The World Before and After

Published: Tue 9 Sep 2003 08:10 AM
The World Before and After
By Jeff Memler - New Zealand.
Has it really been only two years since that day ‘the world changed forever?’ It sometimes is difficult to remember what the world was like before 11 September 2001. I can vaguely recall a world where the newly (un)elected, unqualified and grossly incompetent president of the United States was struggling to make the people and the press forget about his recent corrupt, shameless and bloodless coup in the 2000 presidential election.
It was a world where the UN was still considered to be the only place to make the most significant decisions regarding international crisis. It was a world where people who exercised their democratic rights to disagree with their governments were not labeled “terrorists” and sent to illegal detention centres in Cuba.
It was a world where international law was to be honoured and respected and those who disregarded it were to be condemned and punished. It was a world where any country that attacked and invaded another country without provocation or proof of imminent threat and without UN authorization would be considered in breach international law and would receive the loudest condemnation and be victim to the severest political and economic sanctions possible.
It was a world where leaders who intentionally or even unintentionally lied and deceived their constituents and were subsequently proven to be lying (especially about reasons for going to war) would receive the most resounding public condemnation leading to removal from office, humiliation and disgrace. It was a world where George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 was considered a story about the horrors of a fascist futuristic society instead of a blueprint for GW Bush’s “war on terrorism.” It was a world where the media of the world’s most powerful country accepted its responsibility as the means by which its citizens could remain informed of the truth and not to act merely as an unofficial propaganda tool for the State.
It was a world where hard-line authoritarian governments around the world could not justify their agendas of human rights violations by claiming to be part of a “war on terror” and thereby receive both financial and political support from the world’s most powerful nation.
So much has changed since that tragic day in September. Two years later, we have witnessed two unsanctioned, illegitimate attacks by the United States on third world countries with the threat of more very real.
We have seen the media play into the hand of an American administration seeking to create such a culture a fear that at the drop of a hat a new “security threat” can be announced, immobilizing the public just long enough to implement some new restriction on civil liberties and/or military action overseas.
We have watched the media fixate on the demonization of two perfect villains to act as the justification for unnecessary and illegal wars. We listened to the politicians and pundits spin horrifying warnings of imminent threat from alleged weapons of mass destruction. Yet, when the villains were not captured or killed nor the weapons found, the media happily played the newly scripted US government spin denying the villains nor the weapons were ever really the issue. This is the new post 11 September world we live in.
As we acknowledge the anniversary of one of the most horrific crimes against humanity we could usefully ask ourselves some important questions. With civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq well over 10,000, I wonder if those who grieved and called for vengeance for the 3,000 killed on 11 September are satisfied.
Is the spilt blood of those innocents killed by the most lethal military in history adequate compensation for the murderous acts of those 19 desperate terrorists?
Are we any safer and more secure than we were before the fall of the twin towers?
Are the political, economic and social conditions found in our world; the very conditions which the 11 September terrorists say were the motivation for their horrible crimes, any different now than before?
Two years on we can ask: “What have we learned?” We can speak out and refuse to accept the lies, deceptions and injustices proudly proclaimed by the powerful in Washington and London.
We can reject the inevitability of Empire and refuse the loss of our national as well as personal sovereignty.
We can ask: “What can we do to make the world a better place?” And we can continually ask: “What was the world like before 11 September 2001?"
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