London's mayor Ken Livingstone gave a statement about the London bomb attacks today, and it made me realize where our American leadership has gone wrong. America remains bitterly divided and most people in the world outside our borders hate George W. Bush for what he's done in and to Iraq. (C'mon, right-wingers, don't shoot the messenger. You know it's true.)
What does that say about his leadership skills? I'm not saying his job has been easy, but the fact that he has lied to his own people and conspired in secrecy, along with Tony Blair, to make a political case for dropping bombs over an innocent population in the chase for ghostly al Qaeda figures is a fact that lies heavy in our hearts.
Iraq was the biggest mistake George W. Bush ever could have made. How can we move away from this? Without supreme humility on his part, I'm afraid we never will - not until he's out of office. He has shown us, time and time again when we've looked upon him with hope, that he has no humility. He is determined, with extreme pride, to pursue the wrong course. It could be "the character flaw that destroyed America as we once knew it."
If only we'd had a Ken Livingstone to bring us together in the days that followed 9/11. If only we'd come together...regardless of the worst leader in the history of America. If only someone had paid attention to the millions upon millions of people around the world on February 15, 2003 who were in the streets screaming "No War In Iraq!"...pleading with our leaders not to do it!
Mayor Livingstone said:
"This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. *see below
It was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion or whatever.
That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith, it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners...
....people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential. They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don’t want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."
* One note: I disagree with Mayor Livingstone on one significant point. Although the aim was not true, this was a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It's a point we should not forget. It's precisely why terrorism will never win, no matter how many of us regular Joes get blown up while working at our dismal cubicles...while dreaming of going home to our little patch of garden and the ones we love at our perfectly average (or sub-par) home-sweet-home.
You can attack innocent people who enjoy liberty, and you can do it because you believe their governments are acting in a way you see as threatening and corrupt...but it will never get you anywhere. I'd rather have death than to live in fear and in the chains of an oppressive culture, which is why I get so angry at George W. Bush and his administration when they use fear and lies to manipulate my own allegedly "free" and "democratic" society...lying us into unnecessary and barely-planned wars that take the innocent lives of a hundred-thousand or more.
...you're a soldier, baby. Be brave. Call upon your government to be transparent and truthful in times when your life is the one on the line. Call for more freedom in the face of terror!
If we cannot come up with a better form of counter-terrorism, I'm sure we will see a lot more successful attempts to recruit more misguided murderers who prey upon the unsuspecting who are only trying to make it home from their shit job on the city bus. If the people of the free world cannot be led to trust and to unite in some hopeful way, I'm sure terror will continue it's popular wave. It's a sick fucking world. We need minds far greater - and hearts more earnest and bent closer toward honest communication - than the ones we have in leadership today.
The goal of the terrorist is messianic. They wish and act to replace the existing social order with a new one. Fuck them. We need to be messianic individuals for true freedom -- people who will not allow fear to cause our societies to become repressed by our OWN governments or by any terrorists.
This is a time for great minds; great hearts; truth; a genuine uniting for a common cause. Who will emerge as a true leader? There are no Batmen in Gotham City. No one can save you from terror - except the person in your mirror. You're a soldier, baby. Be brave. Call upon your government to be transparent and truthful in times when your life is the one on the line. Call for more freedom in the face of terror!