Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Crime of Colonial Occupation & the Crisis in the Muslim World


The Crime of Colonial Occupation
& the Crisis in the Muslim World
 
Dr Firoz Mahboob Kamal
 
The unending crisis
The Muslim world is now in the grip of an overwhelming crisis. Not only in politics, it has engulfed religious beliefs, ideology, spirituality, culture, education, defence – in fact, all arenas of Muslims' life. Day by day, the crisis is deepening and getting a catastrophic dimension. It shows no exit way. Rather it looks the Muslims have totally lost the direction. Every disease has a distinctive cause, the disease process and the pathology. The same is with the crisis. The current crisis of the Muslims largely owes to the huge deviation from the Islamic roadmap revealed in the holy Qur'an. The long occupation by the colonialist kuffars has done a great harm by aggravating the deviation. To destroy any potential of the recovery, the coalition of the same Western colonialists has also imposed a long decimating war. In the ongoing US-led war, more than 99% deaths and destruction are taking place in Muslim countries. Hence, there remains little doubt that the ongoing war of the global coalition is not against any person or party but on Islam. It is exactly designed to inflict maximum damage to the Muslims' traditional power base and stem any chance of Islam's resurgence.
 
Every war is fought on two fronts: one in war fields and another in the field of ideology. In that context, the on-going war is not different either. Hence the enemy of Islam are not only killing millions of Muslim men and women and dismantling the defence and economic infrastructure, but also destroying Muslims' core belief, culture and geopolitical understanding. The genesis of the current war traces back to the enemies' war strategies of the long colonial occupation of the Muslim lands. It indeed feeds on colonial legacy; and now breeds catastrophic fallouts for the future. Instead of Islam, the colonialists nurtured racism, nationalism, secularism, tribalism, fascism, autocracy and other de-Islamising ideologies in Muslim lands. Such colonial legacy thus works as the perfect recipe for generating toxic incompatibilities among Muslims of different ethnicities, tribes and sects; and on little prompting gives birth to blood-letting civil wars. Hence, the European disease of civil war came to the Muslim lands. As a result, those who never went outside the own city or country in their life time now take the risks of crossing sea on boat to beg shelter in non-Muslim lands. What else can be the worst disgrace for the Muslims?
 
The imperialists' war on Islam is now spreading like wild fire. It has caused a huge humanitarian crisis in the Muslim World –especially in the Middle East. It has killed more than one million people only in Iraq and about 300 thousands in Syria. And the killing continues. It has forced millions of people to leave their homes -more than 4 million only from Syria. Millions of people are on the move from Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and many other countries. Few decades ago, millions of people were driven out of Palestine. The cause is the same: it is the brutal war of occupation by the external or internal enemies of Islam. The Muslim World never experienced such disastrous diaspora in its 14 hundred years' history; it had internal migration but never such external migration. Thousands of them are now entering Europe every day. Migration to Europe was not their choice; they preferred to take shelter in the neighbouring Muslim countries like Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. Since these countries stand fully saturated, they possess no other option but to cross the sea by boat to reach Europe. In such desperate move, hundreds of them are already drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.
 
The Europeans have populated vast parts of the world by genocidal cleansing of the original people –as committed in America, Australia and New Zealand. Little space is left for the others. Moreover, an artificial state of Israel has been implanted in the heart of Muslim land with forceful eviction of its original people. Migration of Jews to Israel from all over the world is encouraged, but the return back of the original people to their ancestral home is made illegal! The Muslims' houses still get continuously demolished to make settlement of the foreign Jews. The leaders of the Western countries are not only silent on such grotesque crime against the innocent Palestinians, but also complicit in it. Israel gets money from the West to build houses for the Jewish migrant on the land of evicted Palestinians. Now the same Westerners firmly stand against the life-saving move of the refugees towards Europe. The refugees are being brutally beaten on the borders. Walls are raised, water cannons are used and tear gas shells are fired to prevent their entry into Europe. According to the UN Charter, the refugees don't need any legality to seek any shelter in a country. But the Western media and the governments are not ready to call the refugees as refugees. To justify their brutality, they call them illegal migrant. Doesn't it tell a lot about the moral problem of Europe? In Europe –the birth place of colonialism, imperialism, fascism and Nazism, deep seated hatred against Islam and the Muslims runs very high. Four million Lebanese could welcome more than 1 million refugees. Europe has a population of 500 million. Economically Europe is not like Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey. But Islamophobia runs so high that even an idea of few thousands of Muslims entering into the continent cause violent hysteric spells. They call it Islamisation of Europe.
 
