INDEPENDENT NEWS

Afghanis Bleed Too

Published: Fri 21 Sep 2001 03:52 PM
Press Release: Princes St (Auckland University) Branch, New Zealand Labour Party
"If American leaders think that they can wash away the blood of their own dead with buckets of Afghani blood, then they are deceiving themselves and their people. The solution to one act of terror against a civilian population is not another act of terror against another civilian population. That kind of mindset, by its own internal logic condemns us to an increasing spiral of violence" says Michael Wood, Chair of the Princes St Branch.
"On Tuesday night, in Albert Park, Central Auckland, several hundred concerned New Zealanders rallied together out of sadness for the victims of terrorism around the world, and out of a common desire to see such senseless violence end now. We condemn in the strongest terms the recent attack on America and believe that the US authorities should hunt down and capture those responsible for it. We do not however believe that this in any way gives the United States a carte blanche right to terrorise whole other countries in their quest for such people" says Arna Metcalfe, Branch Women's Rights Officer.
"Of course, in the first instance, the perpetrators of the attacks must be positively identified. As yet, this has not happened. It is quite clear however that even given the lack of any demonstrable culpability, the US has quite well developed plans to attack the people of Afghanistan. That displays outrageous arrogance. Sensationalist coverage by the Western media, and appallingly jingoistic and simple-minded reporting has contributed to a public belief that Osama Bin Laden is responsible, with very little in the way of corroborating evidence provided" says Mr. Wood.
"Calamitous times can bring out the good and the bad in people. Unfortunately we have seen quite a bit of the bad since last Wednesday, chiefly in an alarming display of bloodlust that seems to go against everything that a civilised society teaches its children. Of equal concern is the latent racism that has been exposed. American leaders seem prepared to let entire nations suffer because their skin colour matches up to the prime suspect. This of course is nothing new. While the Western world stopped aghast as the World Trade Center crumbled, hardly a word is spoken in the mass media about the half million Iraqi's who have died under US sanctions since 1991, or a host of other US atrocities" says Ms Metcalfe.
"Let's hope however that the next few days see some good emerge. It's time for some real and courageous leadership. While it may be politically advantageous for Western leaders to quickly and brutally bomb Afghanistan, such a decision would be judged by history as shameful and ineffective. Instead, we call on governments such as our own to be truly courageous, to say "no" to mindless retribution, and instead concentrate on looking at the real reasons why this happened. Enough blood has been spilled" says Mr Wood.
ENDS

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