Volume 15-01 No:181
There are certain lessons from the war in Afghanistan that should not go unlearnt. The Taliban have predictably been defeated setting off deep demoralization within the Muslim world. Operating on fragile ethnic base, shorn of popular support, alienated even within the Islamic world due to their own dogmatic and narrow worldview, and having inherited all the traits of primitive and regressive societies, the Taliban were not expected to rule even as backward a country as Afghanistan for long. That they survived in power at Kabul for over five years is in itself a miracle. With no equivalents for words like dialogue and debate in their lexicon, the Talibans believed merely in rhetoric and in confronting the Western powers which ultimately proved to be their nemesis.
The mood of despondency and frustration within the Islamic groups all over the world is also characteristic of the fate that has befallen the Taliban. They obviously did not learn any lesson from the Gulf War when a superpower bent upon bringing the oil-rich Gulf under its military domination, invented an excuse in fiery mumbo-jumbo of a faded dictator who had suddenly donned the garb of Islam. Eleven years later the entire Gulf region is still paying the debt to the neo-Imperialist power. The sickening regularity with which the West manufactures terrorist monsters in the Islamic world, demonises them with its brute media machine, draws lines of demarcation between “civilized and barbaric nations” and seeks allies from among sycophants and vested interests, should have been enough to deter the Muslim nations from seeking direct confrontation with the US bent upon foisting war with all its sinister economic and military motives.
It will be fair to assume that the West has by now grown surer of the psychic responses of the Muslim world to issues and is likely to exploit them for all future diplomatic and military manoeuvres. It is therefore necessary for the Islamic world to understand the larger motives and methodologies of their enslavement through wars. The US has only profited from wars and the arms lobby, mainly dominated by the Jewish and Zionist interests within the US. It finds it easy to keep its wheels running through financing of wars against and between Muslim nations. This lobby has a vice like grip over Congressmen. But for its funding, no Congressman can expect to reach the corridors of power.
Post September 11 study of the Wall Street and Nasdaq charts only reveal that it were the stocks of only arm industries that have registered an upswing in an otherwise sluggish US market where all stocks were on downswing. Shares of the one of the largest arms makers, Lockheed Martin went up from $39 to $48 while the Raytheon’s, an equally big manufacturer of arms, from $26 to $32. And why not when a single tomahawk missile costs $ one million and the US dropped 1000 of them on Afghanistan in the first month alone. And why should not the Congressmen support Bush’s war initiative and effort when the Lockheed spent $ 200 billion on funding Presidential election during 1999 alone. Two-thirds of this money went for the Republican Party candidate.
Even during the Clinton years (i.e., 1993-99), known to be years of peace, when the US administration seemed more concerned with softer issues such as child labour, women’s empowerment, ban on smoking, AIDS awareness etc, the US sold $ 190 billion worth of arms to other countries.
In a world that is led by so war dependent a nation and economy as United States, one scarcely needs to look upto it for the definition of terrorism. Its military machine and media might, both owned by the same clique, are driven with common interest and are bound to act in tandem to demonise some in the Islamic world. Saddam and the Talibans failed to tackle them diplomatically and chose to confront it.
It is where the Islamic world needs to reorder its priorities. Sentimentalism would drown it into despair. It needs to take up the challenge on the educational, economic, media, health, science and technology fronts and even in matters of governance and administration. Without empowering its own masses, the sickly, weak, uneducated, maladministered Muslim nations cannot even perceive the West’s designs, let alone confront it.
What goes in the name of Islamic education in Muslim countries is merely indoctrination rather than knowledge and values. It neither gives them character nor discipline. It makes them more dogmatic than pragmatic. It does not equip them to embrace the world with all its diversities. While the Western nations seemed to have evolved a social discipline through values such as integrity, transparency, accountability, democracy, tolerance, and mechanism for social audit, efficiency etc., the Islamic world appears totally deficient of it. Similarly, the system of governance in most Islamic states is far from accommodating the intra-Islam differences, let alone others. While the Afghans unitedly fought the Soviet forces, they fell apart when the reins of the country’s governance came to them. We are yet to develop the shoora system to fit larger societies and in a way where dissent is not equated with sedition nor does it degenerate into disorder. Unless the Islamic world prepares itself for such a catharsis, there does not seem to be end of its woes, some self-inflicted and some wrought by the imperialist West.