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Champions for Peace
Today in America one often hears it said, in our nation's
capital, and in the media, by the defenders of foreign aggression, who
continually argue in favor of the current 'war on terrorism', that we
are making the world safe for democratic principles.
Bush, Blair and their lackeys have used the excuse
that preventive measures are warranted in order to protect our way of
life. In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, George Bush, Condi Rice,
Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and others beat the drums of war by fomenting
fear as a justification for the 'shock and awe' campaign of destruction
that was to be unleashed on the populace of Iraq.
The tactics of fear mongering are not new, they have been
used as tools of intimidation to stoke the fires of patriotic fervor
before. Two voices from the past, address similar tactics used by the
powerful to involve America in World War I and later in Vietnam. As one
reads their words it is difficult not to hear echoes of truth
reveberating in the America of today.
Hellen Keller was one of the most important and
notable activists in the peace movement in the early 20th century.
Although she was blind and deaf, hers was a mind of impassioned reasoning
for peace. The following excerpted remarks are from a speech
she delivered on Jan. 5, 1916 at Carnegie Hall in New York
"The conquest of America... is a nightmare confined
exclusively to ignorant persons... Yet everywhere we hear fear advanced as
argument for armament. It reminds me of a fable I read. A certain
man found a horseshoe. His neighbor began to weep and wail because, as
he justly pointed out, the man who found the horseshoe might someday find a
horse. Having found the shoe he might shoe him. The neighbor's child
might some day go so near the horse's heels as to be kicked, and die.
Undoubtedly the two families would quarrel and fight, and
several valuable lives would be lost through the finding of the
Congress is not preparing to defend the people of the United
States. It is planning to protect the capital of American
speculators and investors in Mexico, South America, China and the
Philippines. Incidentally this preparation will benefit the
manufacturers of munitions and war machines...
These men want their foreign investments protected.
Every modern war has had its root in exploitation. The Civil War was
fought to decide whether the slaveholders of the south or the capitalists of
the north should exploit the west. The Spanish-American War decided that
the United States should exploit Cuba and the Philippines. The South
African War decided that the British should exploit the diamond mines.
The Russo-Japanese War decided that Japan should exploit Korea. The
present war is to decide who shall exploit the Balkans, Turkey, Persia, Egypt,
India, China, Africa...
Every few days we are given a new war scare to lend realism to
their propaganda... All the machinery of the system has been set in
motion. Above the complaint and din of protest from the workers is heard
the voice of authority. "Friends" it says, "fellow workmen, patriots;
your country is in danger! There are forces on all sides of us... Will
you murmur about low wages when your country, your very liberties, are in
...We are not free unless the men who frame and execute the
laws represent the interests of the lives of the people and no other
interest. The ballot does not make a free man out of a wage slave.
There has never existed a truly free man and democratic nation in the
world. From time immemorial men have followed with blind loyalty the
strong men who had the power of money and armies. Even while
battlefields were piled high with their own dead. They have tilled the land of
their rulers and have been robbed of the fruits of their labor. They
have built palaces, pyramids, temples, and cathedrals that held no real shrine
...It is your business to see that... everyone has a chance to
be well born, well nourished, rightly educated... Strike against all
ordinances and laws and institutions that continue the slaughter of peace and
the butcheries of war. Strike against war, for without you no battles
can be fought. Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and
all other tools of murder. Strike against preparedness that means death
and misery to millions of human beings. Be not dumb, obedient slaves in
an army of destruction. Be heroes in an army of
Decades later, a young man using the stage name Bob Dylan,
would be a symbol of yet another peace movement in America, this amid the
violent conflict in the Southeastern Asian nation of Vietnam. Dylan's
lyrics in "Masters of War"(1963) again reverberate the same theme echoed earlier
in the century, of men profiting by the blood and sacrifice of their
Masters of War (Excerpted
Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks
You that have never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like It's your little toy....
Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe...
You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud...
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do
Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul...
Editorial Comments: Victor Saraiva
Posted May 09, 2007
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