A Campaign Initiative
September 2004 was a very difficult month. It began with an act of hostage taking, violence and terror targeted towards school children, their parents and teachers in Beslan, on what is traditionally the first Russian school day. And it ended with a series of beheadings in Iraq to match the ongoing violence by the forces of “liberation”, and the continuing folly of the “war on terror”, which as war is in itself a form of terror, is nothing more than terror on terror!
Beginning any day, to the news of another beheading, one is apt to question the basic humanity of those who can even consider such an act as an option – and to feel helpless against such hate. Yet, hearing – on this same day – of numerous other killings and the fact that more than one billion people on this planet have less than a dollar a day to live on, helps one see things in a wider perspective. It helps one recall the occupation, inequality, violence , poverty and hopelessness which lead to so much hatred.
The same perspective is gained from the tragedy that ensued in Beslan , the fact that it was far more important for Mr. Putin and his government to appear strong ,than to protect the lives of the children and adults who had been taken hostage, for those who were aware of similar incidents knew almost from the onset than many hostages would have no chance; it was not of them that the Russian government was thinking. And afterwards the same government sought only to use this cruel act, to cover up its own cruelty in Chechnya, and to declare itself the target of international terrorist organizations! Much as the fallen government of Mr. Aznar had tried to use an international terrorist attack, related to its role in the coalition that brought war to Iraq, to create national hatred within Spain.
And we began the month, perhaps fearing another attack on New York, for the Bush administration went far in planting this fear in our hearts and minds, to detract attention from the Kerry campaign. And we began it fearing for the lives of two French journalists in Iraq, who were taken hostage to force a government to change an internal law, and proceeded to also fear for the lives of other hostages in Iraq, amid them two female Italian aid workers, who eventually came free only in exchange for a large sum of money , which was to buy Mr. Berlusconi’s image, without a withdrawal of troops . (Except that these ex-hostages are continuing to ask for such a withdrawal. They are not ungrateful to be free, but they remain true to their understanding of greater justice.) And we ended the month with an act of murder and terror proudly and openly carried out by the security forces of Israel in Syria!
And we are drawn further and further into a circle of terror, for they all revert to terror, state terror, and group terror, and create terror in response to terror, and revert to terror to fight terror and on, and on …….
And they lie, twist facts, hide data and play with information and figures, and they have no sympathy and show no mercy, each in their own way. And what is lost further and further is the mercy that the family of one British hostage so rightly asked for and was denied , the humanity which would hold back a man from beheading another, the humanity which would hinder a Chechnyan man or woman from taking children hostage or from shooting these children in the back as they run with fear when bombs explode around them , the humanity that should have prevented us from allowing the coalition of the war willing to bombard Iraq, the humanity which should have allowed us to concentrate on fighting those who will revert to terror, without using methods that are in themselves cause of terror. The humanity that recognizes that state violence is also terror, the humanity that rejects the idea that “might is right”, and the notion that “the end justifies the means”; the humanity that can be and is reflected in our laws, international as well as national, in our cultural development and the arts, in some instances of our history , in our aspirations – and in many individuals.
The humanity that some are seeking to negate. And to replace with terror.
Thus, this initiative and our call for a conscious international campaign of Humanity Against Terror. For we need to empower our individual and group oriented actions by uniting them around one central message, seeking to bring hope and change to our insecure world.
We call upon all individuals, groups, organizations, international bodies as well as national and international actors to become part of such a conscious campaign to strengthen the laws and values that humanity holds dear, and to use these as our common and effective weapons of thought against terror, be this state terror or group terror or individuals reverting to falsehood and lies to create terror and go further to limit our civil liberties .
We ask you to use your possibilities, fantasies, capabilities, fears and hopes to form and publicize this campaign, in any way you chose and to thus define its outlines and shape its methods, to mobilize and to organize to influence national and international policy.
To fight terror, we must reject the unintelligent notion of a “war on terror”.
To fight terror, we must see and reflect on various forms of violence and inequality.
To fight terror, we must seek to report facts and not selfishly pre-select these .
To fight terror, we must aid national development and value human rights.
To fight terror, we must re-stress developed laws and humanist values.
Towards this end, we shall be sending a copy of this first text to a number of organizations and individuals, who are like of mind, to ask them to start actions , make speeches to publish articles , hold discussions, write, paint or create , at least once a month, with this specific central goal in mind.
In many ways, many groups and individuals already hold actions and develop thoughts that can be considered part of such a campaign. Yet what we propose, is defining a conscious campaign, under a common motto. This way, all the various actions and articles can make up a portion of the activities of each , and eventually come together to count as a united force, and to thus act as a more effective element in :
– Exposing and hindering state violence and terrorism; hindering group terror
– Seeking to reflect the travails and losses of all sides via truthful and representative reporting
– Strengthening international organizations and international law
– Supporting democratic movements within developing countries
– Developing adequate and wise responses to complex international and social problems
– Making sure that the will of the majority is reflected in the policies of their elected officials
– Re-stressing guidelines for personal and political behaviour and action
A variety of actions will be possible , the possibilities are endless and it can be a joy to watch and see the various ideas that will be developed , all under the empowering motto of: Humanity Against Terror.