The Year of the Golden Ram 2015: Never Ending Conflict.
From Wazir Jahan Karim
While writing this, on March 3rd 2015, Israeli Prime Minister, HE Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the U.S. Congress, thanked the U.S. for its 'generous military assistance' and warned them against Iran's nuclear armament programme. He said Iran was moving to be a nuclear power. He received a standing ovation at the end of his speech. He said the U.S. and Israel were like family. In his speech, Iran and by default, Hamamas in defence of Palestine were 'the enemies within' that wanted to break up this happy family union. It was a surreal media experience and as he waved to the U.S. Congress at the end of this warning speech, I couldn't help thinking what Palestinians, Iranians, Iraqis, Afghanis, Libyans or other Muslims around the world were thinking? He had removed possibilities of the creation of a Palestinian State in his political campaigns. And in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, all those millions of Muslims conquered, occupied and displaced by the U.S. in their own country, how did they react to this address in this age of liberalism and democracy in the 21stcentury? This may be an incomprehensible statement but would Iran ever be allowed to address the U.S. Congress to defend itself, in an American-style democratic debate? But how have Americans and Europeans reacted to this speech? Did they not feel uneasy, that this speech may heighten Islamophobia - a fear for militant Islam and Iran? Or is Islamophobia so embedded in the Euro-American psyche that people might not even be aware that they harbour hostile sentiments or stereotypes against Muslims? There is a certain kind of innocence within American society, a people beleaguered by wars and over dependent on allied politically charged news channels and pandemic social media. The media is convincing, America is the world champion of human rights and criminal justice - rouge states have been tamed to be democratic and allies of the U.S.
Yet there were bigger issues to solve in American ethnic politics and civil rights. John Legend, in his Academy speech for 'Glory', the theme song in 'Selma', the movie on American black apartheid, which won only one Oscar, for best original song said African Americans remain incarcerated after centuries of liberation from slavery and formed the majority in American prisons. There was a kind of startle ripple in the audience, like a surprise intrusion. Did a black cat cross the glittering stage? Were Americans even aware of the situation in American prisons and did it take John Legend to remind them of the marginalisation of African Americans in disadvantaged classes and prejudices of race, colour and class within and across dominant American communities?
As for Islam, the creation of more ammunition for Islamophobia would create added justification for Jihadism. Muslims in general and Muslim youths in particular, have become the wretched of the earth - demoralised, worthless, powerless and undervalued. How were Muslims supposed to believe that the U.S was neutral in its policy in the Middle East in general or in the creation of a Palestinian State, in particular?
On March 29th 2015, the Arab League declared the establishment of a joint military force. Is it, in reality, to support and back the air strikes of Saudi Arabia against the occupation of Yemen by Houti rebels backed by Shia militia? Iran has protested against the air-strikes but why is Iran fanning the war in Yemen when it can do so much more to bring peace to Syria, Iraq and Palestine? Is the world now going to see a horrific pan-Arab Muslim Shia and Sunni civil war across the Middle East? Why was a joint Arab military force not envisaged at the height of Operation Protective Shield in Gaza? Thousands of Palestinians were left to die and Egypt closed its borders, finally opening them to the sick and injured.
None of these events make sense to social and political analysts, keen to see peaceful resolutions to the Middle-eastern conflict. These events are unlikely to stop Jihadism, against non-Muslims and Muslims. Sectarianism will merely obliterate the Palestinian cause. Is it too late for Muslims to forget their differences and realise that they will drag the world into an unending war where the winners will be only be those who stand to gain if Palestine becomes a loss cause.