutters, penknives, and cold anger are
the
>weapons with which the wars of the new century will be waged. Anger is
the
>lock pick. It slips through customs unnoticed. Doesn't show up in
baggage
>checks.
>
>Who is America fighting? On September 20, the FBI said that it had
doubts
>about the identities of some of the hijackers. On the same day
President
>George Bush said, "We know exactly who these people are and which
>governments are supporting them." It sounds as though the president
knows
>something that the FBI and the American public don't.
>
>In his September 20 address to the US Congress, President Bush called
the
>enemies of America "enemies of freedom". "Americans are asking, 'Why
do
>they hate us?' " he said. "They hate our freedoms - our freedom of
>religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and
>disagree with each other." People are being asked to make two leaps of
>faith here. First, to assume that The Enemy is who the US government
says
>it is, even though it has no substantial evidence to support that
claim.
>And second, to assume that The Enemy's motives are what the US
government
>says they are, and there's nothing to support that either.
>
>For strategic, military and economic reasons, it is vital for the US
>government to persuade its public that their commitment to freedom and
>democracy and the American Way of Life is under attack. In the current
>atmosphere of grief, outrage and anger, it's an easy notion to peddle.
>However, if that were true, it's reasonable to wonder why the symbols
of
>America's economic and military dominance - the World Trade Centre and
the
>Pentagon - were chosen as the targets of the attacks. Why not the
Statue of
>Liberty? Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks
has its
>taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US
government's
>record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to
>military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship,
>religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)? It must
be
>hard for ordinary Americans, so recently bereaved, to look up at the
world
>with their eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them
to be
>indifference. It isn't
>indifference. It's just augury. An absence of surprise. The tired
wisdom of
>knowing that what goes around eventually comes around. American people
>ought to know that it is not them but their government's policies that
are
>so hated.
>
>They can't possibly doubt that they themselves, their extraordinary
>musicians, their writers, their actors, their spectacular sportsmen
and
>their cinema, are universally welcomed. All of us have been moved by
the
>courage and grace shown by firefighters, rescue workers and ordinary
office
>staff in the days since the attacks.
>
>America's grief at what happened has been immense and immensely
public. It
>would be grotesque to expect it to calibrate or modulate its anguish.
>However, it will be a pity if, instead of using this as an opportunity
to
>try to understand why September 11 happened, Americans use it as an
>opportunity to usurp the whole world's sorrow to mourn and avenge only
>their own. Because then it falls to the rest of us to ask the hard
>questions and say the harsh things. And for our pains, for our bad
timing,
>we will be disliked, ignored and perhaps eventually silenced.
>
>The world will probably never know what motivated those particular
>hijackers who flew planes into those particular American buildings.
They
>were not glory boys. They left no suicide notes, no political
messages; no
>organisation has claimed credit for the attacks. All we know is that
their
>belief in what they were doing outstripped the natural human instinct
for
>survival, or any desire to be remembered. It's almost as though they
could
>not scale down the enormity
>of their rage to anything smaller than their deeds. And what they did
has
>blown a hole in the world as we knew it. In the absence of
information,
>politicians, political commentators and writers (like myself) will
invest
>the act with their own politics, with their own interpretations. This
>speculation, this analysis of the political climate in which the
attacks
>took place, can only be a good thing.
>
>But war is looming large. Whatever remains to be said must be said
quickly.
>Before America places itself at the helm of the "international
coalition
>against terror", before it invites (and coerces) countries to actively
>participate in its almost godlike mission - called Operation Infinite
>Justice until it was pointed out that this could be seen as an insult
to
>Muslims, who believe that only God can mete out infinite justice, and
was
>renamed Operation Enduring Freedom- it would help if some small
>clarifications are made. For example, Infinite Justice/Enduring
Freedom for
>whom? Is this America's war against terror in America or against
terror in
>general? What exactly is being avenged here? Is it the tragic loss of
>almost 7,000 lives, the gutting of five million square feet of office
space
>in Manhattan, the destruction of a section of the Pentagon, the loss
of
>several hundreds of thousands of jobs, the bankruptcy of some airline
>companies and the dip in the
>New York Stock Exchange? Or is it more than that? In 1996, Madeleine
>Albright, then the US secretary of state, was asked on national
television
>what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a
>result of US economic sanctions. She replied that it was "a very hard
>choice", but that, all things considered, "we think the price is worth
it".
