Forwarded from Ralph Johansen

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Sep 14 12:26:42 MDT 2001

On hysteria, terrorism, xenophobia and reductio ad absurdem:

There were in 1998, according to the World Almanac,about 1,165,000,000
Moslems, spread from West Africa through Indonesia and the Philippines,
with about 5,500,000 in the United States. There are 26,000,000 people in
Afghanistan, 138,000,000 in Pakistan.  The U.S. has now demanded that
Pakistan close its borders with Afghanistan.  50,000 reservists are being
called up.  Crusades all over again?   What happens when those with little
or no acquaintance with bin Laden, or Mujahadeen, are perforce compelled to
identify with them because we in the United States and NATO countries
impose that identity on them?  How distinguish a follower of bin Laden (or
McVeigh)?  How about interning all  Moslems?  Or profiling them at
checkpoints throughout the world?  Can we allow these infidels on planes,
trains and buses and in taxis, with letter and carton openers, cuticle
scissors, cigarette lighters and hatpins? And given our insularity in the
U.S., how distinguish an African Moslem, an Indonesian Moslem, a South
Asian Moslem,  a Hindu, a Coptic or Orthodox Christian in the Middle East,
from anyone else in the world? And if terror is anonymous, if it comes to
separate, willy nilly, Christians from Moslems, the global north from the
global south, the rich from the poor, the comforted from the afflicted,
where is security and comfort then to be found?

And what if bin Laden shaves his beard and goes to work as a postal clerk
in Riyadh?

Ralph Johansen

Louis Proyect
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