Pétur Knútsson
now
 

 

I urge my students and colleagues to speak up against misrepresentation, injustice and oppression


10.maí 2010

9/11 and the Politics of No Return

This blog was pointed out to me by Elías Davíđsson. I've posted it as a Word doc here. The link is http://disquietreservations.blogspot.com)

"We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." - George Orwell

6 . mars 2010

Af hverju ég greiđi ekki atkvćđi í ţjóđatakvćđagreiđslunni í dag.

Ţegar ég er spurđur spurningu sem ég kann ekki ađ svara, reyni ég ađ muna eftir ţví ađ svara Ég veit ekki. Hefđi ţetta veriđ tilfelliđ í dag, hefđi ég fariđ á kjörstađ og skilađ auđu.

En ţegar ég er spurđur spurningu sem felur í sér falskar forsendur, eđa er á annan hátt ranghugsuđ, ţá reyni ég ađ svara ekki. Ţessvegna fer ég ekki á kjörstađ í dag.


8 February 2010

STATEMENT ON THE CLOSURE OF THE LEGAL CASE FOR IRAQ IN SPAIN FILED AGAINST FOUR US PRESIDENTS AND FOUR UK PRIME MINISTERS FOR WAR CRIMES, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND GENOCIDE IN IRAQ


Over Christmas, 2009.

No sooner had I replied to a student's question over the Christmas period, than I had to recycle my answer. So before three make a party, I'm posting the gist of what I said here, so that I can mutely point to it.

When I don't answer your questions, this is not always simply shorthand for I don't know; and it is not even, though you may find it so, a back-handed way of saying You should find that out yourself. Rather I shall claim that it is Look No Hands, a tossing to the fertile winds. As you can see from the next paragraph and possibly from this one, I am rather under the spell of a book I have just (re)read and I am going to suggest you rearead too.
    Over Christmas, to alleviate the boredom and pain of going over students' assignments, I took Joos's 5 Clocks out of my bookshelf and found to my distress that I'd never actually read it, although I thought I had, and had thought I had talked about his classification of English styles in my classes. So over Christmas now I reread it (Joos's word), even to the extent of rereading Marckwardt's introduction first, and realised that many of my students who may be agonizing over how and what to write would benefit from rereading this so carefully rewritten book. It's short, and can be read in a single sitting, but it cannnot be reread in a single sitting, or even six.
 


viđ Nýja garđ, 30.-31. okt. 2009

understaffing?


 Building 7

The penny dropped for me on day one, five hours after the first 9/11 attack, when the news came through of the collapse of the third tower, the unmistakable demolition. I remember thinking "This is it. This is where the official story also starts crumbling."

And then in the days that followed I somehow forgot, caught up in the vain hope that the President of the United States would seize the opportunity to be remembered as a Great Man to the End of Time. I waited for Bush to say to the Islamic world: "My God, we never realised you felt that bad about everything. Tell us, what can we do to put this right?"

Well, it crossed my mind.

So for a year or two I simply blamed the Bush administration for doing all the wrong things, for making things worse, for using 9/11 as an excuse for escalation. Which was of course happening. But somehow I didn't make the next logical connection : that an administration capable of turning this terrible event to its own advantage is just as capable of engineering the event. And then I received this link -
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2073592843640256739
- and I realised I had forgotten WTC Building 7.  Like most people. Like for instance the writers of the official 9/ll Commission Report. WTC7 was just too big a hole in the story - it had to be forgotten.

And then I started becoming aware of all the other holes.

This is not conspiracy theory. This is simply a scenario which explains a much larger number of unanswered questions than the official version. The first of which is: who stood to gain?


10 March 2008

Elías Davíđsson had just sent me this link: http://www.911hardfacts.com/
If you want to discuss 9/11, you have to read this article. If you don't want to discuss it, that's your choice.


3 January 2008

New York Times editorial, 31 December:

In the years since 9/11, we have seen American soldiers abuse, sexually humiliate, torment and murder prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq. A few have been punished, but their leaders have never been called to account. We have seen mercenaries gun down Iraqi civilians with no fear of prosecution. We have seen the president, sworn to defend the Constitution, turn his powers on his own citizens, authorizing the intelligence agencies to spy on Americans, wiretapping phones and intercepting international e-mail messages without a warrant.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

 

20 December 2007

Use of radioactive weapons (depeted uranium) in Iraq and Palestine and in the earlier Gulf war has created a nucelar wasteland in the Middle East much worse, much less controlable and much more permanent than Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


This site, a comprehensive collection of  specialists' doubts as to the official 9/11 story, is one of the most devastating that has ever been pointed out to me. I urge you to browse it.