The Western hypocrisy
The hypocrisy of the Western imperialists runs much deeper. They didn't say what they truly believe. Such visible dishonesty runs since the early days of colonialism. When they occupied the Muslim land and killed its people and exploited its resources, even then they didn't tell the truth that they are against Islam and the Muslims. While they carried out the genocidal massacre cum ethnic cleansing against the native Red Indian in America, even then they didn't disclose their real motive either. On the contrary, they portrayed the occupation of weaker countries of Asia, Africa and America as the part of their civilising mission for the uncivilised –as if it was delegated to them by God.
 
The former US President George W. Bush told the same lie when he invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.  However he told the truth when used the narrative of crusade to describe his Iraq invasion. The word "crusade" has a special historical connotation. It means knee-deep bloodbath in Muslim blood by the Christians –as occurred in the holy city of Jerusalem by the old crusaders. After committing horrendous massacres in Afghanistan and Iraq he returned back to the same lie to cover up his crimes.  He went on telling the world that the USA is not at war on Islam or Muslims! They were invading Iraq only to remove Saddam Hussain and his weapons of mass-destruction. They also told that they would promote democracy and human rights in Iraq.
 
When the British colonised India, they told the same lie. They tried to hide their brutal colonisation project by a false claim that they occupied India to promote human rights and development! But the truth is very painful. They killed more people in India than in other parts of the world: many fold higher than the Red Indians killed in the ethnic cleansing project. They committed massive deaths by extreme exploitation. They caused two devastating famines in Bengal by mindless exploitation: one in 1769-70 (Great Bengal Famine) and another in 1943-44. The famine of 1769-70 killed about 10 millions -one-third of the total population of Bengal at that time. The second one killed 1.5 million. (Source: The Cambridge economic history of India, Volume 2, Cambridge University Press, 1983). The fertile land of Bengal never saw such famine in her whole history. In Bengal -which had a population several times larger than the UK, they built only two universities in their 190 years' occupation.  
 
The clash of civilisation
The old colonialism of the West has formally died; but the imperialism didn't. In fact, the appetite for further occupation, exploitation and controlling the fate of weaker countries still thrive in the former colonial nations. Hence the West's imperial war of occupation –as happened in recent years in Afghanistan and Iraq hasn't ended. Neither shows any sign that it will end sooner. In Afghanistan, thousands of the US army personnel still stand ready for war there. In recent years, President Obama has redeployed thousands of fresh soldiers in Iraq. The US air raids, missile attacks and dropping of bombs in countries like Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan still go unabated. The warfare of targeted killing by drones has now turned more brutal, more global, more unending and borderless.
 
War has now turned the most important part of the imperialists' economy. Fear of Soviet Union helped the USA economy grow faster. After its collapse, the Western imperialists have invented new bogey enemy; and that is Islam. They consider followers of Islam as the sole and formidable challenger against their worldview and civilisation. The US Professor Huntington conceptualised the image of the new enemy in his controversial book "the Clash of Civilisations." Such a frightening image of the Muslims has dipped down instantly in the West's psyche. In fact their old colonial mind-set was ever ready to swallow that. So the imperialists get an ideological bulwark for its war efforts against Islam. Hence wherever the Muslims rise up with the Islam's flag of La Ilaha IllAllah (there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah) with an intention of returning back to the prophetic days of sharia, khelafa, shura, jihad and Muslim unity, the imperialists consider such an attempt as a threat to their civilisation. Such an extreme paranoia is heavily working in the Western psyche to make them very savage and very revengeful to kill even the unarmed Muslim children, men and women even in their bedrooms and in the wedding or funeral ceremonies –as happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. "In a six-year period to 2011 an estimated 3,000 innocents were killed in Pakistan alone, including 176 children. Such casual slaughter would have an infantry unit court-martialled and jailed. Drones are immune". (Source: Simon Jenkins, the Guardian, 18th Sept. 2015).
 
