portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

human & civil rights | imperialism & war

Blasting London

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.
Excellent Essay 07.Jul.2005 08:33

gk

It was predicted that a "war on terrorism" would just be excelerated with the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. When the pot is stirred, it's like a kitchen food mixer turned to the highest speed.

yes, an excellent essay 07.Jul.2005 08:55

another face in the crowd

the angle you talke on this issue, these events, is one i'm glad to see. just yesterday i was talking to a friend about the g8 protests which led to a brief discussion about 9-11 and who deserves or doesn't deserve what. i've often found myself standing on a line not sure which side to step towards. i see the context and i say to myself, "it's a wonder this didn't start sooner" or "damn, it's about time WE felt some of this terror directly" and at the same time i know that no one deserves any of it. the peoplel, the masses, are always the one who get shit on, blown up, and kicked aside. one of the many questions that emerge, then, is HOW do we find the solidarity we so desperately need? how?
p.b. shelley wrote:
rise like lions after slumber / in unvanquishable number / shake to earth your chains like dew / which in sleep had fallen on you / ye are many / they are few
peace

Yea, nice point 07.Jul.2005 11:19

peas on pies

funny why terror acts always target the innocent masses. if they're angry at someone why not just get to the one they're mad at? it just makes more people hate these "terrorist"

yes, great essay... 07.Jul.2005 20:52

ftp

...and then you've got an assinine speech like this, that gets center-stage world attention and serves to brainwash millions with hollowed claims and to perpetuate the lies:

"On the one hand you've got people here who are working to alleviate poverty, to help rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS, working on ways to have a clean environment and on the other hand you've got people killing innocent people. The contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty and those who kill, those who've got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks.

"The war on terror goes on. I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve and that is we will not yield to these people. We will not yield to the terrorists. We will find them, we will bring them to justice and at the same time we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate. Thank you very much." -- George W. Bush

---

i'm saddened to see the loss of life in london. but if we assume that it was the work of bombs (and it doesn't matter if it was bush laying the bombs and blaming al quaida, or if it was indeed al quaida), my simple observation is this: bombs have been going off practically every week in iraq, killing hundreds of civilians for months now. same type of event as london, but how come the firstworld media and public don't react the same way to those bombings? "who cares? they're just destitute arabs; can't be helped. besides, it happens all the time."

too clear 07.Jul.2005 21:27

GJ

I think it's pretty clear who perpetrated the attacks. When you look into the eyes of Bush, Cheney, Blair, you can see...almost lust in them. Always glassy, even "afterglow". They always look like their horny, if people can allegorate what I mean by that. These people are so bent on world dominion that they take joy in making the masses suffer. It's for pleasure about as much as it is for emperical advance (in the Darwinian sense). I have no doubt in my mind that the same people who planned and carried out the attacks of 9/11 are the same that engineered the terrorist actions in London yesterday. And I don't believe it was Al Queada...or lol, some "allied faction" of. (And you know the bastards want to implicate the G8 protesters with that) ;)

It's all too starkly clear if only everyone would be brave and face up to it.

Ireland Indtmedia 08.Jul.2005 01:24

Jamie

It does seem odd that it happens so suddenly. And in relatively poor parts of London. You'd have thought Al-Qaeda would have gone after some of the financial districts or the richer shopping

Now I heard them say on BBC that it could be home grown people who did it. Implying that it was British muslims. This operation has all the hallmarks of a highly sophisticated intelligence organisation which knows great details of the security system in London. Most of Central London streets are laced with surveilance cameras under constant police watch not just automatic recording. The same is the case with the underground and Buses which have survaeilance cameras. Some were dummies but most have been replaced by real ones. It is impossible for anyone to plant bombs without being detected. This could not have been done by Bin Laden who is supposedly surrounded in a remote mountainous are on the Afghan border and neither with our latest phantom one legged terrorist Zarqawi who is supposedly on the run in Iraq. Only two organizations could have mounted such an attack Mossad or CIA and not without the tacit approval and help of MI/5 andMI/6. This time the Bushmonkeys have really shot themselves in the foot. If it is really Al Qaeda then it means whatever "war on terror" messrs Bush and Blair have been conducting since 11/September 2001 has been a miserable failure.

PS Interestingly I was unable to post these comments to the Indy main page or the UK site? Could folks help me share these "1984 thoughts" around? Thanks. jamie

Dumb questions 08.Jul.2005 12:15

Erasmas

It is "terrorism" and "atrocity" when the barbarians set a few fairly small bombs off in their enemy's cities?

But it is ok when civilized people use bombers and missiles to level their enemy's cities?

We have killed tens of thousands of their people. They have killed a few thousand of ours.

Like, what the fuck, anyway? It is war. Isn't this how wars are done?

If we, including the Europeans, don't like getting bombed, then maybe we shouldn't be bombing them.

If we don't like it when they hit back, maybe we should not be playing this game.

Someone help me understand this shit.

TERRORISM, LIKE BEAUTY, IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER 08.Jul.2005 13:17

Michael C. Morton

As a British citizen living in the USA, and as a pacifist, I am sickened and outraged by the attacks in London. I condemn them without reservation. However, I also see them in a larger context. The timing of the attacks (G8 summit, war in Iraq going badly, Blair unpopular, etc.) is extremely suspect in my view. Before the attacks, it appeared that the G8 was in danger of losing control of the world agenda. Now, after the attacks, things are back to "normal" -- G8 continues to rule the world, issues of poverty and climate are pushed aside, Blair and Bush pretend to be "heroes." Regardless of who was behind them, the attacks in London definitely were acts of "terrorism." What must be remembered is that the war in Iraq, in which many thousands of innocent people have been killed, also is an act of terrorism.

Fright factory? 08.Jul.2005 15:05

Anne o therrheory

While we are wondering if our inspired CIA "intelligence" factory could possibly have had a stinky finger or two in this pie, many motives have already been suggested, but I wonder just how much play Mr. Rove's latest little felony will get in the national "press," now that London is burning. Yes, indeed, the purveyors of Castro's exploding cigar, as well as many other stupid, irresponsible tricks, are quite capable of blowing away a few thousand innocents in the name of profit and greed.