A War of Corporate Greed

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Hameed Jalal

a member of the Hong Kong Muslim Community

20th March 2004

at the anti-war peace protest in front of the US Embassy in Hong Kong

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May Peace be with you!

On my way to join this march, I was asked: ¡§What would you achieve by staging another antiwar protest? The war is over and your cause has failed.¡¨

Ladies and Gentlemen, Has our cause ended?

The Prophet of Islam said, ¡§If you see an act of injustice, try to admonish the offender with kind words, if he wouldn¡¦t listen intervene to stop him physically if you can, and if you find him overwhelming at least express your utmost disapproval of his actions. If you won¡¦t do even that much, then you are devoid of your dignity.¡¨

The prophet also said, ¡¥innamal `amala bin niyyah.¡¦ ¡V i.e., ¡§Verily actions are judged by intentions.¡¨ Let¡¦s consider this statement. Say, if a man enters a burning building trying to save lives, but comes out with only a dead child, could his act be described as useless because the child is dead?  The fact that the war went on any way, causing untold human suffering is not our failing, had we remained uninvolved in the face of this violence, we would have disqualified ourselves as decent human beings.

Many who supported the war initially have come to realise that this war was fought not for what we were told it was for. For instance in a talk to a crowd of 1,200 people at New York University five days ago, Hans Blix, the United Nations¡¦ former chief weapons inspector, said he did not share the Bush administrations¡¦ view that the war has made the world a safer place. He said, ¡§If the aim was to send a signal to terrorists that we are determined to take ¡¥you¡¦ on, that has not succeeded. In Iraq, it has bred a lot of terrorism and a lot of hatred¡K¡¨

He went on to say. ¡§¡Kthe Bush administration convinced itself of the existence of banned weapons based on dubious findings before invading Iraq and was not interested in hearing evidence to the contrary.¡¨

Later, talking to NBC he said ¡§¡Kthey had a set mind, ¡KThey wanted to come to the conclusion that there were weapons. Like the former days of the witch hunt, they are convinced that they exist, and if you see a black cat, well, that¡¦s evidence of the witch.¡¨

He charged the Bush administration with invading Iraq as retaliation for the terrorism strikes on the United States, even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attackers. He said, ¡§The C.I.A. certainly is very used to debriefing defectors, so they must have had a critical mind, but they also knew what they wanted to hear at the top.¡¨

These statements of Mr. Blix, who was commissioned by the international community as a credible person to go in search of suspected weapons, only go to prove what many have been talking about, for so long, that this war was all about hegemony, greed and corporate gain.

The 16th President of America, probably the most influential person in American history, Abraham Lincoln, declared, ¡§Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.¡¨

That nation so dedicated was blessed with a history of peace and prosperity since its independence. However, the wholesale violence modern American governments and American controlled corporations have perpetrated against millions of innocent civilians across the globe has changed all that. The terrible act of revenge perpetrated against thousands of innocent Americans during the attack on The World Trade Centre Towers, is an act of terrorism, which those who have been victims of American violence arguably justify as an appropriate revenge.

That nation¡¦s government effectively claims that it¡¦s citizens are ¡¥created more equal¡¦ than those in the rest of the world in status, in international law and in privileges. The current American Administration is blinded by the belief that might is right; and there is safety in militarism.

Evil is evil in any form, whether perpetrated by hideous terrorists or mandated governments. People who believe in justice denounce violence and revenge regardless of its source or origin. Acts of violence, which American Governments from the 1960s have been responsible for either directly or indirectly, are many:

1.       Millions of women, children, senior citizens and other innocents were victimised by the needless Vietnam War, which was nothing more than ¡¥money making business¡¦ for napalm makers, helicopter manufacturers, and body bag factories.

2.       Tens of thousands of Guatemalan peasants and native Indians were murdered by American backed ¡¥Death Squads¡¦ bent on acquiring their lands, minerals, and forests.

3.       USA created and/or armed and/or supported the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussain, Osama Bin Laden, Ferdinand Marcos and numerous dictators, tyrants and terrorists, as long as they enriched it¡¦s corporations.

4.       America the land of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and numerous other great men has become the base of robber corporations, and other entities which have been responsible for the deaths of millions of earth¡¦s inhabitants.

5.       Out of 100 largest economies, today 51 are corporations, most of them based in the US, while only 49 are countries.

6.       Ever since the Nation of Israel was established in what had been the Nation of Palestine the US has been responsible for the mass displacement of its original inhabitants, who are treated like animals, with their land desecrated, their properties openly destroyed, and they are driven out homeless and destitute.

7.       The world that rose to defend Jews against Nazis has failed to defend Palestinians against Zionists, because the latter victims do not directly benefit their corporations. The Bush and Blair governments are the real axis of evil with Sharon¡¦s as the third spoke.

8.       Let¡¦s not forget that America remains the only country that unleashed atomic weapons on civilian populations. The poison gas used by Saddam against his own people came with blessings of the US Administration.  Anthrax researched by Iraqi labs was cultured at secret US facilities.

9.       It¡¦s the country where weapons are manufactured for the mutual slaughter of Ethiopians and Eritreans, the Tutsis and Hutus and many other warring factions on across the globe.

10.   USA is the origin of the bullets that whiz from handguns of 10 and 12-year-old kids slaughtering each other in Liberia, Lesotho and other African hinterland.

The whole of humanity will suffer the consequences of the inhumanity of the few unless we assert equality and justice to all. Violence begets violence and until we stop violent acts against God¡¦s Creation we are going to suffer from the violence of retaliation from the abused, whether as terrorism or as other catastrophes. The faithful believe that God¡¦s retribution is inevitable in the form of floods, hurricanes, desertification, accidents and other natural disasters in response to our wanton destruction of creation and environment.

I believe that faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life

The brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations

That Peace is not possible without the provision of justice

And Earth¡¦s great treasure lies in human dignity and love.

As we stand today like the tiny David in front of the brute giant Goliath, let me conclude this speech with this prayer¡K

Oh God, show mercy to all the victims who have been wronged, let them live in peace and safety as you have given peace and safety to us today in Hong Kong.

Oh God, show mercy to the carefree that remain unaware of rampant injustice. Make them wise and understand the need to join forces and dare the forces of evil. And make them bold enough to participate and condemn these atrocities.

Oh God, also, show mercy to the wrong doers and warmongers by restoring humanness in them. Make them realise that the wrong committed to innocents by them only will linger and earn your eventual retribution. Inculcate in their minds the value of peace, love, and compassion. Remove their selfishness, hatred, and blind rage from their hearts. Remove their insecurity and fear, and give them magnanimity in strength and kindness in their hearts.

May peace be with you!