Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, April 2015
Arab Leaders are a Menace to Reality Check and People Are Dying
By Mahboob A Khawaja
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, April 13, 2015
The Arab masses are the targeted victims of the Western-led coalition’s atrocities and instigated sectarian rivalries with unthinkable consequences to the present and future generations. To enhance the foreign proxy wars, the Arab-Muslim leaders are tragically entrapped in a vicious cycle of self- geared disastrous wars against themselves.
The tragic side of the folly reveals moral and intellectual decadence where once progressive culture and civilization evolved horizontally to inspire the Western civilizations. Is it a Divine punishment to the Arabs and Muslims for waging trivial wars against their own existence and future? In a broader context, the Arab-Muslim body appears to be on a death bed and the life-supporting oxygen is fast running out of stock. Undeniably, Western colonial nations have used millions and millions of Arab-Muslim people as readily available species to support their war agendas during the First and 2nd World Wars and resources free of charge to propel their nationalistic aims and to commit heinous crimes against the mankind. History speaks of several millions of Arabs and Muslims used by the Europeans imperial nations throughout the nationalistic European wars of geography, borders and flags. Strange as is, the same former colonial powers instigate “terrorism” and impose militarization on the large parts of the Arab Middle East.
The authoritarian and puppet Arab-Muslim leaders propelled by egoistic Western leaders are engaged in desperate struggle for survival with unknown disastrous consequences for the entire world. None of the kings and dictators will ever surrender to the will of the people and make ways for peaceful transfer of power. Deliberate killings of the innocents go unabated across the Arab Middle East as if there were no conscientious human species of knowledge, rational thinking part of earthly habitats. The war syndrome represents human madness, the guilt of having plunged the whole of the mankind into cruel abyss. Nobody can imagine what the way out of the sadistic messy plan is for the future of the living humanity. Individuality has embraced the priority replacing the collective goodness of besieged mankind. For sure, wickedness and righteousness can be combined in one policy statement and decision maker’s mindset. All those possessing political power appear to be moving by animalistic impulse of indifference towards the fellow human beings.
The contemporary history speaks loud and clear that the United States has an undeniable torrid history of creating and supporting terrorist groups throughout the global political theatre. The CIA helped to evolve and train Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and the same appears to be true of the ISIS, now called ISIL fighting in Iraq and Syria and beyond. On the face of it, the US policy makers claim to oppose the ISIL unleashed terrorism and beheading of the few American and European prisoners and Islamic extremism, they knowingly foment it as a weapon of foreign policy to support military interventions in the Arab world. If diplomacy was the norm to settle political conflicts, why is the US leaders not engaged in political dialogue with the ISIL?
All Wars are Against the Human Nature
All wars perpetuate violence, fear and vindictiveness against mankind and are aimed at destruction of civilizations and dehumanization of the succeeding generations. The global mankind is the net victim of the catastrophic madness of the few warlords. Did President Obama learn anything from the past to change his strategic policies because of the knowledge, history and facts of life? Incapacity joined by leadership complacency is the outcome of the current catastrophic civilian casualties throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Millions of innocents are bombed, massacred and deliberately uprooted just as herd is moved around the pastures. Most Arab rulers appear to be missing the essential human conscience – the hub of Islamic characteristics of human beings to see the unfolding political and economic realities on the ground. All the monsters of history could be traced amongst absolute rulers. They look at masses with insane satisfaction and wicked temperaments as if they are somewhere from another planet to ruler another species - the egoistic cult turns into kind of cancer that consumes their mindset, body and will power. Arab authoritarian leaders are not open to reason or listening and learning until they are forcibly phased out as happened to so many in recent months. In view of the unstoppable cycle of political killings and daily bloodbaths in so many Arab states - Syria, Iraq, Yemen and spill-over to other oil producing Arab nations - and reactionary militancy against the authoritarian rule and dismantling of the socio-economic infrastructures - is the Arab world coming to its own end? The Arab leaders and the masses live and breathe in conflicting time zones being unable to see the rationality of people-oriented Islamic governance, the worst is yet to come, surrender to foreign forces as there are no leaders to think of the future or the Arab armies to defend the people. Once in history, Arabs had moral superiority with the relation of Islam. But can they still claim what is not part of the contemporary culture?
America and Europeans have divided the Arab-Muslim world in sectarian identities, clichés and antagonism. The cruelty of unwanted wars is raging across the Arab- Muslim societies -Shiite-Sunnis fighting- daily bloodbaths happening as if normal sacrifices of the Eid festival. None seems to share any sense of accountability. The leaders are comfortable and untouched to see people are occupied in something away from the normal- the folly of killings and madness of war. Who is going cure the irretrievable historical mistakes of human judgment? History shall see the engaged people and the leaders by their actions, not by their claims. When difficult problems erupt, intelligent and competent leaders are always conscious and open to listening to voices of reason for change and reformation. This helps all to manage a navigational change and to solve the problems. Borrowed weapons and corrupt and failed rulers do not have the capacity to extend moral or intellectual security to the Arab masses. Most oil pumping Arab countries are merely satellite of the US Empire. Those who plan and wage wars are not innocent belligerent or without knowledge. They know well what they are engaged in and its consequences. Those warriors who go to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere to kill the innocent people, divide and massacre men, women and children, fully understand what they are doing. Perhaps, common people are misled by the warmongers enabling them to sustain their war agendas under false political perceptions and imagery as is the case in the US.
