September 11 2001

                            The US under terrorist attack

Among the many questions raised by the events of September 11, I intend
to chose just a few


The passengers of the hijacked planes were innocent victims. So were
the thousands who died when the twin World Center Buildings crumbled over
those who did not have the time to leave the building, or were trapped
in it or had just came in to help and save as many persons as they could.
Those who died in the Pentagon represent a different category. Whether they
were or not legitimate targets, the fact is that they could not be killed
without killing the innocent passengers in the hijacked plane who hit the

There can be no justification for an act, whether it was intended to be
a powerful political statement, whether it was intended to be a warning,
whether it was intend to be an act of revenge ot just an act of despair,
there is no justification to involve innocents, so many of them, and
cause their death. My heart goes out to the families of the victims.

I therefore condemn the terrorist acts which on September 11 killed so
many innocent victims.

Having condemned the terrorist acts, do I have to condemn the terrorists


Just now, it is not known who are those terrorists, to what organisations
they belong, what are their main motivations. However, we know about them
the following:

1) they strongly believe in their cause.
2) their cause is related to their perception of unjust terrible sufferings
   inflicted to their people.
3) they are very idealistic, and ready to sacrifice their life for what they
   consider to be the good of their people.
4) in a certain sense, a very irrational sad but real sense, they are
   the cream of the cream of society.

They belong to the kind of persons who would, for the good of the people,
accept to be injected with a fatal illness, so that vaccins of non-proved
effectiveness could be tested on them.

They are not the egotistic kind. They are altruistic to  the highest

The question to be considered is how people so altruistic, can become
involved in criminal acts which harms and kills so many innocents.

Possibly they consider themselves at war with the US. But even war has
its rules, and warriers are supposed to respect the Geneva conventions
as not to harm civilians. However, those rules have often been disregarded
by the US and its allies. The bombing of Dresden in February 1945, was a
barbaric act committed by the British. Dresden had no industrial and
military value. More than 100.000 german non-military people were killed
during the raid. It was in flagrant disregard of Geneva conventions. But
then, it was the British, and the British are not terrorists!

Then the indiscriminate bombings in Vietnam and the use of Agent Orange
were barbaric, in total disregard of the Geneva Conventions. But then
The United States are not terrorists! Bombing Belgrade and destructing
the bridges and the civil superstructures, were conflicting with the
Geneva Conventions. But NATO countries are not terrorists! Bombing Iraq,
completely destroying the water plants, the Electric stations etc..
is against the Genva conventions. But then the anti-Irak coalition are
not terrorists!

So, why should the authors of the criminal acts against the US on
September 11, consider themselves more terrorist than, say, the US?

IF THEY ARE IRAQUIANS, they may be obcessed with the iraki 500.000 children
who died as a result of the economic blockade imposed by Nato on their

IF THEY ARE GUATEMALANS, they may be obcessed by the US criminal
interventon which resulted in a coup putting down the honest and dedicated
popular leader Arbenz and his replacement with puppets of the US. As a
result, thousands of Guatemalans were murdered, the road to economic and
democratic progress was closed and replaced by a road to regression and

IF THEY ARE PANAMEANS, they may be obcessed by the US invasion of their
country which caused thousands of innocent victims.

IF THEY ARE INDONESIANS, they may be obcessed by the coup directed by the
CIA which replaced Sokarno by Soharto and which was followed by a bloodbath
estimated to about 1 million victims, most of them having been on a list
provided by the CIA to Soharto, and which included all the activists in
the trade-unions, and the memebers of left-wing parties.

IF THEY ARE KURDS, they may be obcessed by the fact that for so many decades
the Kurdish people is prevented from exerting its rights for
self-determination. The US, for strategic reasons, stood behind Turkey and
Irak when they implemented policies of repression against the Kurds.
Recently, when the Kurds revolted in Irak, the US helped Saddam Hussein to
regain control. They allowed him to send his helicopters in the restricted
forbidden zone so as to defeat the Kurdish revolt.

Yes the US would like to get rid of Sadam, but not through a popular revolt
which could lead to democracy, but through a palace coup replacing one
tyrant by another more willing to comply with the US will.

IF THEY ARE CHILEANS They may remember that their country suffered an
horrible regime which caused the death of tens of thousands of their best
sons, a regime inflicted on them by the CIA because the US did not like
Allende, the democratically president elected in free elections.

IF THEY ARE YUGOSLAVS. They may remember that their country was once
unified, and all nationalities and ethnicities living side by side in
friendly relations. They may remember that as soon as some nationalistic
leaders proclaimed the independance of some yougoslavian territory, the
western countries recognise their independance and provided them with arms.

They may remember that BELGRADE was bombed. They may have lost loved ones.
they may have some ground to think that, were it not for the foreign
intervention in their intenral affairs, Yougoslavia could still be a
united country giving the example of diversity of ethnicities living in
the best of relations.

IF THEY ARE VIETNAMESE, they may remember the horrible unjust and
undeclared war inflicted by the US on their pople who had just won
independence by defeating the French armies. They may remember the lies
used by the US to justify their intervention (see Pentagon Papers), they
may remember the use of AGENT ORANGE which caused a terrible harm to the
vietnamese vegetation and to the health of millions. They may remember
that this unjust war, killed millions of viernamese.

