Editorial

by i
In case I am accused of forgetting how the war against Afghanistan got started, I want to make one thing clear. The terrorist attack on the US of September 11, 2001 was a despicable act of violence, an act of horrifying inhumanity and cruelty, deserving nothing but condemnation. The innocent victims of that terrorist attack justify the anger of the American population and their desire to restore justice.

And, if one would forget one's rationality and resort to the unbridled operation of animal instincts, one could possibly offer an irrational and incoherent excuse for the desire for vengeance. Yet, vengeance cannot explain the vicious genocide perpetrated by the US government and its allies on the Afghani people. In my faith that the human species has risen above cannibalism and self-destruction in the mere fight for survival, I challenge any humanly acceptable explanation for this war.

If, at any point of time, the US wants to be seen as a civilized nation, a nation which honours law above terrorism, a nation which honours peace above war, a nation which honours human life above the desire to enforce its self-righteous political aims, a nation with any integrity at all, the pain and anguish wrought on the citizens of the United States has to be put in perspective with the death, destruction and pain the US and its allies are currently bringing to the population of Afghanistan.

It defies any rationality to justify terrorism by waging a 'War on Terrorism'. It defies any sense of proportionality to seek retribution for the several thousand dead in your own country by causing the death of several million foreign nationals. It defies any law of humanity or justice alone to pursue a genocidal war in search of a handful of men when peaceful means of resolving the issue are readily available. Killing innocent people on a mass scale never is, never has and never will be justified.

The actual effect of the war against Afghanistan is terrorism redefined on a much larger scale. The US government is not even interested in Osama bin Laden and his network anymore. He was already offered up by the Taliban government on the condition of a trial in an impartial third country. What the US wants, however, is a monopoly on political, economical and military power and the Afghani people are the innocent pawns sacrificed in the process. The US is sending a bloody message to everyone out there - this is what will happen to you if you dare be against us.

The public is yet to see convincing evidence that the Al Qaida network is responsible for the atrocity of September 11? While the charge is plausible, there is no public disclosure of the evidence to support it. Yet, we are asked to back up the US government while it perpetrates one of the most hideous crimes in history, the death toll of which could prove to be of the scale of the two World Wars of the past century. All that, in the name of pursuing a few deranged individuals?!

We have to remember that it is not even necessary to bomb Afghanistan. The mere cutting off of food aid would mean the death of three to seven million people in the coming winter months. Three to seven million people who cannot survive on the 30,000 rations we are sedatively assured are dropped over the mountain ridges daily. Three to seven million people who have been and continue to be victims of the political conflicts of the superpowers and the lack of interest of the international community. And today, the world again looks on with a disgusting lack of interest as three to seven million people are sentenced to death if not by the explosions of bombs, but by the agony of starvation. People, sentenced to death by virtue of their birthplace.

It is the innocence of these millions of people which enrages me against the audacity of US and British government officials when they talk about seeking justice, restoring peace and eliminating terrorism. How do we seek justice by punishing the innocent? How do we restore peace by declaring war? How do we eliminate terrorism by continuously bringing terror to the world? This is the breakdown of rationality!

Yet, governments are not the only ones to blame. A government cannot act decisively if it is not supported by its population - its power resides in the unquestioning support of its citizens. And, to secure that support, another war machine is put into action - the disinformation machine of the media. For what is hidden from us is just as important as what is revealed.

The 'War on Terrorism' is not even front page news anymore. The atrocities committed in Afghanistan are pushed aside by local concerns of little impact. We are more worried today about the seven people who contracted anthrax in the US than the seven million who are about to die in agonizing starvation. And we are more concerned with the success of our murderous campaign than the massive holocaust we are about to cause amidst the Afghani people.

I can understand the difficulty in maintaining a clarity of thought under the barrage of propaganda messages of the mass media. This is not the professional impartiality of an information industry. There can be no impartiality about an injustice so glaring and a crime so horrendous. Journalists have just as much responsibility to address our conscience as they do to simply tell the facts. Their intimate knowledge of the issues at hand demands that they inform our moral attitudes and help us build an opinion. And I fail to see how journalists can responsibly tell the news without focusing on the human tragedy unfolding.

