12 Sep 2001
(updated 12 Sep 2001 at 13:03 UTC) »
I have found yesterday and today emotionally exhasting, both in terms of worrying about friends and colleagues in the USA, and in composing messages of support I sent by email (leaving messages on mobile phones in the NY area is *still* difficult). Most of the news I have heard has been good news since the distress of yesterday: my sister, on a business trip to New York, is safe, as are two of my firend who work in the financial district of that city. I have friends in Washington for whom yesterday was a frightening day with the attack on the Pentagon.
I'm signing off early to go home (I plan to go to a gathering of Berliners as a gesture of solidarity for Americans whose lives have been touched by tragedy). I want to write a message that I hope some people in America will take to heart.
The case for measured justice in America's response
Many people in America feel that the USA has to make a show of strength, by making a military strike against some regime that might be responsible for the attack. This is immoral (see my previous post), unpragmatic and incompatible with the values that a civilised and democratic society should have.
Innecent people would die, and if any of the perpetrators should die among them, they will become martyrs whose death provides the "oxygen of publicity" to the groups who sponsored them without the cold light of truth that a proper judicial and diplomatic process would bring.
To many Americans, yesterday was a shocking horror without precedent in terms of its emotional impact on their lives. To people in some parts of the world, equally vile horrors are a commonplace. If you feel horror at the celebration of some people in Palestine at yesterday's horror, you should think about how you would feel about the horrors that Israel has perpetrated against these people, and reflect on the wisdom and justice of continuing the cycle of horror.
While the Afghan regime is a barbaric and cruel regime masquerading behind the Koran, it is salutary to reflect that the archiects of that regime were grown in religious schools in Pakistan that were funded by the CIA as part of their campaign against the USSR occupation of Afghanistan. If it turns out that twisted products of that Machievellian calculation are responsible for yesterday's human tragedy, I hope it will make those in power reflect on George Orwell's words that we should "doubt the wisdom of those `political realists' who rub their hands with glee" at the destruction of innocents that result from their immoral political strategems.