IF THEY ARE CAMBODIANS, they can remmeber the secret war launched on them by
the US.

IF THEY ARE LAOTIANS, they can also remember such a secret war.

IF THEY ARE CONGOLESE, they can remember that their road to progress was
closed when the US decided that the congolese leader Lumumba, had to be

IF THEY ARE ANGOLESE they will remember how the US caused and sustained a
civil war against their government

IF THEY ARE US CITIZENS they may remember for how long the blacks were,
and still are, discriminated against. The same is true for south americans
and latin americans. They may remember that the US governement, through
its CIA, was the biggest drug dealer and has a great responsibility in
the extent of drug addiction in the US. They may remember that in a
country so rich, there are so many hungry children and so many
shelterless people.

etc.. etc..

and finally,

IF THEY ARE PALESTINIANS, they may remember that Israel is the only
country who is not punished when, for so many years, it refuses to
implement the UN decisions which are based on the GENEVA CONVENTIONS and
which would obligate Israel to evacuate all the territories beyond the
1967 boundaries, and would obligate Israel to accept the return of the
Palestinian refgees, and would obligate Israel to dismantle all the
Jewish settlements beyond the 1967 boundaries.

Israel can ignore the UN decision because the US support Israel and foils
any attempts at imposing any sanction against Israel. As a result
Palestinian refugees are living in refugee camps for a few generations.

As a result, Israel can implement a policy of barbaric repression in
territories they occupy illegally. As a result, Israel can subdivide those
territories into isolated islands with no communication between an island
and another without Israeli control. This control is exerted in a way that
increases the economic strangling of the Palestinians, increases their
humiliation and make it impossible for the children to get medical
assistance and proper education. Besides the Israeli army bombs and destroys
buildings, targets palestinians for assassination and kills children if
they dare throwing a stone as an act of resistance against occupation.

There are French people who could be raging against the US if they remember
that, in order to influence the French elections in the early years after
the war, the secret US services (OSS) paid the French maffia  to assassinate
French labour leaders in Marseille. They can remember how, with the
temptation of lots of money, the US succeeded in operating a split in the
trade union CGT.

Italians who remmeber how the americans freed the mafia form Italian jails
to use them in a war against the Italian resistance against the fascists,
who remember the continual US intervention with enormous amount of money
to help the Christian Democratic party win the elections, do certainly
have some beef against the US.

There are all kind of people who risked their life, and who mourn the
life of comrades, in the resistance against the gestapo and against
nazism in general, and who are enraged by the fact that the US gave refuge
to high level Nazis. Some of them became US citizens, some of them, known
war criminals, were helped to get refuge in South America. Those frustated
people who combatted nazism, do have a beef agaisnt the US.

If they are Japanese they can remember Hiroshima and Nagazaki. There is no
other weapon which, as the atomic bomb, kills indiscriminately. It is the
ultimate barbaric weapon conflicting totally with the Geneva conventions.

If they are Chinese, they can remember how long the US supported the
corrupt regime of Chank Kai Chek

Finally, they are people in the US, and around the world, who know how big
is the US responsibility in the degradation of the quality of life in
the third world, how great is the role of the US in the pityless
exploitation of the poor people, how great is the role of the US in the
continual pollution of the planet.

There are also Cubans who remember how backward was their country under
the dictator Batista, how strongly was Batista supported by the US, what
enormous progress has been realised in Cuba under the Castro revolution.
They remember the bay of pigs, they remember the blockade imposed on their
country. They surely have quite a beef.
Who committed the terrorst acts agsint the US on Septembet 11? We do not
know. But that the US was the target, is no surprise! No country around
the globe is so hated.

I am against the acts of terrorism. I cannot always condemn those who commit
them. A peaceful man cornered by brigands, fearful for his life, can
become vicious. When violence is resorted to, we must remember that the
primary violence is that of occupation, that of preventing a people to rule
itself. The violence which is a reaction against it, is a secondary kind
of violence which is bred and caused by the primary.

Were the Israeli to evacuate the "territories" and dimantle the Jewish
settlements which are beyonf the 1967 boundaries, most of the violence in
Palestine and Israel would cease.


I am against terrorism. But I know that injustice, exploitation and
discriminaiton breeds violence, whether justifiably so or not. Therefore
when it comes to struggle against "terrorism" we must all remember
that, however much we dislike it, we should dislike still more the
conditions which breed it.

I wish the initiators and planners of terrorist acts, would realise that
their action they can justify to themselves, those actions are counter

I do not know who committed the 11 September "attack on the US". I do
condemn the acts and those who committed it. But already Sharon is reaping
some fruits. He can pretend to identify the actions against US and those
against ISrael. To those who would justify the US reaction against the
attack, Sharon will have less difficulty to justify his actions against
the Palestinians.

My sincere condolences to all the victism of terrorism, including of
course the victims of the Israeli state terrorism over the occupied
territories. My particular condolences to the families of the victims of
September 11

Clement Leibovitz