It is a sad realization, however, that little, if any prominent voices of dissent to government policies exist in the mass media. The mass media have been thus mobilized for the intentional fabrication of compliance and consensus in the perpetration of a mass-scale murder. What follows then is that the mass media are simply accomplices in this atrocity and their propaganda cannot be taken at face value.

What is obvious without much deliberation is that the war is disproportionately unjust, it is numbingly without reason and it is deafeningly cruel. What is obvious is that this war is a crime against humanity, a holocaust which threatens to rival that perpetrated by Nazi Germany. What is obvious is that if we do not voice our protest against our governments and our medias in their blind servile compliance to US demands, we will be just as responsible for this symphony of death as the agencies who orchestrate it. What is obvious is that our action of protest is needed now, not after we mow the lawn or shovel the driveway. What is obvious is that every country which supports this massacre has blood on its hands.

US President George W. Bush correctly identified the growing polarization of world societies in his famous 'If you are not with us, you are against us'. Crisis situations always cause rifts in popular opinion. However, I admit I fail to see things from his perspective. I fail to justify the death of millions of people. I fail to justify one more war instead of seeking peaceful resolution. I would hope to believe that the crisis can be solved without shedding innocent blood; by seeking justice and punishing the guilty; by not having to inflict more pain than we were caused. I would hope to believe that after millennia of civilization, we have learned a thing or two about solving problems without killing each other.

However, if that is not possible, Mr. President, then you are right. In my failure to find reasons to support you, I have no options left but to consciously and deliberately choose to be against you. I deliberately choose to oppose US-sanctioned terrorism in the past, present and in the future. I deliberately choose to condemn war as a means to solve any crisis. I deliberately choose to reject military, political and economic bullying to enforce the interest of the few over the interests of the many. I deliberately choose to claim no affiliation of compliance with a government which perpetrates a crime against humanity. And I deliberately choose to do whatever is within my rights as a citizen to stop the cycle of violence.

And I urge you to do the same. Talk to your friends, your coworkers. Gather signatures to petitions opposing the war. Meet for peaceful demonstrations to voice your protest. Challenge your government representatives for the course they are pursuing. Challenge the media to place an emphasis on the human tragedy that is unfolding. And never stop until the injustice is over.

People may not be receptive to you. That does not matter. People may accuse you of being un-American and unpatriotic. That does not matter. People may act consciously to prevent you from voicing your opinion. That does not matter, either.

What matters is that you have a conscience and you are willing to stand for it. What matters is that even the smallest act of dissent adds to our collective disapproval of this crime and weakens support for the war machine. What matters is that you become more human and help move us towards the society we would really want - a society of justice, mutual respect and the dignity to call ourselves 'homo sapient'.

I am doing my part. Now it is your turn...

by hipechik
On September 11, 2001, one of the most terrible events in human history happened-- the World Trade Center was decimated and in the process, thousands of innocent people were killed. In the aftermath of this event, we have heard cries of grief, shock, anger and disbelief. But one of the most frightening cries we have heard is that of more war, more mayhem and destruction. So, instead of hoping for peace and healing in a world that has seen too much violence already; instead of praying for the families of the victims and for the recovery of a country severely wounded and shaken by the attack; instead of praying for a new world that we all hope will never see such vulgar activity again, some people have been wishing for more deaths of innocent lives, including that of their own lives and their own children's lives. They want to annihilate everyone in the Middle East with nukes, they want to perpetuate more bloodshed, and they want to pay the "ultimate sacrifice," not only of just themselves but of their innocent loved ones in the name of "justice."

Amidst the seemingly growing consensus for war, however, there is a small, yet growing vocal minority who want anything but. We are the pacifists, and we know that violence does nothing to solve any situation; it merely aggravates it. We don't need to look far for examples-- all we have to do is look at the long, miserable Vietnam war of the 1960's, the war-torn landscape of Bosnia, and the insanity going on in Palestine to this day. In each of these instances, both parties have sought to use violence as a means of resolving conflict, only to get embroiled in a vicious cycle of tit-for-tat retaliation that either lasted for years with hundreds of thousands dead or is still continuing today with no end in sight. We, the pacifists, know that if the United States were to carelessly attack any country out of "revenge," it would only be getting itself caught up in that vicious cycle. You heard our President: "Expect this war to be long," he said.

