Tamim is an Afghani-American writer. He is also one of the most brilliant people I know in this life. When he writes, I read. When he talks, I listen. Here is his take on Afghanistan and the whole mess we are in. -GT
I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."
And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.
I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters. But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps."
It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.
Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food.There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.
New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.
So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going.
We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West. And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?
Hello all. This is my first post to the Irdial list. Since the sober events in New York, it's hard to think of anything else- but I do have a few lighter questions that I'd like to ask here.
First of all, how do I pronounce the name of the label? Is it "err-dyall", "eye ar die all" or what?
Second, I've got a couple of Irdial's releases already from a friend's recent visit to Aquarius records in SF USA. I'd like to get the Mariopaint record, but it will be a while due to suspension of airmail shipments from suppliers here ins the US and abroad. There is much mention on the Irdial website of the avialability of their music library as MP3's on the net, but I haven't found any of them yet... and this is after several searches on both Gnutella and Napster. Can any of you point me in the right direction? I'm working on some Mariopaint music of my own, and I could definitely use some inspiration.
Daily Telegraph "The World Trade Centre outrage was co-ordinated on the internet, without question. If Washington is serious in its determination to eliminate terrorism, it will have to forbid internet providers to allow the transmission of encrypted messages - now encoded by public key ciphers that are unbreakable even by the National Security Agency's computers - and close down any provider that refuses to comply.
Uncompliant providers on foreign territory should expect their buildings to be destroyed by cruise missiles. Once the internet is implicated in the killing of Americans, its high-rolling days may be reckoned to be over."
Anyone watching the special debate in the UK Parliament yesterday would have been amazed at some of the outbursts; Dennis Skinner made the most absurd statement, to the effect,"..should the UK government be riding on the coat-tails of an American president, who whilst the firefighters were standing ten feet tall, was cowering in a bunker?"
One MP called for the mandatory issuing of ID cards for all UK citizens, as well as "mandatory genetic profiling of all UK citizens", "so that we can follow these people where ever they go, from safe house to safehouse".
Yet another asked if the government would be preparing to invoke its special wartime measures allowing it to round up potential enemies living in the UK. Think about it; this will HAVE to happen if the UK decides it is going to "stand shoulder to shoulder" with the USA when it bombs, for example, XXXXXXX. They will, as the americans rounded up all people with "Japanese ancestry" in WW2, round up all citizens of XXXXXXX because they will be seen as potential threats.
If however, there is no bombing, this will not be an issue.
40 billion Dollars has been freed up by congress to prosecute this battle, after "the Pearl Harbor of World War 3". It would be the correct move to simply NOT go to war, as it will only possibly CAUSE WW3 to start, solve nothing, create more hate and disorder and a destruciton of our already eroding freedom.
George Gallawy, made the only sensible speech during the debate. He has never been listened to, and of course, his words fell on deaf ears today. He said, and these are not ver batim but they are close, "10,000 Bin Ladens will be created if we bomb any country that we believe is involved in this atrocity"..."if 5000 people were killed in this attack, then that is the same number of people that have died EVERY MONTH in Iraq in the 10 years since the end of the Gulf War". No one wants to address the root problem in this, and it has nothing to do with timing and respect for the dead. It's a symptom of the wests refusal to play fair, its refusal to apply the same standards to everybody that it does to itself. If it cannot do this, then it should take its marbles home and go and play with the people it feels equal to.
Jack Straw engaged in a "told you so" tirade saying that, "the extra powers for the security services and police that we asked for were in proportion to the "terrorist threat", as we said". This is par for the course from him.
Everyone is angry, scared and ill. Aparently in France, there are two kilometer lines for Diesel in advance of shortages due to forthcoming military action. This could have all been avoided if the UN was a fair place, which it is demonstably not. Now we are being dragged into a fully blown war, at a time when we should be thinking about everything else BUT war. This is the fault of the UN, who, as the last place a country can turn to for justice, failed miserably to apply its resolutions evenly, failed miserably to heed the calls for help from the countries that were suffering, failed to stop the USA controlling the amazingly undemocratic and unrepresentative Security Council.....which of you will be called up to fight in this? and where will you run to to avoid sucking in some depleted uranium dust, taking an experimental anti biological warfair coctail or just getting killed?
Don't know why I'm posting this, but I just decided to get rid of a lot (50) old warez CDs that no longer matter to me. Anyone know what I can do with the CDs, or what I can do with the cases, in terms of recycling or whatever?
