Thursday, July 07, 2005

Same People, Different Uniforms

“Our enemies are so evil that anything we do to fight them is justified.”

Now, quick, who operates on this premise, the terrorists or the ‘war on terror’ crowd? You’re right, they both do. As my Egyptian friend says, “Same people, different uniforms.”

Heartless and clueless, they continue to recruit for each other with their horrible actions. What better way to create support for George Bush and Tony Blair than a cruel set of bombings, burning innocent commuters? And what better way to create support for al-Qaida than the abuse and torture of prisoners, or the unjustified prosecution of a ‘war of choice’?

Prayers from my heart for the innocent Londoners who are maimed, in agony, mourning for loved ones. And prayers from my heart for the innocent Iraqis and others who are also maimed, in agony and mourning for loved ones. (I always think of the Iraqi man who lost 28 relations—28, I don’t even have that many—to American attacks. He had been a supporter of the U.S., glad to welcome us there. That’s just one of many, many stories.)

This bombing in London is sick and vicious, and will likely undo the good work of peacemakers of many nations and religions. It will generate support for the soulless fundamentalisms and extremisms on both sides, causing them to become more popular and more entrenched.

Tony Blair says that nothing will disrupt “our way of life” and George Bush is in hearty agreement. In some ways that determination is good, but the problem is that the “way of life” of the global North and West rests upon supreme indifference to the suffering of others, whether the issue is starvation, invasion, oil-guzzling or global warming. While tens or hundreds of deaths in the U.S. or Northern Europe are seen as the unacceptable tragedies they are, millions of deaths in Africa or tens of thousands in the Middle East are seen as merely unfortunate.

Bombings of innocent civilians, kidnappings and beheadings of hostages, the murder and torture of prisoners, the holding of “ghost prisoners” and the detention of people for long periods without charges—it doesn’t matter who does these things, they are the hallmark of fascism and barbarity. It doesn’t matter at all, except as propaganda, whether the perpetrators wave the flag of religion or the flag of patriotism as they use these methods to fight the “evildoers”. All religions forbid these behaviors, as do British and American common law and the basic principles of decency.

As I've said before, I don't see much to choose between those who destroy the world with heartless greed, aerial bombing and denial (the cold method) and those who destroy it with up-close attacks and vicious bragging over their cruelty (the hot method). Come to think of it, there's a Robert Frost poem about the world ending in fire and ice . . . How about a temperate zone where we share the resources, feed the poor, actually care for those who have no power? Then the support would be cut from under the real ‘evildoers’ on both sides, the ones who enjoy killing or simply don’t care.

May we somehow rise above the great tragedies and the little, insidious lies that surround us. May Allah Most High protect all people from the principle of negativity, however it manifests itself. May the baraka of angels and the kindness of neighbors and strangers comfort the suffering. Somehow, impossible as it seems, may compassion and sanity prevail. Inshallah. Inshallah.

4 comment(s):


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/08/2005 01:09:00 PM  

  • Why do Muslims who have such scorn for the West make great efforts to leave the Islamic world and live in the West?

    This is a sincere question, not meant to be provocative or hostile. I really would like to understand. Perhaps you could post your thoughts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/08/2005 09:06:00 PM  

  • hi
    you assume that no muslims are born in the 'west'. i was born in the u.s., as was karima, as were several generations of our families. did you know that the majority of muslims in the u.s. are african american? muslims in the u.s. are not the monlithic group that tv likes to depict us as, we are from a vast range of backgrounds and experiences.
    on a personal note--most of the people i know who do activist work(anti-war, anti-imperialism), which could be seen as having scorn for the west, are not muslim.
    p.s. i'm not interested in moving (well at least not to another country--maybe another state with better weather--lol)

    By Blogger trish, at 7/09/2005 07:00:00 AM  

  • Hello. Trish is right. If you're the patriot I assume you think you are, you'd better not talk about my "wretched f-ing country", because that would be the United States.

    What I have contempt for is not the east or the west, but national policies and personal or group behaviors based on hate and greed. I think my post makes that pretty clear. Maybe you should read it again, for content this time.

    By Blogger karima, at 7/09/2005 10:16:00 AM  

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