The crimes of the colonialists
Apart from killing the people and looting the resources, the colonialists committed the greatest crime against the Muslims in the ideological territory. They didn't allow learn real Islam and nor did allow grow-up as full Muslim. They didn't put any bar against salah, fasting, zakat, haj or other religious rituals. But they restricted the practice of Islam as a deen –the code of life. They didn't allow practice of sharia. But how one can be full Muslim without the practice of sharia? They are so inimical to Islam and Muslim that they didn't allow developing an Islamic education system in any part of the occupied area that could help understand the holy Qur'an –the most important segment in Muslims' education. This way they made it very difficult to understand true Islam and grow up as a true Muslim. It is indeed the greatest calamity of the kuffar colonial rule. They added not only deaths and miseries to the worldly life; but also negatively impacted the fate in the hereafter.
 
Even after the departure of the colonialists, those heinous crimes still survive with the toxic aftermath. The greatest crime of the colonialists is not in the field of economics or material life. It is indeed in the territory of faith, spirituality and the religious practices. To be a full Muslim, one needs a full Islamic nurture through its political, social, cultural and educational milieu –which is totally impossible under the kuffar rule. For that, the Islamic state and sharia rule are indispensable. So the kuffar colonialists caused huge deprivation of Islamic nourishment in every Muslim's life. As a result, the Muslims missed the Islamic up-bringing and grew up with the total detachment from Islam. As a result, the Qur'anic Islam stands stranger even in a Muslim land. Now the same people stand shoulder to shoulder with the old colonial kuffars to obstruct any step of revival of Islam in any Muslim country. Lord Cromer –the British Consul-General in Egypt and a notorious architect of British colonialism dreamed of such a harvest of British education system in their colonial countries that will serve their interest even after the end of their own rule.
 
The infrastructure of disobedience: the greatest catastrophe
The colonial occupying forces had a long-term plan to crash the political, ideological and military powerbase of the Muslims. To keep the Muslims divided and weak, they developed a geopolitical infrastructure of lasting disunity; and destroyed the pan-Islamic brotherhood. They raised walls of partition on ethnic and tribal line only to suit their imperialist strategy; the Muslims' own interest was given no consideration. The one Arab land was thus divided into more than 20 pieces and handed over to a host of spineless servile clients. To protect such infrastructure of division, they stationed their standing army inside those vassal states. The presence of USA army cum navy in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states and also in the near vicinity in the Persian Gulf and in the Mediterranean Sea is a testimony to that. To add sustenance to their brutal colonial presence, they also implanted a racist state of Israel in Muslim land.
 
Can a true Muslim reconcile with such a division of the Muslim land? Is it compatible with the Islamic faith? Can a civilised mind accommodate such a legacy of colonialism? The non-Muslim occupiers not only altered the geopolitical configuration of the Muslim land, but also its ideological identity. Sharia-law-based judiciary was functioning in all Muslim countries before the colonial occupation. But they dismantled that only to be replaced by their own laws. Can a Muslim accept such kuffar laws? Acceptance of such man-made laws makes one out-rightly kafir (nonbeliever), zalem (oppressor) and fasiq (sinner) -as warned in the holy Al-Quran in Sura Al-Maida in verses 44, 45 & 47.
 