"We may differ over the political plausibility of conspiracies that have been proposed in connection with the destruction of 9/11.  But the physical implausibility of the official scenario concerning the towers’ collapse should be beyond dispute.  This is an area where physicists’ calculations and our commonsense notions of how tall objects fall down both point to the conclusion that sophisticated engineering and carefully-timed explosive charges would be required for the towers to fall in the manner that they did." Link to statement  

170 Professors Question the 9/11 Commission Report
See: 
http://patriotsquestion911.com/professors.html


From Diverse Online

Current News
Murder, Fear Follow Iraqi Professors On Campus
By Christina Asquith
Nov 21, 2006, 06:55
BOSTON
Violence and lawlessness in Iraq is “dismantling” the country’s higher education system and creating a climate of terror on campuses, according to Iraqi professors who attended the Middle East Studies Association’s conference Sunday.
 
“The students are disappointed in America and they say it now openly, even on the television: ‘Bring back Saddam and we will apologize and he will restore order to the country,’” said Dr. Saad Jawad, professor of political science at Baghdad University.
 
The professors spoke on one of dozens of panels throughout the three-day conference, which featured Middle East scholars from the United States and around the world.
 
Speaking to a crowded conference room, the Iraqi professors’ bleak picture of a life under siege brought some in the audience to tears. Since the U.S. invasion in 2003, they said, thousands of Iraqi professors have fled the country. More than 200 have been assassinated and the rest live in fear of saying anything that might offend any number of groups, all suspected of murder and mayhem in Iraq. When asked who was behind the killings, the professors’ list was long:  Sunnis, Shias, radical Islamists, Americans, Iranians, Israelis, Kuwaitis.
 
“The problems in Iraq are bigger than I can express,” said Dr. Taher Al Bakaa, the former minister of higher education in Iraq, now a visiting scholar at Harvard University. Hundreds of scholars have applied to come to the United States, but only a small percentage are accepted, according to the Scholars at Risk Network, a group that helps threatened professors.
 
Conference organizer Dr. Dina Rizk Khoury, associate professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University, says the panel was one of the weekend’s most critical. Talking about Baghdad University, she calls the situation in Iraq a “systematic attempt to dismantle what was once the premier institute of higher education in the Arab world.” Khoury says academic freedom in the country has fallen victim to anarchy.
 
Jawad, who had arrived in Boston three days earlier, said his classes are cancelled so frequently, he has taught only twice since the semester began in October. When not working, he rarely leaves his house. He said a death threat posted on his office door makes him afraid to go outside with his family in case an attempt is made on his life. Earlier in the month, his colleague, Jassim al-Asadi, dean of administration and economics at Baghdad University, was gunned down with his family in their car. Many of Jawad’s students have had relatives and friends killed, including one young male doctoral student whose father was gunned down in his doorway.
 
“Nobody knows the reason,” Jawad said. “I am depressed.”
 
Despite widespread reports of a brewing sectarian war between Shias and Sunnis, Jawad says students on campus are growing tired of the religious radicals and beginning to protest against them.
 
The professors put some of the blame on the radicals, but directed most of their ire towards the failed U.S. occupation. Bakaa, who was also president of Iraq’s second largest university, Al Mustansiriyah University, from 2003 to 2004, said he had received almost no additional funding for academic life since the occupation. Buildings destroyed during the first Gulf War were rebuilt in two months under Saddam’s regime, yet the Americans have repaired nothing, he said. When professors are threatened or killed, there is never any investigation.
 
“Iraqi professors are being killed by everyone, and nobody has told us if any killers have been caught. Nothing has been done,” Jawad said. “One U.S. soldier was kidnapped and Baghdad is on full alert, but the killing of an Iraqi professor? Nothing happens.”
 
The professors said the problems began with attacks against scientists suspected of doing “weapons of mass destruction” research. Later, professors who had joined Saddam’s Baath Party were targeted. Now, roaming mafia groups have joined in and are kidnapping professors for ransom.
 
“We can see bodies mutilated and killed floating in our beautiful Tigris. The sparrows have fled and the doves are dead and the campuses are ruled by a forest of turbans,” said Dr. Abdul Sattar Jawad, professor of literature and journalism, who is now at Duke University.
 
