Does George W. Bush cry?
Has he ever shed tears of sadness for victims of terrorism residing outside the United States of America? Does the President pay attention when stories of death and destruction emanate from countries where carnage is a daily event? Has Bush ever read the inside pages of the New York Times or Washington Post? Has he learned about other infamous acts of terrorism that did not occur on 11 September 2001, and does he lament losses suffered by people who do not carry a United States passport?
The War on Terrorism did not begin on a late summer morning in New York City, and the first victims of aggression were not buried under the rubble of the World Trade Center on 11 September. Terrorism has a long history, and it has ended the lives of millions of innocents throughout the world. Weeping over corpses is not exclusive to Americans, Christians, Republicans, freeman or slave, citizen or alien. The tears flowing from the American eyes are only a trickle when compared to the flood gushing down the cheeks of the rest of humanity.
Asians cry when they remember the loss of loved ones killed by terrorism perpetrated by United States governments (and their allies). The graveyards in Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines, East Timor and Cambodia are filled with millions and millions of innocent victims, killed in the name of freedom and free markets. Did Lyndon Johnson cry? Did Richard Nixon lie?
Africans cry when they remember the butchery of men, women and children in Rwanda, the Congo, Angola, Somalia, and countless other nations where misery is a way of life. There are hearts of darkness beating in the breasts of those who have profited from the physical and fiscal enslavement of Africa, sowing landmines and discord with equal abandon.
Latin Americans cry when they remember the savagery committed by agents and armies of the United States and United Fruit. Gringo Presidents and greedy capitalists have repeatedly terrorized people living in the ‘banana republics’ of Central and South America. The nations of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Colombia and, of course, Cuba are littered with the remains of victims killed by democratic governments and brutal dictators. Thousands of innocents have been buried by grieving widows in Argentina, by orphaned children in Guatemala, and by giant bulldozers in Panama.
Arabs cry when they gather together to mourn the deaths of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. They pray to Allah, or Christ, or Mammon as they huddle in makeshift shelters, seeking safety and refuge from crusaders, liberators, and homegrown despots. From the Magreb of Northern Africa to the sands of the Arabian Peninsula, Arabs despair over lost family and friends, killed by tyrants preaching doctrines of profits and prophets.
Jews cry when they remember the Holocaust, and lie when they dismember Palestine, and die when suicide bombers seek a remorseless revenge.
Europeans cry, but only when the victims of terrorism and war died on the Continent or British Isles. Millions of French, Germans, Russians, Spaniards, Portuguese, British, Dutch and Italians have perished in European wars, and tears of sorrow will — like the Danube and Thames rivers — flow forever. In their lost colonies, though, the European reaction to millions of lost lives is a crying shame. The death and degradation left behind in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Middle East has been forgotten, conquered by the desire to submit to the dry-eyed domination of the world by the United States of America. It is a policy of plunder by proxy.
Americans cry. Although it has been two years since terrorists attacked the United States, killing nearly three thousand innocent people in less than two hours, that tragic day will be remembered forever. The victims who died will always have a place in the hearts of Americans. Sadly, the thousands of people who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq during the War on Terrorism — except American military personnel and prominent journalists — are already forgotten. There are no tears of sorrow or shame being shed for the insignificant others.
Does George W. Bush cry?
JAMES T. PHILLIPS is war photographer and correspondent now living in Maine. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org