MANILA, Philippines – Various groups from different faiths joined cause-oriented groups in observing the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks of 2001 which claimed nearly 3,000 lives in the United States. Christians, Muslims and other faiths held and service at Plaza Miranda in remembrance of 9-11 as well as the victims of the US-led “war on terror”.
“We join the peoples of the world in observing the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the US. We continue to condole with the victims of this great tragedy, and we continue to condemn this unacceptable act of violence against civilians, and the admitted perpetrators in Al Qaeda,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“The continuing tragedy however is that the 9-11 attacks in New York and Washington were used by the United States government to justify wars of aggression and the so-called “global war on terror.” The 9-11 attacks continue to be used to justify US intervention worldwide, including the Philippines. Fighting terror has become synonymous with advancing US economic, miilitary and poltiical interests in all corners of globe,” Reyes said.
Bayan said that while Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks in New York and Washington, the US undertook upon itself to launch a perpetual and borderless war on everyone it considers a “terrorist threat”, including governments that resisted the US as well as legitimate liberation movements.
“The sad irony is that there have been more kilings and other atrocities committed in the name of fighting terror than the original 9-11 attacks. We witnessed the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. We saw the Philippines declared as the ‘second front’ in the war on terror. Repressive legislation, torture, secret prisons and many other abuses marked the last ten years of this so-called war,” Reyes said.
Bayan says it does not condone attacks on civilians but said it is important to understand the economic, political and military context of why terrorism happens. The group said that US economic and military policies have given rise to forces that have used extreme measures to resist foreign imposition. In the caes of Al Qaeda, the US supported Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan at one point as a force against the Soviet Union. After the Soviet occupation ended, Al Qaede turned on the US.
“Terrorism, including state-sponsored terrorism, can only be overcome if there is fundamental change in how the US and other great powers deal with the rest of the world. Only by attaining a just, humane and genuinely free society can the root causes of terrorism be eliminated,” Reyes said.
Bayan also expressed concern that the Aquino government is still continuing the anti-terror efforts of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, at the behest of the US government. The group cited Aquino’s tolerance for permanent US presence in Mindanao as well proposed amendments to the anti-terror law.
“After what happened over the last 10 years, the Philippine government should re-examine its unqualified support for the US war on terror. It should also do away with repressive anti-terror law, instead of finding ways to give in more teeth. It should scrap failed counter-insurgency programs that have only resulted in more human rights abuses,” Reyes said.
“Justice should also be achieved for those wrongfully arrested, jailed and tortured in the name of fighting the war on terror. The group cited the case of a suspected terrorist in Basilan, Abdul Khan Ajid, who was burned and sexually assaulted while being forced to confess membership in the Abu Sayyaf.