PARANOIA, HOMELAND SECURITY, TERRORISM, GOD AND KARL MARX
BY rainer ganahl december/january '02/'03
Since 9/11 (3), my anger and frustration over the political climate in the United States has risen and a certain paranoia concerning the state and its security-agencies has begun to surface. I am not afraid of terrorism but more and more afraid of the actions taken by the United States against terrorism since many of them violate human rights, the U.S. constitution, recognized international laws, peaceful relations between nations, people, and religions. The self-righteousness and the drive for war with Iraq by this administration has tainted my blue eyed, naïve understanding of the USAs civil tradition. (4)
Self-censorship, attempted, and practiced censorship (5) imposed by others have become a reality in the United States causing me to ask myself many questions: Is my e-mail monitored? Are my neighbors suspicious of me? When writin on line, should I purposefully misspell certain words in order to evade automatic search machines? Can my analysis of the current political situation put me in legal jeopardy, in social or professional isolation? Is my heightened sensitivity and subjection to the news only a product of the news? Why do I care more about the reports concerning Bushs and Sharons policies than I did when hundreds of thousands of Africans were slaughtered during the 1990s? Can they take my newly issued American citizenship away since I feel so in disharmony with the current administration? Was my quiet Moroccan roommate a terrorist? Almost everyday we get reports about individual sad stories of INS abuse (6), deportations, indefinite holdings and worse (7). Atrocities committed by the Russian government in Chechnya might confirm the prejudices and biased reports I grew up with during the Cold War, but hearing similar stories of military crimes and severe human violations carried out by the USA are more difficult to understand. However, as I acknowledged earlier, I am just very naïve.
Do I hate the United States? Definitely not. I love the United States and its constitution or what s left intact of it. Therefore I am concerned with the aggressive politics of this current administration and the economic, environmental, political and social damage it causes to this country. Given my own unsubstantiated paranoia confronted with this current administration, I hope that I will be able to explain that I am absolutely no danger to Homeland Security? (8)
Replacing only some notorious words, you might remember this opening in the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx. Terrorism has become the new code word in politics, policing and the media on a global level. It is interesting to revisit Marxs analysis of society and look from there into manifest aspects of contemporary terrorism, the reactions to it, the use of God and other powerful businesses. Im not talking about how todays paranoia and hysteria is starting to resemble the anxieties and reactions in the USA 50 years ago. Fear of communism dominated the 20th century causing millions of deaths in unnecessary wars and assassinations around the world. I am also not talking about the fact that there is material and social continuity from the fight against communism to todays terrorism since many mujaheddeens have been trained and financed by the CIA in the fight against the former Soviet Union.
The Communist Manifesto states that communism is already acknowledged by all powers to be itself a power. So is terrorism. Marx asks communists to openly face the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies. Terrorist groups partially do so as well. Marx then draws a history of struggles between groups, classes, geographical regions and nations based on the development of knowledge, technologies, industries, international trade, and world markets for labor, raw materials and goods. Confronted with Islamic fundamentalist terror today, two factors of Marxs analysis are interesting: The often violent fight over resources, labor and markets and the prominent aspect of religion and culture as intellectual production and weapons in these struggles. Education, the knowledge industry, belief and truth systems as well as family structures are clearly recognized by Marx as weapons in the history of competing interests and conflicts. Karl Marx saw material, social and ideological change not as voluntary acts by an elite but as a result of changes in technological and industrial productions, in knowledge and communications, in labor, markets, disease prevention and changing demographics.
Karl Marx was not a terrorist nor was he a revolutionary. He insisted in analyzing and communicating social demands and believed in institutions whose powers he wanted to see controlled in the hands of a secular, rationalized class subject (9) in the interest of the majority of impoverished masses, at his time omnipresent in all European cities. Only in moments when mutating social forces are hindered and developments blocked, may violence set in and revolutions take place (10). Marx himself provided theoretical instruments for the analysis of social injustice, and the liberation from industrial slavery and hardship. From the very beginning he had an international view on the state of exploitation understood how local and national misery are part of an international network of imperialist competitions for labor, raw materials, goods and markets (11). Marx himself wasnt calling for anarchism or terrorism. He believed that history itself will do the job. Marx was one of the first people to acknowledge that small people, poor and exploited laborers the majority of the people in his time are major protagonists in history. He also acknowledged machines and technology, knowledge and information as a driving force for historical change. Marx saw misery, injustice and exploitation as man- and machine made and not a result of divine fate. Marxist historical and materialistic thinking is a secular antithesis to a world view that operates with gods, fears and threats.