>Albright never lost her job for saying this. She continued to travel
the
>world representing the views and
>aspirations of the US government. More pertinently, the sanctions
against
>Iraq remain in place. Children continue to die.
>
>So here we have it. The equivocating distinction between civilisation
and
>savagery, between the "massacre of innocent people" or, if you like,
"a
>clash of civilisations" and "collateral damage". The sophistry and
>fastidious algebra of infinite justice. How many dead Iraqis will it
take
>to make the world a better place? How many dead Afghans for every dead
>American? How many dead women and children for every dead man? How
many
>dead mojahedin for each dead investment banker? As we watch
mesmerised,
>Operation Enduring Freedom unfolds on TV monitors across the world. A
>coalition of the world's superpowers is closing in on Afghanistan, one
of
>the poorest, most ravaged, war-torn countries in the world, whose
ruling
>Taliban government is sheltering Osama bin Laden, the man being held
>responsible for the September 11 attacks.
>
>The only thing in Afghanistan that could possibly count as collateral
value
>is its citizenry. (Among them, half a million maimed orphans. There
are
>accounts of hobbling stampedes that occur when artificial limbs are
>airdropped into remote, inaccessible villages.) Afghanistan's economy
is in
>a shambles. In fact, the problem for an invading army is that
Afghanistan
>has no conventional coordinates or signposts to plot on a military map
- no
>big cities, no highways, no industrial complexes, no water treatment
>plants. Farms have been turned into mass graves. The countryside is
>littered with land mines - 10 million is the most recent estimate. The
>American army would first have to clear the mines and build roads in
order
>to take its soldiers in.
>
>Fearing an attack from America, one million citizens have fled from
their
>homes and arrived at the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The
UN
>estimates that there are eight million Afghan citizens who need
emergency
>aid. As supplies run out - food and aid agencies have been asked to
leave -
>the BBC reports that one of the worst humanitarian disasters of recent
>times has begun to unfold. Witness the infinite justice of the new
century.
>Civilians starving to death while they're waiting to be killed.
>
>In America there has been rough talk of "bombing Afghanistan back to
the
>stone age". Someone please break the news that Afghanistan is already
>there. And if it's any consolation, America played no small part in
helping
>it on its way.
>
>The American people may be a little fuzzy about where exactly
Afghanistan
>is (we hear reports that there's a run on maps of the country), but
the US
>government and Afghanistan are old friends.
>
>In 1979, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA and
Pakistan's
>ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) launched the largest covert
operation in
>the history of the CIA. Their purpose was to harness the energy of
Afghan
>resistance to the Soviets and expand it into a war, which would turn
>countries within the Soviet Union against the communist regime and
>eventually destabilise it. When it began, it was meant to be the
Soviet
>Union's Vietnam. It turned out to be much more than that. Over the
years,
>through the ISI, the CIA funded and recruited almost 100,000 radical
>mojahedin from 40 countries as soldiers for America's proxy war. The
rank
>and file of the mojahedin were unaware that their jihad was actually
being
>fought on behalf of Uncle Sam. (The irony is that America was equally
>unaware that it was financing a future war against itself.)
>
>In 1989, after being bloodied by 10 years of relentless conflict, the
>Russians withdrew, leaving behind a civilisation reduced to rubble.
>Civil war in Afghanistan raged on. The jihad spread to Chechnya,
Kosovo and
>eventually to Kashmir. The CIA continued to pour in money and military
>equipment, but the overheads had become immense, and more money was
needed.
>
>The mojahedin ordered farmers to plant opium as a "revolutionary tax".
The
>ISI set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. Within
two
>years of the CIA's arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland had
become
>the biggest producer of heroin in the world, and the single biggest
source
>of the heroin on American streets. The annual profits, said to be
between
>$100bn and $200bn, were ploughed back into training and arming
militants.
>
>In 1995, the Taliban - then a marginal sect of dangerous, hardline
>fundamentalists - fought its way to power in Afghanistan. It was
funded by
>the ISI, that old cohort of the CIA, and supported by many political
>parties in Pakistan. The Taliban unleashed a regime of terror. Its
first
>victims were its own people, particularly women. It closed down girls'
>schools, dismissed women from government jobs, and enforced sharia
laws
>under which women deemed to be "immoral" are stoned to death, and
widows
>guilty of being adulterous are buried alive. Given the Taliban
government's
>human rights track record, it seems unlikely that it will in any way
be
>intimidated or swerved from its
>purpose by the prospect of war, or the threat to the lives of its
>civilians.
