Over the past few days, I've been emailing with a friend of mine who lives in London. She wasn't on the trains when the bombing occurred, but did pass by the bombed bus. Like most peace activists did in NY, my friend has mixed her shock and horror at the bombing with anger at the policies that motivated it. She told me that last night she went to a meeting of Military Families Against War and the "Stop the War Coalition" where Tariq Ali spoke, memorably referring to Blair's "coital embrace" with Bush, from which it seemed impossible to disengage him. I had the mental image of those unfortunate dogs caught locked in the act. The metaphor is even more apt for the populations of England and the US, who are quite involuntarily attached to these leaders and thus held responsible for their terrible foreign policies. After the Sept. 11th bombings I felt caught between two juggernauts, neither of which I could do much to influence, it was a terrible helpless and enraged feeling - the first time I had ever felt so very viscerally just how bad for ME US foreign policy really is.
Robert Fisk, as usual, can be counted on also for cogent commentary. His piece in Counterpunch,
Fisk argues that
"To go on pretending that Britain's enemies want to destroy "what we hold dear" encourages racism; what we are confronting here is a specific, direct, centralized attack on London as a result of a "war on terror" that Blair has locked us into."
He doesn't spell out his reason for making this argument, but it's clear. If the terrorists are acting against us because they "hate our freedom," for example, it must be because they're from a breed very different from us, they are people,in fact, essentially and irrationally different from us, and their raison d'etre is to destroy us and or/to take what we have.
When we're done thinking about how to respond effectively to this crisis, perhaps we'll begin to feel the effects of this more deeply.