update: Since posting this information, much of he
attention has shifted to War in Iraq, which has no
direct connection with Sept 11 or bin Laden (despite
President Bush frequently mentioning them all in the
same sentence). Much of this material, however is
still important in understanding political violence,
terrorism, the Mid East and international law.
The suicide hijacking by Islamic terrorists and the Anthrax attacks by domestic terrorists
bewildered people who had not heard of the groups which have such obvious hatred of us and put such careful study into the attack. The
challenge is to help make sense of an event many feel is incomprehensible and
understand how to sustain our Democratic society, which exists within a shrinking global village – a “stepchild of technology, not the flowering of community”. Indeed, in some of the excitement over ‘village
life,’ “we forgot about village idiots and about chronic malcontents… Worse, we forgot about victims of injustice, real and imagined, whose resentments simmer and boil just below the surface of village life”.
(scroll down for more)
“breached previous boundaries for terrorist acts and should have been a global wake-up call. Moving the clock’s hands at this time reflects our growing concern that the international community has hit the “snooze” button rather than respond to the alarm.”
The Atomic Scientists “fully support”
a statement signed by 110 Nobel laureates: “The only hope for the future lies in cooperative international action, legitimized by democracy. . . . To survive in the world we have transformed, we must learn to think in a new way.”
This book and companion website provide
a starting points to think in new ways for a transformed world. The near future will provide many opportunities to remember and commemorate the events of Sept
11 and experience national solidarity, but it is crucial that patriotism not be so strong as to prevent critical reflection and probing questions.
Major Burns on the TV sitcom M*A*S*H commented: “I believe that unless we all blindly conform and obey orders, we can never have a truly free America.” Dissent and questioning – both inside the classroom and society – should be regarded
as part of what makes the Democratic experiment great, not a threat that might undermine it.
Values Are We Fighting For? Fighting Terrorism and
The late Justice Brandeis commented in a case that “those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards” and “they did not exalt order at the cost of liberty.”
His opinion outlines a theory of government and highlights the values that define what the country stands for at its best:
"Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the state was to make men free to develop their
faculties. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness, and courage to be the secret of liberty.
"They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government.
Dept of Soc, Anthro & Criminology
712 Pray Harrold
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI 49197
"They recognized the risks to which all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones.”