---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 15:19:51 -0700
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Anti-war news...(# 9)
(Anti-war links are now at the very end of this page.)
Worldwide protests against US bombing of Afghanistan
By Julie Hyland
10 October 2001
Anger at the US bombing raids on Afghanistan has unleashed protests in many
countries, sometimes leading to violent clashes.
In Pakistan, crowds of about 15,000 fought for more than three hours with
police in Quetta, in western Pakistan near the Afghanistan border. A police
station was attacked and the headquarters of the UN children's fund was
badly burnt, along with several shops and cinemas. Police opened fire on
the crowd, killing one and injuring several others. Approximately 75
people were arrested.
Three people were killed in the nearby town of Kuchlak, including a 12-year
old boy, when police opened fire on a crowd of some 1,500, mainly Afghan
refugees, protesting the US air strikes.
Police also fired into crowds in Peshawar, injuring at least 10
people. Effigies of Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair were burned. In a
series of running battles with protestors in the Khyber bazaar, riot
police, backed by soldiers with machine guns, fired tear-gas canisters and
mounted baton charges. Armoured personnel carriers were used to block roads
around the US Consulate to prevent demonstrators approaching. Following a
smaller demonstration led by students, all the city's students were ordered
home indefinitely and all government schools in the northwest province
closed for week.
At Landi Kotal further north, at least three people were wounded when a
local militia fired upon some 5,000 tribesmen who had gathered to burn
effigies of US President George W. Bush. Sporadic violence was also
reported in the southern city of Karachi. In the tightly guarded capital of
Islamabad, several hundred protestors demonstrated near the UN headquarters
building and the American Cultural Centre. The city's American and British
Embassies have been placed under heavy guard.
Pakistan's President General Musharraf, whose support for the air raids has
been crucial to the US war drive, dismissed the protests as the work of
extremists and said they were "very, very controllable". On Monday,
Pakistani authorities had arrested three leading Islamists allied to the
pro-Taliban Afghanistan and Pakistan Defence Council, a coalition of 35
parties pledged to oppose the US attacks. Azam Tariq, Fazlur Rehman and
Samiul Haq were all placed under house arrest.
Violent protests also erupted in Srinagar, the capital of
Indian-administered Kashmir, causing large parts of the city to be closed
down. At the Kashmir University campus hundreds of students demonstrated
against the attacks, throwing stones and chanting anti-US slogans. Thirty
people were injured when police fired tear gas at the protestors, many of
whom denounced Musharraf for supporting the US.
In Calcutta, 1,000 anti-war protestors from the Socialist Unity Centre of
India (SUCI) demonstrated near the American Centre, and burnt an effigy of
President Bush. SUCI leader Prabash Ghosh said that the US had not offered
proof that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the terror attacks. A joint
statement by the country's four Stalinist and Maoist communist parties
warned India's ruling coalition, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya
Janata Party, not to aid the US-led war drive.
In Bangladesh, the third largest Muslim country in the world, Islamic
organisations protested in the capital, Dhaka. Chanting slogans such as
"Bangladesh soil is not for America" and "Laden is the defender of Islam",
several hundred protestors listened to Fazlul Haq Amini of the Islamic
Oikya Jote, a partner in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led four-party
alliance, which assumes office today, threaten war against the US.
Bangladesh had offered the US use of its airspace and other key facilities
to conduct its military strikes, but Amini warned that more than three
million students in the country could be called upon to support a holy war
against the US.
In Egypt, more than 20,000 students from nine universities in Cairo and the
north protested the air strikes, and condemned the government's support for
the US attack. President Hosni Mubarak has been America's most stalwart
ally amongst the Arab countries, but has not issued a statement since the
bombing began. Security forces stood guard outside the campuses as 4,000
students protested at the Islamic University of Al-Azhar, 3,000 at the
Alexandria University and a further 2,500 at Zagazig University to the north.
In Jordan, security forces carried out a major clampdown against potential
protestors as soon as the US raids began, arresting at least 10 Islamic
students from the University of Jordan.
In the Sultanate of Oman, where British forces are engaged in a major
military exercise, police broke up a small anti-war protest, mainly
Elsewhere in Asia, there have been violent clashes in Indonesia, the
world's largest Muslim nation. In the second day of protests by
fundamentalist Muslim groups some 500 demonstrated near the US embassy in
the capital Jakarta. Indonesian police fired warning shots, tear gas and
water cannon to try and disperse the crowd. At least four people were
reported injured in the clashes. The US embassy has been closed, and sealed
off with barbed wire barricades. A small group of protestors managed
briefly to gather outside the British Embassy. A separate group of 200
members of the Indonesian Muslim Student Action Unity also protested
outside the United Nations building in the capital, chanting "America, the
US and British officials called on all foreign nationals to remain indoors
after the Association of Indonesian Ulemas (clerics) issued a joint
statement on behalf of 40 Islamic organisations, criticising the Indonesian
government's support for the US and demanding that it "suspend diplomatic
relations with America and its allies until the attacks stop".
There were reports of protests in Makassar, Sulawasi Island and in the
Javanese city of Bandung where 2,000 people marched.
In Japan, there were small anti-war demonstrations outside the US Embassy
in Tokyo, whilst the country's 370,000-strong Teachers Union condemned the
US bombing raid and called for an immediate end to the attacks.
In Europe, there have also been small demonstrations in all the major capitals.
A total of 15,000 people participated in anti-war demonstrations in Geneva,
Amsterdam and Barcelona at the weekend. Following the US air strikes,
protests have also been held in Stockholm and Helsinki, whilst in Rome,
several hundred demonstrated outside the United Nations. Sit-down protests
were held in Turin and Milan.
In Greece, more than 2,000 marched on the US Embassy in Athens, which was
sealed off by hundreds of riot police.
In Dublin, a group of anti-war protestors demonstrated outside the US
Embassy to condemn the air strikes and protest the Irish governments offer
of assistance to the Bush administration. And in France, a few hundred
protestors gathered in Paris and Strasbourg.
There have also been a series of protests across Britain. In London, a
small group of 100 demonstrators gathered outside Downing Street as the
bombing raids began on Sunday evening, chanting, "Stop the war, feed the
poor". In Birmingham, hundreds demonstrated under the auspices of the "Stop
the War" coalition the same evening. Both incidents passed off peacefully.
However in Glasgow, six people were arrested following a protest outside a
Ministry of Defence building. Three men and three women were taken into
custody after scaling the first floor ledge of the building to unfurl a
banner saying asking, "What do the dead eat?"a reference to the US bombing
raids being followed up by so-called humanitarian food drops. Another two
people were also arrested during the same protest. A spokesman for the
Faslane Peace Camp, which organised the protest, said, "Bush and Blair are
nothing short of murderers themselves. If they have proof against Osama bin
Laden they should bring him to trial through the international law courts."
Some 400 people also gathered at a two-hour vigil in the city's Glasgow
Square, whilst in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, 200 rallied in
Parliament Square, chanting slogans such as, "Terror is no antidote to
A minority of Americans calls out - loudly - for peace
The country's long tradition of antiwar activism resurges after attacks on
By Alexandra Marks | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
October 10, 2001
NEW YORK - Katharine Roberts was out campaigning for her candidate for
mayor, when she heard about the US attacks against the Taliban and an
antiwar rally in Times Square. She raced home, as best she could with her
cane, got her peace button, and then joined several thousand others to
protest the US military response.
"I'm a lifelong activist, and what's happening here is breaking my heart,"
she says. "We are becoming them, and that's the wrong thing to do."
Wrapped in a white shawl, with white hair and pink glasses, the retired
business-systems consultant is part of a long tradition of antiwar activism
in America - stretching back to the Quakers, who gave up control of
Pennsylvania rather than fight in the French and Indian War for the British
From "ban the bombers" to anti-Vietnam War activists, pacifists in America
have never shied from going against the grain and paying a price for it.
Now, the nascent movement - converging on Times Square and in cities across
the country from Boston to San Francisco, and made up of people of all ages
and ethnic backgrounds - is no different.
As Ms. Roberts and other protesters marched toward the heart of Broadway,
some onlookers booed, while others called them un-American and as well as
some unprintable things. "I just let it roll off my back," Roberts says.
Fueling the movement
Historically, the Quakers' pacifism has had deep spiritual roots that still
resonate on the protest lines. But in this century, a myriad of ideological
and other religious impulses have fueled the antiwar movements.
That has led to dissent and a range of views within the community itself.
For instance, Todd Gitlin, a former leader of the Students for Democratic
Society and anti-Vietnam War protests, believes nations have a right to
self-defense. Although he's not sure bombing Afghanistan is the right
course, for now he's sitting out the protests.
On the other hand, radical historian Howard Zinn, professor emeritus at
Boston University, headlined one of the first protests in Boston after
President Bush declared war on terrorism. He's confident that there is no
moral justification for bombing an impoverished country when the
perpetrators are terrorists spread over 30 nations.
"Terrorism has much deeper roots, and they lie in American foreign policy,
particularly in the Middle East," he says. "This is something that
Americans don't like to face or think about, but just because the enemy is
evil, that doesn't mean we're good."
The variety in the movement is reflected in the Times Square marchers as
well. Economist Laksham Parmal, his hand shaking as he carries a sign
saying, "Islam, Arabs and Immigrants are not the enemy!" is a follower of
Mahatma Gandhi. Gloria Bletter, an attorney and advocate of international
human rights law, was passing out leaflets calling the US to take its case
to the United Nations, where the perpetrators could be tried and punished
according to international criminal law. Osage Bell was decked in a black
sweatshirt proclaiming her membership in the Revolutionary Communist Youth
"It's ideological, it's emotional," she says, explaining her reasons for
protesting. "We want a better world for people."
Roberts, who walks cautiously through the crowd, doesn't have a religious
or ideological base for her lifetime of activism. She says she just knows
her own mind and maintains that violence only begets more suffering.
"Whether I'm right or wrong, I have these strong feelings, and I'm not
going to give them up," she says.
Like many in the crowd, Roberts is proud to stand up for what she believes
in, rather than for what the government would like her to.
To her, that's real democracy and patriotism. "The FBI has a long dossier
on me, and I'd be ashamed if they didn't," she says, laughing as she merged
into the crowd.
But for others, there is a growing sense of unease. Beatrice Nava is clear
that a dreadful act was committed against the people at the World Trade
Center and Pentagon. But as a mother of four who were draft age during
Vietnam, she doesn't believe a military response is appropriate. She's also
concerned about the "circumscription of rights" here at home.
