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[by Karen English, our representative in California]

You know what I hate about this obscene "war"--- I mean besides the arrogance ("The outcome of this war is not in question." Donald Rumsfeld), or the fact that it was planned years ago and Israel, one of the main beneficiaries, had a hand in the planning, or the cheerleading and war briefings of network and cable news, or even the bragging about all their super technology and weaponry? I hate the racism embedded in every aspect of this invasion of a sovereign nation. Here are a few examples of Bush and his ilk assuming black and brown people are "stupider" than most:

1. Bush coming out before the onset of the invasion to read some ridiculous statement about his Middle East road map. Does he think Arabs and Muslims aren't aware that Israel and the United States are two sides of the same coin?

2. The battle for hearts and minds I guess the Iraqi people aren't supposed to notice that they've lost family members, the infrastructure of their cities and villages has been destroyed, hunger and thirst and disease and dismemberment have been forced on them in the name of regional domination and making things better for Israel. Would they foist such circumstances on, say, the people of England and then expect to win their hearts and minds?

3. The coalition whining about the Iraqi's not fighting according to certain rules and regulations. Why should the Iraqis fight according to America's game plan rather than their own? A people have the right to do anything and everything they need to do to fight for their homeland. Only the descendants of colonizers and enslavers would expect to dictate the rules of engagement.

4. The underestimation of Iraqi resistance---expecting the Iraqis to just fall down on their knees in shock and awe before the great, white, western giant. A variation on this theme---assuming every Iraqi soldier who sheds his uniform and stows his weapon is doing so while running scared. Why not give them credit for following a successful guerilla tactic that the Viet Cong used: melting back into the populace?

5. Propaganda leaflets and radio broadcasts Imagine how receptive Americans would be to the leaflets and radio broadcasts of an invading army. The leaflets contain conciliatory messages and ask the Iraqis to tune into Nahrain FM, a radio station run by the British. The station plays pop hits by Jennifer Lopez, Abba, and the Bee Gees. The presumption is that Iraqis are thirsting after everything American with its superior culture.

6. The bickering and squabbling already taking place concerning reconstructing Iraq (who's going to get those contracts), leader selection, interim governments, and on and on There are no words that do justice to the audacity of the United States and Great Britain, and whoever else who's trying to get in on it, in assuming such incredible authority.

7. Civilizing the savages Evangelists are already waiting at the border with their bibles. Western businessmen are probably salivating at the prospect of bringing in the brothels and bars and other expressions of western civilization.

8. The deliberate mispronunciation of Arabic names and words. Western media were able to pronounce Milosevic, but they can't pronounce Saddam, or Muslim.

Note how they make Saddam sound like Sodom (as in Sodom and Gomorrah). And what about that long u and z sound in Muslim? The unspoken message here is that their pronunciation is ultimately a correction. They are English speakers. That implies an authority and correctness by virtue of that fact.

And, perhaps the most racist of all

The glut of human interest stories peddled on CNN profiling the Tyrone Washingtons and Jose Riveras of this "war." They were probably duped into enlisting by the promise of opportunity. Now they are risking their lives for Bush and serving as a kind of lure for more black and brown people to become cannon fodder for the chicken hawks of Washington.
CHICAGO CALLING [At the ground level]
BY: ATHER MASOOD [Our Chicago representative]


Saturday April 5, 2003 High School and College students joined forces to close down Lasalle and Jackson streets in downtown Chicago. In a show of force, 5 to 6000 students blocked cars, buses and general traffic along one of the main streets in Chicago. Moving from Jackson, students moved into Michigan avenue and then back towards the Federal plaza. Protestors were met with hundred of police officers on horses, foot, and in cars. In an attempt to intimidate anti-war activists, some police officers poured horse manure to prevent marchers to move in wide areas.

It is clear these anti-war activities are costing the city. With that in mind more and more protestors continue to prevent free-flowing traffic in the downtown area. Despite this show of force no arrests were made. It was quite clear that young people are able to organize and articulate against this war without the need of others. Energy, enthusiasm, and power were all found among the black, white, brown, and yellow youth protesting.

Chicago area media in an attempt to further discredit the marchers, ran tidbits of what was happening on Saturday. But anyone who was around town knew the marchers had control of the downtown area without provoking any violent conflicts. Media, instead tired to focus on the "war gains" in Baghdad, despite a huge pouring of Anti-War sentiment in one day.

The famous Father Flagor from Saint Sabina Church, ripped war efforts by calling it an unnecessary act of violence. Pro-War protestors were in small groups and, once again, attempted to provoke a conflict by heckling and even pushing Anti-War protestors. The police in many ways, kept their distance from pro-war representatives. A number of high rise building corporate officers displayed signs to condemn the marchers. However, many of them were so high that they were overlooked by marchers. TOWN HALL MEETING SUNDAY APRIL 6, 200

In a show of impressive force Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Buddhists lashed out at Mr. Rahm Emmanuel from the 5th Congressional District in Illinois. At least 400 people from various community organizations condemned Mr. Emmanuel for supporting this war and called for him to step down.

Representatives from Chicago's most wealthy neighborhood castigated Congress, the aims of war, and created new forms of protest against the war on Iraq. Latino activists, Jewish activists against Israeli activities, Muslim representatives and other jammed the Episcopal Church on 4555 North Hermitage street to make all know about America's dirty war.