Oh, and I don't think I've expressed my anger and sadness over the terrorist attacks but... I don't think I need to say anything. I feel like anyone else here does.
I got a CD the other day called "Image/Negation" (add french accents) by Alexandre St. Onge. Very nice minimal ambient and even some glitchwork on the last track. Quite a lovely little disc. Strange thing is that it didn't come in any real sort of packaging... just a clear jewel case, no artwork on the CD, but in the jewel case is a six inch length of thick insulated copper wire. Half of it has the plastic casing stripped off. Really bizarre.
I'd also like to point out how fast one can become a real money-wise person once they get into university. Everything's tight, even if I'm not in as tight a spot as many other students. I've become very... spendy, very selectively buying things... damn textbooks cost me 350 dollars alone. School is going good so far, very exhausting. I'm usually up at 5:30 in the morning and don't get home until 6:00 in the evening. Art school is pretty darned intensive, dag gummit. I'm enjoying myself, though. Lots and lots of girls too... wee woo haw haw haw!
Doesn't it seem just a little odd, a little too good to be true, that perpetrators would leave arabic language flight manuals and copies of the koran in not one but two ( so far ) cars for investigators to find ?
"LET'S BE PERSONAL" Broadcast June 5, 1973, CFRB, Toronto, Ontario
Topic: "The Americans"
The United States dollar took another pounding on German, French and British exchanges this morning, hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany. It has declined there by 41% since 1971 and this Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least-appreciated people in all the earth.
As long as sixty years ago, when I first started to read newspapers, I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtse. Who rushed in with men and money to help? The Americans did.
They have helped control floods on the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges and the Niger. Today, the rich bottom land of the Misssissippi is under water and no foreign land has sent a dollar to help. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy, were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of those countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.
When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.
When distant cities are hit by earthquakes, it is the United States that hurries into help... Managua Nicaragua is one of the most recent examples. So far this spring, 59 American communities have been flattened by tornadoes. Nobody has helped.
The Marshall Plan .. the Truman Policy .. all pumped billions upon billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now, newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent war-mongering Americans.
I'd like to see one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplanes.
Come on... let's hear it! Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tristar or the Douglas 107? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all international lines except Russia fly American planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or women on the moon?
You talk about Japanese technocracy and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy and you find men on the moon, not once, but several times ... and safely home again. You talk about scandals and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everyone to look at. Even the draft dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, most of them ... unless they are breaking Canadian laws .. are getting American dollars from Ma and Pa at home to spend here.
When the Americans get out of this bind ... as they will... who could blame them if they said 'the hell with the rest of the world'. Let someone else buy the Israel bonds, Let someone else build or repair foreign dams or design foreign buildings that won't shake apart in earthquakes.
When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke. I can name to you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble.
Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.
Our neighbours have faced it alone and I am one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles.
I hope Canada is not one of these. But there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians. And finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48th Annual meeting in New Orleans this morning that it was broke.
This year's disasters .. with the year less than half-over… has taken it all and nobody...but nobody... has helped.
i cannot understand nor can i relate to the conditions in which this nation is living under on a daily basis...
but I live in downtown manhattan...therefore, i cannot comprehend any other suffering beyond what has taken place here in my own backyard. to see the zombie-like ashen faces of witnesses walking uptown past me only a few hours after the tragedy, and to ride past massive queues of family and friends looking for missing loved ones in front of 3 major hospitals on my way to work... its hard to think beyond this neighborhood. for the first time in my 24 years of living...i feel UNSAFE. this isnt an image on the tv screen in which i can turn off when i need to run off to the bar to meet friends... its something i need only to face south to be reminded by the massive gray body of smoke, steam, and asbestos-ridden dust that there is a mass grave of innocent civilians buried only a 30-minute walk from my apartment... i realize the american government are accountable for some of the worst crimes in the world (as i am constantly being reminded by friends abroad). but in this time of despair, can you really say any nation is deserving of this level of atrocity? im not sure how any action(s) this government and NATO decides upon could possibly bring any good into this world... im at a complete lost...
Incredibly, something that we all knew was “do-able” but never though would happen, has happened. The words that have come after this sickening outrage have been as predictable as they are useless. Much fighting talk, talk of steel, talk of resolve, and speech saying that this will “not change us or our direction.”
