7.07.2005

london

As a New Yorker, and someone who loves London, my heart goes out to Londoners this morning as they cope with the aftermath of the bombings. Ghastly things - both terrorist and otherwise - happen all over the globe every day. But bombings of public transportation are disquieting, to the say the least, to those of us who live in big cities.

I hope the UK's involvement in Iraq wasn't a preciptating factor. I also hope Blair doesn't use the attacks as an excuse for retaliatory bombing of innocent people, the way Bush would.

30 comments:

G said...

A's to your Q's. Sadly, they are not the ones you are looking for.

"Rejoice, Islamic nation. Rejoice, Arab world. The time has come for vengeance against the Zionist crusader government of Britain in response to the massacres Britain committed in Iraq and Afghanistan."

- from the statement of responsibility by The Secret Organization of al-Qaeda in Europe

"Those responsible have no respect for human life. We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism that is not an attack on one nation, but all nations and on civilized people everywhere."
- Tony Blair

"We will not yield to these people, will not yield to the terrorists ... We will find them, we will bring them to justice, and at the same time we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate."
- George W. Bush

Hmmm. A bombing campaign, you say? No, that would never happen.

And one more for the oh, the hypocrisy! files ...

"The contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty and those who kill, those who have such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks."
- Dubya, of course (sad thing is he actually believes it, too)

L-girl said...

Yeah, I saw. Very sad. In a sense it's amazing it didn't happen sooner.

I see the death toll rising, too. Sadder still.

(sad thing is he actually believes it, too)

I don't believe that. I think he's a black-hearted liar who will say anything (or anything he is told to say) for political expedience.

Either way, it's disgusting.

Lone Primate said...

I hope the UK's involvement in Iraq wasn't a preciptating factor.

I hate to say this, but I hope it was. I'm not happy this is going on, but if it's motivated by anger and resistance and channeled at provocation, then there is a least a semblance of logic to it. And before anyone jumps all over me about innocent people, what London just experienced is not a ten thousandth of what the UK and US have been and are continuting to inflict on innocent people in the Middle East. You simply cannot keep your foot on someone's neck for most of fifty years and rightly expect they won't eventually punch you in the b@lls to get you to move your foot, or at least to give back some of the pain.

L-girl said...

I understand where you're coming from, LP. I truly do.

Trouble is, the folks getting killed didn't necessarily choose their govt's policies. If Tony Blair or George Bush was blown up, it would serve them right. (Hey FBI, are you listening?) But if me or my next door neighbors were blown up - all of us protested the war, all of us hate US involvement in Iraq, as most Brits do - what does that serve?

It only continues the cycle of violence and retaliation. And unfortunately, it lends support to those who believe in military solutions.

Lone Primate said...

It can be argued that it whispered "remember thou art mortal" in the ears of the Spanish, and they changed governments accordingly.

The West has for generations bombed any number of places in the world, without worrying much about who was innocent and who was a legitimate target, in order to get the results we wanted. Do we really have the moral right to cry foul when the same rules are applied to us -- and on a much smaller scale at that? I'm not looking forward to being a victim. But I understand where this comes from.

B. W. Ventril said...

Hey, Lone Primate! That bus exploded right opposite my old apartment building. Yes we have the moral right to cry foul, for all of this shit. I'm glad you're "not looking forward to being a victim", and that you know that your leftist credentials can't protect you from this crap (I say this as a leftist myself). But before you start making excuses for those who perpetuated this atrocity, consider for a moment that it's an option to simply be on the side of human beings everywhere, whether in London or Baghdad.

L-girl said...

Thank you, BWV.

We have to eschew violence no matter who perpetrates it and no matter what their cause.

Only someone who has never been a victim of violence could utter the words "I'm not looking forward to being a victim" with a straight face. When your life is torn apart by violence, it doesn't matter if you sympathize with the perpetrators cause or not.

You're wrong about Spain. The Spanish people were voting that way anyway, because their government betrayed them.

Bush is wrong. Blair is wrong. Whoever bombed the bus in London is wrong.

Bush kills more people because he has more resources at his disposal. Do you think for a minute if the people who planted those bombs in London could use the same kind of resources on the US, they would hesitate to? And would it be deserved, because Bush did it first? Would tens of thousands of Americans deserve to die because of policies over which they have no control?

My heart breaks for the Iraqi people every day. Why should I care less for the people of London? Aren't they people?

G said...

I hear you, B.W., but I don't think you are reading LP correctly on this one.

We are all on the side of humanity, for sure. The point LP makes is that there is a certain hypocrisy when a government cries foul when its own rules of action are turned against it. Further, it is a rather oxymoronic (I think that works as a word) to see people who support the war effort and cheer on the bombings then cry foul when it happens closer to home, and subsequently turn that cry into one of rallying more troops and further bombing.

