You want to know about terrorism?

2004 by Sergio Reyes

George W. Bush has defined himself as a wartime president, in a war against terrorism. It would follow that he must have immersed himself into the topic of terrorism, into the whys and whos and whats of it.

But this doesn't appear to be the case. He apparently can't get beyond simplistic declarations and demagogic formulations. So it is the duty of every concerned human being, not just citizen, to get him to consider the deeper issues of just what is terror and why.

Mr. Bush, do you want to know about terrorism, about terror?

If so, then ask any African-American who is descended from slaves that were torn from their homes and their loved ones and brought here in chains starting in the seventeenth century. They'll tell you what terrorism is.

Or ask any Native American who must live with the indignity of knowing that their land on which they had lived for hundreds of generations was stolen from them, their population all but obliterated by genocide, and their culture either totally destroyed or bastardized beyond recognition as a modern-day tourist attraction. They'll tell you. They know terrorism, too.

Or ask the poor and indigenous people of Central America who were savagely murdered by the hundreds of thousands by some of your immediate predecessors through material and personal support of terrorist proxy armies. They felt terrorism in the flesh.

If you want to know about terrorism, ask most of the people of the Third World. They have lived in abject misery, under the yoke of brutal elites which were directly supported by the various US governments all through the twentieth century and beyond. They have lived with chronic hunger and disease and hopelessness because of the grotesque greed of American and other Western corporations who appropriated the Third World's natural resources, undermined their indigenous agriculture by surpassing and underpricing their farmers, and to add insult to injury, sold them the consumer products made directly from those appropriated natural resources.

If you want to know about terrorism, ask the people of Afghanistan, who suffered through a much overprolongued war against the Soviets because of US sponsoring of Islamic fundamentalist mujaheddin (like Osama bin Laden) to combat the 'Evil Empire', and then suffered another invasion by the other rogue superpower, which produced countless thousands of civilian dead. Terrorism is their constant companion, an uninvited guest who doesn't want to leave.

Ask the people of Iraq, Mr. Bush, and they'll tell you: they lived under a demon named Saddam Hussein because the US government created and propped him up, as he was torturing, killing and using chemical weapons against them and against his neighbor Iran. They lived through horrendous US-pushed UN sanctions that killed a million of their own. Saddam didn't die or go hungry, but the Iraqi children sure did. This is terror.

And also ask the people of Iraq who had to go through this final, schizophrenic war that you unleashed, this barbarous, illlegal and world-class crime of an unprovoked war of aggression, whose consequences are yet to be determined but whose civilian dead already number over then thousand, and whose tortured prisoners cry out for revenge. This is terror.

You can also ask the relatives of the three thousand dead in New York and Arlington and Pennsylvania, because they suffered terrorism that was to be expected, that was telegraphed, that was one hell of a blowback of US actions in the Middle East for decades.

You can ask many more: the Palestinians, who have lived with state-sponsored terrorism every single day since 1948; the South Americans who lived through almost two decades of oppresive military rule directly attributable to US compliance and looking the other way. So many others.

Are you still with me, Mr. Bush? I hope you are, because if you really want to know about terror, there will be a sure-fire way for you to be enlightened. It will come, when what must happen to all happens finally to you. The moment after your death, when you awaken on the other side, you will know it. You will finally get it, and see what you and your country's governments have done for so long. You will understand and you will have to live with the awesome terror of guilt pervading your consciousness for all eternity, with no possibility of parole. This state has a name.

They call it Hell.

Permission is hereby given to copy and post this essay (as is, not truncated), giving proper authorship credit only. Please give a link back to this page.

I wrote this piece inspired after
seeing Amy Goodman speak at one
of the stops for the "Exception to
the Rulers"
tour a couple of weeks ago.
For information on Amy's work as
a fiercely independent and progressive
journalist, see Democracy Now!

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