Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Article excerpt

Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves.

The Long View of History

To The Guardian Unlimited, Nov. 13, 2001 (as published online).

"History," President Bush said in his U.N. speech on terrorism, "will judge or justify every nation in this hall" (Leaders, November 12). In December 1987, the general assembly passed a resolution condemning terrorism and urging "effective and resolute measures for the speedy and final elimination of international terrorism." It was passed by 153 votes to two, the two being the US. and Israel.

The U.S. voted against the resolution. It was not prepared to affirm the right of people to struggle against racist and colonialist regimes and foreign military occupation. If it had supported the resolution, it would have legitimized the resistance to Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and elsewhere.

Mike Campbell, Bristol, UK

Starving Children

To the Chicago Tribune, Oct. 31, 2001 (as published).

Have Americans lost all sense of compassion? Buried in an Oct. 25 news story was this sentence: 'As many as 100,000 Afghan children are in danger of dying of starvation this winter, according to the United Nations."

Winter begins in Afghanistan in two weeks.

U.S. newspapers cover bombings in detail. We do not need to read about the accuracy of warfare; we need to know if food has reached 100,000 children.

Starving children is not sensational; it is shameful. These children are Afghanistan's future.

Jane Jackson, Founder, Women For Peace, Chicago, IL

Include Women in Afghan Restructuring

To The Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 16, 2001 (as published).

Regarding "U.S. diplomacy races to catch up to rebel gains" (Nov. 14): As diplomats scramble to avoid a long guerrilla war in Afghanistan, efforts to create a new government are focusing on a broad-based, multi-- ethnic coalition. And while the inclusion of all ethnicities in any peace talks will be vital to ensure that Afghanistan does not once again descend into anarchy, one social group is consistently overlooked in these deliberations: women. Women's rights were severely curtailed under the Taliban's five-year rule, yet the oppression of Afghan women predates the Taliban. Many of the male leaders now being wooed as peace brokers by the international community have less than outstanding records on women's rights. There are many women leaders in the refugee camps of Pakistan who should be given the opportunity to voice their concerns about any future coalition.

As one Afghan refugee woman recently told a U.N. Security Council meeting on women's roles in peace-building, "Do not think that because we wear a veil, we do not have a voice."

Mary Diaz, New York, Executive Director, Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children

Spin Wars

To the International Herald Tribune, Nov. 6, 2001 (as published).

Regarding "The Anti-Terrorists are Losing the Battle of ideas," (Opinion, Oct. 29) by Richard Holbrooke.

Mr. Holbrooke writes that "Osama bin Laden has gained the initial advantage in this struggle by arguing that this is a war against Islam, rather than, as President George W. Bush correctly says, a war against terrorism." Neither man is correct. Both are "spinning." Wars are not fought against religious beliefs or totally subjective epithets. They are fought against countries and people.

The war currently being waged by the United States is against Afghanistan and the people who live there. It is being waged in a manner which puts only Muslim lives at risk and which is perceived, in most Muslim eyes, as a hugely disproportionate and misfocused response to acts, however appalling and indefensible, committed half a world away by 19 angry men armed only with knives. It is far from certain that failure in this war would be more damaging to the United States than success. …

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