A former U.S. government employee who lost a family member in 9-11, made a most moving speech on the need to end "unnecessary conflicts," with Muslim people. A Jewish peace representative told the story of how she was thrown out from home of friends, when she rejected the idea by co-workers to kill all Muslims in America. A 12-year naval veteran also Jewish, literally cried and said the American public is being fooled and do not know what real war is. Such speeches were significant because MR. EMMANUEL IS ALSO OF THE JEWISH FAITH AND WAS CRITICIZED BY FELLOW JEWS IN THE PEACE MOVEMENT. Perhaps the most moving speech was by a homeless Vietnam Veteran who said " I had the right to go kill others but I don't have the right to have a home?" Despite being publicized on tv and radio NO pro-war activists presented themselves. (which shows you what they are really about) Pro-war advocates had a chance to present their views in a respectful manner but did not show up. The Congressman did not even send a representative. Mohammed Masood, representing the Islamic Center of Chicago made the point how some Americans cannot even tell the difference between Asian-Indians and Arbas, much less bring Democracy into another nation.

How can he spread democracy when a member of congress cannot speak to his own constituency? IN HIS OWN NEIGHBORHOOD?


Last week the supreme court began to hear arguments for Michigan University "preferential treatment rules." The prospective law students argued that she was being discriminated against for not being selected on the basis of race. So now she has filled suit. In this time of great trial for Muslims. It is important for us to not let past changes (no matter how small or big they may seem) be destroyed by this present fascist administration. It was clear the Mr. Ashcroft and the Republican party will use the war to attack Affirmative Action legislation for African-American, Latino/Latina, and Native American students. ALREADY there is a limited presence of minority students on college campuses in the nation. WHAT WILL THIS NEW ATTACK BRING?

For Muslims affirmative is something we need to support in mass. no exceptions period! The cap of the matter is that Minority enrolled students are still no longer accepted, promoted and, under-appreciated. There is "preferential treatment," for minority enrolled students in the armed forces. So how come there cannot be "preferential treatment" for the poor and vulnerable?

The ruling on this case will not take place until June. But for Muslims affirmative action in America is not very different than similar actions for Muslims in India or in other parts of the world. Support for the vulnerable, poor, and oppressed everywhere is an Islamic duty which IS an Islamic teaching. How can Muslims support oppressed people in other nations and not in America itself? How sad it is that people bleed, fought, and died for affirmative action and now the American administration has the audacity to question it's need? Of course there is a need. Just go look at any major institution in the nation. Will you find a person of color there? Hardly, unless they live in a Caucasian reality and are comfortable with it.

Does any American have the right to curtail the over all importance of affirmative action laws?

If Affirmative action is destroyed then Muslims should step forward and create their own form of affirmative action so disenfranchised students can still get the education every human being deserves.
[Sent by Sis. Hamdiyeh, South Carolina]

Killing a child: 'I did what I had to do'

04:08: 2003
When a young Iraqi boy stooped to pick up a rocket propelled grenade off the body of a dead paramilitary, US Army Private Nick Boggs made his decision.

He unloaded machinegun fire and the boy, whom he puts at about 10 years old, fell dead on a garbage-strewn stretch of waste land at Karbala.

Boggs, a softly spoken 21-year-old former hunting guide from Alaska, says he knew when he joined the army 18 months ago he might someday have to make a decision like that.

He hoped it would never come and, although he has no regrets about opening fire, it is clear he'd rather it wasn't a child he killed.

"I did what I had to do. I don't have a big problem with it but anyone who shoots a little kid has to feel something," he said after fierce weekend fighting in this Shi'ite Muslim holy city that left dozens of Iraqis and one American soldier dead.

As US troops take the Iraq war out of the desert and into the main cities, they are increasingly seeing children in their line of fire.

Many are innocent civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time and military officers concede that some may have been killed in artillery or mortar fire, or shot down by soldiers whose judgment is impaired in the "fog of war".

But others are apparently being used as fighters or more often as scouts and weapons collectors. US officers and soldiers say that turns them into legitimate targets.

"I think they're cowards," Boggs said of the parents or Fedayeen paramilitaries who send out children to the battlefield.

"I think they thought we wouldn't shoot kids. But we showed them we don't care. We are going to do what we have to do to stay alive and keep ourselves safe."

The boy he killed was with another child of around the same age when they reached for the RPG and came under fire. Boggs thinks the second boy was also hit but other soldiers think he escaped and that he dragged his friend's dead body away.

Boggs' platoon leader, Lieutenant Jason Davis, said the young soldier struggles with what happened even if he had no choice but to shoot.

"Does it haunt him? Absolutely. It haunts me and I didn't even pull the trigger," he said. "It blows my mind that they can put their children into that kind of situation."

Although Boggs plays down suggestions he was upset by the incident, he also says his view of combat has changed since Saturday, when his platoon came under intense RPG and rifle fire from the moment they entered Karbala until way after nightfall.

Before - like many young soldiers - he says he was anxious to get his first "kill" in a war. Now, he seems more mature.

"It's not about killing people. It's about accomplishing a mission ... When we talk, we don't say how scared we were. But we found out how you feel when an RPG hits the wall just up from you and you think 'Damn, I could have been right there'," he said.


2003-04-10 Thu 19:11ct