History, an often violent agent, is a master from Germany since Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the philosophical mentor of Karl Marx (12). Before German Idealism, history was an attribute of God represented and interpreted by emperors, kings and the church who made sure that the position of God in the world wasnt called into question. Challenging God was equivalent to challenging worldly powers and resulted in death sentences. God was the institution to be feared and respected. God was the mirror image of all secular powers in mostly patriarchal dress. The devastating religious wars in Europe in the 17th century were about the final interpretation of the words of God. Rebellious protestants and Calvinists rejected the power of the pope and the church and privatized their relationship with God. God as an institution started to lose its monopoly in the business of legitimating power. Democratizing the personal relationship with God was a step towards democratizing politics which quickly followed. Legitimate worldly powers, therefore, soon entered a crisis and needed a secular basis. Thomas Hobbes was one of the most brilliant thinkers to come up with new ways to legitimate the concentration of power in the hand of a ruler without any recourse to the metaphysical supremacy of God. He laid out elements of secular modern state theory and to a certain extent the basis for our constitutional democracies. Hobbes imagined a state before the state in which everybody is everybodys wolf, a murderous and impossible life. Under his famous theory, individuals enter a contract to give up their rights to some ruler, a soon to be national state representative, in return for order and security. No God is needed, but fear and chaos.
Today, murderously competing ideas of God, fear and chaos are once again the driving force and a valid token in national and international politics on all fronts. Fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, gone-mad sniper-killers and the administrations of George Bush, Ariel Sharon, and Vladimir Putin are all doing big business with God, fear and chaos. Endless killings, war theaters and threats are for them the medium to express Gods will. Fear and paranoia of weapons of mass destruction are weapons of mass distraction for trying to turn history back without any proper media coverage. Since September 11, the Bush administration has cemented its power and erased any opposing alternative in domestic and international politics in the same way as Arial Sharon seems to have managed to eliminate any peaceful alternative to his politics of provocation, aggression and brutal retaliation. So did Vladimir Putin and other strong men in the world of politics whos positions become elevated in times of crisis. Fear of terror committed by Palestinians, or the Chechens or the Iraqis turn into blank checks to carry out policies that in return infuriate and humiliate large segments of not just the Islamic world.
In their business with God, the White House organizes prayer groups, openly prefers religious institutions over secular ones in educational and social services. The unconstitutional re-employment of God in U.S. government can best be detected by supreme justice and Opus Dei (13) member Scalia who sees democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government. (14) It is quite remarkable that a supreme justice who is part of a group of nine people who even has the power to select a president against the popular vote this current president literally occupies the White House and who is supposed to guard the constitution and our democracy can attack democracy on such a fundamental level with religious arguments without any consequences. Some of the highest U.S. officials seem to share the same ideas regarding the relationship government-state-God as re-emerging, re-empowered religious fanatics from all over the world. They also express a similar contempt for politics. I am not saying that U.S. government officials opt for religiously driven terror (15), but they might share similar beliefs about God and the place in government held by religious fundamentalists who too are not automatically in favor of terrorism. In our current U.S. climate, it is also no surprise that some centers of worship in the USA become equipped with state symbols (16). Meanwhile, in the name of saving unborn life, inspired by Bushs firm religious believes, his administration has stopped funding the desperately needed international health initiatives in the poorest areas of the world causing death to about 3000 women a year during child birth without medical assistance. These victim numbers dont include the deaths occurred as a result of ongoing abortions without medical assistance. (17)
Poor, badly educated masses and highly foreign-educated elites in most of the Middle East were let down by their versions of autocratic modernist states. In 1916, these new states followed mostly British and French colonization and were drawn and divided with rulers and straight lines on maps ignoring ethnic, cultural and historical differences. Since the 1950s, oil, the fear of Communism and Soviet influence dictated Middle Eastern politics next to problems that came into existence with the insertion of the new state of Israel and its troubled relationship with its Arabic population and neighbors. The USA practiced the British model of indirect rule and helped to keep in place autocratic regimes and dictatorships hindering existing democratic movements. The police state of the Shah of Iran was very much supported by British and U.S. interests. The Islamic revolution in Iran forcefully changed all this in 1979. That same year, the military general Saddam Hussein started to control Iraq with the means of a tyrant. An 8 year long war with Iran followed in which Europe and the US were no neutral by-standers. Genocide against defiant Kurds and Shiites in Iraq were carried out by Saddam Hussein with the help of war materials and intelligence provided to him by the US and Europe. (18) Saudi Arabia, former home of Bin Laden and the majority of the 9/11 terrorist crew, has been for many decades ruled with iron fists, repression and a contempt for democracy, human rights and gender equality. The USA has been installing military bases there since 1957 to look after the predominantly American petroleum interests and the need to stabilize the kingdoms repressive political and military power. (19)