“Most Americans go along with unaccountable murder, torture, and detention without evidence, which proclaims their gullibility to the entire world. There has never in history been a population as unaware as Americans. The world is amazed that an insouciant people became, if only for a short time, a superpower. The world needs intelligence and leadership in order to avoid catastrophe, but America can provide neither intelligence nor leadership. America is a lost land where nuclear weapons are in the hands of those who are concerned only with their own power. Washington is the enemy of the entire world and encompasses the largest concentration of evil on the planet. Where is the good to rise up against the evil?”
What Went Wrong to the Arab-Muslim Leaders?
In a synoptic context, most Arab-Muslim leaders lack the basic tenets of moral and intellectual leadership to offer sense of security to the besieged masses. Among many of the reasons, one may note few of the important ones:
1. Change in Islamic Thinking: absence of a proactive vision for the humanity as chosen people for the good of humanity.
2. Conscious neglect of the universal mission of Islam and resulting discard of Islamic movement across the globe.
3. Non-conformance to the principles of Islamic movement for change, development and human success.
4. Systematic decadence in intellectual, moral and political leadership.
5. Dismantling of Islamic institutions for the development of human beings and to deny the role of Islamic reasoning and accountability. 6. Conspiracy “Fitna” of the transitory economic prosperity – discovery of the oil and aftermath of the oil export revenues being used to propagate “modernity”.
7. Incurable illusions of the neo-colonialist elite that oil revenues are forever their exclusive property.
8. Overwhelming materialism and consumerism negating spiritualism: training of body desperately needed training of Faith (Eman) and a focused mind.
Thinking for Tomorrow: Do the Arab-Muslim Leaders Listen to Voices of Reason?
A quarter of century earlier, this author attempted to envisage the future sustainable global relationships between the Muslim world and the Western industrialized nations. The critical impulse was focused on human development and starting a continuous process of political change and development for public institutions throughout the Arab- Muslim world. The threshold of this thinking approach and priorities were entitled “Why Muslims a Divided People?”
There were no Arab-Muslim thinking hubs open to listening and learning and 25 years later, it is worst to imagine a different future. History’s combating ironies often undermine what could be rational and vital to human thinking, values and future-building. The Arab- Muslim world lives in far too distant to the challenges of the contemporary global political affairs, strategic thinking and moral and intellectual priorities for policy making and practices. An individual thinker or scholar can only share ideas and ideals but cannot enforce the incurable missing moral-intellectual capacity of certain people and societies. For too long, the Arab-Muslim thinkers and practitioners have ignored the impetus of change and development - the core values of Islamic thinking and priorities. We live in one Planet Earth. According to the Divine revelations, the Earth keeps record of all the human activities. The Earth is a living entity, not dead. What happened to countless previous powerful Empires and civilizations?
Western Leaders Perpetuate Terrorism to Destroy the Muslim World
Terrorism originates from the Western colonial powers but none would dare to concede it for the fear of unknown intellectual, moral and political consequences in contemporary history. When the European merchants explored new world markets for diminishing resources and their accompanying armed forces invaded and occupied the vast Islamic world, there were no television, internet, video cameras and stone throwing public and voices of reason to call them foreign mercenaries, aggressors and terrorists. The colonization scheme of things was not outcome of the Western democratic values to spread freedom, liberty and justice but ferocity of violence and killings of millions and millions of human lives for the Empires to be built on colored bloodbaths. The European crusaders crossed the channels and unknown time zones to subjugate the much divided Arab-Muslim people as part of their superior nationalism perception and values that Muslims were inferior to the European race and could be used as subjects without human identity and as raw material to build the new Empires. Many centuries past, if there was a UNO, it would not have dared to call the European warriors as ‘terrorists’ because it would have been their own organization as Muslims lived in slavery and denial of basic human rights and identity. In an information age, knowledge–driven global culture of reason, ignorance is no longer a requisite to learn from the living history.
Chris Hedges (“The Terror We Give Is the Terror We Get” Truthdig: 2/08/2015) spells out how the US is instinctively linked to the war on terrorism.
Terror is the engine of war. And terror is what all sides in this conflict produce in overabundance …….We torture hostages in our black sites and choke them to death by stuffing rags down their throats. They torture hostages in squalid hovels and behead them. We organize Shiite death squads to kill Sunnis. They organize Sunni death squads to kill Shiites. We produce high-budget films such as “American Sniper” to glorify our war crimes. They produce inspirational videos to glorify their twisted version of jihad. The barbarism we condemn is the barbarism we commit. The line that separates us from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is technological, not moral. We are those we fight. …..“From violence, only violence is born,” Primo Levi wrote, “following a pendular action that, as time goes by, rather than dying down, becomes more frenzied.”
