- Created: Thursday, 07 May 2009 13:38
FRFI 192 August / September 2006
‘Have they all died for history, then, those thousands of dead…? The dead soldier with the bright wedding ring on his finger, the slaughtered masses of Sabra and Chatila, the Iranians putrefying in the desert, the corpses of Palestinians and Israelis and Lebanese and Syrians and Afghans, the unspeakable suffering of the Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese, Afghan, Israeli – and, yes, American – torture chambers; was this for history? Or for justice? Or for us? We know that the Balfour Declaration [when Britain conceded to the idea of a Jewish Israeli state] was made eighty-eight years ago. But for Palestinian refugees, in the slums of their camps, Balfour spoke yesterday, last night, only an hour ago. In the Middle East, the people live their past history, again and again, every day.’
– Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilisation: The conquest of the Middle East
Where Robert Fisk says history, we can say imperialism. The criminal destruction of human lives, infrastructure, environment and historical relics in the Middle East is the result of imperialism’s rampant search for resources to devour, chew up and spit out. Imperialist brutality follows inevitably from capitalist exploitation of man by man, exported from developed capitalist countries to other countries. It is the domination, to facilitate exploitation, by the oppressor nation of the oppressed nation. It is not that the people of the Middle East live their past history every day; it is that they live under the yoke of the same imperialist system, led by the United States and Britain.
And Israel is their proxy state. Israel’s current war against Hizbullah and the Palestinian people serves its local interests. But it is also a proxy war of the US and Britain against Iran and Syria, and linked to their desperation to get control of Iraq. That is why in mid-July, Bush and Blair and the G8 Summit refused to demand an end to the murderous Israeli onslaught on Lebanon. They want Israel to destroy Hizbullah, hoping to weaken Iran and Syria. The blatant media bias is necessary in order to confuse the public, to disguise the massively superior military force of Israel. Israeli representatives are given hours of interview time. What do we hear from the Palestinians? At least 44 Palestinians were killed in May, 55 killed in June and 121 in the first three weeks of July. This is the background to Hizbullah’s attacks on Israel. Who else defended the Palestinians – when Israel confiscated their income, arrested their elected government, assassinated their resistance fighters, destroyed their electrical generator, shelled to bits a family on the beach and bombed another as they slept in bed? (see page 1, 2 and 3)
We have seen the images of bloodied corpses of children, and babies rushed into ill-equipped hospitals in Gaza. And one hour away in Tel Aviv, sun-soaked Israelis lie out on the beach. They are not ignorant or unaware. Most have served in the Israel army and are waiting to be called up as reservists. They continue to applaud their savage military and their racist politicians.
What about the US and British public? Iraq may not share our shores, but British imperialism is up to its neck in Iraqi blood, in history, and today, ever since Britain carved Iraq out of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The British RAF bombed Iraq in six of the nine decades of its existence in the 20th century. The public may feel confused about the sectarian violence, but we can all be certain of one thing: every day when we get home; from work, from shopping, from enjoying the sunshine, and we listen to the news, there will have been more bombings and more civilian deaths (see page 8 and 9).
A towering pile of Iraqi corpses - increasing by a hundred a day at present. We must never become immune to those images of the victims of wars for imperialist domination. We must cling on to our humanity, be angry, find our determination to oppose it, to fight back against it. Behind each number is a life, a family, a community, a people. And it is precisely among these people that the anger is taking root so deep that it will rise up once again in a new generation of resistance movements.
But we don’t have to look to the Middle East to witness imperialist brutality. It’s here in Britain. It is in the shoot-to-kill policy of the British police, granted immunity in the name of fighting terrorism (see page 4). It is in the treatment of asylum seekers, so cruel that many have been driven to suicide (see page 16).
A strong movement in defence of asylum seekers who are fighting back will help to prevent isolation and despair (see page 14). We need to make common cause between this struggle and daily struggles against health and education privatisation, and against the attacks on the working class (see page 5), against the social fascism of the Labour government’s new ‘law and order’ plans to control the working class (see page 4). Let’s unite with those fighting against British imperialism and multinationals in African countries such as Nigeria and the Congo (see page 6), and with those in Latin America, resisting their own ruling class allies of imperialism: in Peru, in Chile, in Mexico and in Bolivia (see page 10). And let us stand with those, like Venezuela and Cuba (see page 7), who are winning the battle against imperialism to create new societies free from exploitation.
Imperialism is a brutal system, but it is made by humans and humans can tear it down. Start today, contact us to get involved. Send us your contributions both written and financial.
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