By Debra Sweet, Director of World Can't Wait In the days after 9/11/01, as the dust hung over lower Manhattan and a frantic search continued for those who died in the World Trade Center, thousands of Muslims were rounded up by the U.S. government and held in detention indefinitely, many to be deported.
President Bush promised a “war on terror” that would be a “lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen.” He barked to the world, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.”
A group of artists acted first, coming together to deliver a different message to the world:
“Our grief is not a cry for war!”
Within weeks, the Bush regime invaded Afghanistan, saying “make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them,” and began to manufacture lies to justify attacking Iraq, a country with no connection to 9/11.
In 2002, people living in the United States joined with millions around the globe in the largest protests in history against a coming war. Not In Our Name! we said, as we prevented Bush from invading Iraq with coalition he wanted.
But the U.S. “war on terror” destroyed whole countries, and is being spread further by a Democratic administration to include drone bombings in six countries; international law has been and is being trampled to justify torture, indefinite detention and murder at Bagram, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and at black sites; domestic political repression and surveillance ensued to unimagined levels in the “brightest beacon for freedom in the world.”
As the world remembers 3,000 people killed in the United States on 9/11, we remember the victims of the U.S. led “global war on terror;” from the uncounted civilians killed by U.S. bombs, to those targeted in pre-emptive prosecutions, rotting in U.S. prisons, and the core civil liberties and rights of the people that have been disappeared.
Once again, it’s time for the artists of the world to cry out in protest and grief with a different message to the people of the world: All this has not been done in our names! We rededicate ourselves to resist the machinery of war and repression and rally others to do everything possible to stop it.