Essentially it's the 'we do to you, but you don't do to us, for if you do we do it back to you tenfold' line of circular logic that gets invoked. If people are truly on the side of humanity, it means ALL humanity, which means that the above logic cannot ever be applied. But it is. By many people who claim to love humanity - they just fail to mention it is their own humanity that they love. One can say 'all', sure, but what other actions and/or words from that person back up the assertion? Watch for the circular logic - that's how you know.

[so in essence, you are both right]

L-girl said...

We all agree on the govt's total hypocrisy. But I don't think that's what LonePrimate's post is about.

I read it over and over and I don't see anything about government hypocrisy. I see someone making excuses for killing innocent people because those people's government did the same to someone else.

That is no different than killing innocent Iraqis to remove Saddam Hussein (or for any other excuse).

redsock said...

The West has for generations bombed any number of places in the world, without worrying much about who was innocent and who was a legitimate target, in order to get the results we wanted. Do we really have the moral right to cry foul when the same rules are applied to us -- and on a much smaller scale at that?

If "we" means the US government, then No. Bush and Cheney and all the other terrorists around the world do not have any moral right.

I wonder how many people will be killed in Iraq today and ignored while these equally deplorable murders get wall-to-wall press coverage.

As someone wrote somewhere awhile ago (how's that for a source!), in Iraq, every day is September 11.

L-girl said...

I wonder how many people will be killed in Iraq today and ignored while these equally deplorable murders get wall-to-wall press coverage.

You're right about the Western media, of course.

But the key for me are the words "equally deplorable". When people are grieving, it's not the time to throw "that's what you deserve" in their face. On Sept 12, 2001, I didn't want to hear war cries, but neither did I want to hear Alexander Cockburn telling us we had it coming.

I think we can be sympathetic to frightened and hurting Londoners without turning into Bushbots, for chrissakes.

B. W. Ventril said...

No, I think I'm reading Lone Primate perfectly well. And not that it matters, but when you mention "people who support the war effort and cheer on the bombings" are you referring to the people of London and Spain, the majority of whom overwhelmingly opposed the war in Iraq?

I assume that when LP writes of a "foot on someone's neck for most of fifty years" he's talking about Israel/Palestine. Does, say, a middle class Saudi engineering graduate planting a bomb really have a legitimate grudge to bear against a third generation Londoner of Pakistani descent caught in one of the blasts? Who is most in tune with the suffering of the Palestinian people?

My point: we don't actually know who did this (though it looks like Al Qaeda), but morally speaking that doesn't matter. LP is using exactly the sort of them/us logic that the right is guilty of, except in this case "they" are said to have a legitimate grudge against "us". However, "we" are Muslims, Jews, Christians, agnostics and atheists. Two million Muslims live in Britain, and I'm sure they were among many of the 700 people injured today. Whoever planted these bombs might view London in monolithic terms (a Crusader city, maybe?), but that bears no relation to the make-up of the city itself.

It behooves us all not to think in the same terms as those committing the attacks. Isn't being on the left supposed to be about solidarity? Or is it just about being a smug bastard?

L-girl said...

Thank you again, BWV. I really appreciate it.

B. W. Ventril said...

Well, I guess this one has hit home for me. You know, what with the blood on the walls of the building opposite the entrance to my old apartment. There's no excuse for excuse making. Atrocity is atrocity.

Lone Primate said...

What does "deserved" have to do with it? None of the civilians in Iraq deserve the immolation they've suffered; the question of whether they deserved it or not certainly do not save them. How can we possibly claim that defense? It's patently self-serving. Of course we're afraid of being blown up by terrorists on the way to work; and we should be. But the average person in the Middle East is afraid of being blown up by the British Army and the USAF. Just because you and I, or many of the victims in London, did not personally wish that on them can no more save us than the good will of individuals in Baghdad can save them, and it's self-serving to demand that it should.

In a perfect world, I could wave a wand and make everyone play fair and do what's right for other people. But I can't. Policies of the West are causing tremendous human suffering in the world, and whether we as individuals support it or not, we benefit from it. People die everyday so we can have a world that suits us. Those people have relatives. They're human beings who lose loved ones in the most horrible ways imaginable -- a 9/11 a week for years -- and who thirst for revenge every bit as much as we would in their circumstances. I'm not anxious to be on the bus when it blows up, but sitting here dispassionately, I can certainly appreciate where this comes from. What else could possibly be their response to our predation? To do whatever we demand of them? To smile and accept it when we "accidentally" murder their families? Would we accept that?

