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SchNEWS – Friday 15th July 2005 | Issue 503/4

«Collateral damage» is counted in broken bodies and destroyed lives whether it happens in King's Cross or Kabul. It's no better to drop a bomb from 30,000 feet and blow someone up, than it is to explode one on the tube. What Governments call war (or 'justified military intervention') is terrorism when the bombs are falling on you and your family.

The mainstream press have tried to eliminate political context from the story. Without that it becomes the story of a cabal of evil scary men bent on the taking of human life. That is how they are depicting the bombings – here come the bogeymen. Stripped of analysis, we are faced with a nightmare of implacable, irrational evil. Without an understanding of what has motivated these acts we cannot hope to prevent further atrocities.

The right-wing press has insisted that these attacks are not connected to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the occupation of Palestine. They are apparently an attack on 'our way of life'. But these bombs weren't planted in Sweden or Holland (surely a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah). In every communiqué released, Al Qaeda and other Jihadist groups explicitly condemn western military intervention in Muslim lands. Some fundamentalists undoubtedly do view our society as permissive and corrupt, however if it weren't for the economic and military dominance of the West over the Muslim world they would be isolated fanatics. Terrorism thrives only where there is no outlet for people's legitimate aspirations. Surely the lesson of Northern Ireland is that solution to terrorism lies in dialogue and negotiation.

In February 2003 the Joint Intelligence Committee reported that Al-Qaeda and associated groups continued to represent «by far the greatest terrorist threat to western interests, and that that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq». Against our will we have been dragged into a war of resource theft, a war which in Iraq has cost 100,000 civilian lives. Is it any surprise that somebody has struck back?

So what happens next? Will Britain follow the American 9/11 path or will the backlash against Blair force the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan as the Spanish Government was forced to? A further massive clampdown on civil liberties and the stifling of dissent is now on the cards. Bush's with-us-or-against-us logic could emerge here, but we are also presented with a golden opportunity to prevent any more imperialist adventures. It wouldn't be surrender for the anti-war movement to re-emphasise the Troops Out message: it's recognition of our government's complicity in the creation of this downward spiral of violence.

The most worrying immediate development is the attacks taking place against mosques as people seek to vent their anger on those demonised for years by the tabloid press. At the moment this could just be the work of a few bonehead right wingers trying to stir up racial conflict, but it's imperative that they do not succeed in fanning the flames of racial hatred. With the government and the tabloids having built the pyre will it be left to the BNP to strike the matches?

So the question we must all ask: How do we, trapped between a rock and a hard place - with the State, cops and capitalism on one side and fundamentalist religious bigots on the other – continue to struggle for a better world? We must not allow this atrocity to overshadow the actions taken at Gleneagles against the main belligerents in this war: the G8 leadership.

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