How can we fight Terrorism for Humanity
Nawal El Saadawi, Egypt
I. What do we mean by the word "terrorism"?
Today is the eleventh of September 2003, the anniversary of the attacks launched against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. On this day I am at my desk on Peaks Island in Maine writing my intervention for the conference entitled "Fighting Terrorism for Humanity." The invitation to this conference was sent to me by the Prime Minister of Norway "Kjell Magne." I have heard that amongst those who will attend this conference are a number of the Heads of State including the president of the United State "George W. Bush." I have also been told that the General Secretary of the United Nation organization "Kofi Annan" will open the conference on the morning of September 22, 2003.
In front of me are the morning newspapers of Portland Maine, which lies on the northern most part of the Atlantic coast in the United States. I came to Portland at the beginning of last January as a visiting professor at the University of Southern Maine for one academic year.
The main headline of the Portland Press Herald says "President George Bush declares that there is a need to extend police powers in order to fight terrorism." This declaration was made on the occasion of the second anniversary of the September 11 attack. He explained that Patriot Act I issued in 2001 was insufficient to fight against "terrorism" and that new measures were necessary, measures which would permit the withdrawal of United States citizenship from people "suspected of having some relationship with terrorism," to prevent the leakage of any information concerning individuals arrested and put in prison or suspicion without trial or legal proceedings, to allow the analysis and registration of their DNA characteristics, help to obtain detailed information about matters which might concern their intimate and private life, abolish bail in proceedings as a way of legal release, and engage in police arrests without subpoenas from the courts.
These measures envisioned as effective ways in the fight against terrorism, are they not in themselves of a "terrorist" nature, a reflection of a "terrorism" imposed by the State, by the rulers of the United States in the name of their "war against terrorism"? Perhaps that is why they are meeting with a mounting opposition from law makers in the Republican and Democratic parties, from political and academic institutions, from peoples organizations and associations for whom issues related to democracy and the loss of civil liberties are becoming a growing concern.
If the policies being implemented by the United States administration are shot through with an increasing violence against the American people said to be needed in order to ensure their "protection against future terrorist attacks" and maximize "internal security" would it be surprising if the violence exercised against other poorer, weaker peoples in the world is reaching the proportions we are witnessing today in the so called "war against terrorism" and the "spread of democracy"?
I keep wondering how the military intervention and occupation first of Afghanistan, then of Iraq can further "the fight against terrorism for humanity." How the increasing death and destruction meted out to the Afghani and Iraqi people can quell the fires of hatred or, dissipate the desperation which helps to fuel the loss of faith in collective, democratic action. I wonder why the killing of Palestinian men, women, and children by a regular technologically, nuclear, laser equipped army continues to be qualified as self defense, why military invasion and mass massacres by "coalition troops" are not described as "terrorism" but as civilizing, democratizing missions meant to free our world of the "Bin Ladens" who have arisen, and continue to arise in different parts of the world. Could it be that all these forms of "violence" and "terrorist" in nature, that a more powerful "terrorism" has helped to create a far less powerful one, that they are locked in a struggle that nurtures and maintains both of them, and that in order to "fight terrorism for humanity" we need to fight both of them to expose this circle of violence? Could it be that we are and have always been the victims of "language" and of "terms" set by the more powerful so that a "terrorism" exercised by the state internally, or a military invasion and occupation of another country becomes a part of the "fight against terrorism for humanity or democracy," that only the opponent who has recourse to more individual "terrorism," who throws bombs, or blows himself or herself up to kill others is qualified as "terrorist"?
That is why when I think of the crime against humanity perpetrated by the "terrorist" attack on the world Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 which led to the death of 3,000 people, I remember that on September 11, 1973 the coup engineered by circles, certainly known to the members of this conference, against the regime of Allende in Chile led to the death of more than 30,000 people under Pinochet, and ask myself why human lives should have a different value according to where they live?
II. Is resistance to foreign occupation considered "terrorism"?
What I have said brings me to another point. I come from the Arab region, from Egypt. For over half a century I have lived with the nightmare of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Israel for years has waged a war against the Palestinian people. It has been a war waged by a regular army equipped with the most sophisticated weapons, with the help mainly of the United States, including an uncounted number of nuclear or hydrogen bombs, against a people with no army, and no weapons to speak of, against a people whose children and youth fight tanks and rockets and Apache helicopters and Phantom planes with stones. As a result "terrorist" responses have grown in the struggle waged by the Palestinian people for a land of their own, for what is left of a land which was once their own. This is a struggle for a place in which to live, for life against death or a living death.