“Why don’t the clerics issue a fatwa asking the Iraqis to lay down their arms?” he asked. “We are teetering on the brink of the abyss. So please pull us back.”


© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com
http://diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_6690.shtml
 


6 Octobr 2006.

SEVEN WORRYING FACTS ABOUT 9/11:
FROM AN OPEN LETTER TO THE NEW STATESMAN
from Elías Davíđsson

1. None of the 19 alleged hijackers named by the FBI actually boarded any of the aircraft which crashed on 9/11. Their names do not appear on the passenger lists. No person saw them board the aircraft. Their bodily remains were not positively identified. In addition at least five of those named as the hijackers (presumed dead), came forward alive and well after 9/11. Unless the 19 "hijackers" somehow sneaked into these four aircraft (and evaporated into thin air as the aircraft crashed), the official story must be regarded as fiction.

2. The FBI has admitted as late as in June 2006 to possessing no "hard evidence" to connect Osama bin Laden to 9/11.

3. Neither President Bush nor Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld mentioned any link between Afghanistan and the events of 9/11, when they announced the initiation of the military hostilities by the US against Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001. This fact can be ascertained from their statements made on that day, which are posted on the webpages of the White House and the Department of Defense.

4. Not a single person in Guantanamo, in the US or elsewhere, has been charged, let alone tried and convicted for participation in the 9/11 conspiracy.

5. The US administration resisted for over a year ( exactly 411 days) demands by victims' families to initiate an independent public inquiry into the events of 9/11. This was the first time in US history that the US government attempted to prevent the investigation of a national calamity. Even after grudgingly establishing a Commission of Inquiry, the White House restricted the scope, funding and powers of the Commission and secured itself the right to appoint the Chairman and Executive Director of the Commission.

6. The US administration did not produce any hard evidence that AA77 crashed on the Pentagon, neither security camera recordings showing the aircraft nearing the building, nor photographic evidence proving that what hit the Pentagon was AA77. The same lack of photographic and other visual evidence applies to the alleged crash of United Airlines 93 in Pennsylvania.

7. At least 10 independent elements of evidence suggest that the Twin Towers were demolished with explosives, i.e. by a controlled demolition. Such evidence includes numerous testimonies of journalists, firemen and other personnel who reported to have experienced, heard and/or seen multiple explosions in the Twin Towers at various times before their collapse, including a huge explosion in the basement of one of the buildings. None of the official reports dealing with the collapses of these buildings addressed this contradictory evidence.

The above facts - each of which I can substantiate - strongly suggest that the official story is a fabrication and that the US administration is covering up its own role in this crime against humanity. If any of the above facts is true, it would constitute a sufficient base not to believe what the US administration has told us about 9/11. Any person who is loyal to the quest for the truth, is called upon either to falsify all the above facts, or provide a plausible and compelling explanation for each of the above facts. In the very least, even those who remain agnostic towards any theory on 9/11, should have no reason to oppose an international investigation of this crime against humanity. After all, if the unidentified planners and perpetrators are neither dead nor securely detained, they may commit further crimes, even surpassing 9/11. Those who do not want to know the truth are playing with our security.


17 September 2006

The Case for Boycotting Israel

Boycott Now!

By [Prof.] VIRGINIA TILLEY

Johannesburg, South Africa.

It is finally time. After years of internal arguments, confusion, and dithering, the time has come for a full-fledged international boycott of Israel. Good cause for a boycott has, of course, been in place for decades, as a raft of initiatives already attests. But Israel's war crimes are now so shocking, its extremism so clear, the suffering so great, the UN so helpless, and the international community's need to contain Israel's behavior so urgent and compelling, that the time for global action has matured. A coordinated movement of divestment, sanctions, and boycotts against Israel must convene to contain not only Israel's aggressive acts and crimes against humanitarian law but also, as in South Africa, its founding racist logics that inspired and still drive the entire Palestinian problem.

That second goal of the boycott campaign is indeed the primary one. Calls for a boycott have long cited specific crimes: Israel's continual attacks on Palestinian civilians; its casual disdain for the Palestinian civilian lives "accidentally" destroyed in its assassinations and bombings; its deliberate ruin of the Palestinians' economic and social conditions; its continuing annexation and dismemberment of Palestinian land; its torture of prisoners; its contempt for UN resolutions and international law; and especially, its refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. But the boycott cannot target these practices alone. It must target their ideological source.

