09/11/2001 - "America on Attack" (CNN) - destruction and death, horror and rage, mourning and patriotic pride!
What follows ? What the "New War" (CNN) should be, the long "War", which - God bless America's wisdom - will not be a real war between states?
By the way, if I had relatives or friends killed by these terrorist attacks, besides my mourning, my rage and my yearn for retaliation, I would feel a lot of anger at the failure of the security organs. Something like this must not have happened, on no account!
People say that humans (humankind) only can unify when they are forced to fight against an external enemy.
There he is !! He has put himself in this position. (My german ancestors know, how it is. They did the same about 65 years ago.)
It is a question of courage and of political intelligence to do things well, effectivly and in a sustainable way now. Single persons have to be found, structures of modern civilization such as cash streams have to be differentiated, all over the world - tasks, for which attacks on states are no valid alternative!
But in depth the modern world has to understand that this enemy is - more than living persons - the fatal combination of spirituality and aggression against other people. Only the education or indoctrination, which combines aggression and spirituality, can turn people into 'kamikaze'-weapons!! It is a kind of 'bio-psychological high-tech', produced under conditions of intense group pressure, which has been well-known throughout history and is many hundred years older than what we are used to understand as 'high-tech' today.
Most of the people who believe in Allah and his prophet Muhammad are peaceful. But the Islam as the pre-enlighted, fundamentalist Christianity (and its martyrs) contains all ingredients and the apokalyptic power of faith in that 'bio-psychological high-tech'! Apokalyptic thinking is the oldest, the pre-modern form of revolutionary thinking.
Perhaps the peoples of the world are more unified in their visions and hopes than it seemed to be. All countries with a Muslim majority have autocratic or neo-absolutist political systems. There is no freedom of speech and of political activities. Where could the modern need for expressing protest against the widespread poverty or nepotism and for participating in politics find a place in these closed societies? Obviously it goes to the only independent areas, to the mosques and into religious thinking. The result is Islamism as a fatal mixture of modern and pre-modern elements. (Isn't such a mixture a characteristic of fascism, too?) And some of the islamist people become terrorists as well as some of the left- or right-wing extremists in the Western countries do.
Here are the last words, the terrorists of 11th september apparently have read before their suicide-attacks, provided that all the informations, we have, are true: "There is no God but God (Allah). I am a sinner. We came from God. We go back to God." Peter Kümmel described them in "Atta's world second" ("Attas Weltsekunde"), "Die ZEIT" 43/2001: "The pictures of the terrorists shortly before their deed show an irrational trust of salvation: These men are short of paradise and this world is a trash performance in which they sovereignly fake an everyday part. They camouflage as "infidels" to the very end, thus sovereignly getting around the western program of carpe diem und fear of death."
And, according to the french philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, "They are monsters, yes. The suicide bombers had received special training - a military/technical training, certainly, but also a spiritual training. ... (They) have a frightening, terribly moral power. Their ability to go to the last extreme, to overcome every survival instinct, to still every doubt, makes them shockingly strong ... they don't obey blind faith or a robot-like discipline. They have an extreme moral and intellectual charisma. This kind of terrorism comes closer to asceticism than brainwashing."
These facts need an appropriate understanding, which can't be acquired by western arrogance (as the western values can't be understood by Islamist arrogance). But only very slowly the elites approach the problem. So Vicepresident D. Cheney according to the Int. Herald Tribune of 03/25/02: "Asked how it was that so many Palestinians, some of them in their early teens, were willing to die in suicide bombings, Cheney strayed from the usual administration condemnations of all terrorism. It was 'a tragic situation where young people feel there's so little hope,' he said, shaking his head. 'There's got to be a way out of it. Unfortunately we haven't found it yet.'"
And Thomas L. Friedman writes in the same issue in his comment "Terror's most fearful weapons must be locked up": "If suicidal warfare becomes 'normal' in this integrated world, it will touch your kids and mine in a way that will make Iraq look like a day at the beach."
What is necessary beyond all wars, world police actions and preventions is to focus the individuals, every individual life world-wide and to focus spirituality. In both western modern civilization has not yet done all its homework.
