Understand "the enemy," Please!

Nature provides ample opportunity to people and Pharaohs of every age to open their eyes to reality and act accordingly.

The gruesome videos and pictures coming out of Iraq provide that last opportunity to the unaware people, for whom picture of an enemy has long been painted. It is only the “war on terrorism” they now need to enthusiastically support to eliminate this enemy. 

These graphic pictures are heightening emotions in the unaware people who have been subjected to modern form of censorships, embedded journalism and mind bending stories and analysis. So far, the war-associated pain and misery was just a “collateral damage” for them which their righteous leaders and soldiers were inflicting on their enemy.

The “free world” is just receiving glimpses of what its “enemies” are going through for years in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. The effect of recent pictures is only to show them the total humiliation factor of the US-imposed conflicts. The total annihilation factor is still beyond their understanding.

They do not know what is worse, total humiliation or total annihilation. The truth is that most unaware people in the West are oblivious to the annihilation factor in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kashmir and Palestine. They are not exposed to photos of dead, injured and maimed Muslims, any more than they are to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories. They are only exposed to pictures of Muslims "radicals," "extremists" and "terrorists".

Now that they are confronted by the images of a naked Prisoners of War who look every bit as human as they do, they feel outraged at his abasement, because they can see their obvious humanity through smokescreen of confusion, lies, labels and stereotypes.

Despite all this, these are images of death and degradation at an individual level. Imagine the level and impact of pain in a society where occupation forces kill countless people in cold blood and destroy dozens of homes on weekly basis.

There is an opportunity for the unaware people to imagine the horrors Muslims are going through from the vividness of a few individuals being mistreated and realize that Muslims and Islam are not the enemies.

The world living outside occupied countries does not even get accurate statistics of death and destruction, let alone assessment of the daily psychological degradation. It is time for it to imagine the emotional impact of what is presented as mere “collateral damage.”  

The unaware people must understand that if by the US government’s logic 135,000 soldiers cannot be held responsible for the misdeeds of, say, 70, how can individuals, such as Pipes, and organizations, such as RAND, propose “rebuilding Islam” for 1.3 billion Muslims for the misdeed of, say, 1000 Muslims at the most. Look at the ratios and compare.

Muslims and Islam are being presented as a threat since long. Of course, they have a different perspective but they are not the enemy. The difference in perspective is obviously due to their living through different forms of occupations and exploitations. As direct victims, they have not just seen the conflicts through much starker images from the beginning.

On the internet and TV, we are warned: “Beware! Graphic pictures. This should only be viewed by a mature audience.” Muslims living under occupations have been gathering the disfigured bodies of their immature loved ones, which the rest of the world is finding hard to experience in pictures alone.  

Muslims under direct and indirect occupations have all along seen a different world and different wars from the Western public. If they think and act differently, it is simply because they are put in such circumstances –” partly by their misdeeds and hypocrisy and partly by those who have turned them into enemies due to the religious label they inherit.

Pictures of abuse from Abu Ghraib or the killing of Nick Berg have brought to the US and its allies only a fraction of the darker side of the glorified occupations and much vaunted liberation. It shows that their perceived enemies are bearing the brunt of the propagated “good intentions.”
It is time for the rest of the world –” whether it is the aloof Muslim world or the kept-in-dark non-Muslim world –” to identify with the enemies subjected to occupations, attacked by dogs, raped by the GIs, killed by daisey cutters or starved to death by genocidal embargos.

Similarly, inflicting pain on a dehumanized enemy is not a one-way traffic. Nicholas Berg is not the first or last who died in similar helplessness and Guantanamo colour jumpsuit. The close to 800 Americans (and their families) who lost their lives, and got buried without due honour, must have gone through similar pains. It is only that no one had the opportunity to zoom in on their individual tragedies.

It is time for the unaware to understand that war is war. The 1.7 to 2 million deaths due to sanctions and imposed wars and the degradation of occupations preceded atrocities of Abu Ghraib, decapitation of Nicholas Berg and the death of 800 US soldiers. Blaming Islam as soon as Berg is decapitated amid the ever increasing violence is part of the whole campaign that has declared Muslims as “enemies” of the West.

Blaming a religion or its followers for what is going on is as mistaken today as it was at the beginning of the campaign when the New York Times blared a full-page headline on January 21, 1996: “The Red Menace is Gone, but Here’s Islam.” Or when the Economist wrote under the headline, The Islamic Threat: “It is the mightiest power in the Levant and North Africa.

Governments tremble before it. Arabs everywhere turn to it for salvation from their various miseries. This power is not Egypt, Iraq, or indeed any nation, but the humble mosque” (March 13, 1993, pg. 25) 

Islam for the unaware people remained as the belief of the enemy. When an idea or a perception takes root like this, it becomes an article of faith and very difficult to change. Fallujah and Abu Ghraib are then the natural consequences. The widely recognized “scholars” have been doing nothing but painting the picture of an enemy. Remember these words from Huntington: “Islam is the only civilization which has put the survival of the West in doubt….Statesmen can constructively alter reality only if they recognize and understand it. ” 

Bush and Blair understood it. They are now constructively altering that reality. They are united in opposition to the much needed enemy that Irving Kristol described in the Wall Street Journal (August 02, 1996) as: “With the end of the Cold War, what we really need is an obvious ideological and threatening enemy, one worthy of our mettle, one that can unite us in opposition.”
The unaware people must wake up to the reality that Muslims are not targeting “Jewish-Christian capitalist evil, democracy, non-Muslim religions and the West,” as Amos Perlmutter (Washington Times, March 1, 1993) has been telling them all along these years.

The unaware must realize that what they witness through a few pictures is the result of efforts of painting Muslims and Islam as the most threatening enemies. Daily Express (January 16, 1995) wrote under the headline, Islam Is A Creed Of Cruelty: “We have to treat their religion with respect. Of course we must. That is what the new dogma of political correctness demands of us…. They must be joking!”

The latest information out of Iraq is a two edge sword. People, such as Senator Jim Inhofe, and writers, such as Charles Krauthammer, can use it to generate more hatred against Muslim than we witness since the fall of Soviet Union. On the other hand it can be used to make people aware of the consequences of wars imposed on a painted enemy with the help of outright lies.

The greatest tragedy of our time is that Muslims feel the pain of their “liberated” brethren because they can imagine themselves under genocidal sanctions, shock and awe invasions, a variety of bombings and mind numbing occupations. To much of the outside world, it is only planes hitting building and the rising huge plumes of smoke. It cannot see the victims which its “enemies” could see.

It is time for the rest of the world to understand that Muslims are not the enemy, nor are their opportunistic dictators at the top enlightened friends of the West. Those who call a spade a spade merely look at the situation from the perspective of victims –” a perspective which the rest of the world is now having an opportunity to experience. Their perspective is different but not anti-West.

To the contrary, perspective of the “enlightened” dictators and so-called allies might seem attractive, but they are the real hypocrites. Those who are not sincere to their people can never be friends of the West. They will keep on serving demi-gods in Washington, like Saddam, until they bring misery upon their own people and those who consider these opportunists as friends for putting the perceived “enemies of the West” on leash.