Posted by Nick (18.104.22.168) on December 09, 2002 at 20:55:23:
In Reply to: Re: Ossama Bin Laden Revisited posted by Loren on December 09, 2002 at 11:16:33:
A few comments...
The point is a valid one, however, I don't believe it gives any merit to Usama, or makes him any less a murderous rogue and plague to society.
There is no such thing as absolute evil. The fact that Ossama cares about the plight of some of the world's most oppressed people shows he has a sense of justice.
Our Federal Government spends hundreds of millions of its tax payers money in aid to foreign underdeveloped nations each year. No nation on earth spends the money that this one spends to aid foreign nations.
The USA has the largest economy in the world (bar the EU's), therefore its donations are usually larger. However, when one considers the percentage of the US GDP which is given to foreign aid, one finds that this it is very far down the international list. There are 18 states in Europe currently donating more in terms of their GDP than the USA. See http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Debt/USAid.asp for more details. Former President Jimmy Carter said "We are the stingiest nation of all" in terms of foreign aid, two thirds of which goes to Israel and Egypt.
I am not overly criticising the USA, I am horrified about EU food subsidies, and I firmly believe the amount of aid provided by all nations is far too low, and that the current suggested amount, 0.7% of GDP, is too low.
We spend more to help developing nations in the middle east than any oil rich sheikdom spends to aid its own neighbor and fellow Muslim.
Just add "in order to secure our oil supplies" to the end of that sentence. Much is made of Iraq's and Afghanistan's human rights record. This is mere political expediency, as Human Rights Watch has pointed they have been highlighting human rights abuses in these countries, and Saudi Arabia, for example, for years. Now suddenly these have become important. Why?
What Usama said is irrelevant. He has already irreparably soiled his reputation with incomprehensible acts of evil against humanity.
Unlike in other terrorist attacks where Al Quaida has claimed full responsibility, Ossama has denied responsibility for September 11th. So far, the USA, and all other nations have utterly failed to make any progress in bringing the perpetrators to justice, or indeed, to prove that Ossama had any links to the attacks.
I am not saying he wasn't responsible, but we believe in "innocent until proven guilty", don't we? Why believe that he is responsible? Because he is the only scapegoat we have a face for that we can string up as a hate-figure?
As for acts of evil against humanity, yes, the attacks were just that. However, our own governments commit such acts every day. Ossama (may or may not) have had the idea of using planes as bombs. Our governments sign away lives at the stroke of a pen when they refuse to cancel international debt. Tony Blair described the current plight of Africa as scar on the conscience of the Western world. Was not the conscious decision by Western powers to abandon 1 million innocent civilians in Rwanda to the most horrendous act of genocide since the Holocaust an act of evil, greater than that which happened on September 11th? We may not have been able to avert the events of September 11th, but we certainly could have intervened, mitigated, or even prevented what happened in Rwanda.
How about the Congo, or Angola, or Chechnya?
These are just examples. No country or individual can take the moral high ground. If you read Ossama's latest statement, you may find that he has many valid points in it. Granted, the proposed use of violence to achieve his aims is totally abhorrent. But how many of our heroes in history have been great Generals, responsible for masterminding the slaughter of far more people? Napoleon, Caesar... so many.
I find it really quite disturbing that one man can be labelled as the most evil man ever. He has blood on his hands yes, but there are far more evil people in the world today who are equally, if not more responsible, for far more evil and suffering than Ossama Bin Laden.
And I do believe that if he speaks out for justice, then we can listen, because light is light, no matter in what lamp it shines. My heart aches for the injustice of a people, whether it is Bin Laden or Mother Teresa telling me about it.
I don't know if everything I am saying is completely wrong, but it seems to make sense to me.
Hope I haven't offended,
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