A costly US military presence, autocratic rule without democratic access, explosive social polarizations, radicalized Islamic teachings, a demography with many young (unemployed) people, satellite broadcasts of live Israeli-Arabic frictions, and televised US-war theaters against Muslim populations are only some reasons on a long list to explain this current new breed of explosive Islamic fundamentalism. Anti-imperial and anti-American propaganda addresses impoverished masses and attracts the attention of some highly educated and privileged people. This credit card, cell phone and internet coordinated terrorism is also attractive to well and foreign educated middle class and upper-middle class people. It is productive to see all these bloody conflicts, these awful violent reactions and terrible options for terror through the spectral analysis of Karl Marx and therefore, as part of our history of class and (neo)colonial struggles. These current manifestations of violent terrorism are to be seen as complicated results of reckless international and local long term politics. Terrorism cannot be explained in pathological, criminal, chauvinistic, theological and moral terms. Calling terrorists evil doers (Bush) doesnt help understanding these violent reactions to U.S. politics and U. S. military presence in the Middle East. They also do not envy our freedom, in fact they dont want any of this imposed on them. They also dont hate us because we are rich. PR campaigns fabricated by Madison Avenue will not bring the desired change of the U.S. image in the (Arabic) world without a substantial correction of U.S. politics towards the Middle East with its strategic importance, its ethical and religious differences and its petrochemical resources.
Speaking of terrorism and of fundamentalism should never erase the distinct political and strategic differences of all these various conflicts. Addressing Palestine and Chechnya together with the 9/11 attacks under the simple qualifiers of fundamentalism or international terrorism is inadvertently normalizing the political rhetoric of George W. Bush. While the tactics of Palestinian suicide bombers may seem similar to those of Bin Laden there is an important difference to be considered: the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip violates international law. For Palestinians, armed aggressions against Israeli forces, interests and its people are desperate partisan acts in an attempt to realize self-determination and to deal with the endless frustrations and provocations they are going through since Sharon took office. In this sense Palestinian terror is closer to the tactics of the IRA in Northern Ireland which had not been named in the axis of evil. The important political differences and tactics between these various groups in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Russia ought to be considered in order not to indiscriminately oversimplify the complexities of regional conflicts (20). It is not surprising that even Slovodan Milosevic, responsible for the slaughtering of his Muslim population in the former Yugoslavia, is today claiming that he was only fighting terrorism. The use of the word terrorism is in itself strategic. The BBC so far refuses to use the word terrorism for their broadcasts on the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, something that makes them a target of criticism by the Israel and the USA administrations. Language is the prime medium to represent and find truth, something that is said to be the first casualty of war. In todays vocabulary, language suffers the first collateral damage.
Lets now focus on the relationship between politics and religion. In a large part of the Arab world, religion re-entered the political arena logically since political options had been expelled for so long with contempt, neglect, arrogance and brutal state security. Fundamentalist teaching and the preaching of hatred and death to infidels radicalized poor populations and its corresponding educated elites. This in return has rendered Saudi rulers partially schizophrenic and quasi-complicit with radical religious groups sympathetic to terrorism supporting them financially or paying them off. We also shouldnt underestimate the well reported horrors and crimes of discrimination, ghettoization, humiliation, deportation and straight forward genocide of Muslims around the world. Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kashmir, and Chechnya are significant conflicts that all differ in nature and history but that do share the same religious element central to their struggles. This too is radicalizing young spirits and engaged souls to fight for jihad and the right for Muslims to exist in their own world. They want to defend their own definitions of themselves. The plurality of the Muslim worlds dont need Western experts and think tanks telling them who they are, what they need, what they have to do and what to believe it. The problem in all these conflicts is not religion as such as some right wing non-Muslims might suggest (21) but the fact that it is high-jacked around the world by blood shedding, de-humanizing, misogynistic interpretations of it.
