“This whole world is a corn field son, look out for flying locusts….” Dead Prez, Psychology
Having attended an event organised by the “Decolonising our Minds Society” commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the film ‘The Battle of Algiers’ subtitled, “Decolonisation and the War on Terror” held on the 14th February at London’s SOAS Brunei Gallery one is compelled to comment on a glaring omission. The film is based on the revolutionary Algerian struggle against French imperialism and depicts the torture meted out to freedom fighters by the colonialists. Dr. Sohail Daulatzai, the main speaker, has written a book commemorating the anniversary of the film.
Parallels and similarities were made between the torture administered by French imperialists to Algerians fighting for their freedom and Muslims in today’s ‘War on Terror’. No doubt there is and both are morally inexcusable. However, there was a glaring difference or omission that was either not explored or deliberately overlooked: the reason why the ‘War on Terror’ was launched by the United States.
Obviously, we need first to establish how the Algerian revolt came about. French imperialism had been ruling Algeria for over 130 years. One of the speakers, Continue reading
Within a month of al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th 2001, a so-called ‘War on Terror’ was declared to combat the source of this outrage. Invasions and occupations of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) were promptly executed because the rulers of these countries were considered to be providing support to terrorism.
In the case of Afghanistan, it was obvious the Taliban rulers were providing a refuge for the al-Qaeda leader, bin Laden, and arguably making itself complicit in the attacks on the United States. Whereas Iraq was a supposedly rogue state which potentially could enter an alliance with terrorists like al-Qaeda and supply them with its alleged supply, of what transpired to be, its phantom weapons of destruction.
The United States-British invasion of Iraq in 2003 based on bogus arguments eventually destroyed the Iraqi state, killed hundreds of thousands, created millions of refugees and led to a proliferation of Islamist terrorism. Only nuclear war could have created a better Armageddon. Under the pretext of fighting al-Qaeda and its supporters, the decisions taken by George Bush and Tony Blair within the first two years of the ‘War on Terror’ led to more manifestations of Islamist extremism of the al-Qaeda variety, the most recent being ISIS.
Fast-forward fourteen years and the ‘War on Terror’ has dumbfoundingly been turned on its head. Continue reading
As we once again darkly commemorate the anniversary of the British-American invasion and destruction of Iraq launched on 20th March 2003 it is important to revisit one of the more endearing fabrications that was peddled in the lead up to that war. Alongside the ‘45 minute claim’ and ‘Uranium purchases from Niger’, one wing of the British establishment also let it be known that Tony Blair’s involvement was due to his subservience to George W. Bush. The latter was the line enthusiastically propagated by Great Britain’s anti-war movement, “Stop the War Coalition” (StW) and also its leading mainstream journalist, the Guardian newspaper’s associate editor, Seumas Milne.
No lesser figure than anti-capitalist social activist and writer Naomi Klein vouches for Milne’s “sound” anti-imperialism.
A year before 9/11 attacks on American soil and the subsequent ‘War on Terror’, Milne wrote an excellent and aptly titled article “Throwing our weight about”. In it he took to task Tony Blair’s infatuation with military interventionism (or ‘humanitarian war’) specifically in Kosovo, Iraq (1998) and Sierra Leone as well as noting British interference in Zimbabwean domestic issues. Milne further endorses Nelson Mandela’s rebuke of Blair, in that he is, Continue reading