But the Muslims were forced by the colonialists to succumb to the kuffar laws at the cost of their fate in the hereafter! In the name of law and judiciary, it was indeed the Satanic infrastructure of rebellion against Allah Sub'hana wa Ta'la. The colonialists have left; but the Satanic infrastructure they built still survives. It is in fact the greatest catastrophe of non-Muslims' cum anti-Islamists' occupation of any Muslim land. Under such occupation, the journey towards paradise becomes extremely difficult; but turns very easy to move towards the hellfire. Who does better understand those difficulties of a believer living in any non-Muslims' occupation than Allah Sub'hana wa Ta'la? So in Islam, the greatest religious act is not to offer 5 times prayers, keep fasting in Ramadan, give zakat or performing haj, but to defend the Islamic border and fight for ending the anti-Islamists' occupation and implement the rule of sharia. Such a fight is indeed a religious obligation on every believer. As per Qur'anic announcement, only those who get killed in such a fight receive instant access to the paradise and get exceptional exemption from waiting till the judgement day. 19/09/2015


--
Regards,
Shahzad Afzal



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Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Real Enemy Is Within

By Chris Hedges


If you are not dedicated to the destruction of empire and the dismantling of American militarism, then you cannot count yourself as a member of the left. It is not a side issue. It is the issue. It is why I refuse to give a pass in this presidential election campaign to Bernie Sanders, who refuses to confront the war industry or the crimes of empire, including U.S. support for the slow genocide carried out by Israel against the Palestinians. There will be no genuine democratic, social, economic or political reform until we destroy our permanent war machine.

Militarists and war profiteers are our greatest enemy. They use fear, bolstered by racism, as a tool in their efforts to abolish civil liberties, crush dissent and ultimately extinguish democracy. To produce weapons and finance military expansion, they ruin the domestic economy by diverting resources, scientific and technical expertise and a disproportionate share of government funds. They use the military to carry out futile, decades-long wars to enrich corporations such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. War is a business. And when the generals retire, guess where they go to work? Profits swell. War never stops. Whole sections of the earth live in terror. And our nation is disemboweled and left to live under what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls "inverted totalitarianism." Libertarians seem to get this. It is time the left woke up.

"Bourgeois society faces a dilemma," socialist Rosa Luxemburg writes, "either a transition to Socialism, or a return to barbarism ... we face the choice: either the victory of imperialism and the decline of all culture, as in ancient Rome—annihilation, devastation, degeneration, a yawning graveyard; or the victory of Socialism—the victory of the international working class consciously assaulting imperialism and its method: war. This is the dilemma of world history, either-or; the die will be cast by the class-conscious proletariat."

The U.S. military and its array of civilian contractors operate as enforcers and hired killers across the globe for corporations, many of which pay no taxes. Young men and women, many unable to find work, are the cannon fodder. The U.S. military has served as the handmaiden of capitalism since it committed genocide against Native Americans, carried out on behalf of land speculators, mineral companies, timber merchants and the railroads. The military replicated this indiscriminate slaughter at the end of the 19th century in our imperial expansion in Cuba and elsewhere in the Caribbean, in Central America and especially in the Philippines. Military muscle exists to permit global corporations to expand markets and plunder oil, minerals and other natural resources while keeping subjugated populations impoverished by corrupt and brutal puppet regimes. The masters of war are the scum of the earth.

 

It was the war profiteers and the military, as Seymour Melman has pointed out, that conspired after World War II to keep the country in a state of total war, deforming the economy to continue to produce massive amounts of weapons and armaments in peacetime. The permanent war economy is sustained through fearmongering—about communists during the Cold War and about Islamic jihadists today. Such fearmongering is used not only to justify crippling military expenditures but to crush internal dissent. The corporatists and the military, which have successfully carried out what John Ralston Saulcalls a "coup d'├ętat in slow motion," have used their political and economic clout to dismantle programs and policies put in place under the New Deal. Brian Waddell writes of this process:

The requirements of total war ... revived corporate political leverage, allowing corporate executives inside and outside the state extensive influence over wartime mobilization policies. ... Assertive corporate executives and military officials formed a very effective wartime alliance that not only blocked any augmentation of the New Dealer authority but also organized a powerful alternative to the New Deal. International activism displaced and supplanted New Deal domestic activism. Thus was the stage finally set for a vastly extended and much more powerful informal U.S. empire outside its own hemisphere.

