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[Our second report on the Columbia disaster.]


By Hodari Abdul-Ali

"Say: HE is the All-Powerful, able to send upon you chastisement, from above you or from beneath your feet, or to confuse you in factions, and to make you taste the violence of one another." Holy Qur'an 6:65.

For those who fear Allah (God), and know that signs are given to guide mankind, there were unmistakeable indications that the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia was God's clear signal of displeasure with the leadership and direction of the United States and Israel.

Certainly no one wishes for the loss of life of innocent people, and condolences are hereby expressed to those in mourning. As an African-American I personally feel a special sadness at the death of Michael Anderson, as even to this day, there are so few Black astronauts.

The Columbia, however, was a symbol of America's power and might, a technological display for the whole world to see of the greatness of the only remaining superpower. It reminds one of the sinking of the "indestructible" Titanic in 1912, at a time when African-Americans were being lynched and terrorized in a terrible way.

As for the Columbia's fall, is it not "ironic" that it broke up over Texas, the home state of the man in the White House who appears hell-bent on plunging the world into a war of potentially disastrous consequences, simply because he has the "power" to do so?

Thank God for men of the moral stature of Nelson Mandela, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of South Africa, who at a conference just days ago had the courage to say,

"What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust. I am happy that the people of the world - especially those of the United States of America - are standing up and opposing their own president.

I hope that that opposition will one day make him understand that he has made the greatest mistake of his life in trying to bring about carnage and to police the world, without any authority of the international body (United Nations). It is something we have to condemn without reservation."

And is it not especially "ironic" that the Columbia had on board the first Israeli astronaut? Ilan Ramon, in fact, was a fighter pilot who took part in the criminal Israeli attack on a nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981! He was touted with pride as a hero in Israel, as the source of some "good news" for a change.

The reality is that Israel has been conducting a barbarous campaign of illegal occupation of Palestine, now under the guise of "fighting terrorism". Israel above any other country, has been fueling the campaign to attack Iraq, in part to divert world attention from its state terrorism of the Palestinians.

Did anyone notice that on the day of the disaster, journalists were reporting from the east Texas town of Palestine, which is within the area that the debris fell? I kid you not!

That this calamity occurred so soon after Bush's war-mongering speech to Congress, as the U.S. is moving more troops and armaments of war to the Middle East region, is truly a sign from above that no matter how arrogant and powerful a nation may be, that God is more powerful and certainly is not pleased with the bullying tactics being employed by the White House and its supporters.

Let men and women of good will continue to speak out against this war, and to pray to God that it does not escalate. If it does happen, however, we should all be reminded that God is in control and that the best laid plans of those seeking to do evil can be thwarted in "unforeseen" manners.

Mr. Abdul-Ali is a journalist and local businessman.

2003-02-05 Wed 06:20ct