Of these words that he spoke, I ask of you-- do you want this? Think about it. Do you want another Vietnam? Do you want to get embroiled in a war with the Middle East in the same way Russia spent eleven long years in Afghanistan? Or worse, do you want the United States to commit an act that finally alienates what's left of its allies and, ironically enough, makes it an enemy of the world in a world that has grown tired of America's incessant screams of bombing as a solution to practically every international crisis? FYI: just know that the rest of the world doesn't see the United States in the role of benevolent protector anymore; it now sees it as a fearful saber rattler that will unthinkingly bomb countries even if it means upsetting the World Order and bringing untold death and destruction to the planet. Our need to be a big man and prove to the world how big and tough we are has caused the intended affect-- it has struck terror in the heart of our enemies. But guess what--? It has also struck terror in the heart of our allies. A military strike would not only now alienate us from everyone else, the utterance of our very name alone would cast fear in the hearts of people worldwide when previously it had brought up feelings of protection, peace, and security. Is this what you would like the United States to represent to children all over the world, whether Asian, African, European, North American, South American, or Australian--? America, not as a bringer of peace, but as a nation so filled with vengeance that it would actually stoop to the level of terrorists by carelessly destroying innocent lives in the process of bombing countries?

But let's think of another more serious situation should the United States decide to retaliate. There are now over twenty five countries that have nuclear weapons. Who knows if, should the United States commit an act of violence that deems it a sufficient threat to any one of these countries, that these countries won't feel justified in their decision to start WWIII? We don't know. That's why caution is necessary. If we get rid of terrorism by bombing tomorrow, we just might never know if that action in a few years won't lead to the war that would not only end all wars, but all life on this planet as we know it.

There is a saying in life that says that "cooler heads prevail." Never do we need to heed this statement more so than right now. Yes, we must find the people responsible; yes, we must stop terrorism; but we must also think of the consequences of whatever future action we take. The world of today is not the same as it was twenty years ago or even ten years ago. We don't know yet what the possible consequences of a military attack today could bring, and that's why we, as pacifists, don't want to take that chance.

Now you may ask angrily, "So what do we do-- do nothing?" This is a popular sentiment, especially among hawks out there who can't wait to get us involved in another senseless war. But seeking non-violent means to this international crises is not the same as "doing nothing," just as bombing people willy nilly isn't the same as "doing something." After all, we have been bombing countries for years and nothing has been accomplished. After bombing Quaddafi, after bombing Afghanistan, after bombing during the Gulf War, the events of September 11, 2001 still happened. So, you see, bombing and killing does nothing; it just breeds the same hostilities that will inspire people to do more of the same acts we saw last week.

Yet still, some of you may be unconvinced. You may say, "Well, when has peaceful means (on the part of the US) ever worked to end terrorism?" To that I have two answers. Number one, I wish I could answer that, considering that it has been past policy of the United States to simply just bomb "countries into the stone age" instead of using any diplomacy to resolve situations in the Middle East. Therefore, I don't have any specific examples to give you of successful US diplomacy at work since we've never tried non-violence as an alternative. However, I do have examples in two other instances. For one, when the United States was itching to bomb more countries a few years ago after Iraq refused to let UN inspectors into one of its plants, it was Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, who used diplomacy to resolve the tense situation. Secondly, just remember that for forty years, when the world was racing towards nuclear annihilation, it was the calm diplomatic measures of the United Nations, NATO and past leaders of both the United States and Russia that helped dispel the tensions. So you see, if diplomacy could help stave off nuclear annihilation for forty years, we can be sure that it will help stave off terrorism for as long as we want it to.

If you are a pacifist, you probably hear what I'm saying and are shaking your head in agreement. But it is not enough for us to simply shake our heads in agreement. We must do something to spread the word, to let people out there know that some of us don't want war, that violence is for people who aren't smart enough to think of an alternative solution, and that any country that would spill the blood of innocent civilians in retaliation for an attack on its own people is no better than the terrorists. So please-- start up web sites, print out flyers, organize protests-- do anything you can to let it be known that we want peace, not war, that we want a peaceful solution to this international crisis!

