Days Before the Bombing, the U.S. Pulled Out of the U.N. Conference Against Racism: Aninterview with the Speaker of the South African Assembly On the South African Reaction to the Attacksand the Bush

September 20, 2001

Author Susan Sontag writes in the current issue of the New Yorker:

“The disconnect between last Tuesday’s monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outrightdeceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The voices licensed tofollow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public. Where is the acknowledgmentthat this was not a "cowardly" attack on "civilization" or "liberty" or "humanity" or "the free world" but an attackon the world’s self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions?"She continues, "a lot of thinking needs to be done… about the ineptitude of American intelligence andcounter-intelligence, about options available to American foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, and aboutwhat constitutes a smart program of military defense..."

In addition to the issues Sontag raises, the U.S. withdrew from the U.N. conference on racism in Durban, South Africajust days before the attack.

We’re joined right now by Frene Ginwala, the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, to talk about her ownreaction to the bombing.


  • Frene Ginwala, Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa.