Monday, September 11, 2006

In memory of those who died...

No matter our political background, no matter our faith, no matter our opinion, on events that have happened since, this should never have happened. This was not the answer.

I just pray today: For those who were left behind, for those who believe terrorism is an option, for those who make them believe such a thing, directly or indirectly, and for true peace and justice in our world.

Editing (after reading some of what is out there):

Terrorism is wrong. It is evil. It does not solve your problems, it makes them worse and it hurts a lot of innocent people in the crossfire.

But what to do about terrorism? Liberals call for dialogue while conservatives snort at the idea and ask how can you dialogue with someone who wants to kill you?

But, I ask, how does one go to war on terrorism? Isn't that like going to war on rape? Are you going to invade countries that seem to be hotspots for rape? How does one go to war on terrorism without hurting a lot of innocent people in the crossfire. It's all fine and dandy when the innocent civilians (the necessary casualties of war) are people over there, but what if we had to invade say, the state of North Carolina or the province of Nova Scotia to get at some terrorist group. Would we feel the same way about bombing our own cities for the sake of war on terrorism?

And what is terrorism anyway? Why does a person become a terrorist? Assuming that these are gratuitous, unprovoked attacks on a virtuous and blameless nation I suppose then, there would be nothing to dialogue about, because quite frankly these terrorists would just be really crazy people and any conversation with them would be absolutely pointless.

Assuming this, is like assuming that palestinians are attacking Israel for absolutely no good reason. It is like forgetting that the Israelis are actually occupying Palestine and not treating the palestinians much better than say the Nazis treated the Polish people.

Palestinian terrorists are DESPERATE people. So desperate, they are willing to do ANYTHING to try to change things. I prefer the Ghandi method of getting rid of an occupying force myself, and it seemed to work quite a bit better too, but perhaps the British were a tad easier to convince to leave?

Terrorist groups in Latin America are DESPERATE people willing to go any distance to change their horrible lives. Unfortunately, terrorism only makes things worse. Instead of liberating the oppressed people, they usually end up oppressing the people too, and then civilians have to watch out not only for the government's oppressive forces but for one or more terrorist forces as well.

So, these terrorists that attacked the twin towers, are they some exception? Are they just crazy people that are jealous of the grand, benevolent, successful and of course totally innocent United States? Or could it be that they too, are DESPERATE people willing to do anything to get rid of oppression.

Here is where dialogue might come in handy. We might not want to actually walk into some terrorist camp and ask them why they want to kill us. But maybe KNOWING why they want to kill us would actually be a good idea. The civilians who live in Iraq and Afghanistan and Iran and all those countries... what do they have to say? Not the terrorists, just the regular people. Perhaps if we dialogued with people who are actually willing to dialogue, we might end up understanding why some people feel the need to resort to terrorism.

Until we realize that terrorism is actually NOT some gratuitous, unprovoked attack and recognize that in fact perhaps it is a reaction to things WE have done, terrorism will go on. The simple facts of the matter are these:

- People feel oppressed by some group/nation/government (their own or some other country's). They become desperate. They see no way out. They resort to terrorism.
- The Powers that be react to the terrorism with more violence, oppressing the people further. This makes the people even more desperate and puts fuel on the fire of terrorism. It is a vicious circle.

We need to find out why people are feeling oppressed enough to resort to terrorism and do something about it.

The thing is, it may not be all that obvious. The US/Canada/Europe do not have to physically occupy any one country with their armies to oppress the people in it. It is in fact a lot more discreet than that, so dicreet that most of their citizens don't even know it. But not holding mega-corporations accountable for their actions in other countries is one way people are oppressed. And where do most (if not all) mega-corporations come from? The US. When you can knowingly pay people next to nothing to work for you, and on top of it get away with making them use products hazardous to their health with no security measures, because their own governments don't care either, you are oppressing people. When you can displace native peoples from their homes and take over their resources because noone will stop you, and in so doing, take away from them their only livelihood and their only source of food (short of begging in the streets) then you are oppressing people. When people get shot in the streets for speaking out against injustice, then you are oppressing people. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. You have to talk to people who live in these countries whose governments cater to big foreign countries and "disappear" their own people, to get what it is like. I can't describe it, only having spent 6 months in a third world country and not being all that informed myself, but sometimes you just have to see it to understand the desperation.

Why do so many people elsewhere in the world hate what is "American"? Not because they are JEALOUS of the wealth of the United States as so many Americans wrongly suppose, but because so many of them have lost their lives, their dignity, their blood, their freedom, their land so that these American Corporations could get richer. Big business is seen as American. And therefore the US is seen as the source of their problems. And here is where you start to get an inkling of the problem.

No, terrorist attacks are not unprovoked. What was attacked on September 11, 2001? Among others, the Twin Towers, the most obvious symbols of Business in the US. The other building attacked? The Pentagon.

Why the Pentagon? How many times has the US government, through the CIA, meddled in the affairs of other countries? Supporting this group or that group with arms or money or whatnot, to make sure that the governments that came to power would be ones that would go along with what the US wanted, even if it were injust to the common people. If you are selling arms to groups that oppress their own people, if you give money to support groups who will sell out their own people, if you start up a school that teaches soldiers how to terrorize their own people, you are oppressing people. Directly or indirectly, it doesn't matter.

Again, most Americans have no idea this is even going on. Therefore, I can understand the shock, the rage at what seems to be ridiculous, unprovoked anger and violence. I can understand the desire to declare war on terrorists. I can understand that there is seemingly no dialogue to be had, for when you do not know what is pushing terrorists to such extremes, they appear to be no more than madmen.

On the other hand, I agree that there is no dialogue to be had. We are way past the stage of dialogue. Action is definitely needed. Just perhaps not the kind of action the US government has in mind. Governments and big businesses need to be held accountable. People need to be put before profit.

It isn't the United States of America that is oppressing the world, it is the pursuit of profit at all costs. It is pure coincidence that the biggest perpetrators have their headquarters in the US. Home used to be the British Empire, now it is the US. Tommorrow it will be...?

Terrorizing the US (and its allies) will not get rid of greed. How do you go to war on greed? Do you pinpoint the countries that seem to be hotspots for greed and invade them? (Oh wait, I guess that is exactly what they were doing) That is as illogical as hoping that war on terrorism will get rid of terrorism.

It all seems rather hopeless doesn't it? It seems we can only powerlessly sit back and watch. After all, money talks, and who has the money? So who has the power? But we must not underestimate the power of education. Let us educate ourselves and educate others. We also have the power of choice. If I know that a certain company is unethical, I can choose not to buy their products. Hit them where it hurts the most, the moneybags. The more people are aware of what unethical practices go on, the more they will be able to choose to refuse to do business with unethical companies. The more aware of the facts we are as a nation, the more accountability of companies will become an issue in government. Pass the word, educate yourselves, and above all,... CHOOSE.