I kind of lost it after the Paris attacks; I couldn’t write, I couldn’t read, I couldn’t put a thought together. I needed time to grieve, and though I did know about what happened in Beirut, and hold true that no one person’s death is more important than another, I tend to edit the horrors I witness in order to emotionally survive. I grew up in Paris; my father was stationed in Paris, so yes Paris has a special resonance for me. The fact that some atrocities resonate more with me than others doesn’t negate or devalue my horror of the depraved acts against global humanity, which I am witnessing with increasing frequency.
ISIL is an extreme faction of Islam. I’m tired of the back and forth argument of whether its real Islam or not; as tired as I am of the back and forth argument of whether right wing Christianity is real Christianity or not. ISIL has their own interpretation of Islam just like right wing Christianity has their own interpretation of Christianity. The point is both sides think their interpretation of the word of God is correct and it is their holy mission to impose it on non-believers. Any means, from outright lies to acts of terror, justifies the end. That being said, the majority of Muslims do not support ISIL, just like the majority of Christians do not support right wing Christianity.
When I heard the Paris attack referred to as an act of war, I had the same response I had to Hillary the day after 9/11, when she referred to the bombing of the world trade center as an act of war. Neither the bombing of the world trade center nor the attacks in Paris was an act of war; they were acts of terrorism. Terrorism is a method, you don’t know when, where, or how the terrorist is going to attack; the only thing you can be sure of is that they will attack when you least expect it, in the most profoundly, hurtful way they can think of. Military force and the threat of ever more powerful military force does not work against terrorism. Terrorists don’t give a flying fig how big your bombs are and they certainly don’t care if you bomb their country and innocent people.
ISIL is funded by the profits of their oil fields, taxes they impose on the people who live in the territories they control, and private funding. The majority of the private funding comes through Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, all three allies of the United States. We give Saudi Arabia lots of money and weapons to encourage them to step up to the plate and stop the flow of money to terrorists and extremist groups. Between 2010 and 2014 we sold Saudi Arabia $90 billion dollars worth of arms. On Monday, November 16th, 2015, Obama signed yet another billion dollar arms deal with them. These weapon sales are called diplomacy. You scratch our backs; we’ll scratch yours. This is the same reasoning behind not bombing ISIL’s oil fields because the men, who can ostensibly pressure the men to stop funding ISIL, will be mad at us if we do. If they get mad at us, funding for terrorism will increase and horrific acts of terror against humanity will become a daily, global, occurrence. Since the weapons the United States, France, Russia, and England have sold the Saudi’s continually end up in the hands of terrorists, and given the growing number of terrorist acts, it makes no sense whatsoever to continue this diplomatic tact.
When I step away from the media controlled narrative—the reasons we can and can’t stop the flow of monies to ISIL; the reasons we can and can’t stop people from buying their oil; the reasons behind Middle Eastern governments giving little more than lip service to stopping the growth of ISIL—all I can think is follow the money. No one percenter would funnel huge amounts of money into any activity without expecting a sizable return on their investment. The value of the money of the global 1% is completely interdependent; what reduces the value of money on one side reduces the value of money on the other. This is why the U.S. government bailed out the banks—the American dollar was about to become worthless because of reckless speculation by the big money boys —and because of the interdependency of the economic system, it would have taken down the entire global economy. In other words the worldwide super rich would have awakened super poor and the super rich no matter what side they play for, aren’t about to let that happen. They have the money, which gives them the structural power to do whatever they want including determine a diplomacy and foreign policy that protects their profits at any cost.
ISIL is a direct result of Bush’s war: a pre-emptive war that had nothing to do with Iraq. Chris Hedges calls ISIL, our Frankenstein. Clearly ISIL is a very real and present danger if Obama and Putin—two men who really don’t like each other—have decided to work together to militarily stop them. I hold true that ISIL must be stopped but the fact is ISIL is not in the least bit scared of America or anyone in the western world and nuking them isn’t going to scare them either. If anything it will get them more fanatic followers than before. We are programmed to believe that bigger bombs and bigger guns and sneakier drones will protect us but clearly that’s not true. There has to be another way. There has to be more effective diplomacy, there has to be a way to destabilize the super rich, ruling bullies on both sides playing life and death games with the earth and humanity but that’s not going to happen unless people across the globe, come together en masse, accept the reality of what’s going on, and vote in officials that serve the needs of humanity before the crass desires of profit. I am feeling a lot like a pawn on a chessboard these days and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think we’re being marched into war.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools.
Katherine Manaan MAWT
Lefty, feminist, progressive, pro-choice, pro-humanity, pro-environment, anti-corporation, resister.....