Historically seen the world after the terrorist attacks is a bit back in the Cold War, because Islamist forces, the Mujahidin and later Osama bin Laden had been supported by the United States in order to destabilize Syria, Irak and Nasser's Egypt, which were allied with the Soviet Union, but especially to fight against the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union 1979 (and for american strategic oil interests!).
Some historians say that World War II would not have happened, if there hadn't been so many men brutalized in the battlefields of World War I. Therefore: What is to be done with so many men in these Middle East regions, whose profession and ideology is nothing but fighting, who don't even know nation-states basing on the rule of law (including women's equality) and who aren't acquainted with the continuity of civil life?
The United States had left them alone after they had done their job.
By the way, for me it is unacceptable, unbearable that in the fights between the strong ones always the weak ones, children, women, civilians have to pay the highest price. Til today this is a disgusting signature of history. The one, who is using violence, defines the conditions.
This signature the United States and all other states cannot change, especially not by producing collateral damages. But it has to be changed, definitely!
Sometimes I get the horrible impression that only after a further abuse of atomic weapons - I don't hesitate to call the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki a war crime, war tactics or no war tactics - sometimes I get the horrible impression that only after a further abuse of atomic weapons mankind is in sufficient trouble to take the necessary steps in order to generally renounce violence. But already the mere existence of those weapons should make people comprehend that they are all sitting in one boat.
Allah or God obviously can't help us to get rid of this existential threat of the human species by selfdestruction - on the contrary. We have to do it ourselves.
Nevertheless, - to get the appropriate understanding of Islamism - whatever sort of 'New War' the civilized world necessarily wages on terrorists and their supporters and, more important, how much painstaking and detailed work in order to civilize and to enrich the whole world has to be done, prevailing against this islamist-fundamentalist terrorism on the long run reqires to advance the modern existence, which has left behind all traditional belief systems, towards its own adequate form of spirituality.
This form should be individual, basing on the general concept of human being and should introduce death in the concept of modern life, but should not kill, hurt or discriminate other people. (See more at: Modern Spirituality, Initiation - Rite of passage.)
By such a modern, non-collective and non-martial form of spirituality we can find the necessary completion of the economic globalization in order to give the so-called West and the rest of the world the chance of widespread peace, democracy and welfare without substantial social and/or material marginalisation of humans.
When you install the core and the dignity of life within every individual then economy and technology and money and open markets are reduced what they are: aids for living, not less, not more. Globalized capitalism looses its position as a religious substitute. But installing the centre of life into every person is only possible on the spiritual level of personal experience.
Individual spirituality should be the first step and an essential part of a new political constitution.
Modern individual spirituality as basis of social life not at least allows forming good living conditions in partial(!) local independence of global markets, capitalist economy and big money (Frithjof Bergmann's 'high-tech self-providing'). On the other hand such a partial(!) material independence on the spot would give capitalist market economy more freedom to proceed with its lively, cyclical way without producing new hardship (Schumpeter's 'creative destruction').
It is important to understand that increasing the living conditions in poor countries requires at first practical solutions and only secondly economic ones. The poor don't have enough time to execute every step till a fully developed capitalist system. And the people in the rich countries perhaps want to reduce their dependence on global structures, which makes them susceptible to every global crisis.
The West should go one step back and looks to its deficiencies, to what extent for example market philosophy and practise are system-collectivist, materialistic and not friendly. Then the West will lose his threatening size to the rest of the world. The great chance of western civilization is to combine its strength with a strict individualization on all levels of human existence and responsibility. Only then it can loose its imperialistic traits and can prevent the rest of the world from mistaking it with an imperialistic attitude.
Globalization after September 11th is not the same as it was before. Most critics of the globalization never wanted to say: "market is wrong", but "market is not enough". Now it has come to the point that the world needs a more comprehensive concept of what is going on in the unification of human culture.
Philosophers say that for more than fivehundred years the only real world-language or world-culture is the use of denotations and numbers, 1,2,3,
a,b,c ... . If you take science or technology, if you take economy or trade, all is based on the abstractness of denotations and numbers - numbers, which have been invented in India 1500 years ago and came from there through the hands of Arabian and Muslim scientists to the West!