How to Challenge the Insanity of Sectarian Madness and Foster Political Change and Conflict Management?
The ten or so coalition forces aligned with Saudi Arabia are bombarding Yemen for almost three weeks without much change on the ground. Civilians are the net casualty in Yemen. Once friendly and now the culprit Abdullah Salah, the former President is fighting against the Saudis. America had its anti terrorist center in Yemen and shares all the secretive information for aerial attacks. Iran is said to be moving two of its war ships to the Yemeni coasts. Rationality wonders who is fighting whom and why? Are they not entrapped by the US warmongering in the region? America is fighting to support the failing Shiite regime in Iraq, and it is supporting Saudis so to speak against the Shiite Hautis in Yemen and anti-Assad regime in Syria. There is no sense out of the political and intellectual nonsense. The critical issues call for thoughtful analysis and change and new ideas to phase-out the old and obsolete thinking and obsessed values flourishing across the Arabian Peninsula. But the ruling elite failed to build new public institutions to plan change and to view the imperatives of new trends for policy in security, peace and conflict resolution and human progress in a global community of nations. Global politics is not fixed but a constantly changing phenomenon of life. Arab leaders do not comprehend the imperatives of political change. But reality will not diminish because nobody is conscious of its existence. The Arab Middle East faces many critical crises. The American-British wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the resulting sectarian bloodbaths, none of the aftermath crises are tackled in their proper context by any rational analysis. There are no independent public institutions to analyze the political problems and find workable solutions. No proactive thinking exists in any Arab quarters to strive for political unity and to have coherent leadership. Leaders who cannot think intelligently or understand the nature of the current crises, how could they lead to any strategic direction? Few sectarian scholars and leaders are engulfed in self-geared madness to ensure their survival. The sectarian madness appears to have gone out of control to imagine a sense of purpose and rationality. Complacent Arab leaders will sabotage the peaceful endeavors for crisis management just to escape the challenges of facing the reality. It serves the strategic interest of the US-led war in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Libya and soon onward to Saudi Arabia, dismantling of the Arabs people, culture and civilization by their own minds and borrowed weapons. One wonders, why do the oil enriched Arab leaders are buying billions of dollars worth of military hardware from America or Europe? How and where would it be used and against whom? If Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Egypt are any example, the militarization is meant to quell the public interest and aspirations for political change and future-building. Imagine, if the Arab world had competent armed forces and leadership on the one hand, and were open to common sense diplomacy and dialogue on the other, could peace and normalcy have not been restored in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya?
In view of the unstoppable cycle of political killings and daily bloodbaths in so many Arab states - Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Tunis, Bahrain and spill-over to other oil producing Arab nations - and continuing militancy of the ISIL against the authoritarian rule, vengeful deaths and destruction unleashed by the Iranian backed Shiite militias in Iraq, Syria and Yemen and dismantling of the socio-economic infrastructures - is the Arab world coming to its own end? None cares to think of creative strategies and powerful measures to stop the cycle of sectarian killings and massive destabilization of the region by their own designs. None is open to voices of reason. What kind of future is in-waiting for the Arab-Muslim world? Any objective-oriented analysis will point out that Arab authoritarian leaders interdependent of America and Britain expect their masters to come and rescue them in political crises. This naïve and besieged thinking and behavior persist across the predominantly oil-exporting Arab region and people.
The solution must come out of new thinking and new vision for change, dialogue between the sectarian divides and competent leadership to achieve the stated goals. What if they were organized as morally and intellectually conscientious people and knew the complex nature of global politics and had proactive thought and freedom to think and act and communicate with moral strength to the enemies within the Arab societies. That is, if there were enlightened and competent leaders of vision and moral integrity to use moral and intellectual strength and are flexible to listen and learn from the other side. Many if not all man-made problems could be resolved peacefully and without resorting to bloodshed and committing crimes against the innocent humanity.
Future must be anew, not the repetition of the past. Future making does not lie with the aggressors nor with the failed international institutions, it is with the will and resolve of conscientious and well informed global community to oppose the warlords and to articulate anew and a more people-oriented feasible future for the mankind to co-exist in peace and harmony. While the planned wars and military aggressions have failed to achieve any strategic goals except causing large scale deaths and environmental destruction of the human habitats, political thinkers and intellectuals and experts in conflict resolution should envision new strategies to avert the futuristic wars.
Can we think to be human in all of our moral, political and intellectual endeavors? Can we come-up with a remedial imagination to cure the incurable ignorance, sectarian resentment and nationalistic bloody rampage, the malice and perfidy out of the sadistic human plans and priorities? Can we critically look at ourselves - why have we become so stagnated in moral, spiritual and intellectual values to be on a cliff to destroy the cause of freedom, equality and justice for all? Can we see the mirror with a collective conscience - why have we been pushed to resort to animalistic characteristics and behaviors that those who appear to be well educated and morally and intellectually intact but act like agents of the draconian age as if there were no people of reason and accountability populating the Planet Earth?
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Academic Publishing Germany-May, 2012).
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