"I fear it's going to become increasingly unacceptable to say what I think
is very true, which is that the US has engendered hate and righteous
indignation with its foreign policy," she says. "It doesn't justify an
attack on innocent people, but explains why fanatics are able to gain
support and can identify some of their pain coming from this most powerful
and richest country in the world."
Dead Civilians and Other Minor Risks of War
Accidents Can Happen
by Cynthia Cotts email@example.com
Around 2 p.m. Sunday, as I sat down to write a column that was due the next
morning, my boyfriend turned on the TV for the latest on the mayoral
race^only to find out our country was carpet bombing Kabul. So much for
advance planning. We spent the next two hours glued to the tube, his
reaction ranging from a sudden,fleeting desire to enlist to a denunciation
of Israel for its "deadly silence" in the face of this war. Across the
street an American flag snapped in the wind, and several networks adopted
"America Strikes Back" as their news banner.
"I gave them fair warning," Bush had said that morning, upon returning from
Camp David. He obviously meant Bin Laden and company, but some pols and
pundits seemed to have gotten notice as well. Tony Blair gave an incredibly
rousing speech, and Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, and Peter Jennings were on hand
to emcee another day that was guaranteed to disrupt our lives forever. A
Pentagon press conference held at 2:44 p.m. was packed with reporters who
had come out to hear Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld's delivery
was cocky, but his red tie hung askew as he assured us that this was a war
on terrorism, not on the Afghan people.
CNN had the coolest special effects, ranging from satellite imagery that
showed how the pilots identify their targets to a simulated cartoon of a B-2
that had departed from Missouri and stopped in the Arabian Sea to refuel
before embarking on its zigzag course to Kabul. A "CNN exclusive" showed
continuous footage from a nightscope looking south on Kabul. At first
glance, the view was a pea-green haze, but over time, it proved that Kabul
was shaking all night long. Rather than a handful of flyovers, it looked
like we were bombing myriad targets^at the very least a comprehensive
approach, and just possibly overkill.
Now don't get me wrong: The Taliban are vicious barbarians. But that
afternoon, I got queasy hearing all the talk of B-1s, B-2s, B-52s, and
cruise missiles. There was retired general Wesley Clark on CNN, propped up
in front of a map of Afghanistan, stiff and steely-eyed, declaring the
strikes to be "carefully choreographed," the psychological-ops
"well-coordinated." There was Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, promising that "visible or not . . . all instruments . . . are being
brought to bear on this global menace," and finally Rumsfeld, who declared
that even lacking a "silver bullet," we will fight this war "until we're
convinced that those terrorist networks do not exist."
Unfortunately, this is the rhetoric of the drug war, which has proved to be
a long, costly failure. If we can't arrest our way out of the drug problem,
does anyone really believe we can bomb the terrorists out of existence? Once
again, questioning the military attack doesn't mean I'm pro-Taliban. In
fact, if I ever doubted the evidence linking the Taliban to the World Trade
Center attack, that changed when I saw the so-called Osama bin Laden video
news release, which CNN, ABC, and the Al-Jazeera TV channel began
broadcasting Sunday afternoon.
In the tape, which seems to have been made before the U.S. struck back, Bin
Laden appears in a camouflage jacket, with rocks behind him and a rifle by
his side. First, a henchman predicts that America's "collapse will be
directly connected to its attack on Afghanistan," then Bin Laden explains
that the Muslims have suffered for decades, and now the U.S. must get a
taste of its own medicine. "The United States will have no peace until every
sinner, every Israeli, leaves the Palestinian lands." Talk about infinite
The pundits' reaction to the video was mixed. While some found it
"surprising" and "chilling," one expert called it Bin Laden's "common litany
of complaints." Still others saw a smoking gun, proof that Bin Laden's goal
in launching the events of September 11 was to provoke what Muslims would
consider an "indiscriminate attack" and that having succeeded, he no longer
had to dodge responsibility for WTC. After the special forces saw the
Al-Jazeera video, one of their kind told ABC, they would no doubt be "lining
up" for the opportunity to get Bin Laden. But if Bin Laden is a fanatic who
enjoys sparking new rounds of violence, even against his own people, what
are Bush and Rumsfeld? I couldn't help wondering what the Muslim radicals
would do Monday morning, when they woke up to the news of the American-led
Around 4 p.m., my boyfriend went out, and I began to hear sirens every 10
minutes. Channel-surfing for an anthrax alert, I noticed that CBS and NBC
had returned to football and NASCAR, respectively, and that only ABC and CNN
were still covering the war. ABC had dug up a report on historical attempts
to invade Afghanistan, which the correspondent called "the graveyard of
Around the same time, CNN's Jamie McIntyre was reporting that our planes had
dropped about 37,000 units of humanitarian aid over Afghanistan, as well as
leaflets and (possibly) single-channel transistor radios, all of which are
intended to persuade Afghans to turn against the Taliban. On the same
subject, ABC showed footage of U.S. military drops over northern Iraq in
1991, in which boxes of food were kicked out of airplane doors from an
altitude of 30,000 feet. Jennings questioned the effectiveness of these
drops, noting that some people in Iraq were killed when the boxes hit them.
By evening, MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell was holding up one of this year's food
drops^a slender bag in which, she said, there was peanut butter, but no
If there was one piece of propaganda I found hard to swallow, it was the
claim that these strikes would not kill any civilians. Tony Blair had
stressed the point, and Dan Rather reported dutifully that the attack was
"designed with care and precision to avoid civilian casualties." But as the
day wore on, it became clear that we had hit Kandahar, Jalalabad, and
Kabul^an airport here, an oil depot there^and it was still impossible to
know exactly where the bombs fell.
By 4:30 or so, CNN's Judy Woodruff was on air, perfectly coiffed and ready
for battle. When she asked CNN's resident generals Wesley Clark and Don
Shepperd to explain how a strategy of "carpet bombing" could be expected to
spare innocent lives, the hype began to unravel. "I am confident" that we
are not targeting civilian areas, said Clark, and Shepperd agreed: "In no
case will the U.S. attack civilians intentionally." When Woodruff pressed,
Clark finally caved, saying, "Accidents can happen."
Around the same time, CNN was broadcasting footage that appeared to show
return attacks by the Taliban, and an interview with a Taliban spokesman who
claimed that his troops had shot down one of our planes. The Pentagon denied
any U.S. lives had been lost, but the next day, the Taliban claimed that
about 20 civilians had died^a small number, but blood on our hands
nonetheless. And that, as MSNBC's Brian Williams explained Sunday night, is
to be expected during wartime, until they invent a missile that hurts only
buildings and leaves people standing.
Terrorism takes all sides
Every nation that kills innocents deserves the 'terrorist' label
by Robert Scheer
For three weeks now, ever since the horror of the World Trade Center, I
have been tempted but have lacked the courage to question the use of the
label "terrorism." The parsing of language seemed inappropriate in a time
of profound national mourning.
Yet, now that we are in a full-blown international war against what our
President defines as "terrorism," it's appropriate to ask what it is we're
talking about. Clearly, terrorism applies to acts of violence aimed at
innocent civilians, an extension of war beyond its proper boundaries, and
therefore the deserved subject of universal contempt.
However, while such acts are obviously deeply despicable, they cannot be
simply defined as exclusively the work of stateless maniacs and never the
work of recognized governments. Indeed, President Bush has recognized the
possibility of state terrorism when he committed to punish those
governments that harbor or sponsor terrorists.
Are not all bombings of civilians, even by armies of a state in times of
war, acts of terror? What of the tens of thousands of civilian dead in Iraq
as the result of our much celebrated success in "Operation Desert Storm?"
Was that not an act of real-life carnage despite its movie marquee
name? Or the million civilians killed by the U.S. with napalm and
anti-personnel bomblets in the "carpet-bombing" of Vietnam? And that other
million dead civilians in Afghanistan whose blood was on the hands of the
Soviet communists, one of whom is now the elected leader of Russia and our
ally in the war against terrorism? Or the tens of millions of civilians
systematically killed during World War II in acts of genocide by armies
loyal to the Russian motherland and German fatherland?
What of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which
resulted, in the death of more than 300,000 people a decision earning
President Harry S Truman Time magazine's Man of the Year award in 1945?
By its very design, the nuclear weapon must be thought of as an instrument
of terror because the purpose of what its makers call "city busters" is to
disorientate, demoralize and destroy large numbers of civilians. In the
bombing of Hiroshima, with one atomic bomb, pathetically small by today's
standards, cutely named "Little Boy" as opposed to the "Fat Man" that
obliterated Nagasaki, less than 10 percent of the dead were by any
Ironically, abandoning our already limited concern about the proliferation
of these ultimate terror weapons has been a major, if barely noticed, cost
of the alliance against terrorism that the U.S. has assembled. Pakistan and
India are involved in the most virulent nuclear arms race in the world
today, and our government has dropped all sanctions aimed at ending that
dash for oblivion.
It would be healthy for a world transfixed by the scene of devastation in
lower Manhattan to glance at the photos of the miles of destruction of
family homes and the limbs of babies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Healthy,
because it is inevitable that somewhere, someday, a terrorist cell will be
able to lay waste to a major population center unless we get the evil
nuclear genie back in the bottle. Healthy because evil does not fester
only in the schemes of the obviously deranged but rather, in the case of
nuclear weapons, was the product of the most refined thought of our best
and apparently, at the time, most balanced thinkers.
It is important to be reminded of the terror committed by governments run
by those who paid lip service to the virtues of Western Civilization, the
Enlightenment, Christianity, capitalist freedom and socialist justice at
time when Islam is all too easily held accountable for such acts of barbarism.
No one is invulnerable to the grip of madness, not of the left or right,
religious or secular, educated or illiterate, rich or poor, and sometimes
they manage to get the power of a state to endorse their grievances, real
How easy to hold the obviously evil Taliban responsible for the Saudi Isamu
bin Laden when he is in fact all too common a byproduct of the religious
extremism flourishing in his native nation. The hijackers were educated in
and traveling on the passports of the very states whose monarchs and
dictators now act so perplexed over their citizens' evil behavior.
How convenient to forget that it is Saudi Arabia, which owes its existence
and wealth to our military intervention, that spews the most vituperative
version of the Islamic religion and, indeed, exported it with missionary
zeal to the less benighted lands like Afghanistan. Just another caution
that the war against terrorism will not end with the rout of the Taliban.