On the one hand we have Israeli occupiers demolishing homes, uprooting olive trees, building an apartheid prison wall, establishing settlements on land which is not theirs, killing, maiming, destroying. On the other a helpless people many a time driven to desperation, fighting to liberate themselves from foreign occupation. On the one hand we have military aggression, on the other self-defense, a right recognized by the international and national law, the right to defend life, means of sustenance, water, home. How under such circumstances can I equate the Israeli soldier who harasses, and hunts, and shoots, and destroys at every moment to take over what is not his, with a young man, or a young woman who humiliated, and hungry, and hopeless is brought to end her life by blowing herself up in order to kill those whom she perceives as the source of her misery and as the occupier.
I have always been, and continue to be against "violence" against "terrorism" in all its forms. But I must understand what is going on around me, what motivates people to act as they do, what interests are involved. If I want to "fight terrorism" for humanity I cannot equate the occupier with the occupied, the aggressor with the aggressed, the oppressor with the oppressed. I cannot forget the powerful multinational oil interests that were an important reasons for the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, nor the capitalist fundamentalist interests behind Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/ Wolfwotiz's "War on Terror," nor the radical ruling class fundamentalist Wahhabite Seoundi interest behind Bin Laden and his "Quaida" organization after his alliance with the United States broke down when the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan was over. Where as the young Palestinian girl Ayab Al Akhrass blew herself up at an Israeli checkpoint in the struggle against the occupiers of her land, and the daily humiliation suffered at their hands. Knowing that men and women can sometimes just in defense of their human dignity prefer suicide rather than surrender.
Fleeing survivors of military occupation or terrorism usually look upwards at the sky for help. The sky is always silent and passive. It drives them towards individual action.
Suicide bombers are looked upon as terrorist or fanatic religious people. However, they are in most cases products of state military and police terrorism, whether Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus or others. They are people that suffered extreme grievances and violence which culminate in suicide bombing, as a sign of complete desperation, and loss of hope for any just solutions to their sufferings.
In any case the American and Israeli military occupation forces do not have any moral or human highground over suicide bombers in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan or other countries.
III. Why Terrorism in our age?
"Terrorism" is not a new development. It has existed throughout the ages, has been bred and nurtured by injustice and oppression, and is linked to extremism, whether racial, sexual, political or religious. Often it is a combination of more than one extremism.
However, the most common form of "terrorism" visible in our recent modern and post-modern times is that related to religious fundamentalism entrenching itself in different parts of the world including Asia, the Arab countries, Israel, the United States etc.
The question which here arisen is why at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty first century there should be this wave of religious fundamentalism accompanied by anti-democratic "terrorist" extremism and violence? Why in this age of technological progress (linked especially to information and communication) and the tremendous possibilities it offers to the humankind should there be this retrograde movement towards religious (and racial) fundamentalism accompanied by "terrorist" activities.
Perhaps the answer to this question lies in the fact that despite the progress attained on many fronts in this so called "age of globalization" technological progress not only has failed to solve the difficulties faced by the vast majority of people in the world, but that during the past decades they have tended to grow more serious. With the falling rate of profit in the real economy and under the pressure of technological competition the multi-national companies in control of the world economy have launched an offensive. Only one third of the world economy is related to the real, that productive economy. The other two thirds are involved in paper investments, in speculations and financial operations. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing. Where if poverty has decreased in some parts of the so-called South it is still widespread and rampant. Unemployment is on the rise (800 million according to ILO figures) social security is shrinking, social services where they exist are becoming more expensive, currency values are dropping in mot countries as a result of inflation. The social, economic, educational, health and cultural conditions of people in the world are witnessing a steady deterioration. The hopes of people in the countries of the South have been dashed to the ground after they attained a fictitious independence in which their economy remained subservient to the multi-nationals controlling the "Free Market" and "Free Trade". They are riddled in debt and "foreign investment" or "structural adjustment" operating across their boundaries has pumped money out rather than in through "Free Trade" (which is not free). Socialism as practiced in the once upon a time "second world" collapsed leaving its countries a prey to predatory mafias. In Europe and the United States people are wondering what had happened to their "democratic way of life," to their "democratic impact" on the future of society. They are confused, uncertain, insecure.
In such an atmosphere many seek solace and comfort in religion, hence the religious revival. Religion had always been used for political purposes, and this together with the revival explains the growth of fundamentalist forces. In India a Hindu fundamentalism rules. In the United States a neo-conservative, neo-liberal capitalist and fundamentalist ruling group holds the reins of power. In Asia and in the Arab countries Islamic fundamentalist movements have grown. In Israel Sharones likud(?) and his coalition partners in government are largely fundamentalist.
