by Martin Murie
(Swans - July 13, 2009) This Letter Against The War from Peshawar was written in 2001. The date is significant because Tiziano Terzani reports that already the hatred of Americans and British, always endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan, had risen to new heights following the 2001 bombing raids. The complete set of Letters Against The War is published on Swans. (1)
In 2001 the Taliban were recruiting young and old men who were prepared to die.
The road ran through sugar cane plantations. Large, freshly-painted slogans were daubed on the walls dividing up the fields. 'Jihad is the duty of the nation.' 'A friend of the Americans is a traitor.' 'Jihad will endure until the Day of Judgement.' Strangest of all was the one which said: 'The Prophet has ordered jihad against India and America.' No one questions whether or not India and America actually existed 1,400 years ago at the time of the Prophet. But it is this blinding mixture of ignorance and faith which is so explosive and which, with its highly simplistic and fundamentalist version of Islam, creates that devotion to war and death which we have perhaps rather too recklessly decided to take on.
Now, nearly eight years later, Predator and Reaper, piloted by operators in Nevada, are reaping a whirlwind of hatred. We will pay for this. The old anarchist recipe for drastic change was to kill elites, especially heads of state, but later anarchists, realizing that there are always people aching to step into the shoes of assassinated leaders, have abandoned that urge. Now that our nation has taken over this hate-creating tactic we face monumental failure.
Terzani describes the myths and lies that motivate Pakistanis and Afghans and goes on to ask if we Americans are not as misled.
Is the fanaticism of these fundamentalists not like our own arrogant belief that we have a solution for everything? Is their blind faith in Allah any different from our blind faith in science and technology, in our ability to exploit nature for our own purposes?
Remember, this Letter was written in October of 2001. By now, 2009, our war machine has "advanced" to even more ridiculous technical means, the drones, Predator and Reaper, harvesting more hatred. Recent reports caution us that Israel's military used drones in their attack on Gaza, reaping hatred there too.
Hey, Swans! Can you believe that we guide robotic airplanes from Creech Air Base in Nevada? That is science fiction brought into on-the-ground reality! Shouldn't we be scratching our feathers to make sure we are not dreaming?
Meanwhile, another danger hovers over the entire earth: Climate Change. Today's press release from The Center For Biological Diversity puts the Pika (aka Cony), a tiny rabbit inhabiting rock-strewn places in the Rockies and the Sierras, as a surrogate for the "Canary in the Coal Mine." These little critters are extremely sensitive to temperature rise. They are going extinct or moving higher in the mountains in search of their customary temperature regime. Our government, captained by that supreme rhetorician, President Obama, remains firm on this outlandish Bushite stance that ordered Fish and Wildlife Service and Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that climate change cannot be used as a criterion for establishment of habitats for endangered species, on sea or on land. That act, signed by Richard Nixon, has been under fire from neoliberals ever since. It was softened in the Clinton years, preparing the way for the Bush II years. Now we have, in addition to the immoral use of clumsy bombing by piloted and unpiloted aircraft, the fantastic rule prohibiting the use of global warming in laying out habitats for endangered species. That act is gutted, and Obama is, thus far, leaving it gutless.
My question is, will the little Pika cause enough outrage from below to break through the rules emanating from the Bush/Obama tenures? Probably not, because wars and ecology, homelessness and layoffs, mountaintop removal and other tragedies are all intimately connected and will, we hope, form the backbone of the massive rebellion simmering now. Hardly anyone will notice the little Pika. However, the Pika might be swept into the turmoil as part of an ecological grasp of political economy, if and when it happens. Better late than never.
My new poster at antiwar demos in Yellow Springs, Ohio, every Saturday:
Death From Above
Is Not Liberation.
My wife Alison's reads like this:
We are in the box canyon of hard-to-believe science-fiction fantasyland. Is there a way out? Yes.
1. TIZIANO TERZANI, Letters Against The War. Letter From Peshawar: In the story-tellers' bazaar, 27 October, 2001. See Swans complete posting of "Letters Against The War," Swans.com, September 8, 2008 (republished June 1, 2009). (back)
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