GABRIELA Network, a US-Philippine women's solidarity organization, grieves with the families of those who perished in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the cities of New York and Washington, DC. We grieve most profoundly for the loss of Americans of Philippine ancestry, and the deaths of Filipino migrant workers who held jobs at various establishments at the World Trade Center. We extend our condolences and our support to the bereaved families.
In the aftermath of these tragedies, we ask that the public bear in mind that the dead of the World Trade Center twin-tower collapse came from 62 countries. To use their deaths for xenophobia and anti-immigrant hysteria is to disrespect their suffering and those of their families.
It is a matter of grave concern that within hours of the attacks, we witnessed and continue to witness an assault on civil liberties and human rights within the US itself. Militarization has proceeded apace, attended by mobilization, overseas deployment, police and military barricades, wiretaps, raids, the zoning off of neighborhoods, "detention," -- all wrapped in secrecy and the legal fiction of "sealed documents" violative of due process. "Immigration questions" is the excuse used for arrest and interrogation, a phrase designed to quell any question regarding the processes by which investigation surrounding the tragedies are carried out.
That little time has been spent in asking questions - why the choice of targets, why such an acceptance of "collateral damage," why such disregard for human life, etc. - and even less time in seeking for answers add to our sorrow. We urge that time be spent in understanding the source of such rage towards the US, the role of the US outside its borders and finally, the role of the US in fostering the very climate in which massive death and destruction are acceptable. The root causes of the attacks have to be understood, so that the events of September 11, 2001 are never again repeated, whether the victims be people of the United States or peoples of Asia, Africa or the rest of the Americas.
Osama bin Laden, the Ak-Qaeda, the Taliban, and others accused of terrorism did not spring full-blown; nor did they develop in a vacuum. Certainly, the acute disparity in wealth, power and even in how grievances are heard create a fertile source of recruits for those who would commit such acts of despair as the attacks on the Twin Towers of New York City. Certainly, encouragement and support for their violence did not come from one culture or one religion or one system of beliefs alone. Indeed, the US itself was and continues to be instrumental in the creation and shaping of the Taliban, in the fostering of fundamentalism and fanaticism. And certainly, the US has been a prime creator of a world climate wherein the large-scale slaughter of civilians has become acceptable. The very term "collateral damage," to objectify the death of civilians, emerged from US military history.
Moreover, US transnational corporations, with their ruthless drive for profit, has been instrumental in creating a value system which ranks human lives as not even a poor second to the accumulation of wealth. Where medicine vital to survival becomes priced out of reach of the majority of the sick, where medicine is not manufactured because the sick poor does not constitute a market, where the food self-sufficiency of nations is compromised to maintain a world trading system, and where the most fundamental needs of human beings are ignored in favor of "globalization," not only despair but also a vast reservoir of hatred becomes the constant emotion of daily existence of the populations of the world.
We therefore urge that the response to the attacks be predicated on justice, not revenge; that it be predicated on the resolution of long-standing conflicts in various regions of the world, in lieu of war; that militarism be curbed, if not totally eradicated; that solutions to disparities in wealth and development be actively sought and implemented; and that the people of the US hold even more strongly and with greater fervor to civil liberties, due process and the respect for human rights.
We call on everyone to resist and oppose the current xenophobic and anti-immigrant hysteria. We call for an end to general public apathy and ignorance of the international situation, so carefully cultivated in the mass culture of the US. We call for even greater effort towards knowledge and the understanding of peoples, cultures and conditions outside US borders, and even firmer solidarity with those struggling for economic and social justice, independence, national liberation and genuine democracy.
We must do this in commemoration of the thousands who died in those attacks and toward the single objective that similar attacks not happen again, whether the victims be people of the US or people of Asia, Africa and the rest of the Americas.
-------------------------------------------------- GABRIELA Network USA A Philippine-US Women's Solidarity Organization
Chapters in Los Angeles, Chicago, New Jersey, New York, San Francisco, Seattle.
PO Box 403, Times Square Station New York, New York 10036 tel.: (212) 592-3507 email: email@example.com web: www.gabnet.org ____________________________________________________________________ GABRIELA Network - San Francisco Bay Area Chapter email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.gabnet.org --------------------------------------------------------------------