Fundamentalism breeds "terror" whether in the state or amongst political and social movements. It breeds "terror" and terrorist responses to "terror". It breeds a hatred of democracy, and a love for control, necessary to dominate and pacify the growing masses of restive people at home, and abroad. Fundamentalism is the refuge and ally of the corporations, for in "God they trust" to lead people blindfolded, to make them resigned and humble towards powers they cannot control. Fundamentalism helps them to create conflict where needed, to "divide and rule". It is an excuse for violence, and militarism and war, since Satan must be fought, and Satan in everywhere in Baghdad, in Pyongyang, in Tehran and in about sixty countries where terrorism has chose to lie low.
IV. How can we fight Terrorism for Humanity?
1.By fighting war. War is the central issue in the world of today. If peace prevails, conflicts and violence and "terrorism" will cease to grow. Slowly but surely nations and people will find it easier to learn to live side by side, engage in dialogue, turn their attention to solving the problems facing the world. Fundamentalist "terrorist" ideologies will wither away, and more security will prevail. Rulers and politicians will no longer easily find excuses to sponsor Patriot Acts, to attack civil liberties and human rights, to restrict the democratic participation of people in mapping and deciding the present, and the future of their societies, of their world and where it goes. In the absence of war invasion and occupation of other countries will no longer be feasible and the militarization of the United States, which buttresses its economic clout will shrink more and more. If peace prevails economic policies can change. Instead of money spent on arms, money will go houses, to hospitals, to schools, to production of goods, to wages and social benefits instead of pouring into the coffers of multinationals working to produce arms, and into the media beating the drums of violence and discord and war. In the absence of war violence of all kinds against women and children, minorities and races, will no longer be as easy as before. In the absence of war scientific research will move away from weapons of mass destruction, from rockets and planes and warships, to making the environment healthy, preserving the riches of nature, to the development of welfare, and health and knowledge. In the absence of war the democratic evolution of society will move forward.
I say that if we really want to fight terrorism for humanity we must begin to fight war with determination, to mobilize people for peace and justice. And to do this we must help them to see all the economic, political, social and cultural consequences of the policies of a ruling minority in the world who can only maintain their power through aggression, militarization, and war.
2. To fight war nuclear weapons should be banished completely. This view is endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly and is enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty which was signed by 187 nations. All countries in our region signed this treaty except Israel.
Israel continued to develop its nuclear weapons secretly, although it was common knowledge even before Mordechai Vanum's disclosures, published by the Sunday times on 5th October 1986.
The acquisition of nuclear weapons by one country would induce other countries to acquire these weapons, to bring the nuclear asymmetry to an end. The development of nuclear weapons by the United States and Israel encourages others to follow suit, as a means of protection, against possible attacks from them, especially after the policy of preventive strikes have been endorsed by the Bush administration. Therefore the only solution is to enforce nuclear disarmament on all countries without exceptions.
Nawal El Saadawi
Portland, Maine, USA
11 September 2003
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Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
Talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
Make all your friends feel there is something special in them.
Look at the sunny side of everything.
Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.
Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
Give everyone a smile.
Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others.
Be too big for worry and too noble for anger.
~ Christian D. Larsen
I am VERY very concerned that not much is really changing when it comes to the world crisis. Especially during recent years – things have gotten worse, not better, overall. The main message today is "how to fuse genuine spirituality and its mystical knowledge, passion and ancient lineage with the fire of social justice in the activist realm. The fusion of the fire of Spirit and the fire of social justice can become a third fire that can be as “explosive as a nuclear bomb of love.
Sacred activism needs to be birthed by a broken heart. In the breaking of the heart, one truly discovers what it is we feel compelled to do, what is our purpose. But it takes courage to sit with a broken heart, feeling the pain of the world and what it has become and what specific issue aches you to your core. Here is an exercise to do at 3am. Wake up, sit up straight and begin to allow yourself to feel the pain of the world. Often a specific issue will come up, whether animal rights or the environment or the media or working with children, etc. When the pain aches so much with that specific issue, you will know that’s what breaks your heart and that will be your key to fuse the domains of spirituality and activism."
Andrew Harvey, Oxford scholar and visionary, believes that our survival depends on Sacred Activism, a fusion of profound mystical awareness, passion, clarity and sacred practice with wise, dedicated, radical action. This fusion, he warns, may be the sole key to preservation of man and nature. Harvey envisions what he calls “The Seven Heads of the Beast of the Apocalypse” as:
• population explosion
• environmental pollution
• religious fundamentalism
• proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
• separation from nature through technology
• corrupt conglomerations that own and create mass media
• societies that multitask, which makes it “impossible to concentrate on our divine nature.”
