The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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How he and his bosses and co-workers can stand up before the world and righteously sermonize against Iraq while at the same time completely ignoring the ongoing American partnership in human rights abuses with Israel defies credibility. And yet no one, in all the justified critiques of the US position that have appeared since Powell made his great UN speech, has focussed on this point, not even the ever-so-upright French and Germans. The Palestinian territories today are witnessing the onset of a mass famine; there is a health crisis of catastrophic proportions; there is a civilian death toll that totals at least a dozen to 20 people a week; the economy has collapsed; hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians are unable to work, study, or move about as curfews and at least 300 barricades impede their daily lives; houses are blown up or bulldozed on a mass basis (60 yesterday). And all of it with US equipment, US political support, US finances. Bush declares that Sharon, who is a war criminal by any standard, is a man of peace, as if to spit on the innocent Palestiniansí lives that have been lost and ravaged by Sharon and his criminal army. And he has the gall to say that he acts in godís name, and that he (and his administration) acts to serve ďa just and faithful godĒ. And, more astounding yet, he lectures the world on Saddamís flouting of UN resolutions even as he supports a country, Israel, that has flouted at least 64 of them on a daily basis for more than half-a-century.

But so craven and so ineffective are the Arab regimes today that they donít dare state any of these things publicly. Many of them need US economic aid. Many of them fear their own people and need US support to prop up their regimes. Many of them could be accused of some of the same crimes against humanity. So they say nothing, and just hope and pray that the war will pass, while in the end keeping them in power as they are.

But it is also a great and noble fact that for the first time since World War Two, there are mass protests against the war taking place before rather than during the war itself. This is unprecedented and should become the central political fact of the new, globalized era into which our world has been thrust by the US and its superpower status. What this demonstrates is that despite the awesome power wielded by autocrats and tyrants like Saddam and his American antagonists, despite the complicity of a mass media that has (willingly or unwillingly) hastened the rush to war, despite the indifference and ignorance of a great many people, mass action and mass protest on the basis of human community and human sustainability are still formidable tools of human resistance. Call them weapons of the weak, if you wish. But that they have at least tampered with the plans of the Washington chicken hawks and their corporate backers, as well as the millions of religious monotheistic extremists (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) who believe in wars of religion, is a great beacon of hope for our time. Wherever I go to lecture or speak out against these injustices I havenít found anyone in support of the war.

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