My Column

Gary Maclennan g.maclennan at
Mon Oct 30 17:18:06 MST 2000


My latest column. Hope it is of interest to some.


Oh, say can you see (in the Bin)…?

1. Osama Bin Laden has made it into a category I would have sworn that I
would absolutely never, not ever, establish.  He has become my favourite
millionaire businessman.  If you watch CNN you will know that Osama is the
rich and evil anti-Christ who apparently sends his followers around the
world trying to prevent the USA from establishing Coca-Cola and Macdonald's
everywhere. Or to put that another way, almost single handedly Osama (May
his tribe increase.) opposes American imperialism.  Thus he has been
credited with the recent suicide bombing of the US warship in Yemen.

I rejoice in the death of no one these days but I must say that it was hard
to listen to the speeches at the funerals of the Americans without
retching.  The worst moment was the speech by the Afro-American
chaplain.  He served up a fare of reverent cliches - warmed up left overs -
from the Cold War.  Thus the message of the bombing was apparently that the
'price of freedom is never free'.  How easy those words came to his lips.
Yet the truth is the exact reverse of what this priest was saying.

What is the truth? Well it is that the American capitalist class has
subjected the world to a reign of terror.  It has sent murderers and cut
throats among the poor.  It has raised blood soaked tyrants over the
helpless.  It has crushed the hopes of those who longed for a better world
and still the very same American ruling class expects us to see them all as
the apostles of freedom. I spit on their propaganda. Go Osama! Go! Go!

While on America and its foreign policy I must salute the heroic
Palestinian children who have fought the Israeli soldiers, America's most
ruthless allies, with sling shots and stones.  The courage of the young
Palestinians in the face of rifle, tank, helicopter gunship fire and
rockets has been truly wonderful.  The liars of the Western Press have
called this "violence".  The Murdoch rag, The Australian, has even claimed
that Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestinians, is training a new
generation of guerrilla fighters. In truth a down trodden people have risen
against their oppressors and all those of good will should support them.

The Israeli tactics are to surround Palestinian ghettoes and open fire with
tanks in response to stones and sniper fire. This is in line with what has
become known as the Powell Doctrine or the "hammer strategy".  It is based
on General Colin Powell's analysis of America's failure in
Vietnam.  According to this theory the USA was defeated because it did not
go in hard enough early on in the war.  However the employment of maximum
early force is not new. Indeed just the same tactic was used by the Nazis
against the heroic Jews of the Warsaw ghetto. There as always the Nazis
resorted to a policy of maximum force to any resistance to their rule. It
is tragic to see Jews emulate such brutal oppressors.

The Western Media continue to give a most biased account of what is
happening.  It is true though that they admit that the majority of those
who die are Palestinians. But they do not give the exact figures.  In fact
to date 8 Israelis have been killed and 128 Palestinians have also been
murdered.  Over 4000 Arabs have also been injured, many of them seriously.

The solution to the bias in the media is of course to turn to the
internet.  Go to the Palestinian site
<> there you will find the truth of
what is happening.  You will learn how much has been censored from the
Murdoch Press and the Packer media.  You will also find at the site an
excellent article by Avram Noam Chomsky who upholds the best and noblest
traditions of the Jewish people by speaking out against the tyranny of the
Israeli State.

2.Mention of the traditions of the Jewish people reminds me of one of the
great regrets in my life.  Once at Emma's  Bookshop I saw a book The Wisdom
of the Jews.  Browsing through the book I came across the beautiful
thought. "If a father helps a son, they both smile.  If a son helps a
father, they both weep." Unfortunately I did not buy the book, leaving that
for another day.  When I returned it was of course gone.  However I have
had some consolation in the Web page of the mother of a good friend of mine
Lou Proyect. Lou runs the best Marxism list on the web.  I have mentioned
it before.  It is at marxism at  His mother, Anne, has her
own page devoted to the wisdom of the Jews.  It is at
<>.  One of my favourite sayings is there.  It
is "If I am not for myself who will be for me?  If I am only for myself,
what am I?" It seems to me that the armed thugs of the Israeli Army have
forgotten the second part of that great saying.

3. Talk of Lou's mother brings me to the great sadness that my own mother
died on Oct 5 aged 91.  Few readers of this column will have met my mother,
but I trust that I will be forgiven for saying a few words about her. She
was quite simply one of the best people I have ever met and to be her son
for so long was a gift and a privilege. She was a deeply spiritual person,
but without any religious cant, pride or prejudice.  When I abandoned the
Roman Catholic Church she never once said a word against me.

As is the way of the Irish peasantry her favourite devotion was to a
saint.  In my mother's case this was Saint Anthony. I have been told that
every night she would begin her prayers, by saying "Dear Saint Anthony I am
sorry for bothering you again" and then she would go on to ask for a favour
for one of us her family, seldom for herself. I will miss her beyond the
power of words to tell.

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