Wednesday, July 20, 2005

On the bombings in London

Here's an excerpt from an e mail I sent to some friends who were discussing the subject:

Like S 11 and the Bali bombing before them, the London bombings can in no way be described as anti-imperialist, and the communities most oppressed by imperialism and most opposed to it - the Muslim community, in Britain, and the working class movement,in Iraq, for instances - have been the first to point this out. When we were in London and I was doing research at the National Library Kirsty and I stayed at the CountyHotel in Upper Woburn Place, which was right beside the spot where the double decker bus exploded. I almost decided to stay an extra week or two in Londonto do more research, and if I had I would quite possibly have been killed or maimed, because I used to leave the hotel every morning just before ten (they laid on free breakfasts before ten, and I like to sleep in for as long as possible).

I would liken the bombers to the angry white youthsfrom poor working class backgrounds who become involved in the violent activities of fascist groups like the National Front: while there are causal connections between the milieu they emerged from andtheir ideological choices, this does not in any sense excuse their choices. Of course imperialism is theultimate cause of this tragedy, and the perpetrators are mere triggers, but emphasising this fact does not have to involve denying any culpability to them.

An important point, which many people here may perhaps not be aware of, is that the London bombings were aimed not at the bourgeoisie but at the more progressive parts of the Muslim community, whom Wahhabi jihadists regard as traitors for their secularism and openess to political alliances withnon-Muslims. During his recent campaign in the East End Respect Party MP George Galloway was attacked - he said that only the intervention of the police saved his life - by a group of Islamists who objected to secular elections, on the grounds that clerics should run governments. Anyone who examines the way the bombings were carried out will see that the perpretators deliberately targetted heavily Muslim areas - the double decker bus bomb, which was in a tourist area, can't be taken atface value, because it was an ad hoc action, undertaken after the plans for an attack on the Northern Line were foiled, and two of the other bombs exploded in heavily Muslim areas.

All in all, then, this is a pretty sorry old affair,and anyone who wants credibility with the Muslim community, let alone the wider working class, has todescribe it for what it was - an attack on a sectionof the Muslim community and on the wider London working class, motivated by the profoundly reactionary belief that these groups are responsible for theoppression of the Iraqis and Palestinians. Theideology of these bombers has to be opposed along with the policies of Bush and Blair, even though Bush and Blair do their damage on a whole different scale. I saw a banner at a memorial event which read 'Fallujah, London - no more bombs'. That's the sort of thing that's needed, along with a defence of the Muslim and South Asian community against the 'backlash' for the bombings, a backlash which had several days ago already comprised three hundred acts of violence and vandalism, including the racist murderof Muslim in Nottingham.


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