Islamaphobia: Consequences of perpetual lies
Sometimes–as the old aphorism states–one’s silence, while surrounded by a din of raucous noise, may be construed as consent. Well, time to take one huge step forward and separate myself from the lumpen masses and weigh in on this most timely topic concerning the proposed construction of the masjid (mosque) near Ground Zero. The very fact that “Ground Zero” has been accepted into national parlance as nomenclature for a hallowed place to be perpetually devoid of anything positively associated with Islam speaks volumes to the spates of ignorance which have run rampant in political circles. But, it would be something different if the scare tactics, ad hominem arguments, and flagrant sophistry that have been popularly espoused by politicians–in the run up to elections–weren’t rooted in fertile soil already stained with the blood of babbling blunders. As another old addage goes, the first casuality of war is the truth. And the truth concerning how Americans in general have been manipulated into believing that Islam represents the antithesis of freedom, justice, and equality has yet to be revealed, because it is always so much easier to suspend one’s intellectuality and believe in false idols. Here, lies represent such sanctified idols. Let’s illuminate some of the very facts that have remained obscured behind the parade of lies that have masqueraded as jingoism, and permit ourselves to rationally anaylze this imbroglio.
Firstly, Islam did not attack America. Islam is a religion, devoid of anthropomorphic features; hence, Islam can’t attack anything. Islam is a religion subscribed to and practiced by 1.5 billion adherents around the world. The name, Islam, was not contrived by human beings. Allah (God in arabic) assigned the name Islam to the religion that He recognizes as being commensurate with the attributes of submission to His will. The people who subcribe to the tenets of the Islamic faith are called Muslims. All Muslims do not reside in Arabia, nor are all Muslims of Arab ancestry or nationality. In fact, more Muslims live outside of Arabia proper then do Muslims who inhabit the peninsula; while all of the inhabitants of Arabia aren’t all Muslims. Many Christians, Jews, and other secularists make Arabia their home. So, with that being said, how do many people come to misconstrue these very facts and subscribe to beliefs that countervail the truth. Well, fear is a strong narcotic; and that narcotic in the hands of charlatan politicians and quack social doctors can be administered to a patient sufferering from a host of anemic maladies (economic, racial, political) and duped into believing it’s an antigen. However, sometimes, the boil has to be lanced to permit the puss to drain in order for the patient to feel better. This won’t hurt, the scalpel is very sharp, and the hippocratic oath (do the patient no harm) is the guiding principle. Sit still… the incandescent light, although initially blinding, will take some adjusting to… there now, I see the boil… the diseased head is near the surface… just a couple of slices and the patient will feel better.
Muslims are already praying near the “hallowed grounds” of the World Trade Center neighborhood. Despite the fact that some Republican demagogues–Carly Fiorino; Newt Gingrich; Rudy Giuliani; Kevin Calvey; Peter King; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Rush Limbaugh; Sean Hannity; Rick Scott; Rev. Franklin Graham–incessantly narrow the scope of inquiry to the World Trade Center spot, Muslims have been worshipping in two adjacent mosques that are situated just blocks from the hallowed spot. In addition to that, while the bulk of the focus has been isolated there, Muslims, for the past remaining years–unbeknownst to some–have been worshipping at another place that was the site of the horrific crime of 9/11. That place is the Pentagon. According to Pentagon officials, not one protest has erupted there to preclude Muslims, or better yet, to dissuade the general American public from permitting Muslims, from worshipping there. The Pentagon, while representing the militaristic might of the United States, and attacked by hijacked American Airlines flight 77, opened a chapel there (to be inclusive of all religious worship–including Muslims) in November 2002.
In an effort to bamboozle folks, attention has been shifted from hard targets to soft targets, to prove the merit of the protest against the construction of the mosque. This attention comes under the manner in which the purported leader of the Islamic center (mosque), Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, has had particular aspersions cast upon his character, to merit the value of such remonstrations. While Imam Abdul Rauf has worked very diligently toward cultivating interfaith dialogue and relations with Christians, Jews, and other religous and secular leaders, the bulk of attention has been distilled to comments that he has made that may characterize him as being anti-American–worst, anti-America. Attributable to him are comments that he respectively made accusing America as having more blood on its hands than al-Qaida. In a speech that Imam Abdul Rauf delivered in Adelaide, Australia in 2005, at the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Center, he said, “We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaida has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims.” And, while denouncing terrorism in all of its material forms, he alluded to the fact that America’s support of authoritarian regimes in other countries, regimes established as bulwarks of America’s hegemony, has resulted in terroristic actions visited upon indigenous citizens of those nations which have spilled more blood than that recognized on 9/11. Now, the question that the unassuming patient has to ask is, “Is there any truth in that?”
In Chalmer Johnson’s 2004 national bestselling book, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, the author delineates some of the historical contextual realities that have resulted in predations of truth littering current analyses. He first educates us as to what this foreign terminology “blowback” is. “Blowback,” as he states, “first appeared in a classified government document in the CIA’s post-action report on the secret overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953” (p. x11). However, that extra-legal and violent endeavor to disrupt and derail Iran’s Mossadegh prime ministerial administration wasn’t just an isolated act; it was a dress rehearsal for other nation-state debilitations. The Central Intelligence Agency, as he further argues, was:
then just six years old and deeply committed to winning the cold war, [and] viewed its covert action in Iran as a blueprint for coup plots elsewhere around the world, and so commissoned a secret history to detail for future generations of CIA operatives how it had been done… Amid the sometimes curios argot of the spy world–‘safebases’ and ‘assets’ and the like–the CIA warns of the possibilities of ‘blowback.’ The word… has since come into use as shorthand for the unintended consequences of covert operations (p. xii).
