Translated into English by BearCY – 30th October 2001
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MONDAY 1st of OCTOBER 2001

We may still choose – war or peace

My objection that the terror bombing of Manhattan and Pentagon was directed towards the US of A, and not at all towards «all the rest of us», just as my modest suggestion that we should watch the American terror warfare through the same moral goggles that we use against the Muslim terrorism, seems to be the most provoking words I've ever written.

Just about 1,500 people wrote reply e-mails to the Evening Post (Aftonbladet). I have never taken part of something similar, and I am still unsure about how to comprehend this enormous emotional storm.

Approximately a thousand of the posters do agree with me, and give thanks by saying that it was liberating to see that at least a single opinion constructor deviated from the common waving of flags, and the total identification with the US of A.

And then there were about five hundred with an opposite perception and they were generally furious. If you sort out various propositions that I as quickly as possible should get deported to Baghdad, or soon conceive of the fact that the market economy is best, I will sort the answers under three main arguments from my critics: 1. they maintain that the US of A saved Europe through defeating Nazism, 2. they brought up a few conceptions of Islam that seem to build upon rather insipid information, and 3. it is maintained as if it is a matter of fact, that white lives are more valuable than lives of the third world, and that it therefore is natural that we in our sorrow identify with people on Manhattan, but not as easily with people in the third world.

To be correct, it was the Soviet Union under Stalin's dictatorship that defeated Nazism. But this will neither excuse Stalin as it would excuse the US of A for later wars and terrorist acts if they were the real defeaters of Hitler.

The aspects of Islam one cannot discuss because they usually don't build upon any insight; but rather upon prejudice and fear.

I would rather think that the many writers that find it natural to identify with white victims are right in their flabbergasting sincerity.

When US of A a couple of years back attacked Somalia in order to render harmless a bandit leader in their capital, Mogadishu, approximately seven thousand civilians were killed. In this way they killed the same number of people that were killed on Manhattan. This mass murder – of people that are as innocent as the victims on Manhattan – didn't even lead to any indignant TV-reports in the western world. Nor any sorrow or minutes of silence. The episode is already forgotten.

It is this total lack of compassion and ethnocentric western cynicism that produces hate and terrorism in the third world. This problem can only be aggravated if we in the west conduct ourselves as terrorists and retaliate with mass murder from the air. Moreover, many of my critics feel that it is a total different matter to kill by military aircraft than with a civilian commercial air plane, and that the military violence of the strongest party automatically are to be viewed as morally superior to the weaker party's violence of terror.

The growing animosity between all the Muslim parts of the third world and the US of A and their allies, is what an American philosopher has described as «the war of cultures». This is the largest political question of our time. The conflict does not just stand between different countries, but are also within our own borders. 

To the general Swede, the decisive question now is how the white majority treat the Muslim minority. Most of our country's Muslims live inside our country simply because they fled a religious dictatorship of such a kind as Iran or Afghanistan. It is a huge mistake to blame these refugees for exactly the same politics that made them into refugees in the first place. The Swedish security police have also for several years now perceived people from Muslim countries to be the main enemy of the state. And unfortunately, this dangerous and prejudice madness has been forcefully encouraged the latter weeks (through minds like the CNN's —BearCY). «—We all» are supposed to participate in the fight against terrorism.

This accelerated «war of cultures» is currently our largest threat, both against world peace, and against the stability in the Swedish society itself.

The Western world may perhaps try to omit the danger by pointing at the superiority of democracy, for example through prosecuting the terrorists themselves, rather than mass murdering innocent people in the countries where we measure a lower value on human lives.

We may still choose. A so called long-term war, which means systematically mass murders from the air through many years, is the one alternative. The other is tolerance, increased aid to the third world, and fight against racism at home.

One single insight is needed. But judging by five hundred furious e-mails, this insight isn't as simple as it should seem: One human life in Mogadishu are equally as worthy as one human life on Manhattan. Those who say differently are choosing the way towards disaster.

Jan Guillou
(A Swedish famous male writer who has got Norwegian and French parents)
Published: 2001-Oct-01

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