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Unknown American lies in Champagne

What joy, for fatherland to die!
Death’s darts e’en flying feet o’ertake,
Nor spare a recreant chivalry,
A back that cowers, or loins that quake
(Horace 65 BC)

 

One hundred years ago, Americans were sent into the European meat-grinder. Today’s leaders ask us to remember “their glory and their sacrifice” as they take us dangerously down the road to war again, much like in 1914. They taught us in school it was “the war to end all wars” and a “fight for freedom and democracy.” It was, in reality, a war for profit, greed and colonies in the interests of what we today call the one percent.

Warning: Yes, I was and still am ready to fight and, if need be, die for my country.

UnknownA lot has been made of Donald Trump’s refusal to serve in the military during the Vietnam War. As a wealthy young man, he probably knew much better than we Grunts did, what that war was all about.  At the same time, when Muhammad Ali died this year, little was made in the mainstream media about his refusal to serve when he said: “I got nothing against the Viet Cong. No Vietnamese ever called me nigger.”  1  The major reason for this is the US has never drawn the right conclusions on that war even though the military did.

The man who got on a Parisian bus with me Wednesday was an Arab who had not shaven in four days. He had dark olive skin and kinky black hair and was visibly unbalanced: drugs? He sang to a popular tune “I’m going on Jihad. Won’t you come on Jihad with me too?” He risks five years in prison and a 75 thousand euro fine.

In the first six days after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, 54 people were charged with “apology for terrorism” under a tough law voted in the French parliament last November which can jail someone, if they express their “support for terrorism” on the electronic media: FaceBook, Twitter etc., to up to seven years and fine them 100 thousand euros .

France’s “war on terrorism” has begun. The new law allows the “apologists” to be brought before a judge as soon as they are arrested in a process called “comparution immediate”; that is without time to prepare a defense.  It is a law for a time of war.

They came in their hundreds of thousands. Jews, Muslims (although fewer than hoped for), Christians and atheists: Students, workers, the unemployed and the bourgeoisie. They said “I am Charlie.” “I am Ahmed.” (the policeman executed at Charlie Hebdo). “I am a Jew.” Or, they just said nothing.

They were anarchists, communists and ultra nationalists, social democrats and conservatives. There were also islamophobes and anti-Semites. The one thing that united them all was their refusal to yield to fear and their desire to keep the freedom to think what they want and to be able to say it in public without facing obscurantist violence. This coming together of those who want the right to disagree with each is extraordinary. France, which gave us the enlightenment, 1789 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still Une Grande Nation.

The silence of the western press on the situation in Libya is deafening. This is no surprise as the pessimistic predictions of the critics of NATO’s war to oust Qaddafi become reality.

Nouakchott, Mauritania: On August fourth Mauritanian anti-slavery activists staged a sit-in before a Nouakchott   police station to prevent them from releasing a woman the public prosecutor had just indicted for slavery.  The police intervened.  Thirteen abolitionists were hospitalized and nine arrested with one sentenced to prison for “unauthorized gathering and rebellion”.  The suspected slave owner has disappeared as has the young girl allegedly enslaved.

NATO Friday night attacked the Libyan television station in Tripoli killing three people and injuring 15 others in direct violation of their own UN Resolution 1973 which stipulates they may attack military targets “to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi” and to impose a ‘no-fly zone’.