-Ralph Waldo Emerson
The recent Paris attacks look to plunge the world yet further into a downward spiral of death and Constitutional destruction. Is peace possible?
After the attacks of 911, Americans were misled about the motives. We were told terrorists hate our “freedoms,” and the Islamic religion was the problem. This led to a Holy War perception of the conflict.
History repeats itself. After the Paris attacks, politicians are framing the tragedy as purely religious. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the attacks happened because “they hate us because of what we are.”
However, like 911, there are motives not being widely publicized. The stated reasons by Bin Laden were all foreign policy. These included our many Middle East invasions, military bases in their holy lands, unconditional support for Israel’s brutal occupation, and Iraq sanctions that killed 500,000 children. Likewise, a central motive for the Paris attacks was, according to The Guardian, French airstrikes.
If we continue believing misleading politicians, war will perpetuate indefinitely. America has the convenience of the Atlantic Ocean to insulate from easy retaliation, but not France. French President Holland is promising “merciless” bombings, which increases the probability more innocent French citizens will die. Phyllis Bennis wrote in The Nation, the “same ‘global war on terror’…isn’t working. Because you can’t bomb terrorism—you can only bomb people…Sometimes you might kill a terrorist—but that doesn’t end terrorism; it only encourages more of it.”
When we appear to be waging Holy War against Muslim countries, and only show flag waving sympathy when white Westerners die, we look like racist Holy Warriors, which is how we falsely see them.
In fact, we are the same. Juan Cole wrote in Truthdig, “Contrary to what is alleged by bigots like Bill Maher, Muslims are not more violent than people of other religions…people of Christian heritage in the twentieth century polished off tens of millions of people in the two world wars and colonial repression.” He also details nonreligious, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu violence and terrorism.
An article by Lydia Wilson in The Nation, helps illuminate the reality of ISIS. Wilson interviewed captured ISIS prisoners, and found many fighters are not driven by religion or belief in an Islamic State. Prisoners she interviewed were “woefully ignorant about Islam and have difficulty answering questions about Sharia law, militant jihad, and the caliphate.”
One prisoner described his motivation as follows, “The Americans…took away Saddam, but they also took away our security. I didn’t like Saddam…but at least we didn’t have war. When you came here, the civil war started….We need the war to be over, we need security, we are tired of so much war…all I want is to be with my family, my children.”
Wilson writes: “These boys came of age under the disastrous American occupation after 2003…ruled by the viciously sectarian Shia government of Nouri al-Maliki. Growing up Sunni Arab was no fun…He couldn’t go out, he didn’t have a life, and he specifically mentioned that he didn’t have girlfriends…(or) an adolescence…many with missing fathers at crucial periods (through jail, death from execution, or fighting in the insurgency), filled with rage against America and their own government. They are not fueled by the idea of an Islamic caliphate…rather, ISIS…offer(s) these humiliated and enraged young men…a way out of their insecure and undignified lives.”
As politicians promote a simplistic false narrative, pro-war and rightwing centers of power are strengthening. France and the U.S. now have an expanded casus belli for more bombings. Racist minds are positioned to blame all Muslims, especially the vast numbers of Syrian refugees that are fleeing war and terrorism at home. Hate crimes will likely increase substantially.
Patrick Kingsley wrote in The Guardian, “One theory is that ISIS hopes to turn Europe against Syrian refugees…(reinforcing) the idea of unresolvable divisions between east and west, and Christians and Muslims, and so persuade Syrians that Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate is their best hope of protection.” Activist jihadi-watcher Iyad El-Baghdadi adds, “You know what pissed off Islamist extremists the most about Europe?…It was watching their very humane, moral response to the refugee crisis.”
ISIS is receiving the response they want, more support for their cause and accelerated recruitment. Hundreds or thousands more civilians will be bombed, and images of dead children are excellent terrorist recruitment propaganda. We are being played not only by terrorists, but by politician warmongers that pretend they oppose terrorism while continuing to support radical Islamic oil dictators.
Alarmingly, our dictator “allies” from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and others receive billions in military machines and crowd control equipment to quell democracy. They are also the greatest source of funding to Al Qaeda and other terrorists. A leaked Clinton memo stated that Saudi donors were, “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”
We are told to be disgusted at beheadings by ISIS, but not our beloved extremist Saudi ally that has publicly beheaded far more. Many people are executed for “crimes” like sorcery, drugs, homosexuality, and atheism. One democracy protestor has recently been scheduled to be crucified. Moreover, confessions for death sentences are often obtained through torture.
This information is ignored by most leading politicians. “More war” is their primary foreign policy answer. After 13 years, this policy has proven a failure. The people must rise up in a mass peace movement like Occupy Wall Street. The subsequent article will detail suggested demands that the peace movement should make.
The primary demand must be World Peace Now!
Originally published in Free Weekly: