Jesse Jackson: African Americans not exempt from international terrorism

LONDON–In the wake of the terrorist killings of nearly 300 people at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India early this month, Black leaders are pressing for more information and cautioning African Americans to be clear that they are not exempt as targ

LONDON–In the wake of the terrorist killings of nearly 300 people at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India early this month, Black leaders are pressing for more information and cautioning African Americans to be clear that they are not exempt as targets at home or abroad.

“Terrorism must not be seen in Black-White terms. There is no safe haven for Blacks when terror strikes,” Rev. Jesse Jackson said during an NNPA interview as he toured London, Birmingham and Liverpool recently. “For example, Al-Qaida struck Kenya before it struck New York…When the terror attacks hit New York, there were no reserve spots for Blacks. It’s deeply ideological.”

Early news reports said the attackers were trained in Pakistan and appeared to be seeking to kill Americans, British and Israelis.

Outgoing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, also in London, called on full Pakistani cooperation with the investigation. Headed to India, she urged its government to focus on the investigation of the attacks, and to avoid troop maneuvers or other actions that could cause “unintended consequences,” according to the news website Guardian.Co.UK.

The greatest danger of conflict between Pakistan and India is that they both have nuclear weapons, Jackson said in the interview. “One motive of the terrorists is to turn those governments against each other, which would be indescribable loss of life. We must not allow the terror attacks to be successful in turning Pakistan and India into overt enemies because it makes the whole world less secure.”

Jackson was is in the UK on a whirlwind tour of Black churches, community centers and universities, lecturing and sermonizing on his economic justice program, called Equanomics. Blacks in the United Kingdom, which include Black people as well as Indians, are often victims of unequal justice economically and socially. Just as Jackson has worked to inspire African Americans to rise up and fight for equality through his Chicagobased Rainbow/PUSH Coalition in America, his Equanomics program in the UK is spreading hope among thousands.

But, terrorism has added another level of injustice regardless of race.

Among his UK meetings, Jackson conferred privately with Shiv MuKherjee, the Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

Speaking briefly to reporters, including the NNPA News Service, which was covering Jackson on the tour, MuKherjee referred to the Mumbai attack as the “most savage and the most viscous we’ve seen in India so far. And we’ve been subject to terrorism quite frequently over the past few years, more frequently than perhaps any other part of the world.”

No one should jump to conclusions, MuKherjee said.

“It is really for the investigation to show exactly the details of this operation, who planned it, who executed it, where they got the support from, the weaponry, the planning, the execution,” MuKherjee said.

After a private briefing with MuKherjee, Jackson said it would be wise for the governments of Pakistan and India to quickly assure that it was independent regimes – not the governments themselves, which are responsible for the activities.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., a member of the Homeland Security Committee, released a statement warning the U. S. that it must learn lessons from the Mumbai attack.

“The attacks in Mumbai, India on multiple soft targets aimed at Americans and people of British and Jewish origin call for a re-evaluation of security precautions at home and abroad,” she said.

In January, Norton stayed at the Taj Mahal Hotel as part of the Congressional delegation, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a mission to discuss climate change strategies and the peaceful use of nuclear power.

Last week’s attacks hearken to the horror of Sept. 11, 2001, but the ground-style attacks on individuals opens a whole new area of security needs.

“We have focused on Al Queda, which has a pronounced and well-known modus operandi that is known for big bang targets, such as airlines in flight and sites with official or symbolic standing, such as the World Trade Center,” Norton says. “(This) group traveled to its destination over water by boat, and used guns and explosives to go after people shooting point blank in restaurants, railway stations and even hospitals.”

Norton said when Congress reconvened for the last of a lame-duck session, she would seek information on American intelligence concerning the emergence of new groups in new areas that might focus on American targets.

“The attacks in India are more genuinely terrorist and more frightening than what we have seen because they appear to be focused even more indiscriminately on simply spreading fear and confusion wherever people tend to gather without regard to the targets,” she said. “Beyond seeking Americans and people of particular nationalities, and Jews, it is difficult to know the messages these terrorists meant to send.”  NNPA

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