From Mon Sep 24 18:28:21 2001
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2001 10:46:13 -0500 (CDT)
From: SEJUP <>
Subject: News from Brazil, No. 451
Article: 126822
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Good and evil

By Frei Betto, News from Brazil, No.451, 21 September 2001

Immediately after the terrorist attack on the United States, President Bush declared a war between good and evil. This division of the world into good and evil countries was one that the western world had begun to bury with the end of the cold war. This division fomented the Christian Crusades against the “infidel Muslims” and later, the extermination of Jews by Hitler's troops.

Does it make sense to identify the United States with the good and its critics and enemies with evil? The Bible and the Torah confront the question of good and evil with divine wisdom. Good and evil live together in each of our hearts. Freedom consists in knowing how to choose between selfishness and love. One cannot say that the United States, in its history, has worked harder for justice and prosperity for all people in the world than for the hegemony and financial gains of Uncle Sam.

Since the creation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, the United States brought Puerto Rico under its dominion (1898), invaded Cuba (1902), took over the Panana Canal, implanted dictators in the southern hemisphere, fomented terror in Nicaragua, trained military leaders in the ways of torture, and now propose ALCA as a form of commercial control of Latin America.

The White House who authorized the use of napalm in the Vietnam war and bombed the civilian population of Sudan during Clinton4s presidency is today a victim of its own power. The oppressed mirror the aggressors when they retaliate with the same methods. Just as the victims of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon did not deserve the tragedy that they suffered, so the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima should not have been exterminated with two atomic bombs.

Saddam Hussein initially was the White House marionette who helped the U.S. to fight against the Islamic Revolution in Iran. He demonstrated once again the insidiousness of terrorist training policies of the U.S. The wizard turns against the sorcerer. In the 19804s, Osmar Bin Laden was the right arm of the CIA against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The CIA taught him to make bombs, to plan and activate terrorist attacks, to hide his millions of dollars in fantasy companies and finance paradises, to operate secret codes, and to infiltrate civilian and military groups. Bin Laden is a product of the Americans. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and since 1990, Bin Laden has pointed his terrorist arsenal against Uncle Sam.

The indefinite postponement of peace in the Mid-East including the creation of a Palestinian state is another factor in the growth of dissatisfaction and xenophobia. Since the UN resolutions of that region were not taken seriously and attacks continue in the Gaza Strip and parts of Jordan, arms continue to be used to end a conflict that can only be done with political negotiations.

In commemorating his 80th birthday last week, Cardinal Arns asked that all Brazilians pressure Brazilian President Cardoso to not support any attitude or policy of vengeance on the part of the United States. In Arns4 words, terrorists should be punished for the horrible crimes that they committed but innocent populations should not suffer. Many of us are pacifists until a robber enters our house and kills a loved one. Thus, we take on the same sentiments of the robber, allowing our violent side that hides inside us to emerge. Peace is the fruit of justice. Thus, we should not do to others what we would not want done to us. It may be impossible to not have enemies but it is possible to avoid treating them with inhumanity and injustice which feed the spiral of violence. War never brings good solutions, only pain, destruction and more suffering.

Just as Pax Romana was not built on hatred of Christians, Pax Americana will not have a future if it foments hatred toward Islamic people. Without them, western culture would not be as it is today. As the Jewish people gave the world Marx, Freud, Einstein and many other geniuses in science and the arts, the Arab people have given us geniuses such as Al-Khwarizmi in the area of mathematics, Al-Kindi and Alhazem in physics, and Avrrsis in the area of philosophy.

It is the hour for the United States to demonstrate that they are the paladins of democracy, not only in respecting differences but also by ending their support for the autocratic, dictatorial governments of the Arab world where freedom of the people is held ransom to the unjust price of barrels of petroleum.