Where is the condemnation?
Howard Fuller (Branch Secretary, PCS South West Thames, Personal
Having just finished reading your article on the Beslan school massacre
I am astounded by the lack of condemnation on the tactic of targeting
KIDS by these supposed freedom fighters. There can be no justification,
Socialist or otherwise for what happened. Starving and denying children
food and water, shooting them in the back when they tried to escape is
beyond the pale of basic humanity.
This at a time when your colleagues in "Socialist Worker" fail to
condemn the massacres of poor black civilians in Sudan, going so far as
to describe the Jangaweed as "puny" despite the fact they have murdered
30,000 plus, raped and tortured countless others and driven a million
out of their homes. All this with the complicity and direct assistance
of the extreme Islamic
government in Khartoum.
What is going on here. With the SWP it is obvious that they do not want
to say or do anything that might upset their potential Muslim voters.
Are you and your network going to go down that unprincipled and
communalist path as well? Working with individual and progressive
Muslims is one thing. Conceding the political agenda to violent bigots
The trouble is you see any criticism of Islam as "Islamophobia" and the
SWP see criticism of themselves as "witch hunting". With an attitude
like that all the mistakes of the past will be repeated.
Perhaps comrades should take some time to read "The Trouble with Islam"
by Irshad Manji, a lesbian Muslim activist. She at least preaches
tolerance and calls for a better future. Her criticisms of the
authoritarian streak in Islam raise so many parallels with the way the
left is. Time for change don't you think comrades
A Little too Analytical
I think that the tone of Jim's article on the Beslan massacre was a
little too "analytical", and the full scale of the horror didn't really
But I think it was written it before the full atrocity was known.
Robert Fisk wrote an article about a year ago on Chechnya where he
described how Russian soldiers had raped young girls as they lay dieing.
Someone heard a soldier shout "Hurry up Kolya, finish while she is still
warm" as his daughter's corpse was abused. Fisk asks the question if you
were that parent, or brother or sister wouldn't that make you a
On the other hand, isn't the same true of the people of Beslan, what
revenge will they now demand? The whirlpool of hatred spins faster and
I agree in not condemning
the violence of the oppressed. But I think it would have been right to
express solidarity with the grief, and to acknowledge that this is an
atrocity for which there can be no justification, Horror piled upon
Doesn't condone atrocity
If I had written the article I would have put a stronger and more
expicit condemantion, but crtainly I don't think there is anything in
the piece that condones atrocity. Howard Fuller's letter is full of
strange amalgams between the Socialist Unity Network and the SWP.
Have we said any criticsm of
Islam is Islamophobia? Who has conceded any agenda to violent bigots?
Irshad Manji's Trouble with Islam is interesting -
see her web-site.
Bit Colder than I thought
I had a look again at the article I wrote and it probably is a bit
colder than I thought when I typed it.
I think the idea that the article supports terror is wrong, and this
stuff about Islam is nothing to do with the events or article - so far
we only have the Russian government's word for it that these were
It is interesting to note that while Howard Fuller expects me to fill
paragraphs with grief and horror at this awful event he devotes not one
word to the thousands of children killed by the Russian government.
I think Andy's point about a cycle of violence is absolutely correct.
When we look at people's 'right' to become terrorists and murders due to
their own grief there is no way out of the situation - it's only through
a political analysis of the why's and who's can we come to a plan about
how to end the tragedies piled upon tragedies.