The war machine is not, and almost never has been, a force for liberty or democracy. It does not make us safe. It does not make the world safe. And its immense economic and political power internally, including its management of the security and surveillance state and its huge defense contracts, has turned it into the most dangerous institution in America.

Military expenditures bleed the federal budget—officially—of $598.49 billion a year, or 53.71 percent of all spending. This does not, however, include veterans' benefits at $65.32 billion a year or hidden costs in other budgets that see the military and the war profiteers take as much as $1.6 trillion a year out of the pockets of taxpayers. The working and middle class fund the endless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and a host of other countries while suffering crippling "austerity" programs, massive debt peonage, collapsing infrastructures, chronic underemployment and unemployment and mounting internal repression. The war industry, feeding off the carcass of the state, grows fat and powerful with profits. This is not unique. It is how all empires are hollowed out from the inside. As we are impoverished and stripped of our rights, the tools used to maintain control on the outer reaches of empire—drones, militarized police, indiscriminate violence, a loss of civil liberties, and security and surveillance—are used on us. We have devolved, because of the poison of empire, into a Third World nation with nukes. We are ruled by an omnipotent, corporate oligarchy and their Pretorian Guard. The political class, Republican and Democrat, dances to the tune played by these oligarchs and militarists and mouths the words they want it to say.

 

"The Power Elite" warns of a military machine that not only holds the political and economic life of the nation hostage but also has the ability to form public opinion. The Pentagon spends $4.7 billion a year and has some 27,000 employees who work on recruitment, advertising, psychological operations and public relations, according to a 2009 report by The Associated Press. But millions of dollars more for propaganda are hidden within classified budgets. The Pentagon places its commentators and pundits on the airwaves, produces "news" stories for the press, has ubiquitous advertising, runs junkets for Wall Street capitalists and elected officials and manages how Hollywood and television portray war and the military. Mills writes:

… [I]n all of pluralist America, there is no interest—there is no possible combination of interests—that has anywhere near the time, the money, the manpower, to present a point of view on the issues involved that can effectively compete with the views presented day in and day out by the warlords and by those whom they employ.

This means, for one thing, that there is no free and wider debate of military policy or of policies of military relevance. But that, of course, is in line with the professional soldier's training for command and obedience, and with his ethos, which is certainly not that of a debating society in which decisions are put to a vote. It is also in line with the tendency in a mass society for manipulation to replace explicitly debated authority, as well as the fact of total war in which the distinction between soldier and civilian is obliterated. The military manipulation of civilian opinion and the military invasion of the civilian mind are now important ways in which the power of the warlords is steadily exerted.

The extent of the military publicity, and the absence of opposition to it, also means that it is not merely this proposal or that point of view that is being pushed. In the absence of contrasting views, the very highest form of propaganda warfare can be fought: the propaganda for a definition of reality within which only certain limited viewpoints are possible. What is being promulgated and reinforced is the military metaphysics—the cast of mind that defines international reality as basically military. The publicists of the military ascendency need not really work to indoctrinate with this metaphysics those who count: they have already accepted it.

The naked greed and violence that define empire, understood by writers such as Joseph Conrad, Eduardo Galeano and Arundhati Roy, is masked within empire behind the cant of patriotism and nationalism, which sanctify self-exaltation and racism. Imperial war is transformed through the magic of propaganda into glorious spectacle. Galeano once wrote that "each time a new war is disclosed in the name of the fight of the good against evil, those who are killed are all poor. It's always the same story repeating once and again and again." 

The hypermasculinity of the military, celebrated by Hollywood and the media, is seductive to an underclass trapped in menial, dead-end jobs. Empires feed like vultures on these pools of frustrated surplus labor. They manipulate their feelings of powerlessness. This is why capitalists create pools of surplus labor. Those who are desperate to secure a place in society are easy fodder for the military and ready candidates for underpaid jobs without benefits or job security. Our corporate, neofeudal society is by design.

