portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

imperialism & war

I Can be Neither “For us or Against us”

Which "Side" are You on?
I Can be Neither "For us or Against us"

I, like the rest of us, have lamented about how I want life to revert back to pre 9.11. But today as I caught myself feeling this for the hundredth time I realized that would be more of our "American Arrogance". What we experienced, what we are feeling now as a result of that experience, is a daily reality for many people in many countries. So to want to return to a comfortable way of life that keeps us in a state of denial regarding the continual hardships that billions of others endure is inherently wrong.

A crude way to wake up to the global injustices that are occurring in our neighboring nations, it has grabbed our attention like nothing else could have. Still, the majority of American citizens are hiding behind their ignorance and their flags. The slight mention of looking at what role America has played in this "act of terrorism" sends sparks of contempt flying and the accusation of being on the side of "terrorism". Incidentally, the definition of terrorism would include our bombing of Afghanistan. So when asking "are you with us or against us" I will have to unequivocally choose "against us" (u.s.).

It's not that I am anti-American, quite the contrary. Denying my motherland and heritage is committing treason to my soul. I was born in the United States for a purpose. That purpose was not to over-consume or expect that I am somehow more worthy than my neighbors in impoverished countries who work tirelessly, endlessly just to obtain a daily ration of food. That purpose was not to turn a blind eye to the wrongful acts that are occurring in other countries so that I can wear Nike's, "make out like a bandit" in a shopping spree with my purchase of sweatshop labored goods, or consume rainforest sacrificed fast food burgers. That purpose was however, to speak out for those who are being oppressed, for those who need an advocate, a voice, to speak on their behalf. As an American with a global heart, I can do this without committing treason to my country of origin.

That is what I and several of us are trying in earnest to do now. But the media would have us believing that no one is speaking out, that we are all patriots in this war against Afghanistan. Or that the handful of those who are against war are for terrorism. Again, war is terrorism. I cannot stand with either side, because both go against the nature of unity. How can we (suddenly) claim to be so unified when we have all become terrorists? This newfound patriotism is simply a mask for terrorism. Since I stand on the side of peace, I can be neither "for or against us".

Peace does not sit well with many people these days either. So if we don't want peace and we claim to be fighting against "terrorism" than what is the solution? What about justice. You know the stuff of integrity, honesty and (real) patriotism.

Justice applied toward the crime like the one committed on September 11 is the appropriate and legal action to take. Waging war on the other hand, as per the U.N. Charter, Article 33-54, means that the United States is in breach of the law. Worse yet, we are heartlessly killing innocent people in the name of unity and indivisibility.

Clearly it is time to act in accordance with the law and to put an immediate halt to the killing of yet more innocent people. This is the sort of indivisibility that the world needs now.
Well said 03.Nov.2001 10:14


Now if only more people would stop and think about what it really means to be an American. Our country, though far from perfect, was built on a healthy, proactive cynicism. That we forsake this, along with our constitutionally protected rights, for a cocoon of SUV's and the mainstream media American dream is most un-American. I'm thinking the good old Red White and Blue may soon be replaced by corporate sponsor Walmart's (or whoever) flag, with no objection from the majority who seem eager to wave whatever they're handed.