The true offence to the international community is the racist motivation for these practices, which violates fundamental values and norms of the post-World War II order. That racial ideology isn't subtle or obscure. Mr. Olmert himself has repeatedly thumped the public podium about the "demographic threat" facing Israel: the "threat" that too many non-Jews will--the horror--someday become citizens of Israel. It is the "demographic threat" that, in Israeli doctrine, justifies sealing off the West Bank and Gaza Strip as open-air prisons for millions of people whose only real crime is that they are not Jewish. It is the "demographic threat," not security (Mr. Olmert has clarified), that requires the dreadful Wall to separate Arab and Jewish communities, now juxtaposed in a fragmented landscape, who might otherwise mingle.

"Demographic threat" is the most disgustingly racist phrase still openly deployed in international parlance. It has been mysteriously tolerated by a perplexed international community. But it can be tolerated no longer. Zionist fear of the demographic threat launched the expulsion of the indigenous Arab population in 1948 and 1967, created and perpetuates Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, inspires its terrible human rights abuses against Palestinians, spins into regional unrest like the 1982 attack on Lebanon (that gave rise to Hezbollah), and continues to drive Israeli militarism and aggression.

This open official racism and its attendant violence casts Israel into the ranks of pariah states, of which South Africa was the former banner emblem. In both countries, racist nationalist logic tormented and humiliated the native people. It also regularly spilled over to destabilize their surrounding regions (choc-a-block with "demographic threats"), leading both regimes to cruel and reckless attacks. Driven by a sense of perennial victimhood, they assumed the moral authority to crush the native hordes that threatened to dilute the organic Afrikaner/Jewish nations and the white/western civilization they believed they so nobly represented.

A humiliated white society in South Africa finally gave that myth up. Israel still clings to it. It has now brought Israel to pulverize Lebanon, trying to eliminate Hezbollah and, perhaps, to clear the way for an attack on Iran. Peace offers from the entire Arab world are cast aside like so much garbage. Yet again, the Middle East is plunged into chaos and turmoil, because a normal existence -- peace, full democracy -- is anathema to a regime that must see and treat its neighbors as an existential threat in order to justify the rejectionism that preserves its ethnic/racial character and enables its continuing annexations of land.

Why has this outrageously racist doctrine survived so long, rewarded by billions of dollars in US aid every year? We know the reasons. For too many Westerners, Israel's Jewish character conflates with the Holocaust legacy to make intuitive sense of Israel's claim to be under continual assault. Deep-seated Judeo-Christian bias against Islam demonizes Israel's mostly Muslim victims. European racist prejudice against Arabs (brown-skinned natives) casts their material dispossession as less humanly significant. Naďve Christian visions of the "Holy Land" naturalize Jewish governance in biblical landscapes. Idiot Christian evangelistic notions of the Rapture and the End Times posit Jewish governance as essential to the return of the Messiah and the final Millennium (even though, in that repellent narrative, Jews will roast afterwards).

All those notions and prejudices, long confounding international action, must now be set aside. The raw logic of Israel's distorted self-image and racist doctrines is expressed beyond confusion by the now-stark reality: the moonscape rubble of once-lovely Lebanese villages; a million desperate people trying to survive Israeli aerial attacks as they carry children and wheel disabled grandparents down cratered roads; the limp bodies of children pulled from the dusty basements of crushed buildings. This is the reality of Israel's national doctrine, the direct outcome of its racist worldview. It is endangering everyone, and it must stop.

Designing the Campaign

Much debate has circulated about a boycott campaign, but hitherto it has not moved beyond some ardent but isolated groups. Efforts have stalled on the usual difficult questions: e.g., whether a boycott is morally compulsory to reject Israel's rampant human rights violations or would impede vital engagement with Israeli forums, or whether principled defense of international law must be tempered by (bogus) calls for "balance". Especially, recent debate has foundered on calls for an academic boycott. Concerns here are reasonable, if rather narrow. Universities offer vital connections and arenas for collaboration, debate, and new thinking. Without such forums and their intellectual exchange, some argue, work toward a different future is arguably impeded.

