Category Archives: choice

the suicide bomb

Is the suicide bomb an ethical weapon?

Many believe that no weapon is ethical, that bred within it is the cause for violence. There are those, also, who scale the ethics of weaponry as something that can be civilized vs. uncivilized. There are clean(er) ways of killing people, for instance, a predator drone or a gun. One can hardly imagine a film like Rambo where, instead of killing hundreds with a gun he decides to take them all out with a knife or his bare hands.

As weapons evolve, so does the death count. If we look at the trajectory of human development, as the population increases, so does the weaponry increase to kill more and more people. A hydrogen bomb, for example, or the machinery of the Nazi holocaust. The more space you put between you and someone else, the easier it is to kill, the less you feel it.

Whereas man used to be in touch with his violent side, confronted every day with the torments of violence in his world, nowadays we can comfortably kill people thousands of miles away and not feel a thing. The violence of the industrialized slaughterhouse also comes to mind.

So where do we rate the suicide bomb? Go to Nablus and you are confronted with posters and shrines to those who died or are imprisoned, a few of whom were suicide bombers or accomplices. Someone recently told me this was a glorification of violence. Open a Jane’s Defense and tell me who’s glorifying  violence.

In a place like Nablus, death is all around you. It stares at you from the walls, the wreckage, the bullet holes in the walls. It echoes in the eyes of others as they tell you their stories. Each death is like a blow to the face here. Mao once said, “To die for the reactionary is as light as a feather. But to die for the revolution is heavier than Mount Tai.” Compare it to the nameless, faceless coffins shipped back from Iraq.

Suicide bombers are not mindless drones lured by the temptations of heaven. They are human beings with families. They have to say good-bye and make preparations for their violence. They look their targets in the eye. They smile. They decide to go home when they see a baby carriage in a cafe. Predator drones don’t back down – the victims of wedding parties and funeral processions can tell you that. The human being in Nevada fires a missile and goes home to his family. The suicide bomber feels the weight of his or her decision with their entire body. It is literally the most important decision of their lives. The soldier in the foxhole tossing grenades can hardly say that each pull of the pin requires such forethought and soul searching.

Why is it that killing someone with your body is considered more barbaric and more cowardly in western civilization than killing someone with a tomahawk missile? Does the violence tickle that part of us left behind since the industrialization of war? Perhaps once we start to analyze the methods of war as closely as we do the reasons for killing will we rediscover the horror of taking lives.

conspiracies no. 2

“Just watch, now that you have more advertising in the West Bank, you’re going to see this message creeping in: ‘You deserve it.’ It’s not about community, it’s about you. That’s the death knell for the society. That will finally drive the wedge between the Palestinians and their community. When people are out for “me, me, me”, it’s over. The community is the only thing holding them together. What the Israelis may not understand -or maybe they do and what’s happening is intentional- is that the biggest barrier they face is the tie that binds the Palestinians together, the glue that solidifies their protest. The fact that the neighbors bring over food. The men sitting out back singing old Palestinian folk songs late into the night. Once they destroy that sense of community the population is finally anesthetized, an anesthetized population doesn’t have the energy or the desire to resist the occupation. They buy into it, pun intended.”

Safe & Legal

As we approach the first anniversary of the brutal and tragic assassination of Dr. George Tiller (May 2009), we are constantly reminded that a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion in this country is in perpetual danger. With only a handful of doctors left in the country who are able to perform the kinds of procedures Dr. Tiller gave his life for, we need a new generation of doctors who are willing to protect women like these good doctors have. Despite death threats, terrorism, physical assaults, and even death, these brave souls have fought back simply by going to work and doing what they do best.

How American conservatives view women & their personal agency

Regardless of your personal feelings about abortion, you should support women being able to seek safe medical care. Abortions happen no matter their legality. The only difference is that women become injured and even die when not given access to safe medical care and proper facilities.

It’s yet another shame on America that our women must seek medical care behind layers of bullet-proof glass and through a crowd of vicious protesters who have no empathy for their personal situation, nor any right to judge. Sometimes these protesters become patients at the very clinics they protest against!

Only 14, she came with her mother. “What brings you here?” Dr Hern asked. “I have to have an abortion.” “Why?” “I’m not old enough to have a baby.” “But you told the counsellor we should all be killed?” “Yes, you should all be killed.” “Why?” “Because you do abortions.” “Me too?” “Yes, you should be killed, too.” “Do you want me killed before or after I do your abortion?” “Before.”

Now that Dr. Tiller has been murdered, there is only one doctor in the United States that performs the same procedures in a professional, reliable manner.

“It is my view that we are dealing with a fascist movement. It’s a terrorist, violent terrorist movement, and they have a fascist ideology…” Dr Hern goes on like that for some time. Long before the first doctor got shot back in 1993, he was warning that it would happen. He was getting hate mail and death threats way back in 1970, just for working in family planning. They started up again in 1973, two weeks after he helped start the first non-profit abortion clinic in Boulder. “I started sleeping with a rifle by my bed. I expected to get shot.” In 1985, someone threw a brick through his window during a protest by the quote unquote Pro-Life Action League. He put up a sign that said THIS WINDOW WAS BROKEN BY THOSE WHO HATE FREEDOM. In 1988, somebody fired five bullets through his window. In 1995, the American Coalition of quote unquote Life Activists put out a hit list with his (and Tiller’s) name on it. The feds gave them protection for about six months, then left them on their own.

“People don’t get it,” he says. “After eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 406 death threats, 179 assaults, and four kidnappings, people are still in denial. They say, ‘Well, this was just some wingnut guy who just decided to go blow up somebody.’ Wrong. This was a cold-blooded, brutal, political assassination that is the logical consequence of 35 years of hate speech and incitement to violence by people from the highest levels of American society, including but in no way limited to George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jesse Helms, Bill O’Reilly, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Reagan may not have been a fascist, but he was a tool of the fascists. Bush was most certainly a tool of the fascists. They use this issue to get power. They seem civilised, but underneath you have this seething mass of rabid anger and hatred of freedom that is really frightening, and they support people like the guy who shot George – they’re all pretending to be upset, issuing statements about how much they deplore violence, but it’s just bullshit. This is exactly what they wanted to happen.”

As if on cue for this tragic anniversary, Nebraska has passed a recent set of draconian laws restricting their state’s residents from obtaining abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, arguing that the fetus responds to pain at this point. However, this is a hypocritical stance because America is a country where we routinely slaughter animals who feel a great deal more pain and possess higher cognitive functions than fetuses under abortion. The woman is merely an afterthought of this legislation, and lawmakers callously push aside her pain and suffering in deference to the cluster of cells in her abdomen. A woman taxpayer is again reduced to the role of “baby-machine” in this society. No matter her own opinion, when viewed as a “baby-machine”, all other personal agency is ripped away despite America being “the freest place on earth”.

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