UNCLE SAM'S DICTUM "WITH US OR AGAINST US" DIVIDES WORLD BETWEEN THE WEST
Oct 1, 2001
By Iqbal Jassat
The aftermath of the September 11 attack on America's nerve centres of
military and economic power has been an unprecedented tidal wave of rabid
anti-Muslim hate crimes and speeches.
News coverage of what has been described as the "worst terrorist attack on
US soil" has gone beyond saturation point, and yet images of the planes
ploughing into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon
are continuously repeated on all the major news organs of the world.
Dramatic footage from dated archives of America's prime suspect and most
wanted man, Osama bin Laden, has provided the image of the face that
George Bush believes is the master-mind behind the attacks. This image
together with footage of masked people, allegedly Muslims, training in
guerrilla warfare in some desert area, allegedly Afghanistan, repeated ad
nauseam, has aided anti-Muslim propagandists to denounce legitimate
Islamic movements as "terrorists".
The desire for vengeance has witnessed calls baying for Muslim blood, in
addition to the daily reports of atrocities committed against innocent
Muslim children in western capitals, as well as arson and bomb attacks on
Mosques and Islamic institutions. Thus far more than a thousand incidents
attacking the civil liberties of Muslims have been recorded in America.
These exclude the brutal slaying of Sikhs, mistaken as Muslims and attacks
on Hindu Temples mistaken as Mosques.
None of the war mongering rhetoric emanating from the White House and
vociferously supported by self-styled experts on terrorism is likely to
dampen the ferocious scale of Islamophobia, despite patronising
disclaimers that all Muslims are not terrorists. Indeed such disavowals
entrench the perception that the declaration of war on terrorism is indeed
a crusade against Islam. Bush's ultimatum whereby your choice is limited
to either being "with America" or "with terrorism", "with civilization" or
"with barbarism" has offered the world, including Arab dictatorships a
choice between the West and Islam. Thus this division of geopolitical
interests confirms Israel to be an integral part of the West, while it
negates the Palestinian struggle as "terrorist", therefore "barbaric" and
not worthy of support by civilised nations.
In fact, the legitimate resistance by Muslims in Chechnya to ward off
naked Russian aggression is now also being viewed as "terrorist", while
the old Cold War adversary has been welcomed as part of the American Club.
The struggle for Independence by the Kashmirs will be frustrated even
further due to the fact that it's liberation movement has opposed
Pakistan's complicity which allows the USA it's air space and bases for
the impending invasion of Afghanistan. This places them in the camp of
the "other" deserving of the wrath of the Americans and it's NATO
coalition, and by their convoluted logic, should be pulverised into
extinction for daring to oppose Uncle Sam.
The dictum "with us or against us" is the new guiding principle, which is
now defining International relations. South Africa too is not immune from
the despotic demands of this dictate. A recent editorial in The Citizen
(September 26) blames remarks made by Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini
Zuma for the plummeting rand. What did she say that coincided with the
arrival of the R13 pound? The preceding day's lead story headlined "ANC
sees Israel as racist - Zuma" reported that she quoted to the National
Assembly the recent ANC newsletter equating Israel policies with apartheid
and Nazism. "These policies are racist," the Minister said.
Accordingly, The Citizen opines that nations are choosing sides while Zuma
"flirts with putting us in the wrong camp". The camp of barbarians and
terrorists? The camp of all the usual suspects: Saddam Hussein, Muammar
Gaddafi, the Taliban, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and rogue states such as Iran,
Sudan, Syria and Cuba?
It appears that to some it does not matter if our constitution and Bill of
Rights come under attack as a consequence of demands by the US
intelligence networks to suspend a host of civil liberties in order to
remain in the American orbit. The proposed anti-Terrorism Bill and
drastic changes in the banking industry to flush out "terrorists" and
freeze contributions from "Middle Eastern terror networks" will ensure
that South Africa's new freedoms will hinge on the paranoia currently
fuelling intense anti-Muslim sentiments.
Iqbal Jassat Chairman of Media Review Network
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