From Paul LeBlanc, Pittsburgh

THE VIOLENCE THAT HAS EXPLODED 

The violence that has exploded in New York City, in Washington, DC, and near Pittsburgh overwhelms us with feelings of horror and rage. Our hearts must go out to the countless victims, to the physically and emotionally wounded survivors, to their families. The brutal killing of thousands of innocent men, women and children is a horrendous crime that must be condemned completely and unequivocally, and it must never be allowed to happen again. Yet how can it be stopped? It is something that has kept happening again and again throughout the world. Terror and murder against innocents has been the policy of groups and governments for as long as any of us has been alive. In the Middle East we have seen, with horror, Israelis and Palestinians caught in the whirlpool of righteously justified terror and counter-terror. It was so with Iranians and Iraqis in the recent past, matched by the sl aughter of Kurds, slaughter among the Irish, among Rwandans, among those of the former Yugoslavia, between Russians and Chechins, and more. For that matter, violence has been a policy employed by U.S. and UN and NATO forces—“ in order to maintain a global stability beneficial to the free market needs of powerful business corporations in the post-Cold War world. In past decades such violence was used against the Vietnamese and against Indonesians in the name of fighting “Communism” and it blossomed in the killing fields of Cambodia, thanks to the false revolutionaries of the Khmer Rouge (killers who were embraced, for a time, as U.S. allies against the Vietnamese). Contra terror in Nicaragua and Salvadoran death squads were part of a U.S.-government orchestrated strategy to maintain hegemony in Central America. U.S. allies in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay and elsewhere used mass terror against men, women and children among their own populations. Much of the violence has been generated by a deeper and pervasive violence of the status quo. This includes thousands of children dying throughout the world every day from hunger and curable diseases that go untreated. It includes the impoverishment of the majority of the world's population stunting bodies, stunting minds, stunting lives of many millions. It includes the use of immense political and economic power (and, if necessary, military power) to exploit the labor of peoples and the resources of countries throughout the world for the purpose of further enriching wealthy elites and of maximizing the profits of multi-national corporations. The explosion of murderous violence on September 11th is like a fiery back-draft into our own land of the murderous violence afflicting the world's peoples throughout the past century. We must stand against the violence, reaching out in solidarity to all of its victims everywhere. The gift of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable human right that must be struggled for by all who want the world to rise above the horror that we have just experienced in our own country. Humanity desperately needs a world of peace, but genuine peace can only be rooted in economic and social justice. Our only hope is to understand that—struggling to achieve it in our own country and throughout the world.