As word reels in from London about the horrific blasts in the subway there, I am not sure how to feel. My mate expresses horror that innocent civilians have been targeted. I point out that a poor man's war is no more devastating than a rich man's war, that there are no innocents in London or America if you're living through Iraq. That it's the consumption habits of firstworlders like us that leads to bombs raining down on people "over there." I believe that. But somehow, even to me, those words are just not adequate to capture all the complexity in this.
Because the truth is, the people on those subway trains are just people, just like me. And because they were riding the trains rather than driving in cars, I believe the working class was disproportionately hit. And finally, because a million people stood shoulder to shoulder in the streets of that very city to demand an end to the wars in the middle east, I question the need to blast them out of complacency.
I do not know who lit the fuses, so to speak. If we are to believe the corporate media, then it was Al Quaida. But I never believe the corporate media, so I'm convinced it could just as easily have been the bush regime, just to show Londoners a lesson -- "See? Terrorists. Better get behind this never-ending war on terror." In fact, considering who stands to gain and who stands to lose the most, it seems much more likely to me that it was American terrorists than anyone else. Who knows.
But the point is, the use of violence as a political tool is not so clear-cut as I had imagined, when it moves from theory to reality. Oh, I understand why a Palestinian would blow herself up in an Israeli marketplace, and I understand why someone traumatized over Waco would blow up a building in Oklahoma, and I understand why someone living under American and British occupation might blow up a London subway. I even confess to a momentary sense of satisfaction that someone had gotten away with such a powerful response to the wars, if indeed it was Al Quaida. In theory, at least, it all makes perfect sense to me. Struggling against an oppressor so evil and so powerful that there is no alternative, people will do desperate things. And sometimes, those desperate measures are the only things that will ever make changes.
But I also remember the photographs of babies being pulled out of the rubble in Oklahoma. And I'm not so sure those measures are ever really worth such a cost.
What troubles me is, as my mate points out, the people who are running the system are never targeted. It's always just the people who were in the wrong place, at the wrong time. If it really was Al Quaida who attacked the London trains this morning, then some of the people they blew up had probably been their allies. It makes sense to target the city of London, but it hurts to use the lives of innocent people as a political tool. I hesitate even to discuss this publically, because it sounds too much like condemning so-called "terrorists" and excusing so-called "soldiers." The truth is, in a case like this one, there is little difference between the two. Each one is furthering political goals through violence, each one is attacking innocent civilians over resources and ideology. Each one leaves a very bloody trail. And each is very difficult to forgive.
The use of the word "terrorist" lately to describe any act of defiance against the Empire has diluded its meaning. When someone who vandalizes a few SUVs, or someone who climbs trees to save them can be labeled a "terrorist," you know all meaning has bled from the word long ago. But when someone blows people up on their way home from work, it's easier to remember what the word "terror" really means.
Taken out of context, it's unimaginable why someone would want to kill people they've never even met. And I refuse to excuse or justify the murders in Lonon, any more than I was ever able to excuse Timothy MCVeigh, no matter how noble the original cause might have been. The means could just never be justified. No, I will not excuse this act. But I will put it into context.
If it was Al Quida, if, then imagine why. Firstworld avarice preys on brown people throughout the world. Even as I write this, deadly firstworld bullets rip through Iraqi flesh and "smart" bombs rain down blindly on the children of Afghanistan. The US continues to support Israeli terrorists in their conquest of the people of Palestine. Human beings are being tortured in US and British prison camps all over the world. We saw the pictures, but we did not make them stop. Assinine and marginally insane soldiers from the firstworld piss on the Quran in front of horrified Arabs, and greedy, fat, white businessmen rub their hands together in salacious expectation of the spoils of Arab lands. Babies die ever day over there so that sweaty white guys can get more. Just, more.
Human beings are stripped naked and posed for the entertainment of the beast. Electrodes are dangled from their bodies. Everything human about them is laid bare and exposed to the corrosive acid of western ignorance and hatred. Their flesh is offered up to the sharp teeth of dogs, even as their souls are eagerly gobbled up by guffawing g-men trained in psyop.
Their homes are bombed, napalmed, or bulldozed to the ground. Their cities are laid waste. Their fields made barren. Their children are attacked with all the savage ferocity of an army backed by billion dollar defense budgets. Paid for by us. You, me, and the people in the London Subway.
And why. Blood pours forth in rivers from the bodies of Arabs, so that Halliburton can make a killing putting the cities all back together in cheap-ass American fashion. So that Coke can put up vending machines along the streets from which this blood flowed. So that Bechtel can steal all the water and sell it back to the people who survived for vast sums of money. So that the oilmen of Texas can pat each other on their fat, greasy, hateful backs.
That's the context. So I still can't excuse the killing of innocent Londoners, but I can understand the reasons why someone might be compelled to strike out against comfortable firstworlders. Firstworlders who might not agree with the wars, but who benefit from them just the same. Who might not actually be holding the guns in their own hands, but who have not done enough to take them out of the hands of others. Who might not believe in what their governments are doing, but who support those governments through their own consumption habits just the same.
Even so, I do weep for the people of London. They are victims in the war against the people, as surely as are the people of Iraq. I think the time has come for the people of the world to join in solidarity. To stop attacking each other, and start targeting the source. The people who caused this war, who expected to sacrifice other people's children rather than themselves, who sit greedily on the sidelines, watching from a safe distance while other people's blood buys their useless lives of stolen luxury, those are the people who should pay, and pay, and pay for this madness. Not the working people of London, and not the innocent children of Iraq.
If it's going to take desperate measures to end these never ending wars, then may desperate measures find better, more-deserving, targets.
add a comment on this article
add a comment on this article
discussion from this article