Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine years, two wars, hundreds of thousands dead – and nothing learnt.

On this ninth anniversary of that dreadful day, Robert Fisk notes the irony of Palin and Gingrich objecting to the building of a mosque in lower Manhattan. They are arguing, "as if 9/11 was an onslaught on Jesus-worshipping Christians, rather than on the atheist West."

He is right, of course. It is our secularism which they abhor, rather than our religiosity.

But both sides have been quick to bring God into the equation, arguing that they are fighting on His side.

And God? Where does he fit in? An archive of quotations suggests that just about every monster created in or after 9/11 is a follower of this quixotic redeemer. Bin Laden prays to God – "to turn America into a shadow of itself", as he told me in 1997 – and Bush prayed to God and Blair prayed – and prays – to God, and all the Muslim killers and an awful lot of Western soldiers and Dr (honorary) Pastor Terry Jones and his 30 (or it may be 50, since all statistics are hard to come by in the "war on terror") pray to God. And poor old God, of course, has had to listen to these prayers as he always sits through them during our mad wars. Recall the words attributed to him by a poet of another generation: "God this, God that, and God the other thing. 'Good God,' said God, 'I've got my work cut out'." And that was just the First World War...

Just five years ago – on the fourth anniversary of the twin towers/Pentagon/Pennsylvania attacks – a schoolgirl asked me at a lecture in a Belfast church whether the Middle East would benefit from more religion. No – less religion! – I howled back. God is good for contemplation, not for war.

Bin Laden sits in his cave 100% sure that he is carrying out the work of God, just as Palin is convinced that she is doing the same. And Pastor Terry Jones awaits His signal on whether or not he should burn the Qur'an.

What did God ever do to deserve so many idiots to be the interpreters of His wishes?

How, nine years after 9-11, do we end up listening to Palin and Gingrich bloviating about a mosque in lower Manhattan, yet ignore what all of this is actually about?

And of course, the one taboo subject of which we must not speak – Israel's relationship with America, and America's unconditional support for Israel's theft of land from Muslim Arabs – also lies at the heart of this terrible crisis in our lives. In yesterday's edition of The Independent, there was a photograph of Afghan demonstrators chanting "death to America". But in the background, these same demonstrators were carrying a black banner with a message in Dari written upon it in white paint. What it actually said was: "The bloodsucking Zionist government regime and the Western leaders who are indifferent [to suffering] and have no conscience are again celebrating the new year by spilling the red blood of the Palestinians."

The message is as extreme as it is vicious – but it proves, yet again, that the war in which we are engaged is also about Israel and "Palestine". We may prefer to ignore this in "the West" – where Muslims supposedly "hate us for what we are" or "hate our democracy" (see: Bush, Blair and a host of other mendacious politicians) – but this great conflict lies at the heart of the "war on terror".

To point that out, of course, is almost heresy. It is the link which one is not allowed to make.

Nine years after 9-11, nine years in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and maimed, it is still considered bad form to point out any link between the events of that day and Israel's colonial mission to steal Palestinian land.

It is ironic in the extreme that the United States, the country which recognised Britain's colonialism as the evil which it was, now finds itself the world's greatest supporter of this planet's last colonial project.

And it's not as if bin Laden has hidden his motivations:
"The reason for our dispute with you is your support for your ally Israel, occupying our land in Palestine."
And yet, as Obama seeks to bring a final reconciliation between both Israel and Palestine - the one thing which even Tony Blair admitted might do more than anything else to bring this madness to an end - we see American politicians lining up to insist that Obama is being "counter productive" and insisting that he must seek peace, but seek peace only "on Israel's terms."

Nine years on, we have learnt nothing.

Click here for Fisk's article.

11 comments:

Colin said...

A SINGLE BI-NATIONAL STATE OF JERUSALEM WITH THE CITY OF JERUSALEM AS ITS CAPITAL

It is necessary to appreciate that whilst the US is the primary supplier of military and civil aid to Israel , the EU is its primary trading partner without which the state of Israel is not economically viable. (The EU is also, of course, a primary funder to the PA).

It is, therefore, the EU that holds the key to the conflict. It needs to act to avoid the increasing likelihood of global war. When and if it takes the required action then the UNSC can take the appropriate next steps to establish a single bi-national state which would subsume the existing state of Israel . Only then will there be a solution that brings enfranchisement and freedom to all indigenous peoples of the region, and a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Obviously, there will be those, who will oppose such a solution but political necessity dictates an equitable solution now, not subsequent to further conflict that would be likely to end in widespread bloodshed throughout all the communities of the region both Arab and Jewish, plus a very possible escalation to encompass both Europe and parts of the US.

That is why it is essential for the European Union to act, sooner rather than later.


colindale, london

Kel said...

It is necessary to appreciate that whilst the US is the primary supplier of military and civil aid to Israel , the EU is its primary trading partner without which the state of Israel is not economically viable.

The US is perceived in the Middle East as enabling Israel's worst excesses, it was that which I was referring to.

When and if it takes the required action then the UNSC can take the appropriate next steps to establish a single bi-national state which would subsume the existing state of Israel .

I don't agree with this notion of subsuming the state of Israel. I still favour a two state solution. There is a possibility that it can still be done as required by UN Res 242.

Colin said...

A two-state solution with each being completely autonomous and contiguous, is certainly preferable but is not within the stated manifesto of Likud. Of course, neither is a single, bi-national state.

That being the position, the latter would arguably be the best option in order to avoid a conflict in which Israeli nuclear warheads would be used. Then there would be no options other than a scramble for survival. And I don't just mean in the Middle East.

Kel said...

I don't think any peaceful solution is within the manifesto or the mindset of Likud, and they would never accept a one state solution due to demographics, which would bring about the end of Israel.

Although, their opposition to a two state solution makes that outcome more likely. Which is why I find their position so untenable.

Anonymous said...

Nice. Using the occasion of a national tragedy to lecture us on how misguided the US is and then sprinkling in some anti-Israeli comments. Classy.

Kel said...

Nice. Using the occasion of a national tragedy to lecture us on how misguided the US is and then sprinkling in some anti-Israeli comments. Classy.

You supply the proof of everything that I have argued. You have learnt nothing from what has happened. After NINE years, you still think it "anti-Israeli" to even suggest a link between 9-11 and your Middle Eastern policies.

Despite the fact that I have supplied you with bin Laden's own words on the subject.

Colin said...

There is recent research that throws doubt on the contention that Palestinian births are far in excess of Israeli ones.

Given that there are currently more or less equal populations of both Arabs and Jews in Israel/ Palestine i.e. roughly five million each, and if birth rates are not unequal, as previously supposed, then there is little reason to suppose that a bi-national state would not function correctly in accordance with democratic principles.

Kel said...

There is recent research that throws doubt on the contention that Palestinian births are far in excess of Israeli ones.

That's interesting. I haven't heard of that.

But, given the history of the Jewish people, I don't think it unreasonable that they insist that there should always be a Jewish state, somewhere they could always find refuge.

The one state solution is perceived as threatening that. It would certainly never be an easy thing to convince the Israelis to adopt.

nunya said...

"you still think it "anti-Israeli" to even suggest a link between 9-11 and your Middle Eastern policies. "

Well, not those of us who actually THINK. Not something encouraged by the LA Times, just 2 hrs N of here. More Israeli propaganda spews forth from that thing than ever. Can't tell them to read Haaretz, either. I avoid the subject of Israel or I get lectured on nonsense that I know to be biased at best, and absolute bullshit at worst.

nunya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kel said...

Well, not those of us who actually THINK.

Thank God for those of you who do Nunya.