The conductors of war on Afghanistan and practically most of the Muslim world, were elated over capitulation of the cities of Mazar-I-Sharif, Kabul and Kunduz in quick succession – without having even a distant remorse for the massacre of prisoners of war and other disarmed fighters of the Taliban faction. Due to its brutality and magnitude, this monstrosity will be remembered long in the Muslim world, especially by tribes of the vanquished in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The episode takes on still an uglier complexion as the real victors in these battles – the masters of the B-52 carpet bombers – had been fore-warned by many members of the Coalition about true colours of elements in the Northern Alliance. But public proclamation by boss of the armed forces in the US that ‘these besieged fighters’ must be killed’, did not leave much that could be done to allow the surrendering soldiers to be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. Anyway who had heard of the Convention, or even Geneva, in those areas? The entire event smacks of a pre-planned sordid drama and evil intentions designed to assuage the public back-home which was still breathing in an atmosphere saturated with a smouldering demand for revenge. Alas! The revenge was administered to a people whose connection with the September 11th events still remains unsubstantiated even on the eyes of an imbecile. The results of the sinister conspiracy are now coming to light in the form of mass graves all over the country with captives’ hands still tied behind their backs without any arms in the vicinity. Presence of Afghan corpses among the murder victims shows that there were elements in the occupying hordes from the North, who had no sympathy even with sons of the soil. The same or similar elements should be playing havoc in the South after the fall of Kandahar. To use the favourite expression of President Bush; let there be no mistake that the seeds of a lasting enmity between tribes, nations, religions have been sowed which will yield very bloody crops for a long time to come.
The Muslim fighters – both holy warriors and mercenaries – having been scattered and considerably weakened, the next target has to be Palestine. Method in this madness is familiar: provoke the Palestinians by killing a few everyday. Someday they will retaliate. Then you pound them thoroughly with impunity because they are not allowed to keep even the semblance of an armed force. Since the ‘jehadis’ will not be able to render much help after the Afghanistan war, Israel will be encouraged and assisted to devastate the ‘breeding ground of terrorists’. As the curtain on act one of the drama in Afghanistan gets close to falling, the new theatre has already been opened in Palestine. The location of Palestine camps in other countries subjects the entire Middle East to ‘anti-terrorist’ action – very much like that in Afghanistan. These fears are not loose apprehensions. Behaviour of the West, especially the United States, during the last few decades provide plenty of evidence to determine their mind-set. Afghan operation, and other actions after September 11 have not only confirmed the fears, but also have betrayed many parts of the agenda of the sole super-power, superpower hopefuls and their lackeys.
However, the entire conflict has a lesson that the Muslim countries should learn: West, with its riches, technology, unlimited arrogance, and perpetual one-manship has become oblivious to truth, reason, justice, compassion and many other human traits. The self-centred selfish concerns have become so overpowering that even human assistance and charity have some selfish objective behind them. The world has become wiser as such the recipients of assistance start looking for motives behind every gesture of generosity, and favour. These apprehensions have only confined the rich and powerful countries to a world of their own selfish ends, from where only those things are visible which would satiate a need – whether it is resources, size of the market or the availability of labour. To expect any meaningful help or even sincere wish from these quarters is futile – rather foolish. The agenda of the powerful countries is at odds with the requirements of the weaker and the poor countries; why should they spend their wealth and energy on these weaklings unless there are fair returns? Whatever flows to the poor regions is never meant to make them strong or self-sufficient. Past experience shows that it makes them addicted to foreign assistance and tends to sap their creative energy. More recent developments suggest that the third world is being trained to supply goods and services meeting the standards required by the developed world at cheaper rates to enhance profits of the industrial – as such rich and powerful-countries.
The current scenario calls for a revision of economic and strategic policies of the poor countries as individual nations, and as a group. The scene that is emerging after the World Trade Centre attack should wake up the Muslim countries in particular. One would not like to discuss the public posture of Mr. Bush and his colleagues in and outside the United States, since they are warm and cosy, yet realities on the ground are quite different. Apart from incessant threats to Muslim countries that many of them will be the next to be pulverised the reactions to happenings in the Middle East belie claims of peace and goodwill and clearly show anti-Muslim and pro-Israel inclinations. There are all indications that this stance will continue, mainly because there is hardly any resistance from anywhere to apparent designers to destroy Muslims populations, nor is there any hint that Muslim countries would adopt a joint strategy to handle the storm fast gathering on the horizon and the deadly twisters hitting the Muslims in different parts of the world. A sample was presented at Qatar. It will suffice to quote somebody who said that a regional conference of eunuchs would have been more active than the meeting attended by senior representatives of fifty six Muslim countries, especially on the occasion of dire threats to the Muslim World!
This brings us to the second lesson: Instead of waiting for other countries to get together or give a lead, we should clean our own house and adopt policies according to our circumstances – as long as they are not repugnant to muslim unity and global obligations. This stance is increasingly being supported by the educated; if response to one’s earlier writings on this topic were any indication. This opinion has been formed by the apathy towards muslim unity displayed by most Muslim states, continuous conflicts between Muslim countries, sectarian and political violence, and lack of proven interest in the socio-economic uplift of Muslims. However, even if my assertion were incorrect, the immediate action has to be taken to clean-up society and change the attitude of the people towards social and economic building of the nation. It has been said before, but it needs to be repeated that self-sufficiency, intellectual and social freedom are basic ingredients of national reconstruction. How can a nation stand proud and upright if it has to look to others for guidance and assistance for every act, at every turn? Just as the strength of a nation lies in the quality and character of its citizens, the might and robustness of the Ummah dwell in the mettle of its constituent nations. Muslims of the world have debased themselves by their inner frailties and weak spirit. Muslims not very often have been able to develop into a closely knit global power. Islam, as their religion has not much to do for this situation. It was more due to the clash of the concept of the national state and religious movements advocating pan-Islamism. Tragedy has been that Muslim nations neither could develop themselves, nor the Ummah emerged as a real power. As a result, we are being attacked from all directions on all sorts of counts. What has happened in Afghanistan and what seems to be on the cards has saddened all Muslims – whether pro or anti-Taliban. We better examine our souls and discover the fountainheads of our strength within and without. Could they be our individual character and quality of our faith – among other factors?
(News December 6/ 2001)