Robert Scheer's national column appears weekly on WorkingForChange.
India: US-UK bombing on Afghanistan decried
ATNA: Various political parties and other organisations have flayed the
continuing bombing of Afghanistan by the US and British planes.
In a joint statement, the CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc, RSP and SUCI condemned
what they called US aggression in Afghanistan and announced that they will
take out processions and hold rallies on October 12 to press their demand
for immediate stopping of the war. The left parties stressed that the war
would hit the people of Afghanistan most and that thousands of innocent
people would be killed.
The left parties said that the war threatens to spill over the entire south
Asia and that the USA should have reacted to the September 11 attacks under
the UNO rules and guidelines. They demanded that the BJP-led government
should not drag India into the war as it will prove "dangerous" for the
independence of the country.
CPI-ML (New Democracy) MLA Umadhar Prasad Singh said the US attack on
Afghanistan has heralded the beginning of the end to American imperialism.
Accusing the USA of destabilising a number of democratically elected
governments, killing communists and patronising military dictators, Singh
held America responsible for the rise of international terrorism. He
alleged that the governments of India and Pakistan are following the
dictates of the USA, warning that these two countries are backing a sinking
ship. He recalled how the invasion of Afghanistan had led to the downfall
The state unit of the All India People's Resistance Front (AIPRF) flayed
the police raid on its central office in Delhi and the arrest of its
workers for distributing pamphlets against the US attack on Afghanistan.
The AIPRF, while demanding immediate release of its workers, alleged that
the police action was repression and an attack on fundamental rights. The
Union government wants India to participate in the US war, it maintained.
Jan Abhiyan also flayed the police raid on the AIPRF office. It said every
citizen has the right to oppose the US war against Afghanistan.
The All India Backward Muslim Morcha called the US attack as unfortunate.
Its president, M Aziz Ali, stressed that the whole world should evaluate
who the real terrorists are and who is responsible for the rise of
terrorism. He, however, flayed the fatwa issued by Imam Bukhari asking
Muslims to participate in the "Jehad" against America, stressing that
the issue is not related to religion.
Dateline: 9 October 2001
Ten thousand rally against war in Berlin. Five thousand school students take
A demonstration of more than 10,000 marched through Berlin against the war
on October 8, reports comrade Sascha from SAV, German section of the CWI.
The broad anti war coalition, which we are a part of, called it.
During the opening rally three SAV members were amongst the seven speakers.
Comrade Daniel chaired the rally, Nelli, a young school student, spoke for
the school students' anti war committee, and I spoke for SAV. We sold 22
papers and raised 70 Deutschmarks for the fighting fund.
We distributed many leaflets for a SAV public meeting on Thursday and a
school students' meeting on Friday.
After the demonstration more than ten comrades intervened in a protest
against a fascist NPD demonstration "against the war". As we were the only
ones with a megaphone we could set the tone. The fascists' demo broke up ten
minutes after we arrived.
All the comrades here are extremely enthusiastic about today's successes.
Now we have to concentrate on recruitment and building International
Resistance out of it.
Earlier on October 8 5,000 school students struck in Berlin against the war
on Afghanistan. The strike was called by a committee 'School Students
against the War', which was formed by International Resistance and German
CWI members. We organised school students from over 20 schools in the last
few weeks. This has been the biggest school students' demonstration for a
long time. Several young CWI members gave speeches, which were regularly
interrupted by strong applause.
The SAV got a very good reception at the demonstration and we sold 50
papers, and collected 170 Deutschmarks for the fighting fund. A further 220
Deutschmarks was raised for the school students' committee.
There were many attempts by some teachers and Head masters to intimidate
school students. In one school the headmaster locked the doors to keep the
school students inside the school. In another school students were forbidden
to leave the school even if they had no courses! A teacher threatened two
young comrades, saying they would be put on trial for manslaughter (!) if
something happened to a school student on the demo!
The demo was supported by the PDS group in the Berlin Federal State
parliament and we received some practical support (such as megaphones) from
trade unions. The Berlin mayor said that the actions of the school students
were an " unexcused absence from school, but nothing more" which can be
interpreted as a signal to the headmasters not to take action against
All over Germany demonstrations took place yesterday and are also taking
place today (October 9).
1000 on anti-war demo in Stockholm
On Monday October 8 there were anti-war protests in around ten cities in
Sweden against the bombings, writes Marcus Kollbrunner. Most had around 200
participants, and in Gothenburg there were 400. In Stockholm 1,000 people
joined the protest called by the Coalition Against War and Terrorism, which
was initiated by us. We had two speakers and one of the two chairs. The
Coalition in Stockholm is now made up of 30-40 organisations, Left and
immigrant groups. The coalition is calling for a demo next Saturday, which
could be quite bigger than today's demo. There will be anti-war demos in
several other cities on that day.
Over 1,000 rally in SF Bay Area
On October 7 the SF Bay Area Branch of Socialist Alternative (SA) mobilised
its forces for a teach-in, reports comrade Carlos. It organised by the SF
Town Hall Committee Against War and Hate (4 members of SA sit on its
14-Member steering committee). Our two big banners calling for 'NO War, No
Racism, Defend Civil Liberties' were the only banners at the event together
with a banner of the coalition with the same slogans. There were several
speakers, including comrade Carlos who spoke about the effect of the war
amongst immigrant communities and making the concrete motion to mobilise all
the forces of the coalition to support the Immigrant Rights Movement's March
on October 13. There were about 1,700 people present.
After the teach in, all the people organised into a contingent and joined
another 800 people from another coalition in a three hour march throughout
the working class neighbourhoods of the City. Our banners were among the
most prominent ones. We sold/distributed about 1,500 newspapers/SA
statements; 3,000 leaflets with our positions; 2,000 leaflets inviting
people to the October 13 march. The demo was joined by hundreds of other
people and swelled to 5,000. We got 120 new names of people interested in
On October 8 the SF Bay Area Branch helped to mobilise around 600 students
for a rally at noon in UC Berkeley. Comrade Carlos was one of the featured
speakers and he was very well received. Journalists present interviewed him
and he is now scheduled to appear as the only guest in a half hour TV Show
about "Terrorism, War and Immigrants."
'Not in my name' - thousands on NY anti-war demonstrations
On Sunday, October 6th, the SA branch participated at a larger rally at
Union Square and a march to 42nd Street. About 3,000 people attended the
rally. This a very positive event because it signalled that even at the
start of the conflict there would be opposition to the war in NYC. There was
a much more pronounced presence of young college students at the rally. We
distributed 600 copies of a special flier that we produced and sold 50
Statements and a small number of newspapers. The mood was good and it
represented a certain revival for the crumbling NYC liberal Left.
SA comrade Eljeer was prominently displayed in Newsday, a daily metropolitan
newspaper with a large circulation. He was photographed at the Oct 7 rally
on Sunday having a heated discussion with a pro-war Zionist youth. He was
also interviewed by Channel 4 station, but it never made the air, probably
because of its radical message. The anti-war rally in Times Square yesterday
(Oct 8) was the first in New York since the bombing began on Sunday, and the
crowd was fairly small probably 100-150 strong. There was quite a large
rally of thousands the day before, and perhaps this was the reason for
Monday's small turnout. The anti-war demo was heckled and jeered at by a
rowdy group of pro-war types.
We sold 15 copies of our statement, 'End The Cycle Of Terrorism' and
distributed 100 leaflets and collected names on our sign-up sheet. One
demonstrator gave us $5.00 for the statement. Today we will be intervening
in a meeting of the Hunter Coalition against War and Racism. We will also be
fly posting for our public meeting this Wednesday at the Hunter College
Significantly, the healthcare workers union 1199 has come out against the
war and a large number of union officials have signed an anti-war statement.
Comrades are reporting some very good discussions at their workplaces as
well as an increase in anxiety and fear about what is going to happen.
Since September 11 despite the difficult mood that existed, comrades
intervened quite successfully raising issues about why the bombings took
place and what was behind the tragedy.
Among some workers there was a mood of quiet scepticism about the situation
and a thirst to understand. For many people this was the first time that
they had to consider international policy and the world situation. There was
a period of three weeks when discussions were taking place about the
situation in the Middle East, terrorism, US foreign policy, etc.
We intervened with the SA statement, 'End the Cycle of Terrorism', the CWI
statement, Socialism Today magazine and the SA newspaper at Hunter College
teach-ins, which were attended by a couple of hundred people.
On Saturday, September 29, several comrades intervened with the same
material at a small rally / march (about 300) at 42nd Street against the war
preparations. Three people said they were interested in joining us. We sold
about 30 copies of the US Statement, about 10 newspapers and 3 copies of
Socialism Today. (NY reports by comrades Alan and Margaret).
The Chicago SA branch intervened in two anti-war protests of thousands on
Student walk-out planned in Boston
In the wake of the US bombing of Afghanistan, students from five UMass
(university) colleges will walk-out of classes and gather at central spots
on their respective campuses in protest, reports comrade Chris.
Three thousand march in Melbourne
The Socialist Party (Australian CWI section) made up a contingent on Monday'
s emergency anti-war rally and a march in Melbourne, which attracted around
2-3000 people, reports Jim O'Connor.
We distributed an updated colander of anti-war events. We raised A$58 in
paper sales and fighting fund. We are finding that our large and artistic
banner is attracting people to our stall. We are participating in the
broader movement and simultaneously reaching out to high school students by
leafleting schools. We are setting up a group called 'Youth Against the War'
and received ten names of people interested in joining the SP in less than
an hour during the city street stall last Friday. We are also setting up
local anti-war groups in selected suburbs.
We are gearing up for the federal election campaign on November 10. The
major parties, Labour and Liberal, are pro-war. We are standing comrade
Steve Jolly and will be making the war an election issue.
We are attempting to put forward our socialist ideas on platforms at the big
anti-war rallies. Groups such as the ISO (SWP) and Democratic Socialist
Party (DSP) tend to have strident rhetoric and slogans that are out of touch
with the current consciousness of the working class.
Weekly anti-war meetings and rallies continue. The next big one is on
London Socialist Party members on the first protests against war
Socialist Party members in Britain were out on a demonstration within 30
minutes of the bombings starting on Sunday 7 October, reports Ken Smith. Out
of a hastily organised demonstration of 200 we had nearly 40 comrades.
We got a good response and sold over 30 papers. One comrade sold eight
papers to passers-by alone. Two comrades, Lois Austin and Nancy Taaffe, were
also quoted in the national press the following day.