We have the bombs. We have the planes. We have the aircraft carriers, the troop transports. And we use them. The people our system is attacking have none of this. How are they to make us stop? By finding a way to make our lives as fearful as theirs. To make the pursuit of our interests without regard for them thoroughly unpleasant. This is all they have. We have been less than completely human in our actions towards them. We are that much less human when we demand security for ourselves in the face of suffering we inflict on them. The lip service some of us pay them is not enough to buy us a "get out of terror free" card, and we're arrogant to expect it. I'm sure the people we call terrorists would happily spare those us in sympathy with them -- if they could. Just as the USAF would love to drop bombs that kill only "bad" people -- if they could.

I disagree with regard to Spain. I believe it was a factor in their election. They removed a government that materially supported the war and replaced it with one that withdrew and ceased to participate in it. That has made a difference, if only a small one. It has increased the strain on those nations that continue to support the effort. And in the long run, that looks like the only way people over there are ever going to get us off their backs.

L-girl said...

Yes. I understand completely. In the initial days after 9/11, I was outraged by the callousness of some leftist response.

I'm also very sensitive to victim-blaming. Be it rape victims or people commuting to work, no one "has it coming". No one "asks for it".

L-girl said...

What does "deserved" have to do with it? None of the civilians in Iraq deserve the immolation they've suffered; the question of whether they deserved it or not certainly do not save them. How can we possibly claim that defense?

WHO IS WE???

NOBODY here was using it as a defense. Nobody here is for the war. Nobody here supports Bush/Blair policies.

You're not even responding to what anyone is saying. You're making speeches justifying terror, which is no better than wingnuts justifying the terror done to Iraqis!

If you want to save your post, you should copy it. I'm fighting myself not to delete it because it disgusts me so.

L-girl said...

Yes. I understand completely. In the initial days after 9/11, I was outraged by the callousness of some leftist response.

In case it wasn't obvious, that was in reponse to BWV's "this one has hit home" comment.

L-girl said...

We have the bombs. We have the planes. We have the aircraft carriers, the troop transports. And we use them. The people our system is attacking have none of this. How are they to make us stop? By finding a way to make our lives as fearful as theirs. To make the pursuit of our interests without regard for them thoroughly unpleasant. This is all they have.

Who is us in this sentence? Who is we?

You also do the Islamic terrorists (if that's who did this) a great disservice. You assume their only agenda is anti-America/West, and if only "we" would stop, so would they. As if they have no agency or agenda of their own. It's demeaning.

It's a huge mistake of the left, too. Everyone in the world does not act in response to US imperialism. Does it ever occur to you that even without US aggression, there might still be terrorism? People do have their own agendas, and just because they're not US/western, doesn't make them right.

RobfromAlberta said...

I'm sure the people we call terrorists would happily spare those us in sympathy with them -- if they could.

I don't believe that for a second. If the terrorists wanted to attack military targets, they could do so, sometimes they do (in the West Bank and Iraq, for example). If they wanted to assassinate government officials who direct the "crusader" armies, they could. If they want to send a message, they could use the tactics of the IRA or the ETA, plant a bomb, then give a few minutes warning so the civilians can escape. They certainly have plenty of options that don't involve murdering civilians. They choose to kill the innocent, they deserve no sympathy.

L-girl said...

I'm sure the people we call terrorists would happily spare those us in sympathy with them -- if they could.

What makes you so sure? What if "those in sympathy with them" would be killed because they are (a) not Muslim fundamentalists, (b) decadent Westerners, despite their holier-than-thou politics, (c) Jewish (see above), (d) women who have sex before marriage, etc. etc. etc.

You act like these people are fucking heroes, which is no better than acting like Bush is a hero.

Lone Primate said...

I don't think they're heroes, I think they're humans. I think they're reacting the same way anyone would, faced with overwhelming military force on their own home ground with nothing to defend themselves. Would we be so condemning of, say, a raid by the Cheyenne on settlers after the 7th Cavalry had run roughshod over them? I don't think so. Not now that we're safe, anyway. But it would be wrong and presumptuous of me to write a long statement of my position here. So I'll post my feelings in my own blog where you can read them if you choose, or not if you're not interested.

If I'm to be ostracized for having a forceful and unpopular opinion, well, so be it. I'd hardly be the first. But please, consider what I'm saying. Because what I say, I say out of a spirit of sincere fairness (at least as it's given to me to see it), and the long range goal of understanding and amity. In the world, and here among the Friends of Laura, too.

Slim Bacon said...

"an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind" -Mahatma Ghandi

This is probably an appropriate quote for this topic. It's a sad day indeed, nothing will be learned from this tragedy.

There is always a shred of reason behind every act of madness. I don't condone any act of violence but i try to show sympathy and empathy toward every human regardless of what they have done.