However, the mere disruption and disabling of other state agencies doesn’t come without severe consequences, especially outcomes that may negatively impact the citizens of America’s emperialistic assays. For, as he more comprehensively essays, blowback:
In its most rigorous definition, does not mean mere reactions to historical events but rather to clandestine operations carried out by the U.S. government that are aimed at overthrowing foreign regimes, or seeking the execution of people the United States wants eliminated by “friendly” foreign armies, or helping launch state terrorist operations against overseas target populations. [While] the American people may not know what is done in their name, those on the receiving end surely do–including the people of Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959 to the present), Congo (1960), Brazil (1964), Indonesia (1965), Vietnam (1961-73), Laos (1961-73), Cambodia (1961-73), Greece (1967-74), Chile (1973), Afghanistan (1979 to the present), El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua (1980s), and Iraq (1991 to the present), to name only the most obvious cases (Johnson, 2004, p. xi).
These sort of magesterial machinations that are performed on the world stage are what Malcolm X referred to as what leads “the chickens to come home to roost.”
Also, it is important to note that these multiple interventions into other nations affairs weren’t precipitated by a violent act on the part of the nation that the CIA deemed as requiring some reprisatory actions. No. For a better understanding of what initiated such violent incursions into other nations affairs, we should permit William Blum to apprise us of the antecedents of those actions. Blum (2004), in his book, Killing Hope: U. S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II, poses the critical question with a subsequent answer that satisfies our initial inquiry. He maintains:
What then has been the thread common to the diverse targets of American intervention which has brought down upon them the wrath, and often the firepower, of the world’s most powerful nation? In virtually every case involving the Third World described in this book, it has been, in one form or another, a policy of “self-determination”: the desire, born of perceived need and principle, to pursue a path of development independent of US foreign policy objectives (p. 12).
Furthermore, this attitude on the part of the U.S. intelligence agencies and state departments, to view other nations’ inhabitants as social, material, economical, and political inferiors, is relevant to our own history here, because, as he incisively relates:
It is reminiscent of the 19th-century American South, where many Southerners [similar to the majority of whom who are making the present arguments against the construction of today’s Islamic Center] were deeply offended that so many of their black slaves had deserted to the Northern side in the Civil War. They had genuinely thought that the blacks should have been grateful for all their white masters had done for them, and that they were happy and content with their lot. The noted Lousiana surgeon and psychologist Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright argued that many of the slaves suffered from a form of mental illness, which he called “drapetomania”, diagnosed as the uncontrollable urge to escape from slavery. In the second half of the 20th century, this illness, in the Third World, has usually been called “communism” [and Islam] (Blum, 2004, p. 13).
So, with that being said, what has been the human cost of those ravages made into other nations for the purpose of bringing civilization to those masses? Well, we should permit another historian to enlighten us here, for as I alluded to earlier, the first casuality of war is the truth; and, as Gore Vidal (2002) has reminded us why the majority of historical facts elude us in the U.S., because most Americans reside in the United States of Amnesia. But amnesia can sometimes be reversed–it only requires time, and sometimes a jolt to the conscious-mind to remember what once was forgotten.
Howard Zinn (2002), in his book, Terrorism and War, masterfully reminds us of what those human effects have been respecting the Muslim blood on America’s hands. Speaking about the civilians that are killed as a result of America’s surgical strikes made just during the Gulf War, Zinn asserts that, “the claim that smart bombs and technology now enable pinpoint bombing is very much a fraud. They discovered after the Gulf War that 93 percent of the bombs turned out not to be so-called smart bombs and that the “smart” bombs often missed their targets.” If that wasn’t bad enough, he further informs us that “overall, 70 percent of our bombs missed their targets” (Zinn, 2002, p. 82). And to fully appreciate the scope of devastation exacted against those Muslim innocents–just in the isolated Iraqi theater-of-war, we have to quote him fully because such destruction was wrought as:
The United States dropped 88,500 tons of bombs on Iraq during the forty-three days of the war, with the goal of, as the Washington Post put it, “disabling Iraqi society at large.” So, the result was wreaking havoc on Iraq and killing civilians with so-called smart bombs. We see this very clearly now in Afghanistan. Our planes are bombing from high altitudes because they want to escape anti-aircraft fire. When you bomb at high altitudes, with whatever sophisticated equipment, you are not really in a position to be sure what you’re hitting. You don’t see anything on the ground. You see flashes and explosions, but you don’t hear screams, you don’t see blood, you don’t see severed limbs. You don’t see any of that (Zinn, 2002, pp. 82-83).
And as we know, we haven’t seen any of that, for our media, in an attempt to keep us cognizantly unmindful of the ravages of war, has reported things to us bereft of images of children dying, women dismembered and disemboweled, and men blown to pieces as a result of our hermetic approach to reporting war. That is the reason why there exists that disconnect between Imam Abdul Rauf making the statement about blood on America’s hands, and the effort on the part of the right-wing zealots in America to confuse Islam with state-sponsored terrorism. Islam is a belief, a way of life. Just as Christianity is a belief. If we begin to convolute the meanings between the belief and systematic faith with those of acts perpetrated by its adherents, well, Christianity too would be guilty, for much has been done in its name that is contrary to loving thy neighbor.
Blum, W. (2004). Killing hope: U. S. military and C.I.A. interventions since World War II. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press.
Johnson, C. (2000). Blowback: The costs and consequencs of American empire. New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.
Vidal, G. (2002). Perpetual war for perpetual peace: How we got to be so hated. New York: Thunder Mouth Press.
Zinn, H. (2002). Terrorism and war. New York: Seven Stories Press.