The Truest Believers
by Ioannis Petrohilos,
Since the events of September
11 people all over the world have become much more informed. They have learned
new words and concepts like Jihad, Martyrdom, Osama
Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and Islamic Fundamentalism.
Debates have been going
on all over the United States to answer questions like: “Why did they do this
to us?” or “What did we ever do to them? We don’t even know where Afghanistan is.” There has also been a lot of talk to
determine what it is that makes people like Mohammed Atta
defy their own lives in order to kill American citizens. These discussions
never go deeper than the fact that these people are brainwashed fanatics who
have been conditioned to kill whoever their leaders indicate. They are called
the “True believers” of a cause that aims to destroy anyone who isn’t a Muslim.
The American government is desperately trying to persuade its citizens that the
country is at war with terrorism, at war with those who are jealous of the
“American way of life” and the freedom this country provides. Islamic nations
are being portrayed as oppressive regimes that tyrannize their people and keep
them ignorant as sheep so that they can control them. The worst thing about all
this is that Americans buy it!
In this paper I will
show that United States citizens are the “Truest believers of them
all.” Their country currently is the biggest oppressor, nationally and
internationally, and yet Americans are so brainwashed and ignorant that they
believe their country is the protector of Democracy and the champion of freedom.
I will not try to prove that the hijackers of September 11 were justified in
killing innocent people. Instead I want to show that their deeds symbolize a
reaction to the United States imperialistic foreign policy of the last
decades. My aim is to make people think that instead of oversimplifying
everything and calling them cowards maybe they should
consider the despair of a person who is willing to give his own life I order to
make a statement. In doing so I will talk about how the United
States oppress people within America and all over the world.
In 1887 the Bureau of
Indian Affairs was set up to manage the income of Native American’s land
because they were found incompetent to manage it themselves. A lot of these
people owned land that was on oil wells which should have generated great
profits for them. Instead there are examples of people whose
land sits on several oil wells and only get $1000 per year. When in 1996
representatives of the Native Americans tried to complain about the situation
they were brushed aside, so they filled a lawsuit. The suit is a class action
that represents almost half a million Indians and has two basic demands: The
first one is that the trust system be made transparent and to operate in
accordance to generally accepted banking principles. The second demand is that
the money lost over the trusts 110 year life be accounted for and that Native
Americans be compensated. The first trial revealed that throughout the century-long
life of the trust, Native Americans were deprived of an estimate of $100
billion. Also, it was discovered that the trust was full of holes and
discrepancies which has made it almost impossible up to today to make it
operate in a transparent fashion. Six years have passed since the first lawsuit
was filled and the “land of opportunities” has yet to grant Native Americans
what is rightfully theirs. However, Indians are not the only minority that is
being mistreated by the “benevolent” government of the United States.
America was built on exploiting slaves from the
African countries. From 1619 to 1865 over 4 million people were brought to the United States under the harshest conditions and treated like
animals, working from dusk till dawn without getting paid. There was no job
blacks didn’t do, from digging canals, to building railroads, to picking
cotton. It was the free labor that blacks provided that allowed American
products to be sold in much lower prices than the equivalent from European
countries that paid workers. Slavery was abolished in 1865 and the post Civil
War legislation stated that former slave families should get 40 acres and mules
to start their lives over. However this promise was never fulfilled, in fact
for the next 100 years very severe segregation rules made sure that blacks were
kept as low as possible in the social spectrum. They were not allowed to eat in
the same restaurants, use the same bathrooms or even go to the same schools
with whites. Africans were the backbone of American economy but they were not
even allowed to vote, and should they ever get out of line, they knew that they
would be lynched by the locals who made an example of anyone who disobeyed
It was not until the 50’s
that some change started to take place. It was the civil rights movement and
the will of some charismatic people to die in just to make a statement. Americans
also viewed them as “True Believers” of a lost cause at the time, but as history
has shown their cause was justified and now the whole of the United States
celebrates the Black History month and mourns the day of Martin Luther Kings
assassination. Although today things are much better for African Americans
and they are given much more opportunities to succeed the injustices of the
past remain. This is why some of the most influential black lawyers of the
States are expected to file a lawsuit against the people of the United States into a federal courthouse this fall. It is estimated
that African Americans will request that the United States pay a reparation fee of around $4 trillion to
the descendents of slaves. The main argument is that the disproportionate number of African Americans
who are economically depressed, uneducated, or in jail is due to the cultural
trauma of slavery. Although it is more than fair that blacks be compensated for their hardships,
the example of the Native Americans tells me that it is highly unlikely that
this case will be resolved in the immediate future.