Lois was recognised as the leader of the demonstration. Dave Nellist,
Socialist Party councillor in Coventry and national chair of the Socialist
Alliance also issued a press release and was interviewed on two regional
At present, Dave is also likely to be the Socialist Alliance speaker on the
big anti-war demo, which is scheduled for this Saturday, 13 October.
The following day (Monday) there was an anti-war protest of over 2,000 in
London. We sold over 150 papers on this and got hundreds of names for our
anti-war campaign. Three people joined the party on the demo.
Again we got good press coverage out of this, and Dave Nellist was described
in The Independent (London) the following day as being the organiser of the
Stop the War protests.
There has generally been a good response on our paper sales and public
meetings. Although some areas reported a flat mood just before the bombings
started. But, nevertheless there have been some very good successes,
including in Coventry, where comrades sold 67 papers. Bristol also sold 120
papers over two days.
Almost all of our public meetings so far have had new people at them and new
people have joined the party in most areas as a result. Also, in some areas
comrades are playing a leading role in the anti-war coalitions and some
comrades have been platform speakers at their public meetings.
Five hundred outside the US embassy in Brussels
On October 8 there was an anti-war activity in Brussels initiated by a
Flemish peace organisation called 'Vrede' (it is mainly a study circle that
was originally linked with the Communist Party but which now works
independently and is attracting some). Comrade Els explains that many other
organisations were involved in this activity, as well as the Flemish
Christian Union. Between 400 and 500 people attended the rally outside the
US embassy. Twelve comrades sold between 25 and 30 papers. We had a
two-language International Resistance leaflet, which advertised the national
school student strike on 19 October. The strike was announced at the
protest. We called for protests at the EU summit not only to campaign
against neo-liberal policies but also against the war.
Building the anti-war movement in the Czech Republic
Immediately after bombing started we sent out a public statement in the name
of our organisation and called for a demonstration in the centre of Prague,
reports Vasek Votruba, (Socialisticka Alternativa Budoucnost).
Today (8 0ctober) we collected around 20 signatures against war, gave out 50
leaflets and sold 20 issues of our paper and 30 special statements,
including a history of Afghanistan.
On the most recent anti-war demo there were around 50 to 100 people. We had
Socialisticka alternativa Budoucnost banner - 'Poverty, War, Terrorism =
Capitalism'. We collected 30 signatures, sold 30 issues of paper and more
than 40 statements.
Unfortunately there is very strong pro-War propaganda by the government and
media. Most people think there is not alternative to the "bombing of
terrorists". But around 20% in polls stand against this. We try to show them
an alternative with our slogans and propaganda: No to war! No to terrorism!
which have been quite successful slogan. We have seven names of people who
want to help us with this campaign. We have to give the real facts, stand
against government and media propaganda and build support for another
protest/demo. The Humanist Movement plans a demo for 19 October.
Globalise Resistance just collected signatures under the vague petition
'Stop the War' at the last rally. They do not talk about a solution to
Afghanistan, they have no leaflets, and they have no papers. It shows us the
importance of the CWI, and to have reports from US, Britain and other
sections and how serious our approach is, even if in an unfavourable
situation. People who meet us now know this.
We got an e-mail message from a young student who visited our web page,
agrees with our statements, and want to help with our campaign against
Four thousand rally in Tokyo
The international press reports that around 4,000 people rallied and
demonstrated in Tokyo, Japan in protest against terrorism and a possible
U.S. retaliatory war. The rally was organised by the National Confederation
of Trade Unions (Zenroren) and peace organisations.
Protests in five Dutch cities
On Sunday there were hastily organised pickets and demos in five cities,
reports Patrick from Offensief, Dutch section of the CWI. On Monday, they
took place in twelve cities, such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The turnout
included 300 in Amsterdam, and 500 in the northern town of Groningen. Other
demos were smaller.
There will be a big national demo at Saturday 20 October in Amsterdam,
organised by the same broad committee (now including 165 groups) that held
the 7,000 strong rally on 30 September.
Offensief was mentioned in a special article in a rightwing/liberal national
quality paper. It discussed the relationship between the anti-capitalist and
peace-movement. Ronald was quoted as a member of Offensief, saying that if
the war were still on at the time of the Brussels demo, it would turn into
Portuguese Left fails to seriously organise anti-war protests
Neither the Portuguese Left parties nor the trade union movement have been
taking initiatives against the war, reports Francisco from Alternativa
Socialista. Up to now, only an organisation inspired by the Partido
Comunista (communist party) has done anything, advertising a rally in front
of the Israeli embassy to mark the first anniversary of the Intifada.
We in Alternativa Socialista have translated of the CWI statement on the US
bombings, as well as the statement of Socialist Alternative in the USA and
we will also publish Trotsky's article on individual terrorism. We have also
sent a statement to Left Bloc (a broad Left party) members, union members
and others on the Left.
Indian Anti-US War Protesters face severe repression
Statement by the All India Peoples Resistance Forum (AIPRF)
The Delhi Police raided the residence (also all India office) of G N
Saibaba, the All India General secretary of All India Peoples Resistance
Forum (AIPRF) at 11am today i.e. on 8th October at Pitampura, Delhi for
taking a campaign against US War against Afghanistan. They confiscated
leaflets of the campaign saying those who are against US war are against
Indian national integrity because India Government is supporting US war
The Police arrested on the morning of 8th six activists of AIPRF, who were
distributing leaflets in residential colonies in the Jamuna Area of Delhi.
The journalists, other activists and lawyers who went to enquire at
Bhajanpura police station were not allowed to meet our activists in the
station. The police produced the six activists in their custody before a
court the in the evening. The court remanded them for 14 days of judicial
custody. They were sent to Tihar Jail.
Now the BJP-led NDA government is extending their crackdown on all those who
are protesting against US war on the people of Afghanistan. In this context,
AIPRF calls upon all democratic organizations in the country to come
together to protest by forming A Committee Against US War.
However, despite this swift crackdown on the organization in Delhi, AIPRF
resolves to organize countrywide protests against US imperialist war on the
people of Afghanistan and on the whole oppressed world in the name of
fighting terrorism. AIPRF has been taking up several anti-war actions in
AIPRF also continues to support the religious and national minorities in
all parts of India at this crucial juncture of time when they are persecuted
by the Hindutva forces in complicity with the ruling NDA Government in the
name containing terrorism and supporting US imperialist war for oil and more
military bases in the Middle East.
For Immediate Release
FLORIDA AIM JOINS PEACE AND JUSTICE COALITION
Saint Petersburg, FL -The American Indian Movement of Florida (Florida
AIM) joined the Peace and Justice Coalition of Saint Petersburg, FL and
joined their opposition to the unmeasured responses of the United States
government to the heinous attacks of September 11, 2001 upon the World
Trade Center in New York City, New York.
Florida AIM is the state chapter of the international Indigenous peoples
civil, human, treaty, and sovereignty rights movement founded by Clyde
Bellecourt, Dennis Banks, George Mitchell, Eddie Benton Banai, Patricia
Bellanger, Mary Jane Wilson and others in Minneapolis, MN-where AIM has
maintained its National offices since.
Our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and we mourn with
them the loss of their loved ones. As a people who have historically
suffered similar crimes against humanity perpetrated against peaceful
Indian villages in North America, and continuing today against Indian
civilians in several countries of North, Central and South America, we
nonetheless at this time grieve and join our prayers and spirits with the
families of the innocent victims of these acts of violence in New York
City, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C.
Florida AIM condemns and opposes all acts of terrorism and opposes the
initiation of violence. We believe this must include the attacks of
September 11th, but also the actions of the infamous School of the
Americas, Central Intelligence Agency and the United States government
against Indigenous peoples throughout the Western Hemisphere and many
other people in the so-called "third world." We applaud United States
President George Bush's pledge to "root out terrorism." We wish we could
believe him, but the first act to root out terrorism would be to denounce
U.S.-inspired terrorism and bring it to a halt. Instead we see efforts by
congressional and governmental leaders to increase U.S.-inspired terrorism
throughout the world by authorizing U.S. operatives to assassinate
governmental and non-governmental leaders. Florida AIM calls on the United
States to act sincerely in opposing all forms of terrorism and bring to an
end U.S.-inspired terrorism by closing the School of the Americas and
similar terrorist training grounds as well as bringing to an end U.S.
intelligence terror operations-such as the ones that trained Osama Bin
Laden in the first place.
The acts of September 11, 2001 were not acts of "war". War is defined as
"a state or period of armed conflict between nations." Calling such a
reprehensible act an act of war brings to it a level of justification that
is not warranted. What occurred on September 11th was instead a crime, a
violation of both United States and international law. Florida AIM
supports and joins the call of several nations and non-governmental
organizations that the perpetrators of this crime, after evidence is
gathered and presented, be apprehended and tried before an international
court. A militaristic response resulting in the deaths of more innocent
people will neither serve the cause of justice nor prevent future attacks
against the United States of America by other terrorist groups or
Florida AIM is deeply concerned by actions and proposed actions by the
United States government that will deeply impact the constitutional and
civil rights of both United States citizens, and those legally residing
within the United States. While there is unquestionably a desire to impose
more rigorous security at a variety of locations, these measures need not
extend to areas which will infringe upon the civil and human rights of
both citizens and legal residents of the United States.
As both an Indigenous rights organization and simply as an organization
working for human rights, the American Indian Movement of Florida has a
responsibility to oppose terrorism against human beings in all its forms
and to speak out to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples and all human
beings. We therefore must stand opposed to any US response which results
in the unwarranted deaths of innocent people, and to measures which will
infringe upon the human and civil rights of people living in this great
AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT OF FLORIDA
136 4th Street N., Suite 308
Saint Petersburg, FL 33701
National Web Page http://www.aimovement.org
Contact: Sheridan Murphy or Mark Madrid At 727-826-6960
October 8, 2001
In Three Languages, Urgently Chanting for Peace
By ROBERT WORTH
Just hours after United States and British forces began military strikes in
Afghanistan, several thousand people attended a peace rally yesterday in
Union Square Park and marched to Times Square, singing antiwar protest
songs and carrying candles and banners announcing their opposition to
The protest, scheduled well before the strikes yesterday, was the first
major demonstration to take place in New York since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Its timing ^ coinciding with the outbreak of news about the military
strikes in Afghanistan ^ gave the rally's speakers a new theme and urgency.