This abstractness of denotations and numbers is as well a sort of spirituality, the general form of the contemporary world civilization, the putty between all cultural gaps. But it is spirituality on the level of the lowest common denominator.
(If you understand these reflexions as pointing at a fundamental contradiction within the existing modern world according to its own standards - a contradiction, because the modern world is based on the general concept of human being and at the same time is dependent on elites, who are managing the modern abstract collective structures in science, technology, economy, law institutions, constitutional democracies, nation-states and so on -, you have understood it well.
Attention! Not the abstract structures are wrong but the dependence on them, their dominance, which makes the modern world collectivist (may be indirectly), impersonal and spiritually primitive. (It's rationalism, stupid!)
It may be difficult to realize for us western people that even in treating Muslims like ourselves (liberal, capitalistic), we hurt their Islamic dignity and their sense of courtesy by our primitive spirituality though not wanting to do anything wrong!
What are the results of September 11th, anthrax and whatever there may come?
1. The United States of America are back in their role as a kind of "proto"-police of the world, who should prevent violence and therefore should use its power for no other but a last resort. They aren't there voluntarily, but they are the only institution, who can play this role in coordination and cooperation with all other states, organisations and peoples. It is a job without a near end - a world domestic policy, whose standard is western democracy, is the rule of law! To fulfil this standard also in the response to the terrorist attacks and in preventing further attacks is important precisely because this standard doesn't exist all over the world. And it is very important that the United States learns to clearly separate their own national and global interests from their duty for the world-civilization. This will be difficult in a society as dominated by lobbies and egoism as the United States are. In a possible reconstruction of Afghanistan, for example, not American or western but local companies should be established and should do the most jobs. And sometimes it is more effective in the long run to restrain oneself than to look for every single geostrategic or economic advantage - for example by not producing, using and/or selling weapons, new weapons like small ABC-weapons. There is nothing more stupid than to create new risks in the future.
It doesn't exist a perfect way to handle this job. So objective critiques are an important part of it. You can't fulfil an institutional duty by egocentric national arrogance. You need modesty and independent strength, which deserve due respect. The United States should learn to rely on their predominance, which exists in every field of power. They have not conquer this position anymore. Their centers of power should calm down and restrain their actions and methods. The best way to use power is not to use the means of power. This is called authority! We should never forget that all necessary sanctions are ambivalent in their results, because they produce innocent victims and new hatred, too. The world needs a period of peace and honesty in order to democratize all societies.
But all critics are as well subordinated to the same objective as the acting forces: to achieve the disappearance of political or criminal groups and collectives who are using violence - and to achieve this with the smallest possible use of violence. The critics are not better in moral respect than the acting forces! They try to influence the acting forces. In the same time the forces are acting in their name, even if the actions turn out to be a mistake or wrongly done - even if they are bad. Some experts consider the air raids in Afghanistan as a strategical mistake in the fight against terrorism. Already the term 'war' gives to much honour to the terrorists, they say! And Tim Weiner wrote on Monday, December 3, 2001 in the IHT-article "Villagers Dying Under U.S. Bombs, Anti-Taliban Forces Say": "Despite the Pentagon's denials, hundreds of innocent civilians are being killed and wounded in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the Afghan commanders who rule this region said Sunday. The anti-Taliban, pro-American commanders blame bad intelligence and what they perceive as American indifference to civilian casualties in the campaign against terrorism." All power tends to forget that the purpose doesn't justify all means.
But beside of all critiques and moral uncertainties, what should never be forgotten: The soldiers and policemen are risking their lives for us, the civil citizens all over the world.
The 'New War' against terrorism has to spread instead of weaken the idea of modern, territorial, federal, minority-friendly and democratically controlled nation-state, which is the most effective institution to perform the monopoly of power. We, who don't use violence to achieve private advantages and who don't want to be forced by the violence of other individuals, groups or corrupt and totalitarian systems, - we need the controlled monopoly of power, one of the most important services, democratic states and their police forces are doing for us, the citizens. (And even in Europe you can find places without monopoly of power!!)
