Arundhati Roy – Come Septmeber Speech

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This is a great speech and I especially enjoyed the following quotes:

Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink wrap people’s brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.

What does the term “anti-American” mean? Does it mean you’re anti-jazz? Or that your apposed to free speech? that you don’t delight in Toni Morrison or John Updike? that you have a quarrel with giant sequoias? Does it mean that you don’t admire the hundreds of thousands of American citizens who marched against nuclear weapons or the thousands of war resisters who forced their government to withdraw from Vietnam? Does it mean that you hate all Americans? This sly conflation of America’s culture, music, literature – the breath taking physical beauty of the land – the ordinary pleasures of the people.

With the U.S. claiming they were seeking to defeat the Taliban and liberate the woman from harsh treatment she asks:

Can we bomb our way to a feminist paradise?

And finally, though it would be easy to just quote the whole speech:

Yet each person who has lost a loved one surely knows secretly, deeply that no war, no act of revenge, no daisy cutters dropped on someone else’s loved ones or someone else’s children will blunt the edges of their pain or bring their own loved ones back. War cannot avenge those that have died. War is only a brutal desecration of their memory. To fuel yet another war – this time against Iraq – by cynically manipulating people’s grief, by packaging it for tv specials sponsored by corporations selling detergent and running shoes as to cheapen and devalue grief, drain it of meaning. What we are seeing now is a vulgar display of the business of greed, the commerce of grief, the pillaging of even the most private human feelings for political purpose. It is a terrible, violent thing for a state to do to its people.


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