The successful spread (22) of this hitherto unseen radicalized Islam has been facilitated by the absence of an alternative screen of identification in a national or pan-Arabic coordination system. A new pan-Islamic identity has become a powerful attractor around the world independent of how different the myriads of practices and interpretations of Islam might be. This vaguely constructed pan-Islamic imaginary gets reinforced through various televised conflicts in Islamic regions throughout the world involving often Christian and Jewish opponents. Spiritual realities have come to power because of an absence of effective secular political discourses and a lack of democratic options in large parts of these regions. There is nothing more cynical put forward by U.S. think tanks than suggesting that the USA will bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East: Over the last 50 years in that region, most U.S. administrations have tried desperately to block real democracies with the brutal forces of CIA supported dictators, money, diplomacy and secret service contractors.
But religion is itself political, it is a form of politics, it is discourse and practice driven politics. Unfortunately, any religious ideology be it Christian, Islamic or other is intrinsically non-democratic. Religious discourse is based on assumptions in most cases secured by holy scripts that have to be accepted by its believing constituency. Religions produce logically coherent teachings on every level, from street preaching to theological universities though the first and most effective mediation addresses children, making up their believe systems. Religion is usually inscribed in the collective and personal memory of people and is fundamental to most cultural formations. As such, religion constitutes a matrix on which other logical and illogical worlds are built. It generates interpretations of the world for every age. It is cheap, it is mostly wide spread and creates strong identities formed over live times, over generations, over hundreds of years. Religion absorbs frustrations and compensates for worldly failure. It too justifies and legitimizes success, wealth and power. As legal substance for life, religion was called by Karl Marx opium of the people. In most parts throughout the Middle East, religion serves now as a powerful substitute for the absence of a discourse oriented, consensus generating, effective, political culture. (23)
Religious thinking starts with the unquestionable truth of God. It is accompanied by exclusive forms of interpreting the world and of distributing justice. The main authorities in the business of defining God for main religions are traditionally established institutions built mostly on stone. Messianic horizons are well decorated and promising. Identities are emotionally communicated from early on in rituals and in discursive and non-discursive zones of daily life. In many ways, consensus is inscribed and guaranteed upon by a culture of excluding values and practices that dont need further political negotiations and convincing. They are simply believed.(24) The excluding nature of religious Weltanschauung-systems can cause catastrophic results when occupying and defining the main field of politics.
The ideological and soon institutionalized category of history has come into existence as antithesis to religious authority. Historical studies became part of the fundament on which the European nation state was built. History was to the nation state what modern sciences meant to capitalist modes of productions developing hand in hand during the 19th century. The educated, emancipated bourgeoisie headed by the German philosopher Emmanuel Kant, the most influential theoretical spokesperson next to Hegel and followed by Marx, tried to domesticate and privatize religion. Kant was distilling religion, delegating it to an esthetic realm and thus excluding it from his critique of pure reason. In Europe at the time, Karl Marx and all the newly erected universities finished religion off with the historical and comparative studies of many religions, analyzing their functions as historical texts, as social, economic and political believe systems, as metaphysical Weltanschauung, as psychological, personal, political, ideological and social realities.
The role of religion in past and present wars and genocides is factual. The Jewish Holocaust is the most incomprehensive mass tragedy but was preceded and followed by other religiously motivated mass killings and genocides throught the 20th century and now beyond. It is therefore unsettling that a reactionary U.S. president is re-engaging with religious reasoning in public office while being openly phobic towards secular political discourse. Bush denounces political cultures and seems to want to eliminate debate and political competition altogether. Special interest politics and the arrogance of power can replace national and international politics. It is only emblematic that this presidents not only dismisses international diplomacy, violates international treaties and laws, but even physically doesnt want to move and travel. He simply doesnt want to engage in discourse, in politics, and despises and ridicules political mediation and negotiations. His pseudo-imperial presidency tries to highjack the political process in many ways: the elimination of its opponents with all available means (25), the limitation of basic constitutional rights, the reduction of influence of the congress and the judiciary branch of the government and the polarization of politics: You are with us or with them, you are with right conservatism or with the enemy, if not with terrorism. Soon, we will say Long live the Bush dynasty. Voting could be indefinitely suspended for security reasons, for a financially bankrupted government, for many more conservative reasons. (26) Why not being paranoid since they already once stole the election.