America, close up to your best, we need your service!
2. If there had been made substantial mistakes by the West, it were the widespread tendencies to think modernity primarily to be high technology and the expertise of specialists. In reality modernity first of all is a human quality and attitude, a kind of fearlessness of civilians, which has its origin in open, tolerant and civil societies with intact public spheres and political participations, with sound education systems and good living conditions for everybody (and no working poors!).
High technology and expertise work very well with an atavistic mentality too, as the terrorists have shown (and not at least the Nazis have shown before)! Intelligence agencies perhaps would have been more successful in preventing the attacks by looking for the help of modern people (who are Arab speaking for example) instead of principally counting on high-tech instruments.
3. We, the humans, everyone and altogether have the task to create a common modern human culture. It should be a spiritual and an individual one. Democracy, nation-states based on the rule of law, controlled monopoly of power, modern civilization and wealth, capitalist economy, technology, all of that existing in some places in the world, just set the beginning and the frame for it. The free world is still ahead of us. It directly depends on us, each single persons, women and men. Collectives or collective myths, for example "America", never can replace individuals in questions of freedom. They only can defend the freedom of the individuals. Freedom, human dignity and responsibility - being a person of character - are individual categories, individual tasks.
Collectives like the western democratic nation-states are free, because and only in so far as their individual members are free. It is not enough, so far - even in the 'first world'.
By the way, what gives violence its nearly infinite power, is: Its results can't be made undone. Nevertheless or exactly because of that I want revenge or retaliation. And should I do without revenge the perpetrators think, I am not able to stop them - one reason more for my revenge.
Thus coming out of this vicious circle of revenge and new revenge and further ... only is possible, if at one moment all people stop violence for ever. And what makes the problem even more difficult, violence between humans exists in material and in immaterial forms.
Looking at today's world, such an object seems absolutely unworldly. Nevertheless expelling violence from human life - think of weapon technologies - is a conditio sine qua non of our surviving. We have no other chance, we have to do it!
Don't ask me how. Everybody who has understood this task has to find the necessary steps in his place, within her situation - and if you start with controlling your fears, aggressions and prejudices.
Human life never will be absolutely free of risk. But we are still in the middle of the martial part of history, as the attacks have shown - despite the rule of law and strong civil societies in some nation-states. Today that martial condition of the world is far too risky - think at weapon technologies and think at humans capacities of aggression. Seen from an above position, every production of weapons or of poison is definitely wrong. The infernos, which can be produced today, are beyond example in history and in imagination. As New York has shown, the reality by far exceeds Hollywood's fictions.
What we need is a taboo for violence as it exists for inc-est - more or less. Only then nobody has reasons to spend money on the production of weapons or poison. And the small amount of work for the police and the military forces can be done on a limited level of weapon technology.
You think that's pie in the sky? It is no child's play, okay. It depends on shifting the level of history and of world-society to every individual person. When everybody takes on an equivalent importance and dignity before each other and before the law, when every person knows and appreciates their mutual spiritual uniqueness and the uniqueness of all other individual human beings and only when everybody is able to make their living, then nobody will easily follow collective incentives to violence of religious, of political, criminal or any other origin, then nobody needs the place in a collective cosmos other than the free humankind in order to establish her or his significance in life, in society or in heaven. Get your importance out of yourself and not out of your difference to someone else!!
In remembrance of the victims of September 11th, in thinking at many thousand people, who lost their jobs and their low budgets because of the terrorist attacks
Let me finish this tragic list of future political objectives with some remarks by David Ignatius, which he made in International Herald Tribune, Monday, October 29, 2001. He points at a still very fatal relationship of death, violence, spirituality and modernity, which should be seen in the anarchist tradition of Kropotkin and Bakunin - both just as 'rich-kid radicals' as Bin Laden or Muhammad Atta:
"See the bin Ladenites as Excrescence of a Painful Transition" (not any more available by internet)
... Indeed, these terrorist crimes have been committed by single, individual and in their way modern(!) persons - whatever help they have gotten by their practice of Islam, by the Talibans, by terrorist networks, intelligence services and by others.