Everything in this sad matter boils down to a choice. The UK and USA need to decide if they want to live a life of plenty and peace, or live a life of poverty, fear, uncertainty and death. The Swiss live a life of security, privacy, wealth and harmony. They are respected the world over. The people of the Netherlands have an extremely high standard of living, no enemies abroad, and the kind of security that the British only dream about. The Japanese, whilst not particularly loved by the generation of WW2, have had unprecedented growth, admiration, peace and prosperity.
A choice needs to be made.
Are the “superpowers” going to continue to foot the bill financially and psychologically of trying to civilize the rest of the world, or are they going to turn their backs on these people who are clearly so different from them that it is impossible to make any kind of human connection other than the most superficial changing of monies and false diplomatic gestures.
America and Britain have many problems that need to be resolved; poverty, economic deterioration, dwindling and ageing populations, decaying infrastructures. These problems need the urgent attention of the people in their respective governments. The Middle East, and all of its irresolvable problems are not and should not be the responsibility of anyone but the people who live there.
The west should look inwards, and turn away from these insane people once and for all; water always finds its lowest level, and the Middle East problems are being artificially bolstered by repeated, expensive and counterproductive intervention by foreign governments.
The problems that have caused this attack are similar to the ones that America faced in the era of prohibition. A small religious minority caused the enactment of the prohibition laws. These insane, ant-freedom laws were the sole cause of the birth of organized crime in the USA, and we have been suffering the consequences of these laws ever since.
The Middle East problems are exactly the same. Wrong-headed international policy has caused the USA to be the number one despised country on the planet. The problems of America and the Middle East are not going to be stopped by “defeating terrorism”, or “defeating evil”, but by changing the systemic problems that are the root cause of all the woes that are increasingly afflicting the USA. We need to do the modern equivalent of erasing the prohibition laws; this means extricating ourselves from anything to do with Middle East politics and people. It means driving out those embassies that hail from countries that do not comply 100% with UN resolutions and regulations. It means stopping all monies that are given away freely to all countries. It means a total and absolute isolation from the people who insist on living in a way that is not our way.
I believe that these people have every right to live as they choose, under whatever type government that they like. It is not our place to tell anyone or any government what they should and should not do. If they should choose to live in a style that is not suited to us, then they must be separate from us, in every way shape and form. They should have their own UN, their own organizations, their own emergency systems that are totally separate from ours, run by and for them, and for which they have to foot 100% of the bill. We should not sing with them. We should not play sports with them, neither visit their lands or allow them to visit us. We should not teach them or sell them our technology. We need to be absolutely and completely separate from these people. They should not be able to use our phone systems, nor our satellite navigation systems; nothing that belongs to us. Let them create their own infrastructure from scratch.
If the west turns inwards, and spends its saved billions on its own problems, we will live lives of unprecedented prosperity, as have all countries that have diminished their waste spending.
We must however, keep “final course of action” defense systems in place, and there should be only one possible response from these systems, should any member of the west be attacked. We have to take this approach because it is extremely expensive to maintain and equip armies. This is an expense that we should not be compelled to make for the sake of people who are uncivilized and hell bent on suicide. It is the maintenance of these huge military budgets that keeps parts of the UK and USA in what the UN classifies as absolute poverty. The one response is this: if you attack us, you loose everything. Period.
Bill Clinton enacted terrible legislation as a reaction to the original World Trade Center bombing. You can expect similar removals of our God given rights from this president as a reaction to this despicable and unnecessary act. As I have said before on this list, this is the worst side effect of terrorism after the deaths of the victims; knee jerk legislation that removes freedoms from the innocent population, and causes evermore internal friction.
At the time of writing, it is not known who carried out this act of mass murder. “Make no mistake” it is far from clear who was responsible, and if this was another internal attack, more draconian legislation and restrictions on the American population will only make matters worse.
America needs to roll back the part that government plays in its citizen’s lives to what it was in the 1920’s (without throwing away the social advances that make America work better). This is the only action that will restore the internal harmony that is missing inside America, it’s the only thing that will restore confidence in the federal government, the thing that will cause the four million militia men to go back to regular lives. Combined with a complete withdrawal from interfering in the affairs of other countries, America will finally be able to be at peace with itself, and with the rest of the world. It will be a dynamic, non –coo-coo-clock Switzerland, with all of the advantages of that fine nation, plus the advantage of American dynamism, flair and know how.
