Out of nowhere it came,
a day that would shake the world to its core. One minute all was as it
should be, then came chaos. As the world looked on in utter disbelief, a
nation was devastated. You could see the look of horror in the eyes of
onlookers, dazed as they struggled to take in the impossible occurrence that
had just happened. But they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and
the bastards still made the final of the World Cup!
Had a great deal of letters regarding September 11th too, unsurprisingly.
We were on holiday in Tenerife when it happened, guess it’s one of those
things like the Kennedy assassination, everyone is gonna remember exactly
where they were when they heard the news. My first thought was condolences
to our many friends on the other side of the pond, as well as sympathy for
the American people in general. While the former is still heartfelt, the
latter has become somewhat harder to maintain. I was hopeful at first,
thought the American government showed great restraint. But I figured it was
only a matter of time, particularly thinking back to Pearl Harbour and the
consequent nuking of Hiroshima. Cynical? I don’t mean to be.
Although I wasn’t expecting them to do anything quite so drastic this
time around, the eventual response still smacked of somebody hitting out in
blind vengeance, pretty much as expected. An eye for an eye? Worse, make
that one entire nation per tower. Afghanistan, Iraq, that takes care of the
World Trade Centre… so who pays for the Pentagon? There must be some very
nervous people in Iran and Syria right now. But not North Korea, no danger
of them being attacked, they could defend themselves, perish the thought.
And there are nervous people here too, all over the world, in fact. Bush
scares me and many other “sane” people. He’s the President of the most
powerful nation on Earth, yet appears to have all the intelligence of a bag
of marshmallows. Oh, my most sincere apologies to marshmallows for the
insult. George W. Bush; hmmmn, I have a feeling I've figured out what the
“W” stands for.
Then there is his
poodle… oops, I mean partner, in the axis of evil; fellow Christian, Tony
Blair. Christians… now that’s interesting, which part of “thou shalt not
kill” don’t they understand? I recall a
favourite T-shirt I had
as a teenager back in the seventies (ouch), the message is as pertinent
today as it was then. It said quite simply; “Fighting for peace is like
f**king for virginity!” It always brought a smile to my face, but it’s a
serious piece of philosophy, in spite of the language. We will never
permanently solve the problems of the world with bullets and bombs. The sons
and brothers of the dead and injured will always return to claim their right
to revenge. As the Chinese so wisely say; “Before seeking vengeance, dig two
graves.” Even in Bush and Blair’s own Christian dogma, the rule of thumb
goes; “Vengeance is Mine! Sayeth the Lord.” I still remember Ronald Reagan a
few years ago, talking of Armageddon; “Yes, I believe it will happen, it
says so in the Bible.” It worries me that Bush and Blair may believe this
too, thus raising the spectre of self-fulfilling prophecy. The fact remains
that the United Nations did not authorise the attack on Iraq and the
“weapons of mass destruction” do not appear to exist. So much for us all
being 45 minutes from doomsday, huh? Justifying a war using a student thesis
“borrowed” off the internet is not merely “spin”, it’s the full three-deck
We need to be honest with ourselves here, the Arab world has good
cause to resent and distrust the west. Historically, we are
the bad guys. The state of Israel was built with duplicity, brutality and
terror. More importantly, it was largely financed by the U.S., without whose
support it would not have survived. Yet America remains mystified as to why
the Iraqis don’t want a McDonalds in Baghdad. As for Israel… what can I say?
How can a race that suffered the persecution and near-genocidal injustice of
the Holocaust, wilfully inflict such treatment on others. The Israelis, of
course, have an inalienable right to their own nation, but so do the
Palestinians, whose ancient claim to that land is equally valid. The
militarily strong nations would be wise to remember, that with power, goes
Sadly, the west
seems to use power to inflict its morals on the world and
threaten or bomb others into submission. All this creates is angry enemies,
yet so much more could be achieved if we approached others as friends.
American foreign policy is based almost exclusively on self-interest and is
hampered by naivety, born of a lack of knowledge of the world around it.
Bush’s thoughtless use of the word “crusade” only serves to illustrate that
ignorance. British foreign policy still seems to be based on our wonderfully
self-righteous Victorian imperial ideals; “Tally ho, let’s take Britishness
to the wogs, eh what?” Lo, verily, we should revel in our glorious British
history, for did we not give the world such gifts as… well, slavery,
concentration camps and apartheid? And America, does it not have the most
enviable record on human rights? Not to mention the fine work of that noble
Christian organisation, the Ku Klux Klan. I’m probably not alone in wishing
future pretzels much better luck.
My entry failed to win the Daily Mail caption
AND THE FINAL PAGE, TA MUCHLY...