A grim list, until Harvey counters with the Seven Stars:
• the current world crisis that compels us to strip away false agendas and “to look deeply into the shadow of humanity”
• the emerging technologies of wind, solar and hydrogen power
• the birth of the Internet, a popular, affordable global means of communication
• the mystical revolution of the past 20 years
• the rise of compassionate non-violence as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, and evidenced in the collapse of the Berlin wall
• the return of the “Divine Feminine,” which is reflected in the growing recognition of mankind’s interconnectedness
• the birth of “divine humanity,” or the growing belief that God is within each of us.
The five ways to become a “mystical activist” are:
• to serve the divine, to make a space for God in your life
• to serve yourself, so that you will be grounded in reality
• to serve others
• to serve your local community
• to serve your global community.
He believes that each individual can become a mystical activist by “becoming conscious at every level and conscious of all choices.”
In turn eloquent, threatening, exuberant, enlightening and spiritual, Andrew Harvey draws the audience in through his fervent belief in the “Divine Mother,” the mother of all beings, and he calls on each individual to “burn like her with meaning, strength, joy and sacred passion.”
Reprinted from Spirituality & Health magazine.
Knowing my activism and anti-war feelings, people often ask me how I think such evil came into this world. There are lots of theories, including those of Michael Tsarian on www.taroscopes.com, along with others. I, personally, look for the reason within the 6,000 year old "Laws of Our Universe" as stated according to The Kyablion. These can be found at http://www.kybalion.org/kybalion.asp. The Principle that applies to evil would naturally be the existance of Polarities. I cite below - - -
"Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled." -- The Kybalion.
The great Fourth Hermetic Principle--the Principle of Polarity embodies the truth that all manifested things have "two sides"; "two aspects"; "two poles"; a "pair of opposites," with manifold degrees between the two extremes. The old paradoxes, which have ever perplexed the mind of men, are explained by an understanding of this Principle. Man has always recognized something akin to this Principle, and has endeavored to express it by such sayings, maxims and aphorisms as the following: "Everything is and isn't, at the same time"; "all truths are but half-truths"; "every truth is half-false"; "there are two sides to everything"- "there is a reverse side to every shield," etc., etc. The Hermetic Teachings are to the effect that the difference between things seemingly diametrically opposed to each other is merely a matter of degree. It teaches that "the pairs of opposites may be reconciled, "and that "thesis and anti-thesis are identical in nature, but different in degree"; and that the "universal reconciliation of opposites" is effected by a recognition of this Principle of Polarity. The teachers claim that illustrations of this Principle may be had on every hand, and from an examination into the real nature of anything. They begin by showing that Spirit and Matter are but the two poles of the same thing, the intermediate planes being merely degrees of vibration. They show that THE ALL and The Many are the same, the difference being merely a matter of degree of Mental Manifestation. Thus the LAW and Laws are the two opposite poles of one thing. Likewise, PRINCIPLE and Principles. Infinite Mind and finite minds.
Then passing on to the Physical Plane, they illustrate the Principle by showing that Heat and Cold are identical in nature, the differences being merely a matter of degrees. The thermometer shows many degrees of temperature, the lowest pole being called "cold," and the highest "heat." Between these two poles are many degrees of "heat" or "cold," call them either and you are equally correct. The higher of two degrees is always "warmer," while the lower is always "colder." There is no absolute standard-all is a matter of degree. There is no place on the thermometer where heat ceases and cold begins. It is all a matter of higher or lower vibrations. The very terms "high" and "low," which we are compelled to use, are but poles of the same thing-the terms are relative. So with "East and West"- travel around the world in an eastward direction, and you reach a point which is called west at your starting point, and you return from that westward point. Travel far enough North, and you will find yourself traveling South, or vice versa.
Light and Darkness are poles of the same thing, with many degrees between them. The musical scale is the same-starting with "C" you move upward until you reach another "C" and so on, the differences between the two ends of the board being the same, with many degrees between the two extremes. The scale of color is the same-higher and lower vibrations being the only difference between high violet and low red. Large and Small are relative. So are Noise and Quiet; Hard and Soft follow the rule. Likewise Sharp and Dull. Positive and Negative are two poles of the same thing, with countless degrees between them.
