While there is no denying the grief of those who lost family or friends in New York, looking at the disaster from a non-western perspective one can only wonder if the world sees hypocrisy in the outpourings of grief.
For example in the world's poorest nations, tens of thousands of children and infants die everyday of hunger and hunger related issues. This takes place in a world of plenty, although most people are led to believe that there is a 'global world wide food shortage', a callous propaganda argument often used to justify the development of 'biogenetically engineered food' to 'solve the crisis'. There is no daily outpourings of mourning and grief for the thousands who perish daily, nor are they even seen or heard from in our culture. Anything that might have helped to give some perspective to the anger expressed in the suicide attacks in New York and Washington are invisible. Looking at it from the perspective of the world's poorest people then, it is more understandable that poor Palestinian children, 74% of whom qualify for U.N. Food relief, would be dancing in the streets, in particular given the symbolism of the attack on the symbols of American wealth and power embedded in the disaster. While such images are being replayed over and over again (see the conservative Christian broadcasting system) and might seem shocking to Western viewers, those who are watching us from the poorest parts of the world see a different world than we do...
When empire is at its height, we can expect empire to celebrate empire, but the eventual judgment of history follows on the collapse of empire. The day will come when the history of the twentieth century will be looked at from the outside in, much as it is today by the rest of the world. The disaffected poor must be ruled by despots since the West offers nothing to them in the way of an ideology that can compete with the ideology of revolt and revolution. A bankrupt ideology is behind the trail of violence and the trail of despots left behind by western imperial power over the course of the 20th century, and also is the fuel that feeds the fire of radical violence in the world today. Worse than this is the dehumanization of self that is required to live in such a cruel, unjust world (one glance at the medusa's head is enough to turn people to stone, as is evidenced by the lack of grief or mourning each and every day over the tens of thousands of lives lost to instutionalized 'terrorism' - it is hard to think of any other way to describe the types of policies that have resulted in such inequality and injustice). Certainly these policies are 'violent' and a source of 'terror' to the victims who, after all, are the ones we asking to die in their tens of thousands, preferably quietly, and also unseen, and certainly unmourned. (But then who wants to attend mourning services day in and day out, 365 days a year? Surely the dying and the dispossessed can do their own mourning. And as all the preachers are saying this week, surely God will spare us such suffering and terror ourselves, because, one must suppose, we either deserve it, or perhaps its just what we want.) Looking at the crimes of empire, the constant setting up of dictatorships, the grinding poverty, the hunger that affects so much of the globe, I cannot help but conclude that the day is coming when the history of this past era will be judged scornfully just as we scorn the feudalism which preceded it.
Now you can call this my response, on this day of mourning, Friday September 14th, 2001. You can me the dissidents dissident, because I am not in step with my peers, but rather I am appalled by todays mourning ceremonies, in particular I am utterly appalled by the religious aspect of the mourning ceremonies. I am appalled by the displays of hypocrisy I am being confronted with today, and in particular with the displays of what I experience as blatant religious hypocrisy, the prayers of famous ministers 'to make America strong' (thinly cloaked calls to 'Christian soldiers, marching off to war' drawing out I am sure 'their terrible swift sword', not to mention the exploitation of the tragedy by what I am sure is a gleeful right wing (and a happy Israeli government). I noted the blatant (and not cloaked) calls for full scale warfare against the Arab nations on TBN, the conservative Christian television station last night, with Hal Lindsay calling this 'a war between two world views' and calling for full scale jihad against the Arabs 'to avert God's judgment against America' (and similar sentiments were expressed with equally uncloaked support for militarism, unlike the vieled language used by Billy Graham just an hour ago). Like their ancestors before them, ministers prove to be conservative supporters of the status quo devoted to indoctrinating the peasants and supporting state power. As Isaiah put it, 'the cause of the poor goes unheard,' and a truer judgment against this current expression of contemporary religion in American culture could not be made. Religious leaders have had plenty of opportunity to mourn the victims of terror and injustice, after all, I put a starved baby counter onto to my site to count the deaths of those (dancing celebrating this week) children on my website, and unfortunately, there was no mourning service for the victims. They lie in their graves, unmourned and forgotten, like all the victims of torture and tyranny and injustice of the twentieth century, the century of bankruptcy in ideology and the consequent use of violent force as a means of control of the poorest people on earth, who understandably might, like myself, see the hypocrisy of the mourning and grieving going on now, like certain little Palestinian children dancing in the streets this week...
And now a few words posted in protest protest against the religious hypocrisy in our society...
Isaiah chapter 58
5 Is such the mourning that I choose, a day for a person to humble themselves? Is it to bow down their heads like a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under them? Will you call this mourning, and a day acceptable to YAHWEH?
6 "Is not this the mourning that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of YAHWEH shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and YAHWEH will answer; you shall cry, and God will say, Here I am. "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And YAHWEH will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.
Isaiah chapter 59
3 But your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue mutters wickedness.
4 No one enters suit justly, no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.
5 They hatch adders