>
>After all that has happened, can there be anything more ironic than
Russia
>and America joining hands to re-destroy Afghanistan? The question is,
can
>you destroy destruction? Dropping more bombs on Afghanistan will only
>shuffle the rubble, scramble some old graves and disturb the dead.
>
>The desolate landscape of Afghanistan was the burial ground of Soviet
>communism and the springboard of a unipolar world dominated by
America. It
>made the space for neocapitalism and corporate globalisation, again
>dominated by America. And now Afghanistan is poised to become the
graveyard
>for the unlikely soldiers who fought and won this war for America.
>
>And what of America's trusted ally? Pakistan too has suffered
enormously.
>The US government has not been shy of supporting military dictators
who
>have blocked the idea of democracy from taking root in the country.
Before
>the CIA arrived, there was a small rural market for opium in Pakistan.
>Between 1979 and 1985, the number of heroin addicts grew from zero to
>one-and-a-half million. Even before September 11, there were three
million
>Afghan refugees living in tented camps along the border. Pakistan's
economy
>is crumbling.
>
>Now the US government is asking (asking?) Pakistan to garotte the pet
it
>has hand-reared in its backyard for so many years. President
Musharraf,
>having pledged his support to the US, could well find he has something
>resembling civil war on his hands.
>
>India, thanks in part to its geography, and in part to the vision of
its
>former leaders, has so far been fortunate enough to be left out of
this
>Great Game. Had it been drawn in, it's more than likely that our
democracy,
>such as it is, would not have survived. Today, as some of us watch in
>horror, the Indian government is furiously gyrating its hips, begging
the
>US to set up its base in India rather than Pakistan. Having had this
>ringside view of Pakistan's sordid fate, it isn't just odd, it's
>unthinkable, that India should want to do this. Any third world
country
>with a fragile economy and a complex social base should know by now
that to
>invite a superpower such as America in (whether it says it's staying
or
>just passing through) would be like inviting
>a brick to drop through your windscreen.
>
>Operation Enduring Freedom is ostensibly being fought to uphold the
>American Way of Life. It'll probably end up undermining it completely.
It
>will spawn more anger and more terror across the world. For ordinary
people
>in America, it will mean lives lived in a climate of sickening
uncertainty:
>will my child be safe in school? Will there be nerve gas in the
subway? A
>bomb in the cinema hall? Will my love come home tonight? There have
been
>warnings about the possibility of biological warfare - smallpox,
bubonic
>plague, anthrax - the deadly payload of innocuous crop-duster
aircraft.
>Being picked off a few at a time may end up being worse than being
>annihilated all at once by a nuclear
>bomb.
>
>The US government, and no doubt governments all over the world, will
use
>the climate of war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, deny free
>speech, lay off workers, harass ethnic and religious minorities, cut
back
>on public spending and divert huge amounts of money to the defence
>industry. To what purpose? President Bush can no more "rid the world
of
>evil-doers" than he can stock it with saints. It's absurd for the US
>government to even toy with the notion that it can stamp out terrorism
with
>more violence and oppression.
>
>Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease. Terrorism has no country.
It's
>transnational, as global an enterprise as Coke or Pepsi or Nike. At
the
>first sign of trouble, terrorists can pull up stakes and move their
>"factories" from country to country in search of a better deal. Just
like
>the multi-nationals. Terrorism as a phenomenon may never go away. But
if it
>is to be contained, the first step is for America to at least
acknowledge
>that it shares the planet with other nations, with other human beings
who,
>even if they are not on TV, have loves and griefs and stories and
songs and
>sorrows and, for heaven's sake, rights. Instead, when Donald Rumsfeld,
the
>US defence secretary, was asked what he would call a victory in
America's
>new war, he said that if he could convince the world that Americans
must be
>allowed to continue with their way of life, he would consider it a
victory.
>
>The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card from a world
gone
>horribly wrong. The message may have been written by Bin Laden (who
knows?)
