Tuesday, July 20, 2004

A lesson in English.

One of the readers sent me this document that was published about 2 years ago in the Guardian of London newspaper in which anti-war American artists declare their rejection for the American government international policy and war on terror and ask for support. Since such protests have never stopped, I decided to take a look and see what can I make out of it.
I was surprised by the numerous grammar and spelling mistakes in that document. Maybe the guy who wrote it was not really American? Or probably not very educated? Anyhow and as a member of the human race who wants to help whenever possible, I decided to offer my help to the peace movement in the world and do some editing to some paragraphs, as it may harm their reputation to leave those mistakes there.

Yes I know it seems funny that an Iraqi help some Americans in writing in English but I thought I have attained some modest experience in writing in English throughout these months that probably made me more American than they (linguistically, I mean). Here are the edited paragraphs with the corrections in bold letters:

We believe that peoples and nations have the right to determine their own destiny -and when they’re ruled by dictators the right will be legally transferred to their rulers -free from military coercion by great powers. We believe that all persons detained or prosecuted by the United States government should have the same rights of due process. We believe that questioning, criticism, and dissent must be valued and protected. We understand that such rights and values are always contested and must be fought for, and that these rights are only ours and not for people who live in totalitarian regimes and thus don’t know or appreciate the meaning of democracy and freedom.

We believe that people of conscience must take responsibility for what their own governments do -- we must first of all oppose the injustice, as we see it so even if it brings tyrants like Saddam to trial and save their people, that is done in our own name. Thus we call on all Americans to RESIST the war- any war even if it freed millions of people- and repression that has been loosed on the peaceful Arab and Muslim dictators and the terrorists by the Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral, and illegitimate and will cost *us* more taxes. We choose to oppose this war even if it lead to make common cause with those who oppress the people of the world.
We too watched with shock the horrific events of September 11, 2001. We too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage -- even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam. We too joined the anguished questioning of millions of Americans who asked why such a thing could happen but that’s all what we can and want to do.

But the mourning had barely begun, when the highest leaders of the land unleashed a spirit of revenge. They put out a simplistic script of "good vs. evil" that was taken up by a pliant and intimidated media. They told us that asking why these terrible events had happened verged on treason. There was to be no debate. There were by definition no valid political or moral questions. The only possible answer was to be war abroad and repression at home. So you must realize that we are risking our lives by signing this document. It’s not like saying "no" to a guy like Saddam or Ghadafi; This is GWB!

In our name, the Bush administration, with near unanimity from Congress, not only attacked Afghanistan but arrogated to itself and its allies the right to rain down military force anywhere and anytime. The brutal repercussions have been felt from the Philippines to Palestine, where Israeli tanks and bulldozers have left a terrible trail of death and destruction just for their own amusement. The government now openly prepares to wage all-out war on Iraq -- a country which has no connection to the horror of September 11. What kind of world will this become if the U.S. government has a blank check from the congress that represents the American people to drop commandos, assassins, and bombs wherever it wants? Possibly a free world but that's not the point.

In our name, the government has brought down a pall of repression over society. The Presidents spokesperson warns people to "watch what they say." Dissident artists, intellectuals, and professors find their views distorted, attacked, and suppressed. The so-called Patriot Act -- along with a host of similar measures on the state level -- gives police sweeping new powers of search and seizure, supervised if at all by secret proceedings before secret courts. We are afraid that we may be going to live in a place that looks more like Iraq or Afghanistan!
President Bush has declared: "you’re either with us or you’re against us." (We hate him so much by the way but this is not personal!) Here is our answer: We are against you even if it means we’re with the terrorists because we don’t mean to be with them! We refuse to allow you to speak for all the American people. We will not give up our right to question. We will not hand over our consciences in return for a hollow promise of safety. We say Don't free them, NOT IN OUR NAME. We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name or for our welfare. We extend a hand to those around the world suffering from these policies; we will show our solidarity in word and deed, but excuse us if we can’t come closer to you because frankly, WE DON’T GIVE A SHIT.

Let us not allow the watching world today to despair of our silence and our failure to act, and prevent ANY action. Instead, let the world hear our pledge: we will resist the machinery of war against terrorism and repression and rally others to do everything possible to stop it and we will offer no alternatives, as it's not our buisness!

Join your voices to ours and lets DO NOTHING.

P.s we sent this document secretly to one of the newspapers and by the time you read it we’ll probably be lying in some unknown mass grave in the large desert of Nevada that contains the remains of most of those who opposed GWB.
-By Ali.

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