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Christiaan Briggs: Chickens Come Home To Roost

The Chickens Come Home To Roost

By Christiaan Briggs

Lucky for that “War on Terror” thing ay? My mother managed to phone me today from New Zealand, to check I hadn’t been blown up. She advised that I take care with my words. The first hint I received of something amiss in London this morning was full bus loads of people drifting endlessly past my bus stop, and a long walk to work. This afternoon there has been tens of thousands of people walking the streets of London in the absence of public transport. On the BBC there has been incessant reporting that people “can’t believe this has happened.” Yeah right, it’s no damn fucking surprise and Londoners know it. Today’s just extra special because the bombs were pointed the other way, just like September 11.

Having elected as Prime Minister a man who is arguably a war criminal I must say I find it difficult to muster up the kind of sympathy that would usually befit a nation in times like these, just as I found it difficult to muster up sympathy for the U.S. as a nation on September 11. Then as now the overwhelming feeling is one of grim predictability. I have dulled empty feelings for those in the middle of it all, just as I do for hundreds of thousands—in fact millions—of Iraqis, Palestinians, and endless other peoples killed by the gangs we call our governments. It’s just a little difficult to get emotional about every killing when they happen in the numbers they do. Am I meant to be more emotional today because they’re Westerners?

After returning to London from Iraq in March 2003 I often found myself down at the local pub in discussions with people who were, one, confident they lived in a democracy, and two, indifferent about the invasion of Iraq. I’ve always found it a little difficult to deal with such indifference. “At the end of the day,” I used to say to them, “you can enjoy your pint of beer in the sun and ignore the murderous actions of your so-called democratic government in faraway lands, but don’t go complaining when someone comes looking for some justice in the form of a bomb under your ass.”

And from what I’ve gleaned today they’re not. Many Brits seem to know the score.

Whether this was the act of MI6/MI5 operatives or the so-called “Al-Qaeda,” and while we’re going to be hearing a lot about “us” and “them,” there’s little doubt in my mind that the connection between the death of “their” babies and the death of “ours” will never be made in the coming media storm. Instead it will be Blair to the rescue!! Bring on 1984!!

According to Wikipedia, a person using the name “Nur al-Iman,” posted to the jihadist website Al-Qal’ah (Fortress), a statement issued by “The Secret Organisation Group of Al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization in Europe.” In the statement, the group claims responsibility for the London attack. The following is a translated text of the statement (minus all the god stuff):

Nation of Islam and Arab nation: Rejoice for it is time to take revenge against the British Zionist crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroic mujahideen have carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters.

We have repeatedly warned the British government and people. We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid in Britain after our mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.

We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all the crusader governments that they will be punished in the same way if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. He who warns is excused.

Mike Marqusee writes for Counterpunch:

Blair has already appeared on television to address the nation … Even by Blair’s standards, it was a performance of nauseating hypocrisy, as he sought to seize the moral high ground in relation to violence and destruction that he himself helped unleash.

Fomenting and exploiting fear has been a speciality of the Blair regime. Asylum seekers, teenagers wearing hoods, militant Muslims, anarchists, paedophiles the list of targets is lengthy and frighteningly flexible. Whenever there is a need to distract people from the impact of the government’s neo-liberal economic policies, from its failure to rebuild the public sector, from its misbegotten foreign adventures, a new scapegoat is conjured up. The bomb blasts may aid this process, but there is also reason to hope that this time there will be substantial public resistance.

I hope so Mike, I hope so.

Update: It’s worth noting that terrorist incidents have increased year on year since Bush took power in 2001.


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