The alternative is a total erosion of all the freedoms that the founding fathers fought and died for, an escalation of atrocities, outrages and hatred, more wars, and most importantly, a missed opportunity to lead by example.
Those countries that believe what we believe should join with us in turning our backs on the barbarians. Together, the security of the western nations is stronger, bound by common ideals, goals and a love of freedom and the value of human life, a block of free countries will be able to trade with each other and thrive. The rest of the world will fall into savagery, and we should not feel bad about this, because it is precisely what they desire. If a descent into savagery were not what they desired, then all of these lands would have settled into stable places of order, prosperity and human dignity many years ago. They want war. They want to hate. It is up to us to decide whether we want to continue to consume them and their hatred, or whether we will eat another, more pleasant dish.
One thing is for certain; no change in policy is the worst possible decision, leading inevitably to the worse possible outcome.
The goals of the terrorists are, in my view several: * Striking installations of great symbolic importance, instead of key strategic relevance, is partly due to the 'limited' scope of the attack, due to the limited strike capacity of the attackers. The entity behind these attacks does not have the resources to, nor the desire, to overtake the US. Therefore these 'symbolic' targets were chosen. * If indeed it is Osama Bin Laden or indeed any other Islamic fundamentalist extremists, their goal have been to take power. How so? In a world with increased globalisation, the values and society structure of Islamic fundamentalist are increasingly challenged. Western goods and media penetrate the minds of the people of Muslim countries, to the great fear and anger of the Islamic fundamentalists in power. In order to claim power, they must first get rid of Western values and thinking in the minds of those they seek to rule. That is done via terrorist acts especially designed to make the US ‘clam-up’, that is, have western and especially American interest pull out of Muslim countries around the world. What the Islamic fundamentalist extremists are literally saying is “Leave us alone, you are corrupting our society; your values are against the word of Allah”. If the Islamic fundamentalist extremists views are spoken unchallenged in their societies, they will much easier gain power. * For the terrorists this is a display of power internally as well. In many, many Muslim countries there are an ongoing battle, or even civil wars, between moderate Islamite’s who are, not western friendly, but ‘western accepting’ and the Islamic fundamentalist. The Islamic fundamentalists thrive in times of great distress: War, hunger, terror… Historically it has proven itself true. Just look at Afghanistan, Palestine, Sudan, Algeria, Egypt, Iran – the list is endless. Islamic fundamentalist extremists know this, therefore they strive for war, hunger and terror. They see it as a path to Islamic rule, and themselves as mere ‘tools’ performing acts of atrocity that, in their view, is the will of Good.
its just mental mental mental. Whatever the reasons, whatever the arguments, the one thing that remains throughout is the horror of violence - it just ends up generating more violence. I hope that something of this magnitude may be shocking enough to get people out of the tit for tat (which on this scale concerns us all) attacks which perpetuate violence but i fear it won't. I heard one report yesterday that suggested Israel have upped their military presence at key positons in the hope that they will be able to 'take advantage' of the current anti terrorism feeling (they feel their problem is one of terrorism and not conflict) - I hope that that is just media speculation, I really do - there is no advantage to be taken from this unless it reduces violence.
You can only hope that whatever happens next, people try and keep their heads and that the opinions of the world are heeded. Whatever it is that does happen and at whatever magnitude it occurs, I doubt will ever fill in the holes for the real victims which is where my thoughts and sympathies lie.
what stopped them crashing into nuclear installations i wonder ? why should their insane desire for symbolic, mindless destruction have stopped where it did ? they surely can't imagine that by wreaking such havok they, or those that they have links to, will somehow rise to positions of power by doing so, so why leave the infrastructure intact and risk terrible retribution ? or are they counting on terrible retribution in order to scale the conflict up to that level of consequence ?
Oh no. My thoughts to out to the victims and their family's, and to the well-being of the world. Violence, killings and war is not the way. The middle-east tension has been ignored for too lang. These people have nothing to loose - if it is them? As for now I can't be shure. This is truly a tragedy for all people in the world. All those who have said nothing, tough they knew about the situation in Palestine. Biased and blind media. I don't know if it is Palestinian terrorists. If it is, the world shurely should have involved itself in that conflict in a very more pragmatic way. I can't say I knew this was comming, but now it's here. Let this be an eye-opener for all the people of the earth, a cry for peacefull action not war.