But this argument has exploded along with the southern Lebanese villages, as Israeli university faculties roundly endorse the present war. As Ilan Pappé has repeatedly argued, Israel's universities are not forums for enlightened thought. They are crucibles of reproduction for racist Zionist logics and practice, monitoring and filtering admissible ideas. They produce the lawyers who defend the occupation regime and run its kangaroo "courts"; the civil planners and engineers who design and build the settlements on Palestinian land; the economists and financiers who design and implement the grants that subsidize those settlements; the geologists who facilitate seizure of Palestinian aquifers; the doctors who treat the tortured so that they can be tortured again; the historians and sociologists who make sense of a national society while preserving official lies about its own past; and the poets, playwrights, and novelists who compose the nationalist opus that glorifies and makes (internally, at least) moralistic sense of it all.

Those of us who have met with Jewish Israeli academics in Israeli universities find the vast majority of them, including well-meaning liberals, operating in a strange and unique bubble of enabling fictions. Most of them know nothing about Palestinian life, culture, or experience. They know strangely little about the occupation and its realities, which are crushing people just over the next hill. They have absorbed simplistic notions about rejectionist Arafat, terrorist Hamas, and urbane Abbas. In this special insulated world of illusions, they say nonsense things about unreal factors and fictionalized events. Trying to make sense of their assumptions is no more productive that conversing about the Middle East with the Bush administration's neo-cons, who also live in a strange bubble of ignorance and fantasy. Aside from a few brave and beleaguered souls, this is the world of Israel's universities. It will not change until it has to--when the conditions of its self-reproduction are impaired and its self-deceptions too glaring.

The Real Goal: Changing Minds

The universities represent and reproduce the bubble world of the Israeli Jewish population as a whole. And no people abandons its bubble willingly. In South Africa, Afrikaners clung to their own bubble--their self-exonerating myths about history, civilization, and race -- until they were forced by external sanctions and the collapsing national economy to rethink those myths. Their resistance to doing so, while racist, was not purely vicious. Many kind and well-meaning Afrikaners simply didn't believe they had to rethink ideas that manifested to them as givens and that shaped their reality. (One valued Afrikaner friend here recalls her life during apartheid South Africa as being like The Truman Show, a film in which a man unknowingly grows up in a television show, set in an artificial dome world designed to look like a small town.) When their reality fell apart, suddenly no one would admit to ever having believed or supported it.

The Zionist worldview is an even more complete system. All historical and geographic details are provided to create a total mythical world, in which Jews have rights to the land and Palestinians have none. It is a fully realized construction, like those Hebraized maps carefully drawn by the Zionist movement in the 1930s to erase the ancient Arabic landscape and substitute Hebrew biblical references. It is also very resilient. The "new historians" have exposed the cherished national historical narrative of 1948 and 1967 as a load of fictions, but the same fictions are still reproduced by state agencies to assure Israeli and diaspora Jews of their innocence and the righteousness of their cause. The vast majority of Israelis therefore remain comfortable in their Truman Show and even see any external pressure or criticism as substantiating it. We need no more graphic evidence of that campaign's success than the overwhelming support among Israeli Jews for the present catastrophic assault on Lebanon, reflecting their sincere beliefs that nuclear-power Israel is actually under existential threat by a guerrilla group lobbing katyushas across the border. Staggering to observers, that belief is both sobering and instructive.

To force people steeped in such a worldview to rethink their notions, their historical myths, and their own best interests requires two efforts:

(1) Serious external pressure: here, a full boycott that undermines Israel's capacity to sustain the economic standards its citizens and corporations expect, and which they associate with their own progressive self-image; and

(2) clear and unwavering commitment to the boycott's goal, which--in Israel as in South Africa--must be full equality, dignity, safety, and welfare of everyone in the land, including Palestinians, whose ancestral culture arose there, and the Jewish population, which has built a national society there.

That combination is essential. Nothing else will work. Diplomacy, threats, pleading, the "peace process," mediation, all will be useless until external pressure brings Israel's entire Jewish population to undertake the very difficult task of rethinking their world. This pressure requires the full range of boycotts, sanctions, and divestment that the world can employ. (South African intellectual Steven Friedman has observed wryly that the way to bring down any established settler-colonial regime is to make it choose between profits and identity. Profits, he says, will win every time.)