It also gave critics of the rally more reason to oppose an event that some
saw as fodder for Taliban propaganda.
"We gather as bombs are falling in Kabul," said the Rev. Peter Laarman,
senior minister of Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village and the
moderator of a series of prayers and speeches by religious leaders that led
The protesters gathered in the north plaza of Union Square Park at 2:30
p.m. and then marched uptown, chanting "peace, salaam, shalom" as they
went. The crowd was seven city blocks long and ultimately swelled to close
to 10,000 people, the police said. As the marchers arrived at 42nd Street
and Broadway, another series of speakers, including two winners of the
Nobel Peace Prize, addressed them.
About 50 counter-demonstrators followed the marchers, holding up placards
that read "Traitors: Welcome to New York" and other slogans. A number of
cars honked and held up traffic, responding to signs reading "Honk if you
love America." One man held up a sign reading "Smile! You're starring in
the next Taliban propaganda film."
Speakers at the rally expressed a range of emotion about the strikes, some
voicing a fierce anger at the decision for military action, while others
merely expressed hopes for a peaceful end to the conflict.
David Klein, a Vietnam veteran who now represents a group called Vietnam
Veterans Against War, wore camouflage as he addressed the crowd.
"I don't want to see more Americans die because of a militarist cowboy, or
be dragged into a war, a long land conflict," he said. "That's where I
think Bush is taking us."
Margarita Lopez, a city councilwoman from the Lower East Side, shouted into
the microphone: "Not in my name, not in the name of New York City, not in
the name of my district, you're not going to kill anyone in Afghanistan,
Pakistan, or anyone in the Middle East."
Other speakers seemed defensive about the possibility that their message
would be viewed as unpatriotic.
"I don't think anyone here is sympathetic with the Taliban, or with bin
Laden or the terrorists," said Ronald Daniels, executive director of the
Center for Constitutional Rights. "Everyone here condemns what happened,
but people feel that there must be an alternative policy, that war cannot
be the only answer."
But others disagreed.
"Although I think they have a First Amendment right to speak, in a time of
war you have a responsibility not to provide a propaganda opportunity for
our enemies," said Marc Wontorek, who stood just beyond the crowd at Union
Square, holding up a banner critical of the march.
A group of Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Hindu religious figures began the
rally with an interfaith service, reciting prayers from the Bible, Koran,
and other holy texts and adding their hopes for peace.
"My greatest fear, as our country goes to war, is that we will kill
thousands of noncombatants," said Rabbi Ellen Lippmann of Temple Kolot
Chayeinu in Brooklyn. "We don't have a clear target."
Other speakers included people who lost relatives in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Reuben Schafer, 87, spoke about his grandson Gregory Rodriguez, who worked
at Cantor Fitzgerald and died in the trade center collapse. He read a
letter from Mr. Rodriguez's parents addressed to President Bush: "Your
response to the attack does not make us feel better about our son's death.
It makes us feel worse. It makes us feel our government is using our son's
memory as justification to cause suffering for other sons and parents in
The march and rally were organized by New York Not in Our Name, a coalition
of more than 100 groups, many of them formed in the past three weeks, said
Leslie Cagan, one of the event's organizers.
As the marchers made their way toward Times Square, they were led by two
Nobel Peace Prize winners, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who was awarded in 1980
for highlighting human rights abuses in Argentina, and Mairead Maguire, who
was awarded in 1976 for her work with the peace movement in Northern Ireland.
"We feel this conflict can be solved peaceably; we don't need to use more
violence," Ms. Maguire said. "As I saw in Northern Ireland, it only begets
Asked about alternatives to war, she said: "We have international
standards. We don't need to attack the Afghani people."
But others, following the marchers, expressed another view.
"There's 5,000 people down there in the rubble, and they want justice,"
said James E. Bancroft, a former Marine. He carried a sign declaring "Peace
is one Pentagon; one U.S.S. Cole, two embassies and two towers too late."
The Greatest Argument Against War
By Brian Dominick
On Wednesday, September 12, I was witness to the greatest argument
against war the North American Left has ever had.
I've never liked New York City. I've only gone there for the most
compelling of reasons. When I awoke to the horrifying news of the
incidents there on Tuesday morning -- still occurring, unbeknownst to
anyone -- I already knew I would be going again. As a certified
emergency medical technician, and a radical activist with street
experience in mass casualty scenarios (through my involvement in the
little-known field called "action medical"), it wasn't a matter of
weighing options. The only questions were how? and how soon?
I have told my story in great detail elsewhere. It isn't a story about
my own heroism. It isn't a story about life-threatening or life-saving
adventure. I wish it were. If I'd had any opportunity for heroism, any
opportunity to save lives, that would mean so too did thousands of
others. We already know thousands of lives were saved. My story begins
at a point when there was little remaining success in such endeavors. It
is a story about tragedy.
My partner, Rachel, and I spent most of the day Wednesday working in the
decontamination area at St. Vincent's Trauma Center, one of the main
hospitals where blast victims and injured rescuers had been and were
being taken. We had the opportunity to meet dozens of emergency workers,
and treated several of them for minor injuries and contamination
resulting from their participation in this most massive of rescue
What we did not see is even more depressing. Our job was to strip and
scrub victims when they were first brought in, so the soot they'd arrive
covered in would not contaminate the rest of the hospital., then deliver
them to the ER. Unfortunately, despite rumors (even over official
channels), these rescued victims simply weren't showing up. While the
rest of the world was hoping and praying more rescues would be made, it
was becoming ominously obvious at St. Vincent's that there would quite
simply be few more survivors, if any.
In all, I would meet and talk to dozens of EMTs, hospital staff,
firefighters, and other emergency workers. There was by now more
exhaustion than dust in the air. Both tasted identical. One doctor who
sat down near us was literally surprised by how it felt to actually sit
down. It had been 24 hours, he announced, since he hadn't had his full
weight on his feet. One nurse complained that her feet were so sore she
was having trouble standing, much less walking -- I could only imagine.
What I didn't hear, at all, were emergency workers of any kind clamoring
for retaliation or war. In fact, it occurs to me that one of the only
groups of people in this country which isn't demanding vengeance are the
very people tasked with taking care of survivors, and recovering the
thousands of bodies left in the mess.
Among rescue and medical personnel in New York, the focus was on saving
lives, not on taking more. This is certainly due in part to the
necessity of staying focused on the job at hand, even during much-needed
breaks. However, I think this restraint is also being shown because few
people involved in the rescue efforts can bring themselves to wish upon
others what they are currently going through.
That night, we milled around for a while, checking in with some EMTs to
see how they were holding up. We actually engaged in a very normal,
generic medical conversation with one EMT. Anything for a distraction...
It was during such a conversation that Senator Chuck Schumer passed by
us while we sat on the steps to the ER. He stopped and turned to us. "I
know what you've all been doing," he said. "You're all heroes." Four or
five of us just stared back at him. I'm not sure about our newfound
friends, but Rachel, Meredith and I didn't feel like heroes. It was odd
to be referred to as such. We didn't know what to say. No one spoke. He
didn't seem to mind. He turned and left.
After a little discussion, and a few cups of coffee handed over by
smiling volunteers, we decided to go deeper into the security zones with
us. We headed down on foot. We wouldn't need to consult a map -- smoke
still rising skyward marked our heading for us.
It was well over a mile to Ground Zero. Halfway there, a police officer
put us in a DPW truck and told the drivers to deliver us to the site. I
was no longer surprised that, for this moment in time, not only were
cops uninterested in bashing my head, they would go out of their way to
help us try to be helpful. The oddities were piling up with the rubble.
Many of them were welcome.
What we found at The Site was an incredible scene. A light grey ash was
met by reflections and glares of floodlights overhead, giving every
still surface the appearance of having been lightly snowed upon. Where
water from fire hoses or water main leaks had come in contact with this
substance, it created small pools that resembled slush. I almost
shivered by association, but alas we had had beautiful weather all day,
and it remained quite warm even after dark. In fact, it felt oddly
warmer near the site than it had at the hospital.
Here the National Guard presence was quite obvious. We hadn't seen many
Guardsmen before arriving at The Site. After asking around, we made our
way to a place where dozens of ambulances were stationed in front of a
school building. Here again we had the sense of being useless. Not
because we weren't official or connected or skilled enough to help --
but because there was simply nothing for EMS to do. Few if any survivors
were being recovered. The scene was a grim convention of chauffeurs
awaiting passengers who were simply not going to arrive.
It was at The Site that the extent of this tragedy finally began to
settle in on me. Until then, as for most people in the country and
around the world, this monumental event had been a story, just like any
other major piece of news. Granted, I had come all this way, expecting
to experience the tragedy for myself, but it was difficult to accept
that out of so many thousands of people known to have been in or around
the buildings, so few were going to emerge. EMS workers milled about
everywhere, attempting to ignore the fact that we were being ignored by
those excavating the site, who simply didn't require our specialized
Fire crews marched into the misty air floating over the rubble, toward
the flood lights and away from us. I wanted to follow them, but there
was a limit to where my EMT credentials would allow me access. Most of
what they were pulling out was concrete. That which was organic was far
more likely to be a corpse or a body part than a living human being.
One of the things I noticed about Ground Zero was that pretty much the
only people not wearing respirators or masks of some kind were the
firefighters themselves. Nearly all EMS, National Guard and police
personnel were covering their faces for protection from the dust. It was
no secret that all sorts of horrible chemicals and substances were
floating around in all that particulate debris. Yet almost none of the
firefighters seemed to be wearing respiratory protection.
After thinking long and hard about that, I decided it might well be a
demonstration of solidarity for their brethren trapped below. All day
one got the impression that, for the firefighters, the sense of urgency
was higher than for most everyone else. They all knew people buried
beneath the rubble. Additionally, they identified with them very
strongly. It reminded me of the bond among action medics, and the way
I've seen my fellow action medics behave in the streets when medics were
injured or in trouble.
We wandered into the command center -- the school cafeteria -- and made
one last attempt to get involved through official channels. There the
EMS dispatch officer expressed more gratitude, but explained that
"freelance EMS people" were being told to go home. He saw our St.
Vincent's security passes and inquired about the status there. I knew he
didn't want to know "how many" patients were being brought in, like
everyone else did. He knew that number all too well. We just told him
St. Vincent's was running smoothly, and he seemed glad to hear it.
I sat down at a table, and noticed a piece of paper with a color photo
attached to it. The picture was of a young woman in her early twenties.