Minorities are not
alone in being oppressed in the “land of freedom.” America is one of the countries that still executes the death penalty. Research has revealed that at
least twenty people have been wrongfully executed. Additionally, the release of
Ray Milton Krone made him the 100th
innocent victim to be released since 1973. Krone
spent ten years in prison and the only reason he is alive today is because Arizona does not execute its death row inmates at the
same pace that Texas does. Most Americans still believe that the death penalty should be
kept in effect, but after cases like that of Ray Milton Krone
that have alerted a small-but increasing- number of citizens who are requesting
reforms to be made and DNA tests be made mandatory, as well as appointing
competent lawyers. On the other hand though, a lot of politicians want to
persuade their constituents that their tough on crime, so talk of abolishing
the death sentence are still deemed as utopian.
I find it truly amazing
that innocent Americans are killed by their government every year and the
people of this country lethargically remain glued in front of their television
sets doing nothing about it. Even the remote possibility that one innocent
person may have been killed by mistake is terrifying. Imagine knowing for a
fact that innocent people have been executed and doing nothing about. In my
mind there is no greater sin than that.
The United States is the empire of our times, and like all
empires it does anything to remain that way. Technology has given the United
States the opportunity to keep a watchful eye all over the world,
doing anything it can to defend its interests. This means that a great part of
the world- in some way or another- is oppressed by the “land of the brave and
home of the free.” Due to a lack of space I can not illustrate all the ways in
which America keeps other countries down. Therefore I will present some
characteristic examples of my argument.
America is the most
dangerous country in the world for two main reasons. The first one is that it
has nuclear weapons and the second is that it is the only country who has dared
to use them-and proud of it-. On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped an atomic bomb at Hiroshima, a Japanese city. The result was the death of 60,000 to 70,000
civilians and the destruction of most of the cities infrastructure. Three days
later a second bomb was released over Nagasaki, another Japanese city. The result was equally
destructive, 40,000 dead and one third of the cities buildings destroyed.
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) of1972 put strict limitations on research,
development and deployment of nuclear weapons. The U.S. arsenal had reached its prime in 1967 when it
had 32,500 warheads. Since the ABM treaty the number has been reduced to
approximately 8700. But President Bush is now trying to break free of the
limitations the treaty entails and start the creation of a National Missile Defence to protect the country from evildoers who might try
to use such a weapon against the United States.
I think that such an
act will only make our world an even more dangerous place than it already is.
The only way we can get rid of the fear of a nuclear bomb is by getting rid of
nuclear weapons. If research and development of nuclear weapons is resumed full
blast there is no doubt in my mind that at some point they will be used. Characteristic
is what Harry Truman responded when he was asked whether he was going to use
the A-bomb or not, he said that every weapon that had been built up to that
point was used, so the atomic bomb would have the same fortune. Furthermore
when Albert Einstein was asked how the third World War would be fought, he
replied that he did not know, but he knew that the fourth World War would be
fought with sticks and stones. Therefore, I think that the Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty must stay in effect, and the nuclear weapons should continue to
be disarmed until there are no more left.
The nuclear threat is
not the only way the United States have of punishing
their opponents. There are other ways which are extremely efficient in dismantling
whole countries. The most characteristic example is Iraq and the economic sanctions imposed in 1990.
These measures have caused 1, 5 million people to die of malnutrition and lack
of medicine. However since 1995 the oil-for-food program has allowed Iraq to export $2 billion worth of oil for food and
medicine. But only $1, 3 million can be spent for this cause since $700 million
have to be given to a compensation fund and toward U.N. expenses. Research made
by the U.N. indicated that $2, 1 billion needs to be spent on food and medicine
every six months so that conditions will not continue to deteriorate.
