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What if what is a “win” to the terrorist is what is right? Do we refuse to comply simply because the terrorist has acted? It’s a difficult question. In this case, the terrorists, or at least those who have claimed responsibility, have said the bombings are in retaliation for Britain’s role in the occupation of Iraq. If you are a Briton, do you believe in the Iraq war? Do you believe in Britain’s continued part in the occupation?

Crises bring fear and anxiety but they also bring clarity and reveal what we should already know to be true. The bombings of the London transit system are proof of a very simple, very clear reality. The Arab and Muslim world hates the U.S. and Britain for occupying Iraq.

They don’t hate our freedoms. They don’t hate our way of life. They hate our governments and they hate the terror they have inflicted on thousands of Iraqis.

The responses from the American and British governments were all too pat and predictable. We have been exhorted to “stay the course,” “show resolve,” and above all else “not allow the terrorists to win.” The British are not encased in the American bubble of ignorance and may show their resolve by kicking Tony Blair to the curb. Hope springs eternal.

The clarity brought home to London is simple. The war on terror is a war of terror that keeps no one safe. It certainly didn’t help the thousands killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and it didn’t help anyone during the morning rush hour in London. A war on terror, whether it means military occupation, an increased defense budget, or taxpayer dollars doled out to Halliburton, doesn’t stop anyone from bringing a bomb on to a bus.

The people of London deserve to go about their daily lives without fear of being blown to bits, but so do the people of Baghdad and Fallujah.

The deaths of thousands of Afghans and Iraqis are treated as nothing compared to the death of 50 Londoners. The bombing story is certainly a more legitimate one than shark attacks, missing kids, or celebrity gossip, but the media coverage has been astonishingly bad. Tired phrases about the “clash of civilizations,” and demands that all Muslims prove they are not killers are trotted out over and over again. It is too bad that the media don’t ask American Christians to denounce the atrocities wrought by their supposedly Christian president.

The crisis of a woefully inadequate corporate media has also brought us clarity. Take Fox News as an example. The George W. Bush network showed its true colors in the bombing aftermath. Anchorman Britt Hume was moved to say,

"My first thought when I heard – just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, 'Hmmm, time to buy."

His colleague Simon Marks was even worse:

”So, it's a further indication, if in fact these attacks were carried out by Al Qaeda-affiliated cells, that these people are, if necessary, prepared to spill Arab blood in addition to the blood of regular – of non-Arab people living in London.”

There is nothing as satisfying as a good admission of guilt. Marks explained the occupation of Iraq, Abu Ghraib, and the theft of a nation’s assets in just one sentence. As sick as the comments are it is good that he expressed them. If you didn’t know before you know now. Arabs aren’t really human. Marks certainly gave Fox viewers a good dose of clarity.

Another unambiguous truth is that our leaders are out of their minds. People in positions of the highest authority endorse something nonsensical called “the fly paper theory.” The theory, such as it is, goes like this:

Military action in Iraq will keep Arabs, flies, busy and stick them to America’s fly paper of destruction. Having been stuck to the fly paper they will stay away from major western cities. As President Bush said, “There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home.” They may want to rethink that particular sound bite. The silver lining of this dark cloud may be the demise of at least one idiotic phrase from right wing talking points.

On February 15, 2003, more than 10 million people around the world joined in protesting the imminent invasion of Iraq. The protest in London that day was the largest in that city’s history. The British people never approved of Blair’s adventure with his friend Bush. As British MP George Galloway said, "Silence would be complicity. I am not prepared to be complicit when people in Iraq and London are paying a blood price for Blair's bizarre special relationship with Bush."

For now there aren’t enough Galloways in Britain. The notion of supporting leadership in times of trouble holds sway, but perhaps only for a short time. Every nation is not as susceptible to propaganda as America.

As the politicians say, we send deep condolences to the British people, but we shouldn’t stop in London. The condolences must go to all the victims of this government’s aggression, “regular” people and Arabs too.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BC. Ms. Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City. She can be reached via e-Mail at [email protected]. You can read more of Ms. Kimberley's writings at


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July 14 2005
Issue 146

is published every Thursday.

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