It had her name and other identifying information on it. Her family had
managed to pass it along this far. She was missing. And like everyone
else who was missing, she was presumed dead.
We didn't want to leave New York, but staying there had become too
painful for me. Being unable to help kept me acutely aware of just how
terrible this tragedy was. I didn't think I could stand it anymore.
The drive home was as fast as the drive down. It was more silent,
though. We alternated between listening to the news -- which we'd hardly
done all day -- and listening to music CDs. A million thoughts stewed
around in my head. It felt good to have been able to do something, but
in context, it seemed we'd done almost nothing at all. For medics, there
simply wasn't enough to be done.
We listened to irate voices on the news, trying to reconcile the
attitudes of those calling for vengeful murder, with those rescue
workers struggling for life. This new wave of bloodlust, it occurred to
me, is more a result of feeling helpless, than of anything rational or
When we cry out for violence, we are indeed asking our leaders to do to
other civilians and rescue workers precisely what has happened to us
here. Let us use great caution and prudence in our solutions to this
horror. We owe that to our counterparts the world over -- people who by
no means deserve to suffer the way we are now.
I think most people, having seen what I just have, would be hesitant to
call for an expansion of this horror. Our country's first-hand
experience with the reality of warlike violence will prove, in the end,
our best leverage against engaging in yet another senseless bloodbath.
Now that we have felt the pain our nation has continually and
relentlessly dealt other nations, we have a unique opportunity to learn
the lessons of the images and ravages of war even before we start.
[Brian Dominick is a street first aid instructor and an active street
medic, affiliated with the NorthEast Action Medics Association (NEAMA)
and the Radical Emergency Squad (RESQ). Besides being a medic, Brian is
a political commentator, a website developer/editor for ZNet
(www.zmag.org), and a community activist.]
Not Everyone Wants War
Trying to voice dissent without seeming unpatriotic
By Arian Campo-Flores
NEWSWEEK, Oct. 1 issue
These seem to be lonely days for the Birkenstock-and-beads set. As Old
Glory proliferates across the country and rhetoric grows more bellicose by
the day, America appears to be marching inexorably toward war. But despite
the displays of unity, dissent is spreading. Last Thursday at the
University of California, Berkeley, roughly 2,500 students and supporters
rallied against war and racism in Sproul Plaza. In Boston and Cambridge,
students carried candles as they walked for peace. At New York University
that night, 250 students packed an auditorium and whooped in support as
Sherry Wolf of the International Socialist Organization shouted, "We have
every right, as they beat the drums in a war hysteria, to ask questions of
THESE ARE the early scenes of a nascent antiwar movement. Activists have
quickly mobilized behind several causes: averting war against the already
afflicted people of Afghanistan, fighting the erosion of civil liberties
and protecting U.S. Arabs and Muslims against hate crimes. Protesters are
organizing teach-ins, vigils and demonstrations. Last Thursday's rally at
Berkeley was part of a nationwide effort involving 146 campuses in 36
states. At Union Square in New York City, a spontaneous memorial blossomed
into a monument to peace before it was taken down by the Parks Department.
Getting the message out has been tricky. In these times of patriotic
fervor, when even Todd Gitlin, former '60s
radical and now an NYU professor, has a flag unfurled on his balcony, many
people find the dissenters distasteful at best and traitorous at worst.
Activists have been grappling with a knotty question: how do you voice
dissent without seeming to minimize the horror of the attacks and the
obvious need for greater security? "We avoided any political analysis in
the first few days out of respect," says Scott McLarty, 43, of the D.C.
Statehood Green Party. "What we're saying now is that the objective has to
be justice and not vengeful retaliation."
The anti-globalization crowd has had to shift gears. Some have adopted the
battle cry of the antiwar demonstrators. Others have simply canceled their
plans for protests later this month in Washington aimed at the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; somehow, that cause seems
It remains to be seen whether more traditional peace
groups will find new strength. At Peace Action in Washington, D.C., a
descendant of antinuke groups, members are getting fired up, mobilizing
local chapters, raising money, recruiting new members. "We're a little
older and stodgier, at least that's how the young bucks of the
anticapitalist movement see us," says communications director Scott Lynch.
Yet the neopeaceniks are likely to find plenty of young converts among the
globalization protesters, and draw on their organizational infrastructure.
Are we about to witness the resurgence of flower power? "It's not going to
be '60s peace and love," says Lynch. "I think the younger generation is
going to be coming at it from a more pragmatic point of view." At this time
of inflamed passions, they hope, appeals to the mind will prevail.
Anti-war activists continue protests
By Valerie Richardson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
While most Americans were applauding President Bush's decision to strike at
terrorists in Afghanistan yesterday, clusters of peace activists were doing
their best to shift public opinion in favor of peace.
Bands of demonstrators held noisy but peaceful protests yesterday in a
dozen U.S. cities, including Boston, New York, Washington, Los Angeles and
Berkeley, Calif., calling on the Bush administration to stop fighting and
start listening to the grievances of anti-American factions in the Middle East.
"Killing Afghan people and bombing Afghanistan that doesn't change
things," said Barbara Lubin, executive director of the Middle East
Children's Alliance, who participated in an anti-war rally in Berkeley
"The real hope for us as Americans is to say we really have to start
behaving justly in the world," she said. "That means not spending $6
billion every year on Israel. You cannot expect Arab and Muslim people not
to be enraged."
At the forefront of the anti-war rallies was the International Action
Coalition, an anti-capitalism group founded by former Attorney General
Ramsey Clark. The coalition, which has started a protest movement called
ANSWER, or Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, yesterday called for a
national student walkout and an "emergency response against war" in eight
U.S. cities and in Australia.
The group argued that war would only lead to more casualties. "If President
Bush gets his way, instead of thousands of people being killed, the number
of victims at home and abroad could grow to the tens of thousands and maybe
more," the organization said on its Web site. "A new war against the people
of the Middle East will only lead to an escalating of violence."
At the coalition's protest in San Francisco, about 1,000 demonstrators
chanted, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, we don't want your racist war," while speakers
blamed the war on capitalism and the influence of corporations, according
to the San Francisco Examiner.
"This war is another war to extend the domination of corporate America,"
Richard Becker of the International Action Center told the crowd. "And to
that, we say no."
By comparison, the Green Party was downright moderate. Although the Greens
echoed the coalition's opposition to the military strikes, national
spokesman Scott McLarty said the pro-environment political party had no
plans to organize protests, and even praised Mr. Bush for saying he would
try to avoid civilian casualties.
"We maintain the position that the U.S. should deal with this as an
international crime against humanity, instead of a war," Mr. McLarty said.
"There was the possibility of further attacks against the U.S. anyway, but
this ups the ante quite a bit."
Most elected officials threw their support behind the military strikes, but
Berkeley's were the exception. A majority of the nine-member City Council
has come out against the bombing, and Vice Mayor Maudelle Shirek was the
featured speaker at yesterday's protest rally.
"It's just machoism," said Berkeley City Council member Dona Spring. "Bush
has got to prove he'll do something militarily, regardless of where Osama
bin Laden is."
The Daily Californian, the University of California at Berkeley's student
newspaper, quoted activists at Sunday's anti-war rally in San Francisco,
who called for a U.S. defeat in Afghanistan. "It's one of the most
disgraceful days in American history. I wish the people of Afghanistan
victory against the forces of U.S. imperialism," said Russell Bates of
Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat and the only member of Congress to
vote against the Sept. 14 resolution giving the president the authority to
wage war against international terrorism, was more diplomatic. She issued a
statement that stopped short of condemning the attack, but warned that the
military strikes could result in the deaths of civilians.
"I pray for the safety and the well-being of the brave men and women in our
armed forces who find themselves in harm's way," the Oakland Democrat said
in a statement. "We can only hope that the loss of life of innocent men,
women and children in Afghanistan is minimized as much as possible."
So far, those protesting the war are far outnumbered by those supporting
it. Even peace activists agreed the anti-war rallies number no more than a
Speak No Evil
How patriotism is trying to silence voices of dissent.
by Daryl Gale, Frank Lewis and Gwen Shaffer
October 411, 2001
This is not the time.
Over and over we've been hearing this phrase in recent weeks. It's not the
time for Democrats in Congress to question President Bush. Not the time to
make jokes, however dark, however grimly fitting. Not the time for any of us
to appear doubtful about the course that our president has set us on since
that recent, long-ago day when a handful of men armed with box cutters and
motivations we'll never understand executed a plan almost sublime in its
brutality and changed the world.
Not the time. Some use exactly those words. Like when Bush's spokesman, Ari
Fleischer, reacted to comments from comedian Bill Maher about America's
cowardice in "lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away," by saying: "It
's a terrible thing to say and it's unfortunate. There are reminders to all
Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and
this is not the time for remarks like that; there never is." With two
sentences, Fleischer seemed to extend President Bush's challenge to the
nations of the world ^ "Either you are with us or you are with the
terrorists" ^ to Americans as well. And as of press time, his only attempt
to modify his statement had been to claim he was speaking only of Maher and
a particular member of Congress.
Others, however, don't bother to present their contempt for others' views as
admonishments, but rather skip right ahead to the threats. Often, these are
threats of violence, sometimes veiled, sometimes not.
Predictions of the death of irony were premature, it seems; chief among the
freedoms for which our enemies supposedly hate us is our freedom to express
ourselves, in art, in music, in politics, but most or all, in the written
and spoken word. And it is in the name of protecting these freedoms that
many among us would like others to shut up. They seem shockingly oblivious
to the fact that censorship is supposed to be anathema to us. As writer
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. put it in 1860: "The very aim and end of our
institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we
But now is not the time.
And sadly, not all of them are partisan political operatives or the armchair
philosophers who have made talk radio so successful. Some of them work
within or have some influence over the news and entertainment media, meaning
they play a role in what the rest of us read, see and hear. And in their
patriotic zeal, or their fear of those gripped by the patriotic zeal, they
are censoring themselves. Even Saturday Night Live has gone all gushy,
promising to avoid humor that, as producer Lorne Michaels put it, "is in any
way disrespectful" to Bush, who before Sept. 11 was routinely portrayed on
SNL as a squinting, adolescent buffoon. Presidenting just got a whole lot
easier, because now is not the time.
But we're in this for the long haul, right? So if not now, when? In the wake
of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, there has been a growing intolerance for
expressions of dissent over the latest additions to American dogma: that
terrorists associated with Saudi exile Osama bin Laden were responsible for
the attacks; that said attacks were utterly unprovoked; and that the best
way ^ the only way ^ to respond is to visit grievous bodily harm upon these
people, regardless of the cost in dollars and innocent lives.
