[Reader-list] Re: anti-war campaign

Boud Roukema boud_roukema at camk.edu.pl
Thu Oct 4 18:50:22 IST 2001

On Wed, 3 Oct 2001, Joy Chatterjee wrote:

> In the context of the present thread I think Rushdie's comments will add up 
> to the discussion. I like the last paragraph the most!
> Joy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, I like a lot of the Rushdie essay, but I was disappointed
that he confuses:

(1a) understanding the WTC attacks
(1b) justifying (excusing) the WTC attacks

> To say this is in no way to join in the savaging of America by sections of
> the left that has been among the most unpleasant consequences of the
> terrorists' attacks on the United States. "The problem with Americans is .
> . . " -- "What America needs to understand . . . " There has been a lot of
> sanctimonious moral relativism around lately, usually prefaced by such
> was mass murder. To excuse such an atrocity by blaming U.S. government
> policies is to deny the basic idea of all morality: that individuals are

and that he confuses

(2a) hoping that "our" USA/UK military forces prevail
(2b) suggesting that the USA/UK military forces will weaken islamic
As well, his belief that compromising civil liberties will help (2b)
to weaken islamic fundamentalism seems hopelessly naive to me.

> In making free societies safe -- safer -- from terrorism, our civil
> liberties will inevitably be compromised. But in return for freedom's

Surely free speech, open, publicly readable, threaded archives of
mailing lists are much more effective to fighting islamic
fundamentalism than military actions carried out in violation of
international law.

And will "detaining" people of West/Central/South Asian
background/passport indefinitely, giving them delayed or no access to
lawyer, family, doctor of their own choosing, [without access to
lawyer/doctor/family, the risks of torture go up rapidly] really help
to discourage fundamentalists? 

Check out the FAQ on S11 and it's clear that those arguing for (1a)
do *not* argue for (1b):


Check out Bush Jr's 20/09/01 speech and you'll see that he's *not* 
opposed to the human rights violations of the Taliban regime:


: And tonight the United States of America makes the following
: demands on the Taliban.
: Deliver to United States authorities all of the leaders of Al Quaeda
: who hide in your land.
: Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens you have
: unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid
: workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every
: terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. And hand over every terrorist
: and every person and their support structure to appropriate
: authorities.
: Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we
: can make sure they are no longer operating.
: These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion.
: The Taliban must act and act immediately.
: They will hand over the terrorists or they will share in their fate.

Nothing about giving women the right to work, the right to vote, the
right to not wear a veil, the elimination of the death penalty, the
right to be homosexual, the teaching of evolution theory in schools.

The Northern Alliance now being presented as the equivalent of the
Kurds in northern Iraq don't seem to have a terribly good record 
on these criteria either.

> The fundamentalist seeks to bring down a great deal more than buildings.
> Such people are against, to offer just a brief list, freedom of speech, a
> multi-party political system, universal adult suffrage, accountable
> government, Jews, homosexuals, women's rights, pluralism, secularism,
> short skirts, dancing, beardlessness, evolution theory, sex. These are
> tyrants, not Muslims. (Islam is tough on suicides, who are doomed to

Was Rushdie born yesterday? Surely he realises that George Bush Jr and
the Republicrat regime are against nearly every element of the same
list? (Exceptions being Jews, short skirts, dancing and
beardlessness.) Are Christian fundamentalists going to oppose Islamic

> they love breeds so many violent mutant strains. If the West needs to
> understand its Unabombers and McVeighs, Islam needs to face up to its bin

McVeigh said he became how he was from being trained in the Gulf War
against Iraq. How many more McVeighs are being trained now?

Despite my above criticisms, where I'm very much disappointed that
someone whose literature I admire can be so confused, some bits are
very good, such as the following:

> The fundamentalist believes that we believe in nothing. In his world-view,
> he has his absolute certainties, while we are sunk in sybaritic
> indulgences. To prove him wrong, we must first know that he is wrong. We
> must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches,
> disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more
> equitable distribution of the world's resources, movies, music, freedom of
> thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons. Not by making war but by
> the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them.
> How to defeat terrorism? Don't be terrorized. Don't let fear rule your
> life. Even if you are scared.


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