- CounterPunch.org - https://www.counterpunch.org -

Remember the Others Too!

The patriotic arrangements for 9-11 are on a scale probably never seen before. Millions in the USA and all over the world will again see endless repeats of those ghastly moments when planes piloted by criminal fanatics crashed into the towers. There will be speeches and silent minutes and the 3000 dead will be remembered and mourned and sympathy for their families will flow generously. I too, as do a great number all over the globe, mourn the deaths of the innocent people in those towers together with the New Yorkers and other Americans.

But as we mourn, we shouldn’t insult the memory of victims of a heinous crime by using their deaths to motivate more bloodshed. And we should above all be fair and decent enough to recognize the other victims of criminal deeds, greed, power madness or indifference, no less innocent and no more deserving miserable suffering and death. Their deaths may not be shown on our TV screens in endless repeats including slow-motion and second by second development, but that doesn’t mean that their agony and suffering have been less. There is a world beyond the scope of the TV cameras, as real as that being shown on our screens, and much of what is still happening is even more terrible because it goes on and on and on. Year after year, month after month and week after week. Let’s spend a few more silent moments in the mourning of innocent victims

We ought to send some thoughts of sympathy to the families of the 2000-4000 innocent Afghanis who lost their lives due to American bombings, their deaths cheapened by being labelled collateral damage, dismissed by War Minister Donald Rumsfeld and their number ridiculously reduced by Pentagon spin doctors.

We ought to mourn the 50.000 Iraqis who died in the last 12 months due to the immoral and cynical sanctions on Iraq, depriving the people of clean water and vital medicines. Those men, women and children had no quarrel with us. They didn’t threaten anyone and they just wanted to live in what peace was possible under a dictator forced on them by outside “interests”. Will the numbers increase in the US quest for oil, but blamed on unproven threats?

We might let our thoughts go to the victims of general Pinochet’s terror state, spawned by a paranoid Kissinger and willing CIA complices. 9-11 is a very appropriate date for such thoughts. If the dead or disappeared number 2000 or 10.000 doesn’t alter the guilt. The elected president Salvator Allende, killed in the coup, is but one item on the bill of debt.

Perhaps the one million people in the poor countries who have died from starvation since 9-11 last year are worthy of some recognition. Their deaths could have been avoided at the cost of a few aircraft carriers. As could the 500.000 children who died from lack of clean water. We in the rich world allow it to happen and to go on happening. Can we have a little of the goodwill being extended by the mourners of 9-11? Can we have some decisive action from the men who have the power to send armies and fleets all over the world, the power to order a massacre and the power to direct billions for the building of machines of death? Can it be more difficult to distribute food than to distribute missiles and bombs?

The millions upon millions in Africa, many small children, who can look forward to certain death in AIDS may merit some contemplation and assistance. The pharma giants of the world do what they can to deny these people, many already hit by famine, cheap medicine in the interest of their profits.

The Vietnam war was a long time ago, and the only ones who have learnt from is seems to be the US military, now careful to keep all true reporting away from their chosen battlefields. But the destruction and poisoning of Vietnamese forests and farm land still take its toll and the memory of 2 million dead is still fresh in memory. At least in Asia! May we let some thoughts go to those 2 million and the 60.000 American soldiers who were sent there to die by cynical politicians. Better still, make the small amend of finally paying the damages as promised and let one who took part in the slaughter, secretary of state Colin Powell, hand over the check.

We can, while we spend this time in mourning, include in our prayers and thoughts all the other victims of power politics, oil interests, greed and other desires that drive states, corporations and individuals to devaluate human lives and cause suffering and death too great to fathom. May the victims all over the world, too many to count, be remembered.

On a day like 9-11 it’s very easy to fall victim to the lower instinct for revenge. Such instincts are natural but neither civilized nor constructive. We know that the directly involved, the immediate perpetrators, were killed with their victims. The planners are mostly still walking free and they ought to get arrested. Fine, let the police handle it like civilized society ought to do. But let’s not send military or bombers to every country inhabitated by moslems with “links” to one or other real or imagined enemy. The only logical lesson we can learn from the atrocity is that we have to create a world where starvation, deprivation and desperation don’t create people willing to take the lives of innocent people. Did the world’s mightiest armed forces stop it from happening? Could FBI, CIA, NSA or any other powerful agency prevent it? Now draw the right conclusions!

The first step we, in countries where the leaders still can be chosen by the popular vote, have to take to avoid further wanton destruction is to use that power more wisely. No more must we let people lead us whose immediate, and often only, reaction to problems is to rely on deadly force. People who solve their problems by reaching for the gun belong in Hollywood B-movies and not in the White House. The ones who see public office as a way to riches and power should for the sake of the people have neither. We have to have leaders, men and (a lot more) women, who have the stature, wisdom and integrity to see where the real problems are and deal with them on the basis of justice and honesty and decency.

In these globalized times we can’t have people at the helm who only see to the interests of the wealthy, the mighty or their own little circle. It’s not even enough if they see to the interests of the majority of the nation. They have to see to the interest of humanity as a whole. That’s the only way to avoid a repeat of what happened in . in September 2001. Let’s get rid of humanity’s greedy destroyers and move forward to a more decent world. A world for us all, whatever colour or belief. Let’s start now!

That’s the most meaningful tribute we can give to the memory of the poeple who died in those two towers. And a worthy one at that.

Jerre Skog is a Swedish writer, musician and alternative observer living in Germany since 1999. More articles, political and satirical can be found on: Jerre?s Thinktank www.skog.de Comments are welcome at: jerre@skog.de