Saturday, July 16, 2005

[Fwd] Unite Against Terror in London, Baghdad, and Israel

I just signed this statement, Unite Against Terror, put together by several left-of-center British academics and political activists associated with Labour Friends of Iraq and, in some cases, "Engage". I recommend that other people consider signing it as well.

'Organisers Jane Ashworth, Alan Johnson and Simon Pottinger said "Those who sign the statement are saying no to terror. We are calling time on apologists like Tariq Ali who says terror is 'not a pretty thing' but must be supported against 'imperialism'. We dont think the slaughter of 24 Iraqi children last week was a blow against 'imperialism'. We don't think the murder of two 16 year-old girls in Netanya was a blow against imperialism. Nor the senseless death of 54 Londoners. Enough is enough. We hope to link together ordinary people under terrorist attack, from Israel to London to Baghdad, in the name of a common humanity, human rights and justice".

Even if you don't like signing on-line statements and petitions, or you consider it an empty gesture with no practical point (which it often is) ... I nevertheless want to pass on this statement and urge you to read it, since what it says strikes me as correct and important.

I do have one quibble. The statement notes that "Muslim community leaders [in Britain] have condemned the London attacks unequivocally." Everything I've read indicates that this is correct. However, it is only fair to add that when it comes to terrorist attacks against Iraqi civilians, they tend to be much more ambiguous. And as far as I'm aware, very few (if any) significant "Muslim community leaders" in Britain have unequivocally condemned the terrorist murder of Israeli civilians. But this doesn't affect the main thrust of the statement.

A selection of early names on the signature list includes the following (from Britain, Iraq, Australia, the US, Sweden, France, and elsewhere):

Brian Brivati (Professor of Modern History, Kingston University, London, personal capacity)
Ahmed (
Omar (Iraq the Model)
Peter Tatchell [prominent human-rights campaigner]
Alan Johnson (Westmorland and Lonsdale Labour Party, UK)
Hak Mao (Australia, blogger)
Christopher Hitchens
Oliver Kamm (Columnist, The Times)
Debbie Williams (Transport and General Workers Union, UK, personal capacity)
Micheline Ishay (Director, International Human Rights Program, University of Denver, personal capacity)
Osama Al-Moosawi (Iraq)
Harry (Harry's Place blog)
Gary Kent (Director Labour Friends of Iraq, UK, personal capacity)
Merlijn de Smit (Sweden)
Nick Cohen (The Observer)
Pierre-André Taguieff (France, CNRS Research Director)
Shalom Lappin (King's College London, UK)

Yours for political sanity,
Jeff Weintraub