Voices from Beyond Our Borders
The following pieces are excerpts from statements made in response to the US government's "War on Terrorism." All can be found in their entirety at www.zmag.org/terrorframe.htm.
Statement by South Korean Women Making Peace
and Women's Peace Action
February 7, 2002, Seoul, Korea
The US administration's hard-line rhetoric directed at North Korea is a threat to Koreans who have worked so hard for peace and peaceful reunification on the Korean peninsula.
We women sincerely urge that advanced science, technology, and huge material resources rather than being used to hasten hostile military confrontations be employed to improve the welfare, human rights, and environmental conditions of the weak we fervently hope that students, politicians, religious leaders, Women's Organizations, and Peace Organizations in the US will take steps to halt the spread of war rhetoric and the threat of military action.
War is Peace
Arundhati Roy, Outlook,
October 18, 2001
The world doesn't have to choose between the Taliban and the US government. All the beauty of the world _ literature, music, art _ lies between these two fundamentalist poles.
As darkness deepened over Afghanistan on Sunday, October 7, 2001, the US government, backed by the International Coalition Against Terror (the new, amenable surrogate for the United Nations), launched air strikes against Afghanistan. TV channels lingered on computer-animated images of Cruise missiles, stealth bombers, Tomahawks, "bunker-busting" missiles and Mark 82 high-drag bombs. All over the world, little boys watched goggle-eyed and stopped clamouring for new video games.
Nothing can excuse or justify an act of terrorism, whether it is committed by religious fundamentalists, private militia, people's resistance movements _ or whether it's dressed up as a war of retribution by a recognised government. The bombing of Afghanistan is not revenge for New York and Washington. It is yet another act of terror against the people of the world. Each innocent person that is killed must be added to, not set off against, the grisly toll of civilians who died in New York and Washington.
People rarely win wars, governments rarely lose them. People get killed. Governments moult and regroup, hydra-headed. They first use flags to shrink-wrap peoples' minds and suffocate real thought, and then as ceremonial shrouds to cloak the mangled corpses of the willing dead. On both sides, in Afghanistan as well as America, civilians are now hostage to the actions of their own governments. Unknowingly, ordinary people in both countries share a common bond _ they have to live with the phenomenon of blind, unpredictable terror. Each batch of bombs that is dropped on Afghanistan is matched by a corresponding escalation of mass hysteria in America about anthrax, more hijackings and other terrorist acts
When he announced the air strikes, President George Bush said, "We're a peaceful nation." America's favourite ambassador, Tony Blair, (who also holds the portfolio of Prime Minister of the UK), echoed him: "We're a peaceful people."
So now we know. Pigs are horses. Girls are boys. War is Peace.
for the European Network
for Peace and Human Rights
Attendees, February 9, 2002
We are in a situation where the greatest military and economic power on earth has declared war on its enemies as it perceives them. This it has done with the support of most European Governments. We express our profound sympathy for all victims of terrorism, including state terror. But war cannot be the way to defeat terror. The United States has shown itself ready to unleash the most prodigious weapons of destruction against human beings and their means of livelihood. It is extending its power from land, sea and air into space and information to achieve what its commanders call "full spectrum dominance," at the same time that it pressures others to support its actions.
We refuse to do that, and call upon our fellow Europeans to join with us in our refusal to become accomplices in such a development.
We have special responsibilities in Europe to work for peace, for the dissolution of NATO rather than its expansion, and for peaceful development instead of the militarisation of the European Union. This is not only because of our relative wealth, but also because of our history of internal warfare and external aggression.
The Theatre of Good and Evil
(Translated by Justin Podur),
La Jornada, September 21, 2001
In the struggle of Good against Evil, it's always the people who get killed.
The terrorists killed workers of 50 countries in NYC and DC, in the name of Good against Evil. And in the name of Good against Evil President Bush has promised vengeance: "We will eliminate Evil from the world," he announced.
Eliminate Evil? What would Good be without Evil? It's not just religious fanatics who need enemies to justify their insanity. The arms industry and the gigantic war machine of the US also need enemies to justify its existence. Good and evil, evil and good: the actors change masks, the heroes become monsters and the monsters heroes, in accord with the demands of the theatre's playwrights
A contempt for the people is one of many things shared by state and private terror.
There is much common ground between low- and high-tech terrorism, between the terrorism of religious fanatics and that of market fanatics, that of the hopeless and that of the powerful, that of the psychopath on the loose and that of the cold-blooded uniformed professional. They all share the disrespect for human life: the killers of the 5,500 [this early figure turned out to be exaggerated] citizens under the Twin Towers that fell like castles of dry sand _ and the killers of 200,000 Guatemalans, the majority of whom were indigenous, exterminated without television or the newspapers of the world paying any attention. Those Guatemalans were not sacrificed by any Muslim fanatic, but by terrorist squads who received "support, financing, and inspiration" from successive US governments.
All these worshippers of death are in agreement as well on the need to reduce social, cultural, and national differences to military terms. In the name of Good against Evil, in the name of the One Truth, they resolve everything by killing first and asking questions later. And by this method, they strengthen the enemy they fight
A tragedy of errors: nobody knows any more who is who. The smoke of the explosions forms part of the much larger curtain of smoke that prevents all of us from seeing clearly. From revenge to revenge, terrorism obliges us to walk to our graves.
The spiral of violence creates violence and also confusion, pain, fear, intolerance, hatred, insanity. In Porto Alegre, at the beginning of this year, Ahmed Ben Bella warned: "This system, that has already made mad cows, is making mad people too." And these mad people, mad from hate, act as the power that created them.
Solidarity Against All Forms of Terrorism
Dr. Vandana Shiva,
September 18, 2001,
It is wrong to define the post September 11th world as a war between "civilisation and barbarianism" or "democracy and terrorism." It is a war between two forms of terrorism which are mirror images of each other's mindsets _ mindsets based on this that can only conceive of monocultures and must erase diversity, the very pre-condition for peace. They share the dominant culture of violence. They used the same weapons and the same technologies. In terms of the preference for violence and use of terror, both sides are clones of each other. And their victims are innocent people everywhere.
The real conflict is between citizens across the world longing to live in peace and security and forces of violence and terror _ denying them peace and security.
The whole world repeatedly watched the destruction of the World Trade Centre towers, but the destruction of millions of sacred shrines and homes and farms by forces of injustice, greed and globalisation go unnoticed.
As we remember the victims of Black Tuesday, let us also strengthen our solidarity with the millions of invisible victims of other forms of terrorism and violence which are threatening the very possibility of our future on this planet. We can turn this tragic brutal historical moment into building cultures of peace.
Let Us Struggle Against War
Revolutionary Association of Afghan Women (RAWA), March 22, 2002
It is the conscience of the people of the United States that is scourged first and foremost by the slaughter of innocent Afghans in consequence of US bombardment in Afghanistan. Proof of this is amply shown in demonstrations against the war in Afghanistan in most American cities. RAWA has been inundated by thousands of emails from across the United States expressing sympathy with our people and condemning the US bombardments which claim innocent victims. Visits to Afghanistan by groups of bereaved Americans who have lost dear ones in the September 11 tragedy to sympathise and commiserate with the victims of the bombardments is a shining example of the humanism and love of peace typical of the people of the United States Our heartfelt gratitude to the American people is our response to allegations that "RAWA is anti-American."