Fear, anger and hate are all primal emotions. These emotions cause otherwise good people to do bad things. We humans are capable of so much more.

L-girl said...

LonePrimate, I would not ostracize you, I would not even consider that. I was seething over your posts (hence my shot about wanting to delete it - just an angry thought, but one I didn't act on, fortunately) but I respect your opinions, I know they are carefully considered and well meaning. Plus you are a friend here, and I wouldn't forget that. I don't have to agree with all my friends' opinions.

Re the Cheyenne's raid on the settlers, I would still feel for the settlers whose children were butchered. They would still be people, grieving, hurting, and I would still be sorry for their loss.

I also see the analogy as off-base, because the people in London and New York are not invading anyone else's territory, as the Cheyenne were invaded.

Slim Bacon: thanks for that. On this blog, and in general.

G said...

Wish I could have hung around for this. Looks like I missed a lot.

For the record, I'm saying that support for the war exists in every city. For all the fact that people in London and Spain dissented, guess what, other people supported the effort. And they are the people to whom I refer. Should've been more clear on that.

It's the people who support killing Iraqis because it is "collateral damage" - funny how that includes those dying from broken promises of electricity and water provision - and then talk about London as if it were the only horror - to me that says they feel that some lives count, and others don't. And the same goes for the governments who cry foul of what goes on at home, and then proceed to bomb another city.

We're all the same. Every life counts. And there is a terrible, horrible hypocrisy in supporting death on one side while crying about the horrors and unjustness on the other side when it happens there. And that was my point - still is.

L-girl said...

G, you were very clear. I knew what you meant. I appreciate the further clarification. It's welcome.

Lone Primate said...

We're all the same. Every life counts. And there is a terrible, horrible hypocrisy in supporting death on one side while crying about the horrors and unjustness on the other side when it happens there. And that was my point - still is.

That's what I was hoping to get at. What bothers me about all this is how willing we still are to see ourselves as different, to make excuses for what we do, to make exceptions for ourselves and of ourselves. No matter what analogy you come up with, someone in the West will always tell you why it's not applicable this time, or how it doesn't fit with our situation. They focus on the details instead of the big picture of someone small fighting back against the oppression of someone larger.

President Bush calls this a "war". That was his term. He chose it. He, and Prime Minister Blair, and a few other people -- leaders of the Western world -- chose this war. They started it. They declared it. For us, the people of the Western world. I know there were an awful lot of us who didn't agree with it right from the outset, but we were not characteristic of our society. There were not enough of us, we were not typical enough in our society, to stop this. Generally speaking, the average Westerner took the line that "Oh, people are going to die over there? Tough luck. Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive." Tossed the bone that it was being done for "democracy", they wagged their tails and thought it was just peachy for us to send our terrorists over there to kill people. Now they wail when terrorists come here to pay us back. But we declared this war. I know Laura objects to that "we", but unfortunately, that's how the world -- and more importantly, the Arab world -- sees it, and that's simply how it is. It's all well and good that some of us objected. But our civilization at large overruled us and went ahead anyway, and that's the reality of what the other side has to deal with... not the good wishes of the minority.

What happened in London is no more a human tragedy than what happens every day in Baghdad and Falluja. As long as we, as a society, keep telling each other that somehow it is, we'll keep doing the types of things that cause other people to plant bombs in our cities. What happened in London was the other side fighting back in a war we, as a society, declared and brought to their streets. When it's brought back to ours, what moral right do we have to object? If we want them to stop doing that to us, we have to be willing, as a society and not just powerless individuals, to stop doing it to them. Only then will we, as a civilization, have claimed the moral high ground. We have to have another groundswell cultural revolution of the sort that ended slavery and enfranchised women, only now to finally put an end to the age-old imperialistic impulse to wade ashore with guns a-blazing whenever we don't get what we want from weaker people fast enough. Till then, we'd better be prepared to take our lumps in a war our side called, because they're probably going to keep coming.

L-girl said...

What happened in London is no more a human tragedy than what happens every day in Baghdad and Falluja.

Absolutely not. It is also no less a tragedy, to those affected.

When it's brought back to ours, what moral right do we have to object?

We have every moral right to object. Indeed, I believe we have a moral obligation to do so.

LonePrimate, you've made your point more than a few times. I do not misunderstand you, I simply and vehemently disagree. Please let it go. Thanks.

sirbarrett said...

Good point. I get afraid when terrorism increases on the media like temperature in the summer. We all have to chill people. It is terrible what has happened but we can't lose our heads. Do not support regimes in any form. Be an iconoclast.

L-girl said...

Do not support regimes in any form.

Good point. Nice to see you here, BC.