I did not want September 11, nor did I want the explosion in Bali.
I search for a reason, and find a wild defence; a defence against a capitalism which plunders lives and resources to generate the goods it sells in the markets it invades, if necessary by its own use of terrorism. And so the response; a violent attack on profit; destroying confidence, destroying the market by random acts of great violence, involving the deaths of innocent civilians far away; just as the machinations of capitalism involve the deaths of innocent civilians far away. For Manhattan, read Chile; for Bali, read East Timor. For what other response is available? What fear does greed know, other than the fear of lost profit?
I do not want a harsh world of religious fundamentalism and intolerance. Nor do I wish to see a global strip mall, a world in which warplanes are purchased in order to safeguard the jobs of the workers who make them, a world in which greed is the control mechanism.
You put your question: would I trust a nation that has invaded two neighbouring states, that has chemical and biological weapons and may be developing nuclear weapons, which it may one day use?
Let me ask the other questions.
Would you trust a nation that has weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, chemical and biological - and has already used all three against other nations? Would you trust a nation that has given arms to both Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussain?
Would you trust a nation that has sponsored terrorism in Nicaragua and El Salvador, that has overthrown the democratically elected Salvador Allende in Chile in favour of the murderous regime of Augusto Pinochet, that has overthrown the democratically elected regime in Guatemala for the benefit of the United Fruit Company of Boston, Massachusetts? Would you trust a nation that gave training in terrorism in Honduras and at the School of the Americas, that gave training in chemical warfare at Fort McClennan?
Would you trust a nation that gave support to the Khmer Rouge, that dropped half a million tons of bombs on Cambodia and two million tons on Laos while it was at war with neither, that gave support to both Papa Doc & Baby Doc in Haiti, and to Marcos in the Philippines? And which gave support to Israel, a land made by terrorism and maintained by terrorism that wears a uniform?
Would you trust a nation that refused to sign a global treaty banning landmines, on the grounds that it infringed freedom of trade, a nation whose landmines are sown indiscriminately across south east asia and are still killing and maiming? Would you trust a nation that refused to sign a UN protocol on torture on the grounds that it limited states' rights? Would you trust a nation that (understandably) refuses to accept an international court of justice?
I did not want September 11, nor the explosion in Bali. Nor did I want Sabra, Shatila, My Lai, Santiago, the killing fields.........
I want freedom. I want equality. And I want honesty. Here, and in all the faraway places. Thus far, the ballot paper has offered none of these things. When it does, perhaps we will have peace. Here, and in all the faraway places.Les Barker - 2003