>and delivered by his couriers, but it could well have been signed by
the
>ghosts of the victims of America's old wars. The millions killed in
Korea,
>Vietnam and Cambodia, the 17,500 killed when Israel - backed by the US
-
>invaded Lebanon in 1982, the 200,000 Iraqis killed in Operation Desert
>Storm, the thousands of Palestinians who have died fighting Israel's
>occupation of the West Bank. And the millions who died, in Yugoslavia,
>Somalia, Haiti, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic,
>Panama, at the hands of all the terrorists, dictators and genocidists
whom
>the American government supported, trained, bankrolled and supplied
with
>arms. And this is far from
>being a comprehensive list.
>
>For a country involved in so much warfare and conflict, the American
people
>have been extremely fortunate. The strikes on September 11 were only
the
>second on American soil in over a century. The first was Pearl
Harbour. The
>reprisal for this took a long route, but ended with Hiroshima and
Nagasaki.
>
>This time the world waits with bated breath for the horrors to come.
>
>Someone recently said that if Osama bin Laden didn't exist, America
would
>have had to invent him. But, in a way, America did invent him. He was
among
>the jihadis who moved to Afghanistan in 1979 when the CIA commenced
its
>operations there. Bin Laden has the distinction of being created by
the CIA
>and wanted by the FBI. In the course of a fortnight he has been
promoted
>from suspect to prime suspect and then, despite the lack of any real
>evidence, straight up the charts to being "wanted dead or alive".
>
>From all accounts, it will be impossible to produce evidence (of the
sort
>that would stand scrutiny in a court of law) to link Bin Laden to the
>September 11 attacks. So far, it appears that the most incriminating
piece
>of evidence against him is the fact that he has not condemned them.
>
>From what is known about the location of Bin Laden and the living
>conditions in which he operates, it's entirely possible that he did
not
>personally plan and carry out the attacks - that he is the
inspirational
>figure, "the CEO of the holding company". The Taliban's response to US
>demands for the extradition of Bin Laden has been uncharacteristically
>reasonable: produce the evidence, then we'll hand him over. President
>Bush's response is that the demand is "non-negotiable".
>(While talks are on for the extradition of CEOs - can India put in a
side
>request for the extradition of Warren Anderson of the US? He was the
>chairman of Union Carbide, responsible for the Bhopal gas leak that
killed
>16,000 people in 1984. We have collated the necessary evidence. It's
all in
>the files. Could we have him, please?)
>
>But who is Osama bin Laden really? Let me rephrase that. What is Osama
bin
>Laden? He's America's family secret. He is the American president's
dark
>doppelgänger. The savage twin of all that purports to be beautiful and
>civilised. He has been sculpted from the spare rib of a world laid to
waste
>by America's foreign policy: its gunboat diplomacy, its nuclear
arsenal,
>its vulgarly stated policy of "full-spectrum dominance", its chilling
>disregard for non-American lives, its barbarous military
interventions, its
>support for despotic and dictatorial regimes, its merciless economic
agenda
>that has
>munched through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of
locusts.
>Its marauding multinationals who are taking over the air we breathe,
the
>ground we stand on, the water we drink, the thoughts we think. Now
that the
>family secret has been spilled, the twins are blurring into one
another and
>gradually becoming interchangeable. Their guns, bombs, money and drugs
have
>been going around in the loop for a while. (The Stinger missiles that
will
>greet US
>helicopters were supplied by the CIA. The heroin used by America's
drug
>addicts comes from Afghanistan. The Bush administration recently gave
>Afghanistan a $43m subsidy for a "war on drugs"....)
>
>Now Bush and Bin Laden have even begun to borrow each other's
rhetoric.
>Each refers to the other as "the head of the snake". Both invoke God
and
>use the loose millenarian currency of good and evil as their terms of
>reference. Both are engaged in unequivocal political crimes. Both are
>dangerously armed - one with the nuclear arsenal of the obscenely
powerful,
>the other with the incandescent, destructive power of the utterly
hopeless.
>The fireball and the ice pick. The bludgeon and the axe. The important
>thing to keep in mind is that neither is an acceptable alternative to
the
>other.
>
>President Bush's ultimatum to the people of the world - "If you're not
with
>us, you're against us" - is a piece of presumptuous arrogance. It's
not a
>choice that people want to, need to, or should have to make.
>
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