PRAY FOR PEACE, NOT WAR!

PS: Feel free to redistribute this essay, whether in the form of print or web page (in fact, I encourage it!), as long as you do not claim it as your own. Any comments, write me: hipechik@email.com.

hipechik, New York City

by i
It is unspeakable, unbelievable, incomprehensible. The attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington - a synchronized terrorist action which resulted in the killing of thousands of people - is far from anything anyone would ever imagine in their worst nightmares. Yet, for the last week it has been a fact which continuously drills its presence into the consciousness, pressing for acknowledgement and forcing our numb acceptance.

In just a few hours the citizens of the US were forced to face their vulnerability, their frailty and, for the first time ever, a fear arose whispering in the dark corners of one's mind. The US was no longer the invincible, untouchable nation which dictates how history unfolds. For the first time someone had taken the wheel in their hands and made a course change which seems irreversible.

I can imagine the horror of the people in the buildings faced with their impending doom. Some never even realized what had happened - it was all over before consciousness would have a chance to comprehend. Others were granted the terror of a few hours of scrambling to find a way out, to end only with the blood-curdling screech of steel giving way, glass shattering and the thunder of concrete ripping apart as their workplace crumbled down into a gnawingly haunting, horrifying tombstone. Yet others lived and probably still live for hours and days with hope melting away and death breathing ever closer as rescue teams face a doomed race to save just one more life.

The agony, the knowledge of the inevitable seems worse to me than death itself. To be left without a choice and death as the only option, barred from the chance to even live the last few hours to the fullest, is a punishment far too cruel for any crime. Yet, thousands of Americans were entombed against their will - the living, together with the dead, in one of the most abominable acts of violence this continent has ever seen. Along with that comes the agony of millions of other Americans, the agony of the living: the agony of parents, children, wives and husbands, of families and friends. They would continue to hold hope even past the point where the rational mind may support it. Yet, for most, this hope would mercilessly die and one would face the deafening pain of what has actually occurred.

To all of you, millions of Americans - the ones who perished and the ones left behind - I forward my deepest empathy. I clutch my chest with the pain I feel around me, my mind is numbed from your cries of loss, my consciousness is seeped in mourning for the torn ties and lost love among you. I stand on bent knee and offer my heart to share in your overflowing agony.

With all this sympathy, however, there is one sensation I cannot get rid of and it grows within me every minute. It gets stronger and screams louder as I listen to the news, the presidential statements or to the endless interviews with representatives of the American government. It drowns out my senses of sympathy and replaces it with an anger which relentlessly swells inside me. It turns the agony of the victims, the horror of their last moments and the chilling mourning of their families into a premonition of what will happen again.

My humanity and compassion are struggling with the disgust of an evil rising from the flames and rubble of the grave of so many innocent people. I am crazed with the anger at the foreboding of yet more death pouring out onto innocent people.

We are on the brink of a war. A war, we are told, which is meant to put an end to the suffering, which will end the evil and restore our peace. It is our duty, we are told, to bring justice to the ones responsible for this monstrosity. It is our duty, we are told, to make sure this never happens again. It is our duty, we are told, to grab our weapons and seek revenge for the horror and the suffering inflicted on our world. For anyone who is not with us is against us. It is funny how in Mr. Bush's voice one can hear the lost words of Stalin - the person responsible for a holocaust against his own people.

Yet, I am afraid that we will not bring justice. Instead, we will shoot, we will bomb, we will mercilessly hunt down and kill, we will risk our lives and do whatever it takes until this is over, until we are victorious, until we have prevailed. We will seek destruction, we will suspend our humanity and kill without mercy anyone who stands in the way of our goal. We will kill the innocent, along with the guilty. For this is war, we are told, "America's New War", and war does not pick its victims.

The cruelty of war can be even worse when war is undertaken against a ravaged, starved country as Afghanistan is. A country which has been plundered and destroyed by decades of war and internal struggle. A populace which is under the daily threat of starvation. Millions of people who are at the brink of death even without military action, if only food aid is withdrawn. Is that the nation we are attacking? Isn't attacking a helpless people the ultimate act of cowardice?

