Not hate, vengeance
Guardian" - - The two-minute silence brought the tears forth again, as I thought about the victims, and their tenuous connections with me. Shahara Islam, who died on the number 30 bus, is from Plaistow, where one of my daughters lives. All those others, whose pictures stare out of our newspapers, worked in London, where I also work, and I wonder if I ever crossed paths with them. Then there is the 18-year-old who killed them and himself. He is from Leeds where another member of my family lives. He too is a victim of religious madness. And then I think of the 32 children who lived in a poor area of Baghdad and died in a suicide bombing there on Wednesday. I know the area, and I cry for those children too.
Tony Blair talks about "them" hating "our values and our way of life". But I have seen atrocities like last week's London bombings taking place in Iraq over the past two years. Attacks there, as those in London, are not about hating anybody's way of life, but straightforward revenge: revenge for Falluja and al-Qaim - and for Palestine and Afghanistan, which have been subsumed in them.
The pictures of Iraq, Afghanistan or Palestine, with their dust and grime, might be different to the pictures of the London bombs, but they represent a continuity. The war of revenge and collective punishment has arrived in London. And it has its own rationality. Don't give me the nonsense about why do they hate us. They don't.
The response to the neo-colonial adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq should surprise no one. Islamist extremism and terrorism, unknown in Iraq before occupation, now fights side by side with the more measured Iraqi resistance. It responds with callous bombs there, and now in the west.
The spirit of revenge becomes more planned, merging with nationalist or faith ideology such as al-Qaida's, and the targets become more diffuse. Perhaps even in the west, identification with innocent people hit by bombs and napalm - their voices unheard and names unknown - in remote lands of the prophets makes for a holy madness among susceptible youngsters.
As other suicide bombers have said, they may regret the loss of innocent lives in their political, murderous acts - but they atone with their own lives and hope God forgives them. The logic is clear: your security is only assured if ours is. If our women and children are killed, then your women and children are killed.
The policies of Bush and Blair have made life much more dangerous for all of us. Muslims in London are as much victims of atrocities as in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. And, as happened after September 11, those back home phone, worrying about us here - because of the bombs as much as a racist backlash.
The British public have deep sympathy and understanding of the folly of the Iraq war, and will not condone any backlash. On the other hand, they have not yet made their mark as the people of Spain and others did, forcing their governments to withdraw from Bush's evil "coalition of the willing". And they should.
183; Mundher al-Adhami, an exile from Saddam Hussein's regime, is a co-founder of the Iraq Anti-Occupation Forum - Email -
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