Preface: Two days after the attacks on September 11, 2001, Serj Tankian posted an essay on System of a Down's official website, which seemed controversial at the time. It was promptly taken down by Sony, the band's record label. Sony's opinion was that Tankian had tried to justify the terrorist attacks and that his claims were unfounded. Others have noted that Tankian's essay, which called the 9/11 attacks "brutal", explicitly stated that the need to understand the motivations of terrorists "does not mean that we should not find the guilty party(s)..and..try them [in court]" words cited to suggest "it is impossible to say that Serj tried to justify the 9/11 attacks" in his essay, which "advocated peace and the research and development of alternate fuels".
By Serj Tankian
The brutal attacks/bombings this week in New York, and Washington D.C., along with threats of attacks there and elsewhere in the country have changed our times forever. While the mass media concentrates on the details of the destruction, and the blanketed words of politicians, I will attempt to understand and explain the events from the fence. BOMBING AND BEING BOMBED ARE THE SAME THINGS ON DIFFERENT SIDES OF THE FENCE.
Terror is not a spontaneous human action without credence. People just dont hijack planes and commit harikari (suicide) without any weight of thought to the action. No one in the media seems to ask WHY DID THESE PEOPLE DO THIS HORRIFIC ACT OF VIOLENCE AND DESTRUCTION?
To be able to understand the answer to this, we must first look at our U.S. Mideast Policy. During most of the 20th century, U.S. businesses have worked on attaining oil rights and concessions from countries in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. After WWI, secret back door deals by our State Dept. yielded oil rights from then defeated Turkey to fields in what is now Iraq and Saudi Arabia, in return for looking the other way at a crime against humanity, the Genocide of the Armenians by the Turks. Oil profits have been the motivating factors behind many attempts at counterinsurgency of democratic regimes by the CIA and the U.S in the Middle East (such as Iran in the 1950s, where the Shah replaced the Prime Minister who refused to give up oil rights to the U.S., and since the people couldnt deal with the Shah, an extremist government headed by the Ayatollah Khomeini ultimately prevailed). During the Iran-Iraq war, America supplied both sides with weapons and advice. These are not the actions of a rich superpower wanting peace. Lets not forget that Saddam Hussein, before being Americas vision of the Anti-Christ, was a close ally of the U.S., and the CIA. So what was the firm belief system of consecutive American administrations that caused all this to occur ? PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST WILL LEAD TO HIGHER OIL AND GASOLINE PRICES. Lets not also forget the power of the Arms industry, disguised as defense, that still sells billions of dollars of weapons to the area. Therefore it has not been in the short-term economic interest of the U.S. to foster Peace in the Middle East. Using the above reasoning, the U.S. has encouraged extremist governments, toppled democracies, as in the case of Iran to replace it with a monarchy, rigged elections, and many more unspeakable political crimes for U.S. businesses abroad. Lets not also forget the Red Scare. During the war between the then Soviet Union and Afghanistan, the U.S. armed and supported the Taliban, a fundamentalist Muslim organization, and allowed them to export opium and heroin out of their country to pay for those weapons. Therefore the Taliban rose to power and control with the help of the U.S.A. Today, the bombing of Iraq still continues, no longer covered by the media, the economic embargo still remains, killing millions of children, and recently, while the world and the U.N. General Assembly have cried out to bring in peacekeeping forces into Israel and Palestine, to end the escalated war and recent assassinations, the U.S. has vetoed the rest of the Security Council and has halted the possibility of peace, there, in the most volatile place in the world.
People in Serbia, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan to name a few have seen bombs fall, not always at military targets and kill innocent civilians, as the scene in New York city yesterday. The wars waged by our government in our names has landed smack in the middle of our living room. The half hour of destruction closed down all world financial markets, struck the central headquarters of our military, and had our leaders running into bunkers, and our citizens into fear and frenzy. What scares me more than what has occurred is what our reactions to the occurrences may cause. President Bush belongs to a long generation of Republican Presidents who love war economies. The media has only concentrated on the bombings, if you will, and what type of retaliations are looming for the perpetrators. What everyone fails to realize is that the bombings are a reaction to existing injustices around the world, generally unseen to most Americans. To react to a reaction would be to further sponsor the reaction. In other words, my belief is that the terror will multiply if concrete steps are not taken to sponsor peace in the middle east, NOW. This does not mean that we should not find the guilty party(s), Bin Laden, or whoever they may be, and not try them. Put simply, as long as a major injustice remains, violence precipitates to the surface of life.
Native American folklore, the Bible, Nostradamus, and many other major religious beliefs point to this era with the visuals of yesterdays disasters, and conditions of ecological disasters we experience daily in our lives today. War, rumors of war, famine, long burning fires, etc., are at our doorstep. We can prevail over this possible vision with the power of the human spirit, understanding, compassion, and peace. ITS TIME TO PUT OUR NEEDS FOR SECURITY AND SURVIVAL, ACHIEVED ONLY THROUGH PEACE, ABOVE AND BEYOND PROFITS, ESPECIALLY IN THESE TIMES.
The U.S. should stop sidestepping the U.N. Security Council, and allow U.N. Peacekeeping troops and missions to the Middle East. Stop the violence first.
Stop the bombing and patrol of Iraq.
With todays gains in the use of alternative fuels, develop them to full usage with autos and other utilities, to make the country less dependant on an already depleting natural reserve, oil.
By initiating peace, we would have already shaken the foundations of support for Bin Laden, and/or all those that sponsor activities like those we saw yesterday, and break the stronghold of extremists on the world of Islam. On the other hand, if we carry out bombings on Afghanistan or elsewhere to appease public demand, and very likely kill innocent civilians along the way, wed be creating many more martyrs going to their deaths in retaliation against the retaliation. As shown from yesterdays events, you cannot stop a person whos ready to die.