My point here is not to become vulgar and say Bush and his imperialist administration act like an international terrorist network (27) nor do I want to sympathize in no way with terrorism. I categorically reject all forms of violence and terror. My analysis comes to the conclusion that an unlimited accumulation of geographical, environmental, chauvinistic, social, racial and ethnic aggression and arrogance create a climate that make violence more likely to occur damaging everybody. This is true around the world and should concern everybody (28). I hypothetically ask myself what would happen if all the money now spent on Israels security and military would be used to end social hardship for Palestinians and to reinforce a Palestinian middle class? Respect, identity and self-determination dont have to be defined and defended with helicopter gun ships, missiles and tanks nor with stones, rifles and suicide bombers. The same is true for the rest of the Middle East. If oil revenues would not just grossly enrich a few royal family members, its autocratic entourage and all the international beneficiaries and protectors, it could be properly reinvested in the people, in real democracies and in a viable model of participatory governance. Hence, reactionary interpretations of religious rules and laws wouldnt be the only alternative to despotic misery. There is no way to win a war against terrorism, since terrorism isnt an enemy but only an asymmetrical method of fighting overwhelming power through violent acts of destruction of highly symbolic targets.
Terrorism is mostly a reaction to overwhelming, arrogant, non-negotiating power and will always find the necessary sophistication and ways to cause damage to strategic points within civil society. (29) High tech globalized networks of power and military intelligence are confronted by international terrorists with globalized bases. (30) People with minds of highly destructive intelligence are fearless to die in their suicide operations. There is no way to secure all national and public interests. Targets are not limited to high rise buildings, airports and airplanes. The possible list of vulnerable points is endless and terrorists will always have the first choice, the decisive pick. Global terrorism will always have open season if we exclude political means. Terrorism would even win if we turned our private and public spheres into fortresses and destroy our civil societies, something that unfortunately is about to happen. (31) Converting our daily world into a terrorist-proof security mad-house without reorienting our politics would be as suicidal as terrorist actionism. Terrorism will win under whatever circumstances if we dont engage with the world in a more just and balanced way: if we as Americans and I am also one of them since Summer of 2002 - continue to believe that we can bully the world and exploit the planet in the interests of an oiligarchy, we will unfortunately experience ever new surprises. We will not be safe even if we define segments of the entire world population as terrorist and isolate us on every level.
Last but not least, the planet earth too will not accept ruthless exploitation and destruction and will too start terrorizing us with chilling effects of destruction, be it global warming and worse. The man made and man provoked catastrophes cannot be looked at as unwanted byproducts or accidents. The need to be studied and included in a large comprehensive calculus that cannot be only reduced to profitability, manipulation and exploitation for short term games. It is all very simple as in an English saying: What goes around comes around. (32) I would like to end this essay with the most impressive, most stunning and most simple answer from the most fundamentalist, fanatic corner of the spectrum operating with god in the center of gravitation: Confronted with the Twin Tower Terrorism, Bin Laden compressed all political, social, economic, cultural, racial and religious complexity and causality into one word: Allah did it.
Rainer Ganahl, New York, January/February 2003
(1) The New York Times and National Public Radio are main stream media. In regard to many matters they are rather conservative, with an equal balance of hawkish right wing columns and war critical voices. On Sunday 12/29/02, a 10 am show concluded with the female show host saying We should always remember, that war is something that gives us meaning. Statements like this are catering directly to the US war machine that is currently run by George W. Bush, a sitting president that had never even really visited abroad before coming to office.
(2) Re-reading this text 5 months later, I have to state: right now, I only read The Guardian on line or some other European paper and exclusively listen to WBAI, 99.5 FM.
(3) The frequent and stereotypical use of the 9/11 acronym for the Twin Tower Terrorism of 2001 is almost symptomatic for the appearance of a 9/11 industry.
(4) Almost every week a new scary proposal is launched: currently, the administration proposes the introduction of a system to gather any electronic information about anybody in this country for data mining and profiling.
(5) Their are also discrepancies between this published text and my original draft.
(6) The Immigration and Naturalization Service is now dissolved and is becoming a part of the newly created Homeland Security Department. Anti-terror specialists will have a better look over all immigration papers. Due to the more effective data-linking, two European friends of mine were refused access into the country based on misdemeanors in the far past. One was jumping of a turnstile; the other person overstayed his visa for a day.