 

What to Target

Fortunately, from the South African experience, we know how to go forward, and strategies are proliferating. The basic methods of an international boycott campaign are familiar. First, each person works in his or her own immediate orbit. People might urge divestment from companies investing in Israel by their colleges and universities, corporations, clubs, and churches. Boycott any sports event that hosts an Israeli team, and work with planners to exclude them. Participate in, and visit, no Israeli cultural events--films, plays, music, art exhibits. Avoid collaborating with Israeli professional colleagues, except on anti-racist activism. Don't invite any Israeli academic or writer to contribute to any conference or research and don't attend their panels or buy their books, unless their work is engaged directly in anti-racist activism. Don't visit Israel except for purposes of anti-racist activism. Buy nothing made in Israel: start looking at labels on olive oil, oranges, and clothing. Tell people what you are doing and why. Set up discussion groups everywhere to explain why.

For ideas and allies, try Googling the "boycott Israel" and "sanctions against Israel" campaigns springing up around the world. Know those allies, like the major churches, and tell people about them. For more ideas, read about the history of the boycott of South Africa.

Second, don't be confused by liberal Zionist alternatives that argue against a boycott in favor of "dialogue". If we can draw any conclusion from the last half-century, it is that, without the boycott, dialogue will go nowhere. And don't be confused by liberal-Zionist arguments that Israel will allow Palestinians a state if they only do this or that. Israel is already the only sovereign power in Palestine: what fragments are left to Palestinians cannot make a state. The question now is not whether there is one state, but what kind of state it comprises. The present version is apartheid, and it must change. However difficult to achieve, and however frightening to Jewish Israelis, the only just and stable solution is full democracy.

Third, be prepared for the boycott's opposition, which will be much louder, more vicious, and more dangerous than it was in the boycott of South Africa. Read and assemble solid documentable facts. Support each other loudly and publicly against the inevitable charges of anti-Semitism. And support your media against the same charges. Write to news media and explain just who the "Israel media teams" actually are. Most pro-Israeli activism draws directly from the Israeli government's propaganda outreach programs. Spotlight this fact. Team up to counter their pressure on newspapers, radio stations, and television news forums. Don't let them capture or intimidate public debate. By insisting loudly (and it must be sincere) that the goal is the full equality of dignity and rights of everyone in Israel-Palestine, including the millions of Jewish citizens of Israel, demolish their specious claims of anti-Semitism.

Finally, hold true to the principles that drive the boycott's mission. Don't tolerate the slightest whiff of anti-Semitism in your own group or movement. Anti-Jewish racists are certainly out there, and they are attracted to these campaigns like roaches. They will distract and absorb your energies, while undermining, degrading, and destroying the boycott movement. Some are Zionist plants, who will do so deliberately. If you can't change their minds (and don't spend much time trying, because they will use your efforts to drain your time and distract your energies), denounce them, expel them, ignore them, have no truck with them. They are the enemy of a peaceful future, not its allies--part of the problem, not the solution.

 

Boycott the Hegemon

This is the moment to turn international pressure on the complicit US, too. It's impossible, today, to exert an effective boycott on the United States, as its products are far too ubiquitous in our lives. But it's quick and easy to launch a boycott of emblematic US products, upsetting its major corporations. It's especially easy to boycott the great global consumables, like Coca-Cola, MacDonald's, Burger King, and KFC, whose leverage has brought anti-democratic pressures on governments the world over. (Through ugly monopoly practices, Coke is a nasty player in developing countries anyway: see, for example, http://www.killercoke.org.) Think you'll miss these foods too much? Is consuming something else for a while too much of a sacrifice, given what is happening to people in Lebanon? And think of the local products you'll be supporting! (And how healthy you will get).

In the US, the impact of these measures may be small. But in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the Arab and Muslim worlds, boycotting these famous brands can gain national scope and the impact on corporate profits will be enormous. Never underestimate the power of US corporations to leverage US foreign policy. They are the one force that consistently does so.

But always, always, remember the goal and vision. Anger and hatred, arising from the Lebanon debacle, must be channelled not into retaliation and vengeance but into principled action. Armed struggle against occupation remains legitimate and, if properly handled (no killing of civilians), is a key tool. But the goal of all efforts, of every stamp, must be to secure security for everyone, toward building a new peaceful future. It's very hard, in the midst of our moral outrage, to stay on the high road. That challenge is, however, well-known to human rights campaigns as it is to all three monotheistic faiths. It is what Islam knows as the "great jihad"--the struggle of the heart. It must remain the guiding torch of this effort, which we must defend together.

Virginia Tilley is a professor of political science, a US citizen working in South Africa, and author of The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough for Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock (University of Michigan Press and Manchester University Press, 2005). She can be reached at tilley@hws.edu.

Copyright Virginia Tilley and CounterPunch.
 


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