Tuesday, November 04, 2003


"We can see only a career of slaughter, of devastation and of decay; murder and rapine abroad, and disturbances and misery at home. Such has ever been the bloody course of empire,¡¨ wrote the Washington Anti-Imperialist League prophetically in the Washington Sentinel on November 3, 1900, almost two years after America annexed the fledgling Philippine Republic.

On the same day that the address of its Washington branch was published, Josephine Shaw Lowell, the first woman to be elected as an officer of the Anti-Imperialist League, stated the basis by which the fate of America and those of the peoples she subjugates are forcibly entwined: “When the people of the United States consent to deprive another people of its rights and liberties, they strike a terrific blow at the foundations upon which stand their own rights and liberties."

It gives you pause and makes you wonder.

So much shared history with America. And yet because so little of it seems to guide our Filipino leaders today, only the counsel of America’s warmongers is heard while the wisdom emanating from the unlikeliest of sources is neglected.

Like unheralded Americans. The common folks who see no need to wrap themselves with stars and stripes yet who, by their deeds, have become more star-spangled than all the thugs of Washington could ever hope to be.

Like Faith Fippinger, retired teacher for the blind: At 62 years of age, nearing the twilight of her years, Faith decided to live in the grounds of an aging oil refinery in Baghdad as a human shield in the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq. For doing this the US treasury has threatened her with 12 years of prison and up to $1 million in fines.Yet Faith said she will not pay, “having made the decision to go there out of caring for human life, and then once there having to deal with the dead children from cluster bombs, and also seeing the young American military being killed."

Like John Titus, father of 28- year-old Alicia who was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks:

“I yearn for release from the pain ... [from] the heartache that I feel each moment of each day since Alicia¡¦s death Forgiveness is a letting go of those feelings that long to consume you with a twisted grief filled with hate and revenge ... [but] that is not who I am and it would not bring my Alicia back ... must learn to forgive those responsible or the anger would consume me like a cancer ... Working for peace and justice in a world that seems so inept in both has given new meaning to my life. For this is what my dear Alicia was all about 'an old soul' because of her deep wisdom and constant search for truth to direct the course of her love ... The needless killing of my daughter and the other 3,000 victims of September 11th, along with the subsequent killing of the innocent children of Afghanistan and Iraq must cease!”

Like Wright Salisbury, the father-in-law of Ted Hennessey who was killed when American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into a World Trade Center tower:

“[O]ur own government, and commercial interests that supported our government, had precipitated this attack as much as the vicious mentalities of the attackers. ... We must remember that the enemy does not live halfway around the globe, but in our own hearts, and that only with love of our fellow man will the hatreds of the world be ended once and for all.”

Like Amber Amundson, whose husband, Craig Scott Amundson, was killed in the attack on the Pentagon:

“I have heard angry rhetoric by some Americans, including many of our nation’s leaders, who advise a heavy dose of revenge and punishment. To those leaders, I would like to make it clear that my family and I take no comfort in your words of rage. If you choose to respond to this incomprehensible brutality by perpetuating violence against other innocent human beings, you may not do so in the name of justice for my husband.”

Like Peaceful Tomorrows, an organization founded by the families of those who perished in the September 11 attacks, which said on the second anniversary of 9/11 that America¡¦s military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq merely ¡§created more bereaved families like ours.”

“Ordinary Afghans killed by US bombs … the Iraqi dead … we hold them in our hearts today as another set of victims created by the tragedy of 9/11 ... While September 11 stands as a unique tragedy in the American experience, the sad reality is that people in other countries have been experiencing their own September 11 with much less fanfare all the time ... We are honored to stand with our brothers and sisters around the world who know that we the people must find another way to live together on this planet ... We owe it to the dead, we need it for the living and we must do it for the generations to follow.”

The greatest wealth in the world we stand to gain just by clasping the hands of those who truly embrace America’s ideals. Because these are our ideals, too. Peace. Solidarity. Respect.

Comments are welcome at xioi@excite.com
Op-Ed, TODAY and abscbnnews.com

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