The sons and daughters of the elites rarely serve in the military. The military, even at the service academies such as West Point, attracts those who have been cast aside by neoliberalism. Often, before joining the military, they lack a clearly defined identity or sense of purpose. They are terrified of being pushed permanently into the underclass. They are especially susceptible to indoctrination. The military teaches soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines not to think, not to challenge assumptions and structures, but to obey and to be "tough" and "strong." This hypermasculine culture glorifies the state and state violence. It renders all human beings outside the sacred national circle as objects to control or exploit. It creates a binary world of good and evil. It sanctifies violence, especially male violence. It is why rape is endemic in the military. It is why pornography and violence against women are so pervasive in the culture. Tenderness, nurturing and empathy, along with intellectual inquiry and artistic expression, are banished. The weak and the vulnerable deserve to be cast aside. Our enemies deserve to be killed. It is the culture of death. And we drink deep from this dark elixir.

W.E.B. Du Bois warns that empire was the primary tool used to break the working class in Europe and later in the United States. As workers organized and fought for rights and fair wages, the masters of empire started to shift production to countries more easily controlled, countries inhabited by "darker peoples." This is a shift that is largely complete.

"Here, are no labor unions or votes or questioning onlookers or inconvenient consciences," Du Bois writes. "These men may be used down to the very bone, and shot and maimed in 'punitive' expeditions when they revolt. In these dark lands 'industrial development' may repeat in exaggerated form every horror of the industrial horror of Europe, from slavery and rape to disease and maiming, with one test of success—dividends."

Du Bois also knew that the costs of maintaining empire were offset by the profits. "What do nations care about the cost of war, if by spending a few hundred millions in steel and gunpowder they can gain a thousand millions in diamonds and cocoa?" he asks.

The reality of empire is nearly impossible to see from the heart of empire. Those who speak its truth are banished from the airwaves. They are condemned as traitors or "anti-American." The cries of empire's victims are rarely heard. The crimes that empire commits are rendered invisible. The greed of the war makers, along with the corruption and dishonesty of the political, judicial, academic and media courtiers who serve empire, is blocked from public view. The image of empire is scripted like a Walt Disney movie. This mythical narrative is disseminated in films, on television, by the press, in churches, in universities and by the state. It is a lie. But it is a lie that works. And it works because it is what we want. It appeals to our fantasies about ourselves: that we are a virtuous people, that God has blessed us above others, that we have the highest form of civilization, that we have been anointed to police the world and make it safe, that we are the most powerful and righteous nation on earth, that we are always assured of victory, that we have a right to kill in the name of nationalist values—values determined by our naked self-interest and that we conveniently define as universal. 

Noam Chomsky, more than perhaps any other American intellectual, has laid bare the latent forces of totalitarianism in our midst and warned us against the contagion of empire. He says:

Those with deep totalitarian commitments identify the state with the society, its people, and its culture. Therefore those who criticized the policies of the Kremlin under Stalin were condemned as "anti-Soviet" or "hating Russia." For their counterparts in the West, those who criticize the policies of the U.S. government are "anti-American" and "hate America"; those are the standard terms used by intellectual opinion, including left-liberal segments, so deeply committed to their totalitarian instincts that they cannot even recognize them, let alone understand their disgraceful history, tracing to the origins of recorded history in interesting ways. For the totalitarian, "patriotism" means support for the state and its policies, perhaps with twitters of protest on grounds that they might fail or cost us too much. For those whose instincts are democratic rather than totalitarian, "patriotism" means commitment to the welfare and improvement of the society, its people, its culture. That's a natural sentiment and one that can be quite positive. It's one all serious activists share, I presume; otherwise why take the trouble to do what we do? But the kind of "patriotism" fostered by totalitarian societies and military dictatorships, and internalized as second nature by much of intellectual opinion in more free societies, is one of the worst maladies of human history, and will probably do us all in before too long.

There can be no rational debate about empire with many desperate Americans who have ingested this as their creed. The distortion of neoliberalism has left them little else. Here lies the virus of fascism, wrapped in the American flag, held aloft by the Christian cross and buttressed by white supremacy. It is a potent and dangerous force within the body politic. And it is growing. The real enemy is within.



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