An eye for an eye… Or is it? Are we being just? Are we being humane? Will we take back as much as we were robbed of, or will we go far beyond that in a blood-thirsty campaign of revenge? Will we restore justice or will we perpetrate yet another monstrosity, more evil than the previous one? Will we stop evil or will we place another link in the chain of violence wrapped around our hearts?

For decades the US has meddled with the destinies of other nations. In the oil-rich Middle East, it has been the US President to decide who gets to live and prosper and who gets to perish and sink into oblivion. We have used our power to dictate the lives of millions of people, often replacing peace with war and democracy with oppression. We have bombed, killed and shot thousands of innocent people. We have ruined family lives and inflicted violence simply because we could and because no one could stop us; because we held the pen of history and because war and peace depended on our endorsement.

The World Trade Center and the Pentagon - the money and the weapons - are the symbols of American power against anyone who does not humbly obey our wishes. For those who do not comply with our orders, there are economic sanctions, levers we could pull to bring them to their knees. And if they preferred to be poor and rebellious, then there always is the smoking gun, enforcing our right as a conqueror, the almighty judge of right and wrong among blood and destruction.

It is no accident that the attack we witnessed was brought upon us not with rockets and nuclear bombs, but with plastic knives and the will to die for a cause. The weapons our attackers used reside deep in the heart and mind - where no economic sanctions or weapons can be effective, where violence breeds even more resistance and desire for revenge. There is no effective weapon or military action against that. For, by imprisoning the will of millions of people we close off all other ways in which their voices can be heard except by perpetrating the monstrous violence we witnessed - a wound so deep and painful, that we can no longer accept or ignore it.

I am not saying that what happened is justified - no violence ever is. The attack was the product of deranged minds and imaginations. However, each movement, each religion and culture has its violent extremists - people who will go to every end to ensure their way of thinking prevails. Repressing against a nation pushes people like that in desperate acts. Then, it is just a matter of time until the hate oppression breeds finds the fruitful soil of violent minds. Powerless and victimized, they channel their efforts into terrorism - the only mode of retaliation they have available for the violence perpetrated against them. As senseless as it may seem, it is exactly through the acts of terrorism that they have the opportunity to strike back and destabilize a superior enemy. Through such acts they seek to bring about a crisis in which the big powers can be weakened and destabilized.

Is the US so powerful that a strike back would not matter? We should remember that years of policy of repression and destruction to promote American interests has bread a resentment against the US in the entire Arab world - a source of the violence perpetrated on September 11. By striking against an innocent people in search of some ill-defined justice we could create a conflict in which the resentment of repressed peoples would turn into hate and a call for payback for all the years of injustice. That is a risk we cannot take, for we could spurn a new World War - more devastating than any wars we have ever seen.

So what are we to do? If we do nothing, we empower the terrorists. If we strike back, we may get more than we bargained for. The answer can be closer than it may seem. We must do both. It is only through the use of moderation and with a focus on what is just that we can find a way out of this quandary.

A grounds-up, complete revision of US foreign policy is long overdue. Politics of interference, of flaming up regional conflicts and supporting the flavour of the month government must stop. We must do nothing more to threaten the fragile peace of our world. We must learn to respect other nations and their will for self-determination. We must end the cycle of economic and military oppression against nations and our indulgence to profit from the weaknesses of others. For once, must stand on the side of democracy and peace.

At the same time we must seek justice. A justice with evidence and courts, not a mass-produced farce served by the medias for our titillation. To this day, I am yet to hear compelling evidence that Mr. Bin Laden is the guilty party for the September 11th massacre. And while the profile fits, justice would require that an impartial examination be conducted. Instead, we are on the brink of waging war on a nation for not surrendering an alleged suspect!

The question is - what will we learn? Will we continue the cycle of violence, breeding even more resentment and hate, causing even more damage at home and abroad, or will we stop to reflect on our power indulgence? Is there enough humanity left in us to see the sins we have committed before we pass judgment on others? Is there enough compassion left in us to understand the pain we cause before we seek retribution for our own? Are we the just people who will punish the monsters who perpetrated this act or will we seek revenge on whoever may conveniently be in front of us?

