‘Democracy,’ terror and imposed regimes
George Bush has asked the U.S. Congress for another chance to conquer with an additional 20,000 troops what he could not with 140,000 in the last four years. General Musharraf, on the other hand, is calling for more support in the war of terrorism. Bush and Mush are the classic examples a colonialist master and his chief collaborator, staying in power with the barrel of a gun and foreign support.
America and its allies are faced with the choice of peaceful co-existence and the ultimate tragedy of human history. Similarly, Muslim regimes, which are imposed and supported from outside, have a last chance to make their choice [in dealing with the U.S. administration’s totalitarian aspirations] against the backdrop of the reality that the United States is very likely to turn on collaborating puppets one by one in the near future.
The same, unfortunately, is true of the world’s so-called democratic allies of the United States, for whom a war of terrorism to suppress Muslims’ aspirations for self-determination remains a rallying cry and a principle of belief. Perhaps the promotion of realism in Europe and America, pursued consistently by many independent western analysts over the long term, might someday allow the rise of leaders whose colonialist temptations are tempered by the need to satisfy their constituents’ domestic needs –” and who eschew anti-Islam policies and totalitarian colonial adventures as wasteful and misguided. The prospects of such eventuality are bleak in the near future.
Iraq was the test case of whether this change could occur in the short term. But the co-opted Muslim leadership failed to make the hawks in London and Washington realize their mistakes. Instead they gave them ample grounds to continue the anti-Islam rhetoric and onslaught. In the absence of any concrete struggle for liberation from the colonial yoke, Muslims states are certainly a few generations from any unlinking of Islamophobia and anti-Islamism –” if it is to occur at all –” and real independence. Meanwhile, de facto colonization itself shows no signs of being on the wane as a social, political and economic force that keeps the colonial West thriving while the former colonies –” both Muslim and non-Muslim –” still lingering in perpetual darkness and under-development.
That means that the best we can hope for in Muslim states in the near term is rational leadership, which does not see its bread buttered forever on the side of an alliance with totalitarians in their wars of terrorism. A shift to working for real independence can bring an end to the continued colonialism, but we also know that emergence of alternative leadership promotes Islamophobic opposition (see Algeria, Afghanistan, Palestine and Somalia for example), with its often violent overtones and the wars of aggression. However, all this is possible with simultaneously rising voices of reason and logic along with a determined struggle for freedom all over the Muslim and non-Muslim world without any distinction of pro-colonialism regime and pro-independence masses.
Muslim rulers have failed to demonstrate that all that is contained in the Islamophobic propaganda about “political Islam” and “Islamism,” is not inherent in the structure of Islam itself. Mostly being dictators, Muslims leaders could not point out to the fact that there is no real democracy in practice in the world today. Democracy is clearly susceptible to being used for good, or ill; for restraint or destruction. However, in modern history, militarism led by the so-called civilized democracies has taken far more lives than the death and destruction wrought by all other forms of violence together.
In confronting the American totalitarian designs of making the Muslim world in particular toe the line, we –” Muslims and non-Muslims alike –” need to remember that democracy exists as an ideal system of governance in theory alone. It is a force that motivates actual people living today, with all the frailties and imperfections that make us human. However, democracy has been abused to the maximum possible extent.
The systematic propaganda to spread the fear of an Islamic model of governance has gone to the extent that most political analysis seriously lack the counterbalance of a broader consideration of the cultural underpinnings of Western militarism in the name of democracy.
For instance, while a Muslim bomber’s willingness to die is what makes him so dangerous, the willingness to die has always been a requirement for military service for the so-called democracies as well. No American GI is sent on the wars of aggression –” launched on the basis of lies upon lies –” with a guarantee that he would not get killed. Of course, willingness is not the same as intention, but they are not separated by some kind of ontological chasm.
Moreover, while it is clearly disturbing, although not true as propagated, that some Islamic scholars are able to construct lines of reasoning for justifying the mass killing of innocent civilians, what should be equally if not more disturbing is the idea that a “democratic” country can rally behind a war for no more compelling reason than that the president and vice-president gravely assure that country’s uninformed populace that the war is "necessary" and that on the flimsiest of evidence, a distant and weak nation constitutes a "real and present danger." Which is more dangerous: an oppressed, occupied population that can be steered by pain, loss and suffering to resist occupiers (which is blamed on a ‘dubious line’ of incitement for resistance by ‘Islamists’), or a population that demonstrates little interest in any kind of reasoning?
Patriotism girded by blind faith is a mechanism through which individuals give their souls away to the state and then in the name of some righteous cause –” be it for democracy or nationalism –” make themselves instruments of powers about whose nature they are almost always mistaken. There is no place in Islam for giving or taking lives on these grounds.
Nothing is more futile than America’s hope that puppet regimes of dictators, kings and sheikhs will secure its interests in the Muslim world forever to come. The puppet regimes’ also need to realize that their foreign source of strength is likely to become the very thing that bring them down. Relying on imposed, repressive regimes doesn’t go well with hallow Western claims for democratization. How can an imposed governance ever actually be democratic and stable if the source of its power is despised by those who are governed? While days of most puppet regimes seem numbered, America is appallingly positioned to respond to the consequences of their departure.
Muslim leadership has two options:
- a). to remain divided and get punished one by one like Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, until an unconditional, total surrender to the will of totalitarians, or
- b). to get united, stand up with a single voice, make alliances with the rest of the oppressed nations, and struggle for true independence from the colonial yoke.
Keeping vested interested of the puppet regimes in mind, option “b” seems to be out of question. That leaves Muslim masses at the mercy of totalitarian zealots, whose continuing bloody adventures will hardly be affected with any number of face changes in the Congress, or White House at the top or protests at the grassroots level.