29 October 2001 what do I think of the war?

(version 2)

I don't know what to think about the attacks in the USA and Afghanistan - do they signal the end of state sovereignty and the beginning of equal global power to individuals and small groups?... They seem to disqualify our immediate or habitual thoughts and to call for political actions very different from what has been done in the last few millennia between 'civilised' states.

Perhaps the best thing is to acceptthat the world has changed enormously and to do something as different(from 'civilised' life and warfare as we knew them) as the attack of 11 September was from terrorism as we knew it up to then?

Possible thoughts and personal actions:

give some time to understanding Islamic history, theology and culture (but I've always found them unreadable...?) and to getting to know Islamic people (but I'm not aware of knowing any...?).

give some money to Islamic charities serving the people of Afghanistan - for instance http://www.islamic-relief.com

don't give time to continuous war news on tv radio and in newspapers (but listen to news once a day and listen to phone-ins)

think of aspects of life that are good and are unaffected by these events - the beauty of nature, of individual people (Osama bin Laden and George Bush included) and attend to simple but essential actions like breathing, posture, eating rightly, speaking modestly, and such.

put this on my website

...and now to clarify, if I can, what I think of the attack and the war:

the immense scale of the attack must have been provoked by something - what is it?

I can only think that this something is the equally immense, or more immense, scale of damage (physical, cultural, political, religious, crusaderly) done to Islamic people by the presence of western culture and colonialism and by wars and dubious alliances to control oil supplies or access of Christians to Jerusalem - and the dreadful business of deciding the borders between invented countries by western powers 'drawing lines in the sand'... (but are not all countries invented?)

can this something be changed?

only if there is a sufficient force to change this situation - clearly the attack is one such force - so we should accept it as understandable if not legitimate and negotiate what the terms really are for peace in the world and for an end to such attacks... difficult as that may be for most of us.

this real power should I think be recognised for what it is and should not be declared illegal... the huge force of modern weapons, exercised by small groups or individuals, must eventually be recognised as equal to this same power exercised by states...

...recognising that, we can do what it asks and be glad that it provides the incentive to put right this vast and historic mistake of anathematizing Islam (the civilisation which saved the literature of Ancient Greece for centuries during which Europeans were unable or unfitted to value it)...

the war in Afghanistan - what do I think of it and what should or could be done about it?

I think it is being perceived by Islamic people as increasingthe scale of the something that provoked the attack and so it should be stopped - by a public change of heart and policy

but that change of heart is unlikely to happen at the moment... (as citizens of states we still fear their equality with something less than a state)


While the war continues, and provokes more attacks on the west (perhaps in Europe as well as in the USA), keep silent, and keep active at everyday tasks - until the majority of us can change our minds and a new politics becomes possible.

...an oracle tells me to hold to the fundamentals of life and not to be dismayed by what may seem hopeless for the moment - things can change suddenly, or slowly, our thoughts are not fixities, we can respond to new circumstance, sometimes...

but in the meantime all this:

...incompleteness, confusion, armchair politics, ill-informed thinking, war, terrorism, freedom fighting, patriotism, treason, stop Hitler, the Holocaust, United Nations, the Bill of Rights, suicide attack, the six thousand dead, decentralisation, weapons of mass destruction, 'then what is your remedy?', passive resistance, 'negotiate now not after killing millions', refugees, asylum seekers, disputed borders, 'you can't just do nothing about it', realpolitik, hi-jacking, continuous news manufacture, 'we're against killing', 'bomb them into the stone age', infidels, settlers, colonialists, Middle East religions, Crusades, Holy Wars, repression of women, exploitation of women, oil oil oil oil oil oil oil it sounds so smooth and slippery and the infernal combustion engine and anthrax and the machine gun and the plastic knife invisible to metal detectors, what a mistake ... this is the cradle for what next - and what of the internet?

Ode on a Grecian Urn

...When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

John Keats, 1819

to type that was a pleasure

such thoughts can occur in all cultures, all lives,

despite the atrocities...

digital diary dates