Should we bring more death and destruction to people who hate America's policy for the injustice and suffering it brought to them in the first place? Will the deaths of thousands of Americans and the suffering of their loved ones be made less painful or meaningful by inflicting that same disaster on others? Would the people who died in the horrific attack last Tuesday have wanted us to do the same to others? I think not.

But my fear that America will forget its victims and simply pursue vengeance through the shedding of more blood grows every day as I see reports of a nation which supports action "whatever it may be". I cringe every time an ordinary American citizen states that their war is justified. I shudder with horror listening to the talk of military strategists talking about "collateral damage". I panic when I see a mass mobilization of a power aimed to destroy, rather than rebuild our peaceful world. From the ruins of the World Trade Center I see a fearful terrorist emerge - a terrorist which waves the American flag and seeks blood in the name of patriotism - the same motto the terrorists from September 11 had.

It is this fear, my dear Americans, that deafens my sorrow for your losses. It is not that I am against justice. Justice should be served, but it should be done right. Beyond that, each life taken, each innocent person that falls in your path of destruction would mean murder - cold-blooded, vengeful, maniacal murder, a holocaust I cannot and will not be part of! This is the war we never wanted.

And, my dear Americans, if that is what you seek, my compassion for you will be replaced with a condemnation and more resentment of your vile, self-righteous, willful ways.

About

I believe I can change the world! While in many cases I have been proven wrong, I know that sometimes, in some ways, no matter how seemingly insignificant, I have been able to succeed. Should I ever stop believing in that, I will be sentenced to suffer the slow agony of my death as a person for the rest of my life. One has to choose to believe!
The goal of this site is to facilitate social change by raising awareness about social problems, encouraging the critical examination of their root causes and prompting action for the betterment of our world.

I would deem it self-evident that today's society is far from perfect. We live in a egoistic world which revels in its self-professed glamour, democracy and humanitarian interest while perpetuating injustice, inequality, prejudice and human suffering around the globe:

Corporations and their media work actively to destroy the core values which give a human being a sense of purpose and accomplishment and to replace them with the unending gluttony of consumption.

Governments watch idly by, or even help them along in their destructive drive, in the name of economic and political supremacy, or simply because of corruption.

The mass media, controlled by governments and corporations, has long lost its potential as a means for the exercise of the freedom of speech.

Personal gratification is fast becoming the empty ideal of self-fulfillment, robbing us of the opportunity and the capacity for happiness.

Ignoring this reality not only doesn't make it go away, it actually perpetuates it. By taking a passive stance we become accomplices in the systematic genocide launched against humanity. Therefore, the first step towards making a better tomorrow is to acknowledge the problems we help create, as uncomfortable as that realization may be.

Once problems are recognized, they need to be carefully examined from a variety of perspectives in order to understand their root causes. Refusing to understand the power conflicts in our world is equivalent to writing a blank cheque to the the dominating powers without questioning their motivations or morals.

There are many obstacles to gaining insight into the structure of social issues. One's perception is highly biased by their own experiences, knowledge and involvement. Closed within the boundaries of our minds, we rarely have the resources and the perspective to see the bigger picture. Exchanging views and discussing issues is the only way we can increase our awareness and better our understanding of the world around us.

However, today we live in an environment where discussing political issues is strongly discouraged, limiting our understanding of the forces around us. The consumerist society benefits from mental shortsightedness, apolitical thinking and the conformity ideal.

To combat the above issues, this site aims to accomplish the following:

To provide an alternative channel for the publication of materials which would be banned by the censorship of the mainstream media due to their criticism of the prevalent economy of values.

To serve as a forum for discussion that will help challenge the status quo and widen perception and understanding.

To help restore the values that guide us in our quest for self-fulfillment.

To help restore our sense of of community and our belonging to the single family of humanity.

Finally, the action you take as a result of what you see here is solely your choice. However, I hope, by what you learn here, you will have the courage to question yourself and take responsibility for the motivations and the consequences of your actions and thoughts. If you are not willing to do that, this site is not for you.

I only hope for the sake of our children that by learning from yesterday, the tomorrow we create will be better than the today we left behind.

Whether that happens, depends on you, too...

i

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