Fisk's article

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Tue Sep 18 2001 - 09:04:03 BST

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    This is the article by Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent on The
    Independent, mentioned by Chomsky.

    > >
    > >
    > > The awesome cruelty of a doomed people
    > > By Robert Fisk
    > > 12 September 2001
    > >
    > > So it has come to this. The entire modern history of the Middle East -
    > > the collapse of the Ottoman empire , the Balfour declaration, Lawrence
    > > of Arabia's lies, the Arab revolt, the foundation of the state of
    > > Israel, four Arab-Israeli wars and the 34 years of Israel's brutal
    > > occupation of Arab land - all erased within hours as those who claim to
    > > represent a crushed, humiliated population struck back with the
    > > wickedness and awesome cruelty of a doomed people. Is it fair - is it
    > > moral - to write this so soon, without proof, without a shred of
    > > evidence, when the last act of barbarism in Oklahoma turned out to be
    > > the work of home-grown Americans? I fear it is. America is at war and,
    > > unless I am grotesquely mistaken, many thousands more are now scheduled
    > > to die in the Middle East, perhaps in America too. Some of us warned of
    > > "the explosion to come''. But we never dreamed this nightmare.
    > >
    > > And yes, Osama bin Laden comes to mind, his money, his theology, his
    > > frightening dedication to destroy American power. I have sat in front of
    > > bin Laden as he described how his men helped to destroy the Russian army
    > > in Afghanistan and thus the Soviet Union. Their boundless confidence
    > > allowed them to declare war on America. But this is not the war of
    > > democracy vs terror that the world will be asked to believe in the
    > > coming hours and days. It is also about American missiles smashing into
    > > Palestinian homes and US helicopters firing missiles into a Lebanese
    > > ambulance in 1996 and American shells crashing into a village called
    > > Qana a few days later and about a Lebanese militia - paid and uniformed
    > > by America's Israeli ally - hacking and raping and murdering their way
    > > through refugee camps.
    > >
    > > No, there is no doubting the utter, indescribable evil of what has
    > > happened in the United States. That Palestinians could celebrate the
    > > massacre of 20,000, perhaps 35,000 innocent people is not only a symbol
    > > of their despair but of their political immaturity, of their failure to
    > > grasp what they had always been accusing their Israeli enemies of doing:
    > > acting disproportionately. But we were warned. All the years of
    > > rhetoric, all the promises to strike at the heart of America, to cut off
    > > the head of "the American snake'' we took for empty threats. How could a
    > > backward, conservative, undemocratic and corrupt group of regimes and
    > > small, violent organisations fulfil such preposterous promises? Now we know.
    > >
    > > And in the hours that followed yesterday's annihilation, I began to
    > > remember those other extraordinary, unbelievable assaults upon the US
    > > and its allies, miniature now by comparison with yesterdays' casualties.
    > > Did not the suicide bombers who killed 241 American servicemen and
    > > almost 100 french paratroops in Beirut on 23 October 1983, time their
    > > attacks with unthinkable precision?
    > >
    > > It was just 7 seconds between the Marine bombing and the destruction of
    > > the French three miles away. Then there were the attacks on US bases in
    > > Saudi Arabia, and last year's attempt - almost successful it now turns
    > > out - to sink the USS Cole in Aiden. And then how easy was our failure
    > > to recognise the new weapon of the Middle East which neither Americans
    > > or any other Westerners could equal: the despair-driven, desperate
    > > suicide bomber.
    > >
    > > All America's power, wealth - and arrogance, the Arabs will be saying -
    > > could not defend the greatest power the world has ever known from this
    > > destruction.
    > >
    > > For journalists, even those who have literally walked through the blood
    > > of the Middle East, words dry up here. Awesome, terrible, unspeakable,
    > > unforgivable; in the coming days, these words will become water in the
    > > desert. And there will be, naturally and inevitably, and quite
    > > immorally, an attempt to obscure the historical wrongs and the blood and
    > > the injustices that lie behind yesterday's firestorms. We will be told
    > > about "mindless terrorism'', the "mindless" bit being essential if we
    > > are not to realise how hated America has become in the land of the birth
    > > of three great religions.
    > >
    > > Ask an Arab how he responds to 20 or 30 thousand innocent deaths and he
    > > or she will respond as good and decent people should, that it is an
    > > unspeakable crime. But they will ask why we did not use such words about
    > > the sanctions that have destroyed the lives of perhaps half a million
    > > children in Iraq, why we did not rage about the 17,500 civilians killed
    > > in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, why we allowed one nation in the
    > > Middle East to ignore UN Security Council resolutions but bombed and
    > > sanctioned all others who did. And those basic reasons why the Middle
    > > East caught fire last September - the Israeli occupation of Arab land,
    > > the dispossession of Palestinians, the bombardments and state sponsored
    > > executions, the Israeli tortures ... all these must be obscured lest
    > > they provide the smallest fractional reason for yesterday's mass savagery.
    > >
    > > No, Israel was not to blame - that we can be sure that Saddam Hussein
    > > and the other grotesque dictators will claim so - but the malign
    > > influence of history and our share in its burden must surely stand in
    > > the dark with the suicide bombers. Our broken promises, perhaps even our
    > > destruction of the Ottoman Empire, led inevitably to this tragedy.
    > > America has bankrolled Israel's wars for so many years that it believed
    > > this would be cost-free. No longer so. It would be an act of
    > > extraordinary courage and wisdom if the United States was to pause for a
    > > moment and reflect upon its role in the world, the indifference of its
    > > government to the suffering of Arabs, the indolence of its current
    > > president.
    > >
    > > But of course, the United States will want to strike back against "world
    > > terror'', who can blame them? Indeed, who could ever point the finger at
    > > Americans now for using that pejorative and sometimes racist word
    > > "terrorism''? There will be those swift to condemn any suggestion that
    > > we should look for real historical reasons for an act of violence on
    > > this world-war scale. But unless we do so, then we are facing a conflict
    > > the like of which we have not seen since Hitler's death and the
    > > surrender of Japan. Korea, Vietnam, is beginning to fade away in comparison.
    > >
    > > Eight years ago, I helped to make a television series that tried to
    > > explain why so many Muslims had come to hate the West. Last night, I
    > > remembered some of those Muslims in that film, their families burnt by
    > > American-made bombs and weapons. They talked about how no one would help
    > > them but God. Theology vs technology, the suicide bomber against the
    > > nuclear power. Now we have learnt what this means.

    "The distinction between mind and matter is in the mind, not in matter."
    Robin Faichney -- inside information --

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