APRIL 2004

News in the West
Gilad AtzmonİMarch 2004
"In fact, to be a citizen in a democratic state is a heavy burden. It is a duty charged with a serious form of responsibility."

 The socialist victory in Spain is significant of a dramatic change. We had come to expect right wing leaders to always be the first to benefit from Islamic terror.  Both Bush and Sharon enjoy growing popularity following attacks against their peoples. The collapse of Blair's popularity is easily realised in terms of the lack of Islamic terror in the UK, as the British are not at all convinced that they are victims of such terror. Apparently, the devastating formula that suggests a link between Right wing leaders and Islamic militants no longer applies. The Spanish people proved yesterday that a new form of citizenship is taking place, a citizenship grounded on a deeper realization of the notion of democracy. In a true democracy the citizens are sharing responsibility with their elected government. The Spanish people have realised that they were punished for their governments' mistakes, in particular the collaboration with Bush and Blair. The Spanish people who ousted the ruling Popular Party did it because they grasped that they were anything but innocent. In fact, to be a citizen in a democratic state is a heavy burden. It is a duty charged with a serious form of responsibility.

 But then, who is the real winner of yesterday’s Spanish election?  Looking into the glorious Socialist victory reveals a simple truth: the real champions are the Islamic fundamentalists, those who stand behind the devastating and murderous Madrid attack. For the first time Islamic fundamentalists have proved that they can dictate a political change in the West.  Now, two and a half years since 9/11, and two and a half years since the declaration of the 'War against Terror', it is this unbeatable terror that unexpectedly transformed the political reality of a major European state. This must be devastating news for our leading warmongers: Mr Bush and Mr Blair. Being pathetically uncreative, they will doubtless impose some new security measures in the train and underground stations. But it is not going to help. Nothing of the sort is going to help. We are simply far too vulnerable. We are not ready for this war and we are definitely not ready to die. When you are not ready to die you can never win, at the most you can try to kill your foe from afar like a coward, with clever bombs and smart cruise missiles.

Guardian Newspaper : A growing sense of unease about the behaviour of the Aznar government has begun to emerge. The German police have accused it of handing them false information on the bombings, it is reported.

The US deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, echoed Mr Annan, saying he thought Sunday's vote was "a protest by the people against the handling of the terrorist event by the sitting govern ment of Spain."

The House of Representatives Speaker, Dennis Hastert, accused Spain of caving in to terrorism. "Here's a country who stood against terrorism and had a huge terrorist act within their country and they chose to change their government and to, in a sense, appease terrorists," he said.

 It's rather sad, but it seems as if all that is left for us is just to wait like sitting ducks for whoever comes to redeem us from the crimes committed in our names by our corrupted governments. I assume that sooner rather than later every Briton and American will realise the truly devastating meaning of the temporality of life in the age of right wing idiocy. It is getting closer and closer. I imagine that most of us sense the emerging danger. But rather than simply taking a fatalist viewpoint, I am about to suggest an alternative practical act. It is quite rational to imply that if we cannot win this war we might benefit from admitting a defeat. If our leaders refuse to see that the battle is lost why can't we celebrate our 'freedom of speech' and raise a shiny white flag as high as we can. In practical terms the only thing left for us is to appeal to Al-Qaeda for mercy. We must stand up and vocally admit that we realise what their war is all about, that we realise that the measures of oppression imposed upon more than one billion Muslims merely exists so we can drive our powerful thirsty cars.  We must acknowledge that we realise that the Western support of the Israeli government is morally unacceptable and must be stopped. We must promise that we will do everything to bring this Bush-Blair hegemony to an end. We might as well swear to do what ever we can to indict them as war criminals. We will promise to crack down on any future expansionist and colonial political philosophy.  If we go that far we might as well come clean with ourselves and say that our democracy is a complete farce, and remind ourselves that our 'elected' leaders went to these wars against our will.  Under the waving shadow of our shiny white flag, we will regret on behalf of our non-democratic 'elected' leaders for the suggestion that we (the Westerners) could teach them (the Arabs) what 'democracy' is all about.

 Taking into account the fact that Islam endorses the concept of reconciliation, and that Islam suggests that war is the very last resort, I've very good reason to believe that our genuine appeal will fall on attentive ears.

 Bearing in mind our very limited options, appealing for mercy is probably the only way to survive this evil war.

 Suggested reading:  The White Flag Principle, How To Lose a War (and Why).
Shimon Tzabar, Four Walls Eight Windows, New York,  2002.