SENSELESS BLOODLETTINGDr M. Manzoor Alam (July 15, 2005)
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam looks at recent blasts in London in the perspective of a broader pattern of senseless bloodletting – from Chechnya to Palestine and Afghanistan to Iraq
Things rarely happen in isolation. Every headline-grabbing event is part of a long sequence of similar events spread across decades and centuries and diverse territories across continents. The roots of the blasts in London may lie in Abu Gharib in Iraq, Guantnamo Bay in Cuba, Jenin in Palestine or somewhere on Pak-Afghan border. Likewise, the sequence of events, as rightly pointed out by Arundhati Roy in an earlier article, could lie in the racial memories of sustained Western high-handedness.
There are three different points involved here which need to be seriously considered:
ISLAMIC DOCTRINE The first point, of course, is Islamic position on random violence targetting innocent men, women and children. On this score, we are quite sure. Islam, very clearly and unambiguously disapproves of such acts. No ifs and buts are allowed. It’s plain and simple haraam, forbidden.
HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY The second question to be considered is human psychology, the essential human emotional and moral responses Muslims as ordinary human beings share with the rest of humanity: Christian-pagan, Jew-goy, Dwija (twice-born) Hindu-Shudra, believer-agnostic-atheist, everybody.
This essential human nature is that if a group is subjected to sustained hurt and humiliation over decades and centuries, it develops an extraordinary capability to bear pain. A certain emotional and psychological numbness develops that leads to moral numbness as well. Continuous hurt and humiliation breeds a generation of men completely anaesthetised to ethical considerations.
The London blasts were the handiwork of such morally anaesthetised Muslim youth who had been hardened by cynical manipulations of truth. They know that Iraq was attacked despite Tony Blair’s endless protestations that the UK would not extend the war to Iraq. But, no sooner than the Taliban were demolished in Afghanistan, US-UK forces marched into Iraq to “disarm” that country, which supposedly possessed WMDs. Such blatant lie only convinced the alienated Muslim youth that the Anglo-Saxons were out to rub the Muslim nose into dust.
After all, Israel has a large arsenal of WMDs. Even North Korea has it. Why can’t they disarm them? So far more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the invasion. The death of Iraqi military personnel is not even taken into reckoning. Before that half a million Iraqis – mostly women and children – died in the unjust US-led UN sanctions. All this even though Saddam Hussein was neither an Islamist, nor a supporter of “Islamic terrorism”, nor did he have any WMDs. So, why were those people killed? Why was the country invaded? These are the questions that the alienated Muslim youth ask before killing themselves and others in fidayeen attacks. To them pain does not matter – their’s or others’. So far as the sense of humiliation is concerned, it is wiped off with the last traces of their consciousness that cease with physical death.
To these youth this is the solution to the monumental pain and suffering of the Ummah. Sadly, this is not the solution. The solution lies with the people who have created the problem. The devastation wreaked in London or New York is not even one per cent of the death and destruction that forces occupying Muslim lands are inflicting. The solution lies not in Kamikaze-type attacks but in a wider initiative involving policies of big powers.
GEOPOLITICAL REALISM The third point, naturally, is, what is the solution? Well, the only solution is a rollback of invasion and occupation everywhere in the Muslim world. Senseless bloodletting anywhere, whether in Iraq or Palestine, London or New York, is a single phenomenon, the roots of which lie in the arrogance of power. That arrogance of power has to give way to sensible behaviour, based not on lies and deception (like the WMD lie and Saddam’s putative links with terrorism) but on a more honest appraisal of the ground reality. Senseless violence must stop in all its forms, no matter who is the perpetrator.g