(7) Right now, the U.S. government is engaged in mass arrests and mass deportation of Arabic men and Arabic immigrants. Deportations could be due to minor Visa irregularities. New INS rules demand registration of all adult male immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and others nationalities unless they are naturalized citizens or permanent residents. The list of countries is going to be extended and arrests are more likely to increase, see: Demonstrators Protest INS Registration By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 12/19/02 New York Times.
(8) I sometimes wake up from nightmares about this new super department. In case I get contacted I will be prepared. I have been working on a series of videos entitled Homeland Security: In the eleven languages I have been learning, I repeat: I am not a terrorist, I am not a religious fanatic, I dont give money to terrorist networks, I dont know how to build bombs and Im not downloading dangerous information from the internet. For the production of this work I started to study Arabic. When I purchased my study material I was obliged to order audio materials by mail, using a credit card to pay. I wonder whether the publisher was required to pass on my personal data to Homeland Security. The FBI requested the data of all scuba divers who took lessons within the last 3 years in the USA. See: America under surveillance: Privacy and Security; New Tools for Domestic Spying, and Qualms, By Michael Moss and Ford Fessenden, New York Time, 12/10/02.
(9) The dynamics of class struggle and the concept of the proletariat is worth studying even if its terminology is anachronistic and often shuts down discussions on social justice. Today in America, even full time middle class workers barely have guaranteed access to decent medical services. (NY Times, November 25, 2002, Problem of Lost Health Benefits Is Reaching Into the Middle Class, by Mr. Broder)
(10) Today, even in Iran, mass protests by students in favor of a jailed state critic cannot be easily ignored by the mullahs and risks explosion.
(11) We shouldnt forget that developing nations often are screwed twice: not just do they often not get enough paid for their raw materials and their labor, but they frequently are banned from sending and selling their goods to the USA when competing U.S. interests. The current Bush administration is, in spite of all its pseudo-open market policy, blocking many South American states from selling their meat, their cotton, their fruits, and their technologies. The New York Times just reported how the USA is stopping the incoming Brazilian president from selling Brazilian fighter jets to Venezuela . (12/11/2002, Brazilian Meets Bush and Vows to Cooperate on Freer Trade By James Dao) This scheme and episode is omnipresent and makes even the mere talk of free markets and trade zones a cynical euphemism for imperialist US dominance over world markets. South American food too is for the majority not entering USA markets because of safety regulations. Safety is never even discussed when it is about the illegal distribution of gene-manipulated crops and foods all over the world that destroy local productions and make farmers directly dependent on these one-way semen by U.S. gene-tech corporations. Needless to say, Europeans eat Brazilian food and try block U.S. Frankenfood.
(12) With Paul Celan and Adorno/Horkheimer in mind, I could be even more direct: History, Bildung (education in liberal arts and in humanities), and Death are masters from Germany.
(13) Opus Dei is a catholic sect.
(14)s This is quoted directly taken from a talk by Antonin Scalia given in 2002, see: Sean Wilentz, From Justice Scalia, a chilling vision of religions authority in America, in New York Times, July 8, 2002 . Find more of his pseudo-theocratic views on google.com: Scalia god government.
(15) Some people even joke and say military is terrorism with an unlimited budget. Military spending is currently exploding.
(16) See the illustration of the article In Synagogue Design, Many Paths by David W. Dunlap, New York Times, Sunday 12/8/02 which shows a newly made New York (82nd Street) sanctuary decorated prominently with the flags of the USA and Israel. The Christian Church on 5th Avenue and 90th street has currently two flags hanging outside: the U.S. flag and the flag of the Crusaders. This white flag with a red cross stands for the brutal Christian history to conquer Jerusalem and the Holy Land. President Bush might recognize this flag since he used the word crusade in response to the events of September 11.
(17) BBC world news, special TV report, 11/20/02. I could go on and on with reports how the policies of this Bush administration bring hardship to poor people around the world. We are observing a reversed Robin Hoodism, even in America: stealing from the middle and lower middle classes and redistributing to the upper classes. With the exception of the military and Homeland Security regular government functions risk to be outsourced to private contractors where they are starved or given up. In todays New York Time, we see two headlines wonderfully squaring off: White House Aides Push For 50 % Cut In Dividend Taxes with a subtext including Benefits Would Go to the Wealthiest Taxpayers by Edmund L. Andrews, and Law Requiring Lower Drug Prices Is Struck Down, by Robert Pear, hurting people with the lowest income. (NY Times, 12/25/02) The New Leader of the Republicans in congress, Bill Frist, has a financial and family background that controls the most powerful pharmaceutical complexes in the USA.
