"WE ARE UNITED WITH THE OTHER AMERICA"
Speech at the Demonstration in Hamburg, Germany, 10/26/02
By Dorothee Soelle
[This speech at the Hamburg demonstration is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.lebenshaus-alb.de/magazin/001704.html.]
Many centuries ago there was a great world domination called PAX ROMANA because it started from Rome. It called itself "peace" and intended absolute rule over the ancient world at that time. It meant exploitation of the treasures of subjugated peoples. Carthage in North Africa was destroyed because of its cheap corn. In the interest of the rich, the poor were made slaves and the national rights of tribes and small states trampled. There was only one law, the jus romanum, and only one peace, the pax romana, because there was only one imperium romanum. Every war helped this world and its winners who regarded themselves as civilized.
Today we live in a comparable world, the PAX AMERICANA. This term does not come from me but from citizens of the US who oppose this kind of supposed law and exploitation peace. George Bush, Junior may not call himself emperor or Caesar but he demands absolute obedience and unconditional solidarity to secure the growing prosperity of the rich in his land.
The best thing that could happen to this emperor happened on September 11, 2001. The terror strike authorized him. His popularity doubled. His division of the world in "good" and "evil" first gained acceptance in the US. This always means "good for us." Secretary of State Colin Powell said recently that president Bush, independent of all UN resolutions, has "the authority and the right" "to act in self-defense for the American people and our neighbors" (taz 10/19/02). International law is sidestepped.
In the 1970s, American friends of mine ironically called their country "God's own country." It is so near God that to name several examples it never signed treaties controlling nuclear weapons and their delivery. Outlawing land mines was refused like control of bio-weapons and the International Criminal Court. All this is what Bush calls the "endless war." This endless war is the right to intervene militarily at any place and at any time.
Bush's claim that the threat starting from Iraq justifies a war is simply false according to Ramsey Clark who for years was Attorney General of the US and one of the sharpest critics of US foreign policy. "Eighty percent of the military capacity of Iraq was destroyed in the Gulf War (1991). The Pentagon says this! The UN inspectors destroyed Ninety percent of the armament needed to make weapons of mass destruction during the eight years of inspections. Iraq was once militarily strong - in 1990. Today it is a weak state that suffers under the sanctions. One of four children born in Iraq weighs less than 2 kilo and faces a hard life" (Clark, Publik-Forum, 2002, nr.19).
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have protested against the war in the last weeks. Thousands upon thousands of demonstrators are expected today for the "National March on Washington." "No blood for oil" could be read on the streets of San Francisco and "No vote for oil" against the democrats in Congress.
"Not in Our Name" is a call of intellectuals signed by 10,000 persons. They declare, "The executive has slowly but surely seized tasks and functions that actually belong to other government authorities. Persons and groups can be declared `terrorists' with a single stroke of the president's pen."
"NOT IN OUR NAME. We refuse to have anything to do with this war." The group appeals to the great resistance traditions in the history of the US from the revolts against slavery to the Vietnam War.
The Israeli author Uri Avnery, winner of the alternative Nobel Prize, says on the war against Iraq: "The main target of the US economy (and policy) is the oil of the Caspian Sea. The exploration and production of the gigantic oil riches there - the greatest in the world - has not even begun. Its control would enable the US to control cheap oil for decades. Bush, a typical supporter of oil interests, views this as the main goal and ignores alternative environment-friendly sources of energy."
The empire needs oil. It needs vassals that can be controlled, not allies. We Europeans should not allow this. We are united with those who rebel against Bush and Co. The US demands the right to "preventive war." The "right to defense" is perverted into "the right to self-defense through preventive action." (In 1941 Hitler appealed to the right to preventive war against the Soviet Union). "That no state interferes in the internal affairs of other states" is one of the foundations of international law. The international order arising under the leadership of the United Nations after the end of the 2nd World War is buried. Washington's desire for world domination was resisted in the past as "primitive anti-Americanism." The hawks in the Bush administration now make this claim publically (Monde dipl 10/11/02).
NOT IN OUR NAME.
We are united with the other America.
The struggle continues.