A Spiral Of War And Terror

Capitalism is to blame…

Change the system!

THE HORRIFIC massacre of children, parents and teachers at High School
No1 in Beslan, North Ossetia, reached a new level of barbarity. The
hostage-takers crossed the line between humanity and inhumanity. They
deliberately targeted children on their first day back at school,
traditionally a festival.

Lynn Walsh

They refused to give them water, food or medicine. Children and adults
were forced to drink urine and eat flowers. Outside, waiting relatives and
friends were distraught.

When some of the children managed to get out of the building, they were
shot in the back. When shooting and explosions broke out, hundreds of dead
and wounded were buried under the collapsing roof.

No cause can justify such cold-blooded, barbarous actions. The
hostage-takers belonged to an Islamic nationalist group from Chechnya. For
over ten years the Chechens, a majority of whom are Muslim, have fought a
bitter, bloody struggle for independence. The ruthlessness of their
tactics in Beslan and elsewhere, including the use of suicide bombers,
reflects the brutality of the Russian state’s military repression in

But such savage tactics, aimed against ‘soft targets’ – young children,
their relatives and teachers – will not advance the cause of the Chechen
people. Beslan will only reinforce the spiral of atrocity and

The resistance is in the hands of a small handful of guerrillas,
dominated by notorious warlords such as Shamil Basayev, almost certainly
the architect of the Beslan siege. The majority of Chechen people are not
mobilised or organised, and have no democratic control over the resistance

Putin is seizing on the Beslan siege and other terrorist attacks to
strengthen his military-security machine. This will mean intensified
repression in Chechnya, and an even greater threat to democratic rights
throughout Russia.

Don’t outrages like the Beslan siege (some will ask) demand strong

But it is the strong, military-police measures taken by Putin which
produced the wave of terrorism in the first place.

Massive death and destruction in Chechnya, the flattening of the
capital, Grozny, systematic pillage and rape by poorly paid, brutalised
Russian troops have acted as a recruiting sergeant for the terrorist

In the west, Bush, Blair and other leaders also bear heavy
responsibility for the growth of terrorism. Their invasion of Afghanistan,
occupation of Iraq and support for Israel’s brutal repression of the
Palestinians in the occupied territories have helped recruit many more to
terrorist organisations.

The appearance of a ‘crusade’ by western imperialism against Islam has
led to a growth of right-wing Islamic groups which use terrorist tactics.
Behind the military aggression of the US, Britain and other powers is the
drive to control oil and gas, and strengthen their global military and
economic domination.

Like Putin, Bush and Blair blame terrorism on ‘evil’. They wilfully
ignore the conditions which feed terrorism.

As Al Gore (who opposed Bush in the 2000 presidential election) said,
there is "another axis of evil in the world: poverty and ignorance;
disease and environmental disorder; corruption and political
oppression" – all of which lead to terrorism.

The only answer of Bush, Blair and Putin is repression, repression and
more repression. They are aggravating the cycle of war and terror. They
defend capitalism, the system which produces inequality, poverty, despair
and war.

We need strong measures against capitalism, we need a new and better
system, a socialist society which could provide prosperity and security
for everyone. Then it would be possible to resolve national conflicts in a
peaceful, democratic way.