(18) In the 20th century, Iraq was mostly dominated by British influence even after its direct colonial liberation. British military presence was in place many decades after formal independence. There was only a very short period of true independence through a revolt that kicked out the British in 1957followed by brutal military dictatorships. Before Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait, the United States in particular the Bush family had rather closed relationships with that regime during times in which the worst crimes in their history took place. For example: the poison gas attacks of the Kurds in 1988. see endnote 7.
(19) For most of my historical data, Im using dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte, Band 2., a historical data bank. Saudi Arabias king Feisal announced in 1973 that he was going to use oil supply as a weapon. In March 1975 he was assassinated.
(20) This paragraph was inspired by Nina Servizzi.
(21) Also the talk of a clash of civilization is nothing but reactionary and euro-centric. It is not the difference in cultural affairs that produces clashes, but the interpretation of it. The politics of cultural differences can easily be abused and radicalized by these clashes.
(22) Gods have always traveled as fast as power, influence, money and people. They even often are the fuel, the black gold of peoples minds, distorted or undistorted by metaphysics and physics. Gods are perfect global commodities and travel accessories. Not by accident they can be found in most hotel rooms around the world, on most airplanes, in most tanks and armored vehicles. Gods travel by horse, by food, by phone and per satellite. Along with European rats and diseases they have been spreading ever since in all directions.
(23) Even if I acknowledge that modernism as a rational project has not produced the results it had been celebrating early on, there is no alternative to it. We should never give up on discourse based political negotiations and transparent rational ways of power sharing and control.
(24) For example: Putin and Sharon or whoever might follow them do have to talk and negotiate with their conflict parties. Violent measures will never produces acceptable degrees of security and peace.
(24) It is quite ironic that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are sharing the same routes, the same narratives, the same books. Their interpretations and are historically and genealogically related to each other. Yet historically, they have caused killings and killings, within factions of one religion or between these religions and factions. In all these cases it was only reckless politics that instrumentalized religion.
(25) I am not talking of a conspiracy theory in relationship to two air plane crashes that caused the death of two critical democratic senators during time of election.
(26) Im also very surprised that at a moment when the current administration calls for military people to be sent to war and when many of them are African American the current GOP leader made this most incredible racist remark. His statement announced his regret that another former senator who was running for presidency in the 1940s with an openly racists platform, lost the presidency.
(28) In the religiously dominated conflicts over Kashmir, the involved players are evenly equipped with tested nuclear missiles but lets not even think about these nightmare scenarios.
(29) On one of the embroidered commentaries I received for my Afghan Dialog work from the Afghanistani-Pakistani border reads: For every Pharoah, there is a Moses.
(30) Al Queda means in Arabic base.
(31) The government is trying to monitor all internet communication: White House to Propose System for Wide Monitoring of Internet By JOHN MARKOFF and JOHN SCHWARTZ 12/20/02 New York Times
(32) Some friends advised me to end with alternative notes. They have forwarded me a series of internet addresses that are all critical of this administration and their way of handling things. I decide not to focus on this aspect and want to just point out that we can change already a lot in the world if we manage to change ourselves, and inform ourselves by mainstream and alternative media and common sense. Almost every day, the administrations proposes major changes to government that dismantle health care systems, balanced tax systems, government organizations as such, information release standards, civil rights and privacy rights, the women right to chose, environmental standards, clean air acts, the separation of state and church, the judiciary branch of the government and so on and so forth. Im also not talking about the cynicism with which president Bush is now pursuing a war with Iraq and other international conflicts, including North Korea. Note also how this administration even manages to sell these drastic changes to the larger public as improvements when it is so clear, that for example, lowering the standards of pollution is polluting the environment. The list of concerns are endless and so is my frustration and rage over the politics of this administration.
I would like to thank all my friends who read this paper and have helped me with suggestions and corrections. In particular I would like to thank Nina Servizzi, James Andrew, Gerhard Frommel, Matt Willard and the final proof reader Maika Pollack.