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September 27, 2001

Italy's Premier Calls West Superior to Islamic World

( ABSTRACT: NY Times ) The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, in a briefing for journalists, praised Western civilization today as superior to that of the Islamic world and urged Europe to "reconstitute itself on the basis of its Christian roots." As it designs a strategy against terrorism, Mr. Berlusconi said, the West should trust in the supremacy of its values. "We should be confident of the superiority of our civilization, which consists of a value system that has given people widespread prosperity in those countries that embrace it, and guarantees respect for human rights and religion," Mr. Berlusconi said. "This respect certainly does not exist in Islamic countries." The West "is bound to occidentalize and conquer new people," he said. "It has done it with the Communist world and part of the Islamic world, but unfortunately, a part of the Islamic world is 1,400 years behind. From this point of view, we must be conscious of the strength and force of our civilization." MORE NY TIMES / GUARDIAN UK

The Boomerangs Of History

( Ras Jahaziel ) Long before becoming the world's sole super power, your actions have been affecting everyone around the globe. What kind of actions on your part would give rise to that type of cold anger and lust for revenge that makes another people ready to sacrifice their lives just to get yours?

Even as your present lust for revenge is not without cause, do you think that other people seek revenge without cause? Do the effects of righteous policies make people want to commit suicide in the pursuit of revenge? Full Article

Saddam says condolences would be hypocrisy

BAGHDAD (Reuters) Iraqi President Saddam Hussein says he would be a hypocrite if he sent condolences to the United States over the September 11 suicide attacks on Washington and New York.

"(U.S. President George) Bush wants us to condole with him," Iraqi television quoted Saddam as telling a visiting envoy of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"If I had done so, then I would not have respected my Bush is the president of a state which launches war on us and bombs us in a despicable terrorist way," he said.

A U.S.-led coalition bombed Iraq heavily during the 1991 Gulf War. Iraqi targets still come under attack by Western planes policing two "no-fly" zones in the north and south of the country.

"This would be a hypocrisy if I had send condolences to its president and we are not hypocrites," he said. Iraq has not publicly condemned the devastating attacks, but Saddam's senior aide, Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, sent letters of condolences to a U.S. group opposed to sanctions on Iraq, and to former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark who Saddam said had come "to console us for the calamities afflicted by America on us".

Saddam said the U.S. had failed to produce evidence to back its claims about those responsible for the suicide attacks. Full Article

This is not a war on terror

While covering the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, I would, from time to time, drive down through Jalalabad and cross the Pakistan border to Peshawar to rest. In the cavernous, stained interior of the old Intercontinental Hotel, I would punch out my stories on a groaning telex machine beside an office bearing the legend "Chief Accountant" on the door. On the wall next to that office - I don't know if it was the Chief Accountant who put it there - was a framed piece of paper bearing four lines of Kipling that I still remember: Full Article

In Afghanistan, A Population In Crisis

GENEVA / NEW YORK, 24 September 2001 - A humanitarian crisis of stunning proportions is unfolding in Afghanistan. Twenty years of brutal conflict, three years of severe drought, large-scale human rights abuses and significant population movements spurred most recently by the present geo-political crisis have left more than five million civilians, the vast majority of them women and children, with a fragile grip on survival. The onset of winter will loosen that grip even further.

With the eyes of the world on Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries, we call attention to the following indicators of a broad and disastrous humanitarian crisis: Full Article

ZNet's September 11 Talking Points

( By Michael Albert and Stephen R. Shalom ) We are writing this on September 17, less than a week after a horrific terrorist attack against the United States. We are still dealing with our grief and trauma and we are still profoundly moved by the many acts of heroism, generosity, and solidarity that have taken place. Some may find it inappropriate to offer political analysis this early, but however discordant some may find it, the time for political analysis is before actions are taken that may make the situation far worse. Critics of war across the U.S. and around the world are working hard to communicate with people who for the moment mainly seek retribution. Below we address some of the many questions that are being asked. We hope the answers we offer, developed in consultation with many other activists, will assist people in their daily work. Full Article