If this were an election, we could report that the votes are tallied, the
final precincts have reported and the results are in: Free speech lost.
California Congresswoman Barbara Lee was the lone "nay" vote on Sept. 14
when Congress authorized the use of military force in response to the
terrorist attacks. For voting her pacifist conscience, Lee has been vilified
and excoriated in the court of public opinion. Lee's press secretary, Andrew
Sousa, says that his boss has received 45,000 e-mails and faxes, most of
"In the first days following the vote, the calls and e-mails were very angry
and passionate," Sousa says, "and yes, there were threats and horrible,
horrible things said. I should also say that now there are more calls and
e-mails coming in from people who may disagree but respect Congresswoman Lee
's vote as one of conscience. But more people are urging restraint now than
there were two weeks ago."
In defending her vote against the use of force, Lee writes, "I could not
support such a grant of war-making authority to the president; I believe it
would put more innocent lives at risk. I do not dispute the president's
intent to rid the world of terrorism but ^ measures that spawn further acts
of terror or that do not address the sources of hatred do not increase our
Sousa, for his part, sees more danger in the tone of the correspondence his
office has received than in his boss setting herself up as the sole voice of
"Dissent, debate and discourse are the basis of our democracy, and it's
ironic that while Americans rally 'round the flag to protect our way of
life, we also happily trample on the tenets that way of life was based on,"
Sousa says. "Nothing is more fundamental to our democracy than the First
Amendment, and that means listening and giving due respect to opinions that
may be unpopular at the moment."
Tell that to Les Daughtry Jr. The editor and publisher of the Texas City
Sun, Daughtry commadeered a portion of his paper's front page on Sept. 23 to
apologize for a column, penned by city editor Tom Gutting and published the
previous day, that sharply criticized Bush for taking so long to return to
Washington on Sept. 11.
And in a rebuttal titled "Bush's leadership has been superb," Daughtry
called his city editor's words "offensive," "outrageous" and "so absurd that
they don't even merit a response." He ended the fawning rebuttal with "May
God bless President George W. Bush and other leaders, and God bless
Reached at his office for comment, Daughtry admits that the paper was
inundated with negative phone calls, faxes and e-mails Saturday after
Gutting's piece ran, but says he was moved to write a rebuttal because he
was personally offended by the column. He won't explain why Gutting was
"I'm not going to comment on the matter past what I said in my rebuttal and
apology," Daughtry says. "I'm a supporter of the First Amendment, and I
think reporters and editors have the obligation to be voices of dissent at
times, but this was beyond the pale."
Daughtry refused to say whether the paper's advertisers threatened to pull
out, and even refused to link Gutting's column with his being fired. He did
admit that the Sun hasn't hired a new city editor yet, but plans to do so
soon. He wouldn't speculate on whether the new editor would be restricted in
what he writes for the paper.
In Grants Pass, Ore., the Daily Courier fired columnist and copy editor Dan
Guthrie for writing that after the attacks, Bush "skedaddled" and that,
against the courage of the passengers who allegedly thwarted the fourth
hijacking by ditching the plane in western Pennsylvania, "the picture of
Bush hiding in a Nebraska hole becomes an embarrassment."
The Daily Courier ran an apology to its readers the next day and handed
Guthrie his walking papers.
Philadelphia Daily News editor Zack Stalberg was alarmed when he heard that
journalists were being fired for being critical of the president, and he
vowed that no such action would ever be taken against a writer at his paper.
"I'm just appalled that people are being fired for being the voices of
dissent," Stalberg says. "But there really is a newfound sensitivity out
there for George Bush in the wake of the attacks, and a tendency to see any
criticism as a personal attack on the symbol of our country."
Stalberg says that the recent Daily News editorial demanding "Blood for
Blood" was almost unanimously embraced by readers, while at the same time he
's heard flak from readers for even the mildest of criticisms of the
"It's as though in times of crisis the president can do no wrong, which is
bullshit. Public figures need to be called on the carpet when they're wrong,
and it's our job to be the thorn in the side of politicians and point out
the flaws in the political process."
David Rolland was carrying on this tradition when he wrote an editorial
titled "The politics of fear and anger" for the alternative newsweekly he
edits, the Ventura County [Calif.] Reporter. Rolland accused Bush of
manipulating the nation's fear and suggested that the president had
"dangerously oversimplified a very complicated situation" by casting the
U.S. as the good guy in a war on "evil."
The first reader to call sounded friendly at first, but then claimed to have
lost two people close to him in the attacks. "Then he said 'Watch your back
walking to and from work,'" Rolland says. Another employee took the call, so
it wasn't clear whether the threat was intended for Rolland or for everyone
at the Reporter.
Another caller asked if Rolland were still alive. Informed that he was, the
caller said, "He shouldn't be."
"It kind of left me a little weak in the knees," Rolland admits. His first
concern, he says, was for the other employees. Later, his girlfriend pointed
out that he, too, could be in danger.
"It even made me second-guess what I had said ^ a little bit, momentarily,"
he adds. But after re-reading the editorial, he decided it was valid, and he
was glad he'd written it.
"The publisher asked if this was a battle I really wanted to fight," Rolland
says (Ventura County is "a fairly conservative place," he notes). "I said,
'This is definitely a battle I want to fight.'"
The complaints and vague threats of violence, he says, came from a few
people "who are angry. Very patriotic and very angry." On Sept. 24, the
guests on CN8's news show It's Your Call With Lynn Doyle included
Congressman Jim Greenwood, a Republican from Bucks County, and Burton Caine,
a law professor from Temple University.
Greenwood and Caine mixed it up over the nagging question of civil rights
versus national security. Caine raised the issue of declaring war; the
Constitution gives this power to Congress, not the president. Greenwood,
however, said Caine was missing the point.
"Yes, there are some academics out there who would like to question that,"
Greenwood said, "but with all due respect, sir, you're a tad out of step
with where this country wants to go."
In other words, get with the program.
To his credit, Greenwood repeatedly made the point that civil libertarians
should be part of the dialogue over protecting rights while increasing
safety. But just as frequently, he suggested that if Caine and his ilk had
nothing constructive to offer, they should keep quiet. "This is not a time
for [a cynical] approach," he said.
Later, in an interview, Caine says he is not surprised. "People who assert
civil liberties are now considered disloyal," he says. After his appearance
on CN8, he received several hostile phone calls: "Why don't you care about
the civil rights of the people who got killed?" "Why don't you get out of
your office and see the real world?" And so on.
In his First Amendment classes, students are willing, even eager, to limit
rights. Each semester he asks them to cite what they consider to be
reasonable exceptions to protected speech. One year, they came up with 32.
Even today, his students ^ future lawyers ^ are no more concerned with
losing rights than the rest of the population.
Now is not the time.
But now is the time when voicing and listening to dissent is most crucial.
Unity does not mean looking together in the same direction; it means looking
together in all directions, because none of us, from the president on down,
knows for sure where we're headed, or from whence the next threat will come.
Two Who Voted Against War, 60 Years Apart
No: The lonely stand against giving President Bush the
power to act against terrorism recalls Rep. Jeannette
Rankin, who was the one in December 1941.
By Theo Lippman Jr.
October 7, 2001; Baltimore Sun
ONE IS THE loneliest number, especially when it's a
high visibility congressional vote against a measure
practically the whole nation supports - as was the case
Sept. 14, when the House of Representatives voted 420
to 1 to give the president power to retaliate against
the terrorist attacks on America. California Democrat
Barbara Lee defended her lonely stand by saying that
authorizing military force to stop terrorism wouldn't
work, and "I felt let's not do anything that could
escalate this madness out of control."
Being that out of step with public opinion can ruin a
political career, but it can also be immortalizing.
Take the case of Jeannette Rankin. Rankin was the
lonely one in the House's 1941 vote of 388 to 1 for a
declaration of war against Japan the day after the
attack on Pearl Harbor.
It was the most dramatic of her many acts in support of
pacifism, feminism and social justice in four years in
Congress and seven decades as a lobbyist, advocate,
organizer and protest leader.
Politically speaking, the 1941 vote was a disaster for
Rankin, as had been her vote against the declaration of
war against Germany in 1917. But today two private
organizations bearing her name work for peace and the
well-being of women, and a statue of her is on very
prominent display in her home state.
Jeannette Pickering Rankin was born to a well-to-do
Republican family near Missoula, Mont., in 1880. After
stints as teacher and social worker, she worked for the
National American Woman Suffrage Association. She rose
in its ranks, and when Montana gave women the vote, she
won a seat as the first woman in the U.S. House of
The day she joined the House, President Woodrow Wilson
asked for a declaration of war against Germany. The
measure was sure to pass the House. Friends and family
tried to talk her out of opposing it. Her fellow
suffragists feared such a vote by the only woman in
Congress would hurt the effort for an amendment to the
U.S. Constitution giving women the vote nationally.
After a 14-hour debate, in which she did not
participate, she said at roll call, "I want to stand by
my country, but I cannot vote for war. I vote no." The
measure passed 374-50. She did not return to Congress
after the 1918 election.
After the war, she became a delegate to the Women's
International Conference for Peace and Justice, of
which she became an officer. She spent much of her time
in Washington, lobbying for her causes - for the
Women's Peace Union and National Council for the
Prevention of War, but also for such things as child
labor laws for the National Consumers League.
She decided she needed an East Coast base. Tired of
Montana winters, she settled in Georgia, near the state
university and Brenau, a woman's college that gave her
an appointment to a "Chair of Peace." Opponents labeled
her a communist. She sued a newspaper that ran a story
to that effect, winning a public apology and $1,000.
As the 1930s rolled on toward that famous date which
lives in infamy, Rankin became involved with other
pacifist efforts, including the Emergency Peace
Campaign, which counted the Quakers among its principal
patrons. She testified frequently before congressional
committees, opposing military preparedness legislation.
In 1940, she announced she would run for Congress again
back in Montana, as a Republican. She campaigned in
high schools, urging students to ask their parents to
oppose the nation's involvement in a new world war. She
Eleanor Roosevelt tried to get her to support Franklin
D. Roosevelt. She refused. In February, May, June,
October and November of 1941, she pushed unsuccessfully
for legislation that would, among other things, require
congressional approval for moving troops out of the
On Dec. 8, the House rushed through a declaration of
war in less than an hour. She tried to speak against
the measure on the floor, but she was blocked until the
roll call vote reached her. "As a woman, I can't go to
war," she said, "and I refuse to send anyone else."