The sanctions were
imposed in a temporary fashion until Iraq dismantles its chemical weapons arsenal. By
1995 Iraq-with the help of U.S. weapons inspectors- had destroyed 90%-95% but
still the sanctions were not lifted. What the United States government does not tell the world is that
these weapons were created with the help of American money. Iraq was given $4 billion of agricultural loans
knowing that they would use them to produce chemical weapons. So, the sanctions
remain in order for the United States to continue exploiting Iraqi oil. Currently
the Americans use 60%-80% of Iraqi oil, if the sanctions are lifted and the
Iraqi government becomes less desperate to sell its oil just to survive, they
might decide not to sell to the United States. So, the sanctions are kept in existence to
keep Iraq depended on American money.
The attack on the United States on September 11 was a very sad event for the
same reason that it is tragic that 1, 5 million Iraqi people have died since
1990, because innocent people pay for their governments sins. It is very
important to examine how these terrorists managed to achieve such expertise and
military knowledge that they were able to pull off their almost impossible
mission. Who financed them? Where did they get their military training? Where
did they learn how to fly the planes? The United States! Osama Bin Laden was
trained and financed by the CIA when he was their “friend”, fighting against
the Russians. The CIA did such a good job with him that the former Soviets were
forced to retrieve off Afghanistan. Furthermore, all the hijackers learned to fly
in American schools who, as long as they can pay, will even train dogs to fly
airplanes. Zacarias Moussaoui
was accepted to Pan Am flying school even though they knew that he had not
attained a license for single engine airplanes after 57 hours of flying; the
average student needs 20-22 hours to get his license. Mr. Moussaoui
had cash though, so he was not denied entrance to the school. It was only a
matter of time before some of these deals backfired. The results are now known
to everyone, 4470 dead on September 11, and approximately 15,000 dead in Afghanistan in the months that followed.
this catastrophe does not seem to put some sense into the American
governments head and alliances with dangerous alliances are formed all over the
world. The Bush administration is determined to pay $98 million to equip the
Colombian government in its never ending battle against drugs. The Colombian
government lives off drugs though. Giving them money and guns will never end
the problem. The only solution is that American people stop buying those drugs.
States is the largest market for Colombian drugs. Unless Americans are
educated of the dangers of drugs they will continue to fund Colombia in two ways; Through
giving them money to get rid of drugs and through buying their drugs.
alliance that America has recently been involved in involves Uzbekistan. According to the State Department, Uzbekistan is a totalitarian state with one of the worst
human rights records in the world. However the U.S. government promised them $160 million in
exchange for letting them use Uzbek bases last fall for the U.S.’s Afghan operation. Such negotiations have
only contributed in legitimizing the human right atrocities. Human Rights Watch
estimates that about 7000 people are detained in Uzbekistan prison with false or no evidence at all.
However the American government, in November 2001 expressed its gratitude to
the Uzbekistan government for their efforts to fight
These are only a few examples of how America daily oppresses people and countries nationally
and globally. American citizens through still refer to their country as being
the land of freedom, they continue to live in an
illusion of pseudo freedom. Just because they can get unlimited call minutes
for just $19.95 or because they can choose between eating Chinese, Mexican,
or Greek food they think they are free. The truth is that they live in an
iron cage without realizing it. Under aged children in Third World countries are worked to death and paid $1 a week
to produce NIKE shoes, and Americans sit in front of the television eating
pop corn, enjoying “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and getting fatter by the minute.
Only if they start watching from a critical perspective what goes on in the
world will they realize that America is like a virus that kills anything in its path
to expansion and global domination. In order for this greed to end it must
start from inside. Americans need to wake up and realize that while they hundreds
of channels on their television, other children do not even have electricity.
The way I see it American people have two choices. The first choice is that
they can continue to live in ignorance, allow the Anti American sentiment
to grow by the day and watch it explode in their face in the near future.
Their second choice lies in informing themselves about the injustices that
take place by their government, and join the rest of the world in protesting.
Only by speaking up will change come, but it has to start from within.
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