Thursday, October 18, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Hawaiian studies professor Haunani-Kay Trask
said at a UH anti-war forum yesterday that
America should stop using its military to
police the world and open foreign
trade markets.

U.S. bears sole
blame for Sept. 11,
Trask says

Haunani-Kay Trask says
America should focus on the
needs of its own people

By Pat Omandam

The United States has only itself to blame for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, said outspoken Hawaiian studies professor Haunani-Kay Trask.

Moreover, Trask said, the United States should stop using its military might to police the world so it can open up foreign trade markets. It should stay out of the Middle East and elsewhere and instead focus on the needs of its own native and poor people, she said.

"The United States is angry because somebody came back and blew up their World Trade Center," said the University of Hawaii professor and sovereignty activist. "I would be angry, too. But what made them do that? It is the history of terrorism that the United States unleashes against native people all over the world."

Trask's comments, which come at a time of increased patriotism across the country, were given yesterday at a University of Hawaii at Manoa forum sponsored by Professors Opposed to War and the University Peace Initiative, comprised of students, faculty and staff of the UH system.

Organizers say these public forums are meant to educate and stimulate critical thinking on why this war on terrorism is occurring and what it means in the long term for the United States.

Members seek nonviolent, globally responsible and lasting solutions to end violence.

Trask was attending a U.N. conference on world racism in Durban, South Africa, Sept. 11 and said she was shocked and horrified watching the attacks unfold on television.

The first words out of her mouth, she said, were what 1960s activist Malcolm X said when asked about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963: "Chickens have come home to roost."

"What it means is that those who have suffered under the imperialism and militarism of the United States have come back to haunt in the 21st century that same government," Trask said. "The Third World has responded to the First World, and it is bitter and it is hateful. It's crazy, that war out there."

Trask said the United States began the 20th century with the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom and, a century later, it begins the next one trying to install a new government in Afghanistan.

She said the United States' foreign policy of supporting state-sponsored terrorism to impose U.S.-friendly governments in countries like Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Guatemala and Vietnam led directly to the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Everywhere, the United States has overthrown leftist government. Everywhere, the United States has overthrown native governments," she said. "Why should we support the United States, whose hands in history are soaked in blood?"

About 100 students gathered on the Manoa Campus Center steps to hear the discussion and to be challenged by Trask and others to get involved.

It remains to be seen whether such anti-war activism will rise to the level of protests found on the Manoa campus during the Vietnam War.

"Most of us swallow very easily what we're fed by our government and by the media," said Susan Hippensteele, a women's studies professor who also spoke at the forum.

Hippensteele said there has never been good public dialogue on why these attacks occurred. But a review of U.S. foreign policy shows why people have resorted to these desperate acts of violence against America.

She said President Bush's war on terrorism is more a war on public opinion to generate irrational fear and panic among American citizens so they do not question the policies of the Bush administration.

Hippensteele and others urged students to seek alternative sources of information on the Internet so they can ask tough questions of elected officials and be the watchdog the American public should be.

"Democracy can not be on cruise control," added Ruth Y. Hsu, an associate English professor and moderator of yesterday's event.

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