Wednesday, September 22, 2004
On September 7, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 16 Israelis in the town of Beersheba.... Almost every news report marked the end of a five-month period of "relative peace and calm" and "a lull in the violence." During those five months of relative peace and calm, almost 400 Palestinians were killed, 71 of them in assassinations. During the lull in the violence, more than 73 Palestinian children were killed. A 13-year-old was murdered with a bullet through the heart, a 5-year-old was shot in her face as she walked arm in arm with her 2-year-old sister. The body of Mazen Majid, aged 14, was riddled with 18 Israeli bullets as he and his family fled their bulldozed home.
None of this was reported in Britain as terrorism. Most of it was not reported at all. After all, this was a period of peace and calm, a lull in the violence. On May 19, Israeli tanks and helicopters fired on peaceful demonstrators, killing eight of them. This atrocity had a certain significance; the demonstration was part of a growing nonviolent Palestinian movement, which has seen peaceful protest gatherings, often with prayers, along the apartheid wall. The rise of this Gandhian movement is barely noted in the outside world.
The truth about Chechnya is similarly suppressed. On February 4, 2000, Russian aircraft attacked the Chechen village of Katyr Yurt. They used "vacuum bombs," which release petrol vapor and suck people's lungs out, and are banned under the Geneva Convention. The Russians bombed a convoy of survivors under a white flag. They murdered 363 men, women and children. It was one of countless, little-known acts of terrorism in Chechnya perpetrated by the Russian state, whose leader, Vladimir Putin, has the "complete solidarity" of Tony Blair.
"Few of us", wrote the playwright Arthur Miller, "can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied."
It is time we stopped denying it.
—Time to Recognize State Terror by John Pilger