Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Devil's Domino and the Salvation in Servanthood - America, Christians, Muslims, the Middle-east, Iraq, Afghanistan and the War on Terror

10. Armour
People grow armour,
When they should grow flowers,

And they think themselves protected,
Hiding beneath the hard exterior
Of their adopted personality.

Unable to drink
When they have found the river,

Dying and burning in their thousands
Under a radiant morning Sun,
As they walk in their armour,

Cast from molten fire,
In moulds made of hate and fear.

Dehumanizing War. The War on Terror is a dehumanizing term because it suggests that it is not a human being behind the bombs and the murders. That terrorism exists in our time because it simply is and there is no point studying the root causes - as if people or a religion (or at least the 'other' people and the 'other religions) are by their nature, evil. I don't know whether this is planned or merely an unintended consequence behind the resurgence in patriotism, wars and defense spending in the U.S. But intentional or otherwise, I think we have read and watched enough news report of 'incidents' where innocent men, women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan have died for no reason whatsoever save that they were in the wrong place and at the wrong time. And I also believe in my heart that they were also guilty of being of the wrong colour, ethnicity and religion. Because I  cannot imagine that the American government would be so cavalier with the extent of 'collateral damage' (yet another dehumanizing term introduced since the First Gulf War) if they had to invade a predominantly white country.

Terrorists? Or simply a case of wrong time, wrong place,
wrong ethnicity and wrong religion?

What Mission? After President Bush declared 'Mission Accomplished!', it is patently clear that the U.S. led coalition has not. Unless of course it was the mission objective to destroy completely the national infrastructure of Iraq, unhinge the fine balance between the Sunni and Shia populace, create a lawless free-for-all state of mayhem, set in motion the undeclared civil war between Sunnis and Shias, promote the influence of Iran amongst the Shia majority in Iraq, help cultivate the al-Qaeda support in the Sunni communities where previously none existed, give billions of Dollars in infra and oil work to American crony corporations, issue contracts to mercenary defense-contractors (Blackwater, now renamed a more respectable "The Academy") - an unhinged collection of war profiteers unregulated even by the U.S. Army handbook... Where do I stop? My litany of woe can go on and on and on.

War on 'the others'. The U.S. government insists that the War on Terror is not a war on Islam or Muslim Arabs. And I agree, because firstly, I do not think that the U.S. government understands what Islam is. So at a contextual basis, Islam as taught by the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) is not in the picture. But such is the influence and penetration of Islamophobia into the national psyche and Western mainstream media, that despite this official line, the lives of many, many innocent Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan have been cut short... in the hundreds of thousands. The U.S. military may not have pulled the trigger on each of these deaths and undoubtedly many were killed due to sectarian strife, but as a famous Chinese proverb says, "If you save someone's life, you are responsible for it." So if the U.S. government wanted to save Iraq and Afghanistan and went in to topple the dastardly Saddam and Talibans and bring democracy, freedom and progress... well the smarty-pants must take responsibility.

Seconds later, the American gunship tore through feeble human flesh.
"The good Iraqis stayed indoors. If they were out they were up to something." was the
feeble reasons given. Would this happen in a white country?

Unprepared for war or peace. The U.S. Army and Marine cultural preparation of their soldiers for the war on Iraq was woefully inadequate and at times misguided. Saddam was a ruthless dictator who gassed his own people, true, and certainly deserved to be toppled. But for many of these young men (and women), their Iraq tour was their first trip abroad, and certainly their first encounter with the Middle East, the Arabs and their religion and culture. Sadly, the leaked pictures (and videos) of the 'Ugly American' became just all too common during and after the Iraq War. Donald Rumsfeld was asked about the American troops trashing the Baghdad museums and Saddam's palaces during the capture of Baghdad, and he basically said that it was not a big deal, just a case of the 'boys' letting off steam. For the U.S. Secretary of Defense to utter such a cavalier remark is astonishing. During the U.S. entry into Baghdad and Nazariah, there were many innocent lives lost in the fire-fight. A senior ranking U.S. military officer said that all the innocent good people were in their homes, and those out on the streets were obviously up to no good... Really? And this comment did not come during the heat of the war, but many, many years later in a television documentary about the tactical and strategic mistakes of the Iraq invasion. Even in hindsight, some soldiers still want to defend the indefensible. This is sad because by comparison, there has been many other fellow American soldiers and marines who have come out to complain and confess their own participation in some of the mindless slaughter of unarmed civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, to prick the conscience of a nation deluded by politicians and mainstream propaganda.

The politicians and generals must take responsibility. But President Obama is
not interested in 'looking back'. Thus the architects of one of the most ill-conceived
U.S. invasion of a foreign country, and criminals who authorized torture and
water-boarding walks freely on the streets of America, without fear of prosecution.

The core issues. As the almanac has mentioned before, there is a need to address all problems at its inner core. Why are the Arabs becoming terrorists? Why are the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why is there so much hate being spouted from both sides of the no-man's land? Who is an Arab? What does it mean to be a Muslim or a Christian? What is our common shared heritage? What can we learn from our past conflicts?

The Devil's Domino. As human beings we are taught to control our egos, nafs (base human desires) and reject the wicked promptings of the Devil. If we say that the West is corrupt, are we so perfect? For the West has gain ascendancy since colonial times, and for that reason the Devil has also focused his attention on the western civilization. He will first corrupt the West and with its dominance spread his cruel lies and tricks the world over. In a manner of speaking, the Western society is one of the first domino to fall in the Devil's plan to corrupt and enslave all of humanity to our ego and nafs. The other domino is the fall of the last Ottoman Caliphate, an event that would not have occurred without the connivance of Muslims themselves, especially in the Middle East.

War is a special condition of the human state. And it must be governed
by rules of engagement. For Muslims this would mean no civilians must
be harmed or placed in harm's way. Even as we condemn the U.S. attitude towards
the Geneva Convention, so too we must condemn the cruel tactics of suicide bombings
and killings of innocent civilians perpetrated by the so-called jihadis.

So while the conservative war hawks in Washington and Moscow (yes, the Russians are simply biding their time) are focusing their hatred on Islam and Muslims, and the misguided 'jihadis' are pouring all their hate and bile against 'the grand western conspiracy', somewhere in his laboratory of fear and hate, the Devil is smiling and laughing, musing to himself, "Ah... the fools! They NEVER learn..." 

Salvation is in Servanthood. Things are happening as it is written. Lines have been drawn on the sand of human conflict. But it is the Devil who is actually holding the stick and drawing the lines. O' Muslims, do not be deceived! O' Christians, do not be deceived! O' Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs... do not be deceived! If there is a noble conflict worthy for the children of Adam, this is it - who amongst us is the kindest, most generous, intelligent, wise and compassionate towards his fellowmen? Who amongst us best reflects the benevolent and divine attributes of our One beloved God? Who is willing to be a servant of God and of all humanity?

Despite all this, I am hopeful. For this is what
the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) is teaching
his nation and all of humanity.
Salvation through servanthood.

Have a thoughtful Thursday, sunshine.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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