sclark at erols.com and "terror" (posted to Marxmail home page)
Mohammad J Alam
alam.m at neu.edu
Thu Feb 7 14:26:41 MST 2002
"I know of no one who endorses the attacks of al Qaeda, but some
progressives spend far too much time informing the public that it is the
conditions of modern life that breed terrorist activity. What is the point
The point is pretty simple. The ruling class abstracts and castrates the
suicide bombings from their concrete conditions. We must expose the reasons
that the media and government never undertake an analysis of living
conditions and suffering among the Palestinians. I would not apply the same
attitude when speaking about bin Laden because he and his group are not
suffering from anything but mental delusions.
I agree with the writer here only in the sense that, I do not waste my time
trying to "justify" the suicide bombings, in reference to Palestine,
because it is a distraction and a decoy meant to divert away attention from
Israel's more notable crimes. And I do not waste time doing the same with
Al Qaida, because their actions have nothing to do with their own
"Today's revolutionaries, even among the PLO, need to clear their thinking.
Israel is fascist, but terror is not the answer. It will isolate the
revolution from the broad base of support it must have to succeed. Those of
us who oppose U.S.-Israeli policy in the Holy Land have a special
responsibility to break with Palestinian and Arab terror."
I think that this "special responsibility" belongs to those moral cowards
who one-sidedly define and then "condemn" what they have labelled "terror".
We learn on the one hand that Israel is "fascist" [not really], and then we
learn on the other hand that violence is not a means with which to oppose
It is easy to sit here and make these banal observations. As if the
Palestinians have not tried--and are still not trying--peaceful, totally
unarmed demonstrations where they are blown apart by sniper fire and stun
grenades, according to IDF soldiers themselves. The Israeli peace movement
is also beginning to learn that the IDF has few qualms about applying
similar masures to them.
Do not count me among those people whose eyes swell up with pride at
"heroic" Palestinian rock-throwing at tanks and whose mouths then foam with
condemnation when the same people choose different means--"terror". The
Palestinians do not exist to make us feel good. Sooner or later a man
learns that throwing rocks at tanks tends to get one's head blown off
rather quickly. None of this is illegitimate when it comes to resistance
against either settlers outside of 1967 boundaries, political leaders, or
Even the suicide bombers are victims of the occupation, and their victims
are victims of the occupation, in the sense that the Israelis admit today,
when they see that for all of Sharon's aggressiveness, that he has achieved
nothing but escalating violence. They know, directly or indirectly, that
their suffering comes from their enforcement of occupation.
Now obviously, in regards to suicide bombing Israeli civilians, this is not
the preferable method of resistance. Not for moral reasons--in my mind the
killing of anybody in this conflict can never be justified when the word
"morality" is introduced because all killing is immoral in that regard--but
for tactical reasons. It would be best if the PLO and Hamas disappeared
tomorrow morning and some kind of secular nationalist movement not allied
with the comprador bourgeoisie showed up in the afternoon to replace it.
But is this what is going to happen? Arafat may be near the brink, but
there is no replacement other than Hamas, which is a poor substitute. In
fact it is not at all clear what is going to happen; all that is certain is
that anything less than full Israeli pressure on its government to end the
occupation will set in motion a chain of events leading to further
destruction and violence of previously unheard of scale.
But meanwhile, our role should be to fight unconditionally on the
Palestinian side when it comes to advocating the end of occupation and
settlements. Any criticism of their methods should be subordinated to this
task, especially since they are not going to listen to us until and unless
they have some breathing space to think things through, anyway.
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