She was booed - in the House that day, later in press
and pulpit. Only a few voices saluted her "courage."
Rankin was not re-elected in 1942. (Barbara Lee is
unlikely to suffer that fate. Her district includes
Oakland and Berkeley. Even critics of her vote have
called it "heroic" and "an act of conscience.")
Throughout World War II, Rankin spoke against Roosevelt
and his policies. She accused him of provoking the
attack on Pearl Harbor. She traveled and spoke in the
post-war years, but there was no peace movement to
Vietnam changed that.
In 1968, at age 87, she accepted a request to lead a
Women's Strike for Peace march on Congress. The
marchers called themselves the Jeannette Rankin
She remained active in her causes until her death in
Her spirit abides at the Jeannette Rankin Foundation in
Georgia, which gives education grants to "mature,
unemployed women workers," and at the Jeannette Rankin
Peace Center in Missoula, which works "to teach the
fundamental skills of peacemaking."
And she is one of the two Montanans chosen by the state
to be honored with a statue in the Capitol's Statuary
Theo Lippman Jr. is a retired editorial writer for The
UW mall rally draws 20,000
By Aaron Nathans
September 15, 2001
The massing of students on the UW Library Mall brought to mind the Vietnam
War-era protests on campus. But few in this crowd got wild, chanted
slogans, or even knew the words to "We Shall Overcome."
There was the sea of red, white and blue, but the gathering didn't have the
jingoism of a Persian Gulf War rally.
In a mass moment of release and a sober display of grief, an estimated
20,000 students and others packed the central square of the University of
Wisconsin-Madison campus Friday to take part in the national day of
remembrance after Tuesday's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
The event was full of calls for restraint; despite national polls urging
retaliatory strikes, no one made similar suggestions from the podium.
"I've taught on this campus for quite a few years, and I've never seen a
gathering like this," said Joe Elder, a UW sociologist who was a member of
UW Faculty Against the War during the Vietnam era, addressing the noon-hour
crowd. "We can understand why some of us are calling for war. At times like
this we must remember that nothing kills innocent civilians like war."
Disrupting Elder's speech were three Christian fundamentalists from Eugene,
Ore., sisters who described themselves as from the "Kingdom of God." One
shouted: "What happened in New York is nothing compared to what is coming
on the day of judgment."
They taunted the puzzled crowd with claims that they were going to hell.
Outraged students pulled down their banners, which read "Jesus soon to
judge" and "All that matters - you are headed for hell." A man hauled away
one of the protesters in a firm bear hug, as the crowd clapped, until
campus police got there to arrest the demonstrators. The man disappeared
into the crowd.
University Police charged Sarah Woroniecki, 20, Ruth Woroniecki, 19, and
their unidentified 16-year-old sister with disorderly conduct, said Capt.
Dale Burke. They were booked and released from the Dane County Jail, Burke
Elder never stopped talking.
"Perhaps from this tragedy we can develop effective means of discovering
the root causes of terrorism," he continued.
Burke said university officers needed Friday's event as much as everyone
else to mourn and be part of the community.
"Unfortunately, we were denied that opportunity halfway through the
ceremony. I'm sorry that had to happen. But we don't get to take off,"
Burke said in an interview. He added later: "We need a weekend. We need a
weekend of not doing anything, to go home, relax. We need to recover. We've
been so busy this week that we haven't had time to decompress."
Interim Provost Gary Sandefur spoke at the vigil for Chancellor John Wiley,
who was stranded in California on a fund-raising trip when the airlines
shut down. Sandefur urged students to do whatever they needed to do to deal
with the tragedy, but to be respectful of others.
Jessica Miller quoted Martin Luther King Jr. saying: "An eye for an eye
leaves everyone blind." Miller, chairwoman of Associated Students of
Madison, gave an impassioned address, urging that students treat each other
fairly despite ethnicity. "I have seen what we can do when we come
together," she said.
Soloist Jackie Colbert brought many in the crowd to tears as she sang
After the event, students exchanged hugs and comforted each other.
Katey Salm of Appleton said the World Trade Center tragedy was an event
that everyone can relate to.
"It puts a little fear into everyone. I have not stopped watching the news.
Yesterday was just the killer. It was just about stories. I think I cried
every 10 minutes," Salm said. "Trying to find live people in there is like
trying to find needles in a pile of shredded glass that you can't touch."
Students are gathering in small groups all over campus, said Dean of
Students Alicia Chavez. Some are starting a relief fund for the victims and
their families. Others are volunteering to drive students home to New York.
"People want to do something. They're feeling helpless," Chavez said.
World's People Say "No" To War
A simultaneous international poll conducted by Gallup International
provides a surprising picture of the world's people in substantial
agreement with one another, while world leaders are distinctly
out-of-step with a more militaristic attitude. Concerns about the
economic future and the impact of US foreign policy were also
In the US corporate media, virtually all discussion of responding to
the terrorist attacks of September 11 is phrased in military terms.
However, there's another alternative: responding to it as what it
actually is, a crime against humanity. Taking the approach of
international law has barely been mentioned in the corporate media,
yet 30% of Americans support this option, compared to 54% who support
a military response (with 16% undecided), according to a Gallup poll
conducted last week.
It seems quite likely that a majority of Americans would support the
international law approach, if only they heard it talked about
seriously, had it explained, and heard its pro's and con's contrasted
with those of a military response. As it is, the US is one of only 3
countries out of 35 surveyed by Gallup International in which more
people favor a military approach. The other two, Israel and India,
both have experienced decades of conflict with Islamic neighbors and
are far more militaristic in their response.
Elsewhere, landslide majorities favor a non-military approach.
Support for a non-military approach ranges from 67% to 88% among
NATO/Western European nations, from 64% to 83% among Eastern European
nations, and from 83% to 94% in Latin America.
This held true even in countries with the highest levels of support
for military action. In Western Europe, France and the Netherlands
show the strongest support for a military approach, but this position
is outnumbered by 2-to-1. In Eastern Europe, the 22%-64% breakdown in
the Czech Republic is nearly 3-1 against a military response. In
Latin America, Ecuador's 19%-83% breakdown is over 4-1 against
In short, aside from the US, Israel and India, the overwhelming
majority of people around the world favor treating this terrorist act
as the crime it is, rather than the act of war the terrorists want it
Say what you want, but this war is illegal
Tuesday, October 9, 2001
By MICHAEL MANDEL
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
A well-kept secret about the U.S.-U.K. attack on
Afghanistan is that it is clearly illegal. It violates
international law and the express words of the United
Despite repeated reference to the right of
self-defence under Article 51, the Charter simply does
not apply here. Article 51 gives a state the right to
repel an attack that is ongoing or imminent as a
temporary measure until the UN Security Council can
take steps necessary for international peace and
The Security Council has already passed two
resolutions condemning the Sept. 11 attacks and
announcing a host of measures aimed at combating
terrorism. These include measures for the legal
suppression of terrorism and its financing, and for
co-operation between states in security, intelligence,
criminal investigations and proceedings relating to
terrorism. The Security Council has set up a committee
to monitor progress on the measures in the resolution
and has given all states 90 days to report back to it.
Neither resolution can remotely be said to authorize
the use of military force. True, both, in their
preambles, abstractly "affirm" the inherent right of
self-defence, but they do so "in accordance with the
Charter." They do not say military action against
Afghanistan would be within the right of self-defence.
Nor could they. That's because the right of unilateral
self-defence does not include the right to retaliate
once an attack has stopped.
The right of self-defence in international law is like
the right of self-defence in our own law: It allows
you to defend yourself when the law is not around, but
it does not allow you to take the law into your own
Since the United States and Britain have undertaken
this attack without the explicit authorization of the
Security Council, those who die from it will be
victims of a crime against humanity, just like the
victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Even the Security Council is only permitted to
authorize the use of force where "necessary to
maintain and restore international peace and
security." Now it must be clear to everyone that the
military attack on Afghanistan has nothing to do with
preventing terrorism. This attack will be far more
likely to provoke terrorism. Even the Bush
administration concedes that the real war against
terrorism is long term, a combination of improved
security, intelligence and a rethinking of U.S.
Critics of the Bush approach have argued that any
effective fight against terrorism would have to
involve a re-evaluation of the way Washington conducts
its affairs in the world. For example, the way it has
promoted violence for short-term gain, as in
Afghanistan when it supported the Taliban a decade
ago, in Iraq when it supported Saddam Hussein against
Iran, and Iran before that when it supported the Shah.
The attack on Afghanistan is about vengeance and about
showing how tough the Americans are. It is being done
on the backs of people who have far less control over
their government than even the poor souls who died on
Sept. 11. It will inevitably result in many deaths of
civilians, both from the bombing and from the
disruption of aid in a country where millions are
already at risk. The 37,000 rations dropped on Sunday
were pure PR, and so are the claims of "surgical"
strikes and the denials of civilian casualties. We've
seen them before, in Kosovo for example, followed by
lame excuses for the "accidents" that killed
For all that has been said about how things have
changed since Sept. 11, one thing that has not changed
is U.S. disregard for international law. Its
decade-long bombing campaign against Iraq and its 1999
bombing of Yugoslavia were both illegal. The U.S. does
not even recognize the jurisdiction of the World
Court. It withdrew from it in 1986 when the court
condemned Washington for attacking Nicaragua, mining
its harbours and funding the contras. In that case,
the court rejected U.S. claims that it was acting
under Article 51 in defence of Nicaragua's neighbours.
For its part, Canada cannot duck complicity in this
lawlessness by relying on the "solidarity" clause of
the NATO treaty, because that clause is made expressly
subordinate to the UN Charter.
But, you might ask, does legality matter in a case
like this? You bet it does. Without the law, there is
no limit to international violence but the power,
ruthlessness and cunning of the perpetrators. Without
the international legality of the UN system, the
people of the world are sidelined in matters of our
most vital interests.
We are all at risk from what happens next. We must
insist that Washington make the case for the
necessity, rationality and proportionality of this
attack in the light of day before the real
The bombing of Afghanistan is the legal and moral
equivalent of what was done to the Americans on Sept.
11. We may come to remember that day, not for its
human tragedy, but for the beginning of a headlong
plunge into a violent, lawless world.
Michael Mandel, professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law
School in Toronto, specializes in international
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