[Documents menu] Documents menu
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 98 13:04:51 CDT
From: "Workers World" <ww@wwpublish.com>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: Bombings in Africa Raise Many Questions
Article: 41096
Message-ID: <bulk.17958.19980814181612@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

Bombings in Africa Raise Many Questions

By Monica Moorhead, Workers World, 20 August 1998

The number of dead continues to rise from a powerful bomb that exploded near the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, on Aug. 7. After six days, 217 bodies have been recovered and some 5,000 people are reported to have been wounded. Many more bodies have yet to be pulled out of the rubble.

Another bombing the same day at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, resulted in 11 deaths and 80 wounded. The overwhelming majority of wounded and dead in both blasts are Africans.

The U.S. big business media are much more interested in the two dozen U.S. Embassy and military personnel who perished than in the hundreds of Africans. As in so much coverage of Africa, the people are viewed only as statistics instead of as human beings.

When so many innocent people lose their lives or are maimed or psychologically scarred for life, it is easy for the media to avoid the hard political questions raised by focusing on a mass of details about the human suffering involved.

But these extraordinary events, like any others that reveal the enormous antagonisms in the contemporary world, should be examined within the political context of the history of U.S. imperialist intervention and its impact today.


The media are speculating on who was responsible for the bombing. Were they from Iran? What about Iraq? Just as in the Oklahoma City bombing and the explosion of TWA flight 800 , the "experts" are leaping to connect these bombings with Arab countries that have long been struggling to keep the U.S. from getting control of their oil resources.

Cable News Network reported that about 30 people have been detained so far in Tanzania for questioning on the bombings. Referring to them as the "usual suspects," CNN said they were Sudanese, Iraqis, Somalis and Turks.

An estimated 120 FBI agents are in the two African capitals to investigate the bombings. Why is the U.S. running the investigation when the great majority of people killed were Africans? Is this not a violation of both Kenya's and Tanzania' s sovereignty?

Would Washington allow another country to dominate an investigation here? Many of the passengers killed on the TWA flight were from France, but the U.S. didn't allow France to participate in the investigation.

What the media are carefully avoiding is the main question: Why are there so many forces around the world who might have a reason for attacking U.S. embassies? Why is the U.S. so hated?

The answer lies in the nature of U.S. imperialism, the biggest terrorist in the world.


Ever since the U.S. emerged as the most powerful imperialist country in the aftermath of World War II, oppressed peoples, workers and revolutionary movements the world over have labeled U.S. imperialism their greatest enemy, and rightfully so.

The U.S. has a bloody, sordid history of overthrowing left-wing, progressive and anti-imperialist governments and arming right-wing counter-revolutionary mercenaries. It's all in the name of upholding the virtues of "freedom"--but that freedom is really for the super-rich capitalist class to super-exploit the workers in search of greater profits.

But it is not only progressive movements that view the U.S. government as their enemy. The Oklahoma City bombing and many other acts have shown that virulently right-wing organizations and individuals are on the loose. Then there are anti-communist religious fundamentalists in Afghanistan and right-wing Cubans who have never forgiven the U.S. for what they view as abandonment after many years of being faithful puppets.

In many parts of the world--like Afghanistan--U.S. intervention for its own anti-communist, geopolitical motives has brought chaos and immense suffering.


It is also part of the historical record that the U.S. government will create a crisis when it needs one to go to war.

The mysterious bombing of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor was the pretext for the U.S. to declare war on Spain in 1898 in order to grab Spain's colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

The Gulf of Tonkin incident, later admitted to be phony, allowed the Johnson administration to push a resolution through Congress widening the Vietnam War.

Operation Mongoose, while not carried out, was a package of possible pretexts dreamed up by the CIA for an invasion of Cuba. It included the U.S. carrying out a bombing of its own naval base in Guantanamo and/or an attack on Cuban counter-revolutionaries in Miami that would be blamed on the Castro government.


In recent years, the Oklahoma City bombing and the Waco, Texas, incident--where many people were burned alive after the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attacked the Branch Davidian religious compound--became the excuse to strengthen the repressive apparatus of the state.

The U.S. government and media will cull out every opportunity to deepen national chauvinism and racism, especially against the peoples of the Middle East. Right after the bombings in Africa, the New York Times published a long list of bombings beginning in the 1980's that targeted the U.S., mainly in the Middle East. While the media demonizes oppressed countries and their leaders, like in Iran and Iraq, the U.S. government has called in the Israeli military to investigate the bombing in Kenya.

There is an erroneous notion that there is a struggle between "us" and "them." "Us" is supposedly U.S. citizens and "them" is supposedly anyone originating from outside this country. This phony struggle disguises the real objective of the U.S. imperialist ruling class: to maintain its geopolitical and economic domination of whole regions like the oil-rich Middle East.

It's a tactic devised to keep people divided and fighting among themselves, to keep the pressure off the real enemy: the capitalist class. The one thing the capitalists fear more than anything else--except for losing profits--is the potential for unity of the worldwide, multinational working class.

One thing is for sure: bombings and other desperate acts will not go away as long as U.S. imperialism rules the earth for the benefit of a super-rich few.

(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint granted if source is cited. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail: ww@workers.org. For subscription info send message to: info@workers.org. Web: http://workers.org)