Bengali book on the subject of terrorism
My Bengali book on the subject of terrorism recently came out from Dhaka. Below is a link to one of the chapters I translated. I'm attaching two other translated chapters here.
Shoja Sontraash Bnaka Sontraash Adha Sontraash Gota Sontraash (Straight Terror Warped Terror, Half Terror Total Terror) Ankur Prakashani, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 2005. www.geocities.com/chokmoki
Terrorism and Its Real Face
By Partha Banerjee
The Dark Cloud of a Global War
Translated from Bengali. Originally published in Akhon Samoy Weekly, February 25, 2003. Now included in Banerjee’s Bengali book published from Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2005.
One: The Outer World
The entire world was shocked when terrorists blew up the World Trade Center. The world’s humanity condemned the attacks, mourned the dead and then, gradually made room for a serious self-introspection.
However, the United States, its political establishment with its two so-called mainstream parties and their partner big media refrained from the latter. In other words, they did not take on any somber analyses of the causes behind such gruesome violence. No meaningful investigation into the social, economic and political reasons behind the grave disaster took place.
Only Bill Clinton made a passing comment at a Georgetown University convocation that the U.S. itself had a long history of terrorism. He said terrorism in this country began during the slave trade two centuries ago. Clinton said, “this country is now repaying the price for it.”
September 11, 2001 radically changed the socio-economic environment of America and the world. This country has ushered into a new era of unilateral war, killing and subjugation. Thousands of innocent civilians died in U.S. bombing campaign in Afghanistan, thousands more are going to be killed in Iraq soon. Following familiar models, big multinational corporations have planned economic and political invasion into “enemy countries,” especially the ones Bush has termed the Axis of Evil. The ruling class of America has bestowed upon itself the responsibility to determine which nations and nationalities are evil terrorists and which are not.
Two: The World Within
The political exploitation of the World Trade Center tragedies is in full swing, of which domestic fear mongering and repression are now two key elements. Public brainwashing and throttling of dissent actively continue via the corporate media, political status quo, right wing “think tanks” and their numerous spokespersons. Lawmakers from both Republican and Democratic parties have first confirmed far-right wing Attorney General Ashcroft and now his unprecedented repressive laws and measures such as the USA Patriot Act and Special Registrations – just the way they have endorsed the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld doctrine of unilateral and pre-emptive war doctrine. The legal measures are about to destroy America’s historic framework of democracy and diversity within and its land-of-the-free image outside.
Only a handful of progressive media organizations and outlets have taken a firm stand against such anti-people, undemocratic practices. However, The Nation, Radio Pacifica, Z-Net, The Progressive, Mother Jones or Village Voice, in spite of their gallant and flagship, honest journalism, are losing ground rapidly to the aggressive, arrogant, corporate-funded “mainstream” and jingoist media.
Recently, international organization Human Rights Watch reported the names of certain countries that it believed followed the U.S. “anti-terrorism” model to silence dissent elsewhere. The report was picked up and relayed throughout the nation by American Broadcasting Corporation. The only fact, however, that ABC TV forgot to mention is that this model has had a sinister implementation within America itself. Human Rights Watch had reported that other than USA, countries such as China, Russia, Egypt, Ujbekistan, etc. have actively pursued the U.S. model and violently repressed dissent. The report mentioned that just after the terrorist attacks, nearly 1,200 Muslim men were rounded up and detained, without any terrorism charges, by FBI, Immigration and Naturalization Services and Department of Homeland Security. The government would not even disclose their identities or the prison locations where they have been held. The American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and other rights and justice organizations and their lawyers have failed to gain access to government documents behind such arrests. The official view has been that the documents deserve to be undisclosed at this time of “war against terrorism.”
The mainstream U.S. TV have failed to report that these detainees are not terrorists and do not deserve such treatment. They have not reported that these prisoners have become victims of state-sponsored hate and racism. They have not mentioned that their families have been torn apart because of the gross injustice practiced by a so-called civilized nation and its rulers.
ACLU has expressed its serious concerns that these repressive measures are not going to be limited for Muslim men only. The organization has warned the American people that this is just a preview of what other measures are yet to come that would completely destroy the democratic fabric of this country. It is widely believed by immigrant activists that these detainees are the new scapegoats to deflect peoples’ attention from the failures of the ruling class. Progressive and conscientious Americans believe this scenario is a replay of other such historical events such as the persecution of innocent Japanese-Americans in the forties, McCarthyism in the fifties, crushing the civil rights movement in the sixties or the Red Scare of the seventies and eighties. History is only repeating itself.
Three: Who is a Terrorist?
Who is a terrorist and who is going to define terrorism? The extremist, fanatic Taliban or Al Quaida are unquestionably terrorists and tyrants. Their role in the various social arenas, especially on women’s and children’s issues, education, science, freedom and rights, has been despicable. Similarly, the violent attacks on the Indian parliament house or Hindu temples are terrorist acts; so are the mass killings of Muslim civilians by Hindu fanatics in Gandhi’s Gujarat. We do not spare any words to condemn the destruction of innocent lives on September 11. Many more lives will perhaps be lost because of the unclean, toxic and dangerous environment around Ground Zero: lives of residents and poor day laborers who were forced by federal and state government agencies to return to live and work there; of Ground Zero area students who were sent back to school by New York City government when the WTC fire was still burning. One terrorist attack on the American soil has changed the lives of millions of Americans forever.
Question is, does anyone have the carte blanche to determine and define terrorism? Sixty thousand innocent lives were lost in Hiroshima when a U.S. military plane named Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese city in 1945. How many millions were killed because of U.S. government’s and Henry Kissinger’s vendetta in Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia? How many million lives were destroyed by U.S.-supported dictators and tyrant rulers in Indonesia, Chile, El Salvador, Turkey or Bangladesh? How many more millions worldwide were victims of multinational U.S. corporations such as Enron, Union Carbide, Mobil, Exxon, Disney or General Electric and their insatiable greed? Who would determine that these acts have not been synonymous with terrorism?
The Iraq war is imminent and a long, clandestine preparation is near completion. In a shameless defiance of massive peace protests throughout the world, this war mongering government is hell bent to bomb and destroy the ancient land of Babylon on Tigris and Euphrates. Who is next in line for destruction – is it North Korea, the Phillippines, or is it Syria? Nobody knows; the American people certainly don’t. Isn’t this how George Orwell envisioned Big Brother and his never-ending war in “1984?”
The attacks of September 11 were barbaric and cowardly. Likewise, the forcible imposition of war, bombing, killing and elimination of oppositions and dissent in the worlds within and without are another kind of terror. Under the guise of the “war against terrorism,” a dark, ominous cloud of global war and extreme repression is rapidly engulfing us.