Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Terror and justice


How could people bomb innocents like those who were victims in Madrid on 3/11 asks one of the survivors? They were 'normal' people, he says. One can only agree with such a sentiment. How could one disagree? One has to however, seek answers. It's not about feeling sympathy for bombers, but it's about trying to understand in order to prevent further suffering.
Of course, for the sake of decency, as well as honesty, one should before anything else put things into perspective. On march 11th 2004 in Madrid, 191 people were killed and 2050 wounded. On september 11th 2001 in New York, 2974 died. On July 7th 2005 in London, 52 people were killed and 700 were wounded (source: Wikipedia). If we were to count the numbers of people killed in bombings by western forces and others supported financially as well as militarily by western nations, where would one start? In the Second Lebanon War of 2006 over a thousand lebanese lost their lives under israeli fire. In the invasion phase of the 2003 Iraq war, 7,299 iraqi civilians were killed. 290 Iranian civilians were killed when the airliner they were travelling was downed by USS Vincennes during the Iran-Iraq war. (Source: Wikipedia).
Coincidentally perhaps, today in Spain, some of those responsible for the March 7th attacks were condemned while simultaneously a bill has been approved which formally condemns Franco's dictatorial and terrorist regime. Though of course the mainstream media does not link the two events, what comes to mind is a certain paradox. We all accept justifiably, that those responsible for the deaths of 191 innocent civilians in Madrid should be brought swiftly (and democratically) before the law, and yet condemning an equally (in numbers no doubt more) horrifying period of spanish history, takes over thirty years, and still there are those who complain (mainly right-wing conservatives). This seems to me to be a fitting example of the double-standards with which our media and authorities treat history and contemporary events.
On this day, the BBC aired a programme dealing with the upcoming Annapolis Israel/Palestine peace conference. Several commentators from the region or elsewhere were questioned. None of whom I had personally heard of. None but one palestinian commentator mentioned the hypocrisy of the 'offers' made by Israel and the US to the palestinians. Commentators such as Amira Hass, the israeli journalist who lives in and reports from Gaza, Robert Fisk, the British journalist who has spent thirty years living in and reporting from Beirut on the middle east and the arabo-muslim world, Noam Chomsky, who has written extensively and with excellent sourcing about the 'conflict' and US-Israeli rejectionism, Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, or Meron Benvenisti, former Jerusalem mayor and proponent of a binational state were not interviewed.
Recently, the US congress was censored in it's attempt to officially recognise the ottoman genocide of Aremenians in 1915 by Turkey and it's lobby. At least it's relatively uncontroversial to speak of a turkish lobby in the US. Meanwhile, Israel continues to deny the Armenian Holocaust and the Ukrainian Holocaust (for example). It is up to historians to decide what is holocaust and what is not, and not politicians, according to Israel. Maybe it should apply this wisdom to all holocausts.
Mr Zapatero has claimed, that justice has been done. But where are Bush, Blair, Howard, Aznar, Berlusconi and all the others before them? Are they behind bars?