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5428reaction in Muslim world

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  • farooq sulehria
    Mar 26, 2004
      Below I am posting a piece I wrote for a weekly here, Peter wanted me to post it here.Doing that but bit of late.Sorry for that.Farooq
      March 11 leaves Muslim world in shock

      By Farooq Sulehria

      Shock, sympathy for the victims and sorrow. This has been the general
      reaction in Muslim world to Madrid tragedy. The reaction to March 11 was
      different than that of September 11.

      Following the September 11 attacks, there were public celebrations in
      Latin America. The CNN, ignoring Latin America, deemed it fit to air a
      film showing Palestinians congratulating and cheering. The film later on
      proved fake. Though there were no public festivities in the Muslim world
      yet a sense of triumphalism prevailed supreme. Farooq Tariq, secretary
      Labour Party Pakistan, sent a report that summed up the mood in Muslim
      world. In his report ‘Six days after:How ordinary Pakistani feels?’
      Farooq observed:

      “I am writing this article from Toba Tek Singh, my home town, 300
      kilometers away from Lahore, situated in the central Punjab. It is
      mainly a peasant dominated area. In the Seventies, It was once a hub of
      peasant movement led by the Stalinist Left. On 23rd march 1970, over
      500,000 attended a peasant conference in the town.

      “Now the town is in the grip of religious fundamentalists. On the main
      center of the town, we see the paintings of the ‘martyrs’ (those youth
      who have been killed during the ‘holy’ war of Kashmir in last few
      years). Many religious madrasas (schools) can be found at every street

      “I was in Lahore for four days after the Tuesday terrorist attack on
      American cities. At Lahore, the mood among many workers and ordinary
      citizens were of joy and happiness that the Americans have been taught
      the lessons at last.

      “But there was also a sympathy for those been killed in the terrorist
      attack. It was not a mood of fanaticism of all out support for the
      religious fundamentalist.

      “But at Toba Tek Singh, the mood was of fanaticism. As I arrived here
      after six hours of driving from Lahore to see my aging father, I was
      bombarded with questions by him.

      “When I condemned the attacks and also told what could happen to the
      Talban government in future, and that the act has endangered the lives
      of the Muslims across the globe, he was untouched and told me that you
      could be the only one talking this in the town

      “One villager told me that the incident of America is like this that if
      a peasant gets up in a village and fight against the feudal lord with no
      weapons. No one in the village ever thought of fighting against the
      feudal before. Then this peasant win the fight, the whole village
      peasants will be very happy. So is America, a big feudal lord of the
      world who have lost the fight at the hands of some one without any
      resources, we must celebrate. Whenever I raised the issue of innocent
      American loosing the lives, the normal reaction was, yes we sympathies,
      but what about those millions of Palestinians, Sudanese, Vietnamese and
      others who have lost the lives at their hand. Who support Israel? is
      another questions raised immediately by every one.”

      (Full report is available at www.laborpakistan.org)

      The colonial history, the imperialist exploitation, the US role in
      destroying democratic and popular movements in Muslim world, all that
      have contributed to a complicated consciousness towards West in the
      Muslim world. This has got even complicated in post-Cold War period.

      The French opposition to US war plans in Iraq, made Chirac the most
      popular personality in the Muslim world. The historic demonstrations on
      Feb 15 still are fresh in mass mind across Muslim world.

      This has helped Muslim masses see the difference between the governments
      in different countries. Also, the large peace demonstrations in London
      have driven home the fact that it is Blair that supports Bush plans and
      not the British masses.

      Al-Qaida by claiming, or by executing if that is the case, Madrid
      bombings has isolated itself, it seems. These terrorist groups, no
      matter how popular the act of September 11 was, are not the sole
      representatives of the Muslim world. On the contrary, in most of the
      Muslim countries such groups will find themselves pretty isolated.

      This is how some of the newspapers from Muslim world have reacted to the
      Madrid bombing:

      “Seen against the background of the US-led war on terror in the
      aftermath of 9/11, ‘Islamic terrorism’ seems to have become the bugbear
      of some western governments and sections of the media. However, as the
      Spanish tragedy shows, it would be folly to discover the hand of
      Islamists behind every act of terrorism.” – Pakistan's Dawn

      “A mass demonstration was staged in the streets of Madrid in protest
      against these attacks. However, it reflected the resentment against the
      Spanish government's policy in supporting the war on Iraq... It is hoped
      that the Madrid bombings will open the eyes of the coalition, led by the
      US... so that it can look into its mistakes and find a way to rectify
      them.” -- London Al-Quds Al-Arabi

      “Terrorist acts everywhere, the latest being two days ago in Spain,
      prove that containment, not confrontation, will stop bloodshed in this
      world... the crazy policies being applied in many places world wide
      bring more losses, destruction and disaster.” -- Saudi Arabia’s Ukaz

      “Whether the bombings were carried out by ETA or al-Qaeda, the reality
      is that terrorism today is a deadly threat to all human beings...” --
      Egypt's Al-Ahram

      Unlike Feb 15, March 20 witnessed an increased activity of anti war demonstrators. In Pkaista, there wer protests in 63 town, though small in number.Bengla Desh's capital Daaca  and Egyptian capital Cairo also had demonstrations with few thousand participating.
      The phenomenon of fundamentalism will not go on forever. It will see its downfall but not until there is an alterative, a radical anti imperialist alternative.
      "Pip, Peter & Zoe" <ppz@...> wrote:

      farooq sulehria wrote:

      > Also, one importnat thing was: the reaction in Muslim world to Madrid
      > was different from S 11. If comrades here are interested , I can post
      > a small piece I wrote on that.This time, there were no 'celebrations'
      > instead it was sympathy for victims.

      I'd be interested.


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