Good and Bad are not absolute we call one end of the scale Good and the other Bad, or one end Good and the other Evil, according to the use of the terms. A thing is "less good" than the thing higher in the scale; but that "less good" thing, in turn, is "more good" than the thing next below it-and so on, the "more or less" being regulated by the position on the scale.
And so it is on the Mental Plane. "Love and. Hate" are generally regarded as being things diametrically opposed to each other; entirely different; unreconcilable. But we apply the Principle of Polarity; we find that there is no such thing as Absolute Love or Absolute Hate, as distinguished from each other. The two are merely terms applied to the two poles of the same thing. Beginning at any point of the scale we find "more love," or "less hate," as we ascend the scale; and "more hate" or "less love" as we descend this being true no matter from what point, high or low, we may start. There are degrees of Love and Hate, and there is a middle point where "Like and Dislike" become so faint that it is difficult to distinguish between them. Courage and Fear come under the same rule. The Pairs of Opposites exist everywhere. Where you find one thing you find its opposite-the two poles.
And it is this fact that enables the Hermetist to transmute one mental state into another, along the lines of Polarization. Things belonging to different classes cannot be transmuted into each other, but things of the same class may be changed, that is, may have their polarity changed. Thus Love never becomes East or West, or Red or Violet-but it may and often does turn into Hate and likewise Hate may be transformed into Love, by changing its polarity. Courage may be transmuted into Fear, and the reverse. Hard things may be rendered Soft. Dull things become Sharp. Hot things become Cold. And so on, the transmutation always being between things of the same kind of different degrees. Take the case of a Fearful man. By raising his mental vibrations along the line of Fear-Courage, he can be filled with the highest degree of Courage and Fearlessness. And, likewise, the Slothful man may change himself into an Active, Energetic individual simply by polarizing along the lines of the desired quality.
The student who is familiar with the processes by which the various schools of Mental Science, etc., produce changes in the mental states of those following their teachings, may not readily understand the principle underlying- many of these changes. When, however, the Principle of Polarity is once grasped, and it is seen that the mental changes are occasioned by a change of polarity-a sliding along the same scale-the hatter is readily understood. The change is not in the nature of a transmutation of one thing into another thing entirely different-but is merely a change of degree in the same things, a vastly important difference. For instance, borrowing an analogy from the Physical Plane, it is impossible to change Heat into Sharpness, Loudness, Highness, etc., but Heat may readily be transmuted into Cold, simply by lowering the vibrations. In the same way Hate and Love are mutually transmutable; so are Fear and Courage. But Fear cannot be transformed into Love, nor can Courage be transmuted into Hate. The mental states belong to innumerable classes, each class of which has its opposite poles, along which transmutation is possible.
The student will readily recognize that in the mental states, as well as in the phenomena of the Physical Plane, the two poles may be classified as Positive and Negative, respectively. Thus Love is Positive to Hate; Courage to Fear; Activity to Non-Activity, etc., etc. And it will also be noticed that even to those unfamiliar with the Principle of Vibration, the Positive pole seems to be of a higher degree than the Negative, and readily dominates it. The tendency of Nature is in the direction of the dominant activity of the Positive pole.
In addition to the changing of the poles of one's own mental states by the operation of the art of Polarization, the phenomena of Mental Influence, in its manifold phases, shows us that the principle may be extended so as to embrace the phenomena of the influence of one mind over that of another, of which so much has been written and taught of late years. When it is understood that Mental Induction is possible, that is that mental states may be produced by "induction" from others, then we can readily see how a certain rate of vibration, or polarization of a certain mental state, may be communicated to another person, and his polarity in that class of mental states thus changed. It is along this principle that the results of many of the "mental treatments" are obtained. For instance, a person is "blue," melancholy and full of fear. A mental scientist bringing his own mind up to the desired vibration by his trained will, and thus obtaining the desired polarization in his own case, then produces a similar mental state in the other by induction, the result being that the vibrations are raised and the person polarizes toward the Positive end of the scale instead toward the Negative, and his Fear and other negative emotions are transmuted to Courage and similar positive mental states. A little study will show you that these mental changes are nearly all along the line of Polarization, the change being one of degree rather than of kind.
A knowledge of the existence of this great Hermetic Principle will enable the student to better understand his own mental states, and those of other people. He will see that these states are all matters of degree, and seeing thus, he will be able to raise or lower the vibration at will-to change his mental poles, and thus be Master of his mental states, instead of being their servant and slave. And by his knowledge he will be able to aid his fellows intelligently and by the appropriate methods change the polarity when the same is desirable. We advise all students to familiarize themselves with this Principle of Polarity, for a correct understanding of the same will throw light on many difficult subjects.