"Does a Western Democracy have a better right to kill innocent people than a Middle Eastern dictatorship?"-Howard Zinn
May 2011. Controversial and talented hip-hop star Lupe Fiasco seemingly shocked the world when he called President Barack Obama a terrorist. Lupe's comments were based on current American foreign policy which has caused millions of casualties in at least 3 different nations: Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya. Lupe's words were quoted as: "My fight against terrorism, to me, the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America. I'm trying to fight the terrorism that's actually causing the other forms of terrorism. You know, the root cause of terrorism is the stuff the U.S. government allows to happen. The foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists."
Lupe didn't just criticize foreign policy but President Obama directly with his comments saying that Obama was the “To me, the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America,” biggest terrorist". But the rapper didn't stop with calling the president a terrorist, he also criticized voting saying that "“I don’t vote. I don’t get involved in politics. Because it’s meaningless, to be honest." Both of which are sentiments I can agree with. Obama and the United States Government are terrorists, theres no doubt that the people of Libya and Iraq also agree, they live with the terror. The indiscriminate bombing of Libyan towns and citizens in Tripoli. One such bombing killed Qaddafi's son and his grand children these are not the acts of heroes but of murderers who now because of these "attack drones" are no better than Qaddafi himself. Lupe caught plenty of flack for his commentary specifically from the Black community that supports Obama but in a strange twist, he also catches hell from the Fox Newz crowd who despise Obama and was referred to as a "pinhead" by Bill O'Reilly (which means "you made it" and that you must have said something right).
April 1986. Libya leader Muommar Qaddafi's regime bombs a discotheque in West Berlin, only two people died--but one was an American soldier. This prompted then-President Ronald Reagan to commence bombing and other aerial strikes in Libya. The outrage that followed the strikes, forced historian Howard Zinn to pen a piece entitled "Terrorism Over Tripoli" (which this blog borrows said title). In the project Zinn blasts Reagan with the same fervor Lupe uses on Obama. Zinn also calls Reagan a terrorist and says that Reagan's terrorism far outweighs Qaddafi. But Zinn takes things a step further than Lupe in some regards.
Zinn writes "we live in a world in which we are asked to make moral choices between one kind of terrorism over another. The government, the press, the politicians, are trying to convince us that Ronald Reagan's terrorism is morally superior to Muommar Qaddafi's" (p. 64). Similar to today, where we are constantly reminded of the Lockerbie bombing, and how Qaddafi is attempting squash rebel groups in Libya with force, we miss or rather are taught to ignore how much force is used to stop Qaddafi. Zinn continues "modern technology has outdistanced the Bible. 'An eye for an eye' has become a hundred eyes for an eye, a hundred babies for a baby" (p.65). Lupe like Zinn sees that terrorism and war go in a cycle. America attacks Libya today in retaliation for Qaddafi's attacks on his own people, America attacked Libya then in retaliation for Qaddafi's attack in Berlin. But regardless of what is in retaliation for what there are always innocents left to suffer. It is these innocents and their families that become terrorists in their own right over time. The "eye for an eye" mantra on a much smaller scale and retaliation being carried out by smaller cells of peasants. At the end of the day all of the above are terrorists: Moummar Qaddafi, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. They have all killed innocent people for one reason or another none of which can be excused, therefore, Lupe Fiasco was no more wrong to mention this than Howard Zinn was 25 years earlier. The "patriots" a.k.a the flag wavers can attempt to claim any moral high ground they wish but truth its truth.
Lupe Fiasco dared to dissent, he refused to be a flag waver or even to take "I like Obama because he's Black like me" road. He did the right thing and he made the statement that needed to be made and now I will close this piece with an important statement by Howard Zinn: "the most cherished element of our democracy--the pluralism of dissenting voices, the marketplace of contending ideas--seems to disappear at a time like this, when the bombs fall, the flag waves and everyone scurries" (p. 46).