It is helpful sometimes, in times of great and confusing events, to consider simple things, which can shed light on things that are far more complex. The events of 9/11, and in turn the resultant aerial bombardment of Afghanistan by American military, is now the opening act of what promises to be a global military campaign that threatens to be waged in Iraq, perhaps Iran, Somalia, and even the far Philippines.
We are told that this war will be waged for years, perhaps for decades, in far-flung areas of the earth. It is, in Bush Administration terms, a `war against terrorism,' a `war against evil,' and a `clash of civilizations'. (Of course, the royal "we" are the perfect good; "they" are the eternal evil).
One wonders, when is a `terrorist,' not a terrorist?
The late Pakistani scholar, Eqbal Ahmad, points to how history and circumstance can change characterizations:
Until the 1930s and 1940s, the Jewish underground in Palestine was described as "terrorist." Then something happened: around 1942, as news of the Holocaust was spreading, a certain liberal sympathy with the Jewish people began to emerge in the Western world. By 1944, the terrorists of Palestine, who were Zionists, suddenly began being described as "freedom fighters." If you look in history books you can find at least two Israeli prime ministers, including Menachem Begin, appearing in "Wanted" posters saying, TERRORISTS, REWARD [this much]. The highest reward I have seen offered was 100,000 British pounds for the head of Menachem Begin, the terrorist (Yitzhak Shamir is the other). [Eqbal Ahmad, Terrorism: Theirs & Ours, Seven Stories, 2001, p. 11]
The terrorism of yesterday has become the nationalism of today.
The interests and objectives of the US, and its Western partners, have less to do with terrorism, than with making the world quiescent and calm in the face of a neo-colonialist, corporate capitalism.
What is at stake is not democracy, for if this was so why does the West support regimes, like the Saudis or the Emirates, that don't even have a pretense of a democratic form of government? What is at stake is western control over resources, like oil, or natural gas.
What is at stake is hegemony, or the continued dominance over the emerging world by the industrial, corporate West, under the flag of globalism.
What is globalized is the use of force to suppress local, national and regional movements seeking liberation or autonomy. What is globalized is the media machinery of the wealthy elites to justify an inequitable status quo. What is globalized is terror, on a world scale, to protect the system.
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