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Call Their Bluff - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It was reiterated on several occasions that the grand motive behind the wars launched by the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9/11/2001 against Afghanistan and Iraq was to “fight terrorism so that terrorism doesn’t cross oceans and reach the American people”. In this sense, this American administration considered the criteria of reducing attacks on the U.S. as the measure that best justifies these wars; if not necessitates them. In the process the U. S. administration has divided the world into “they” and “us”, endowing “they” with all adjectives of “terrorism” and “extremism” in order to justify for “us” all what they initiate of wars, arrests and torture of “suspected”, and what they legislate of laws, which in essence, are designed against Arabs and Muslims. As a result of this ideological, political and military strategy new facets of racism started to appear in the west against Arabs and Muslims, some of which are blatant, others are latent under the surface. Perhaps the most apparent facet of the latent racism against Arabs and Muslims in Western countries is the fact that the Western Media does not even mention the cost of these wars in the targeted countries. Hence, invading forces shell schools, mosques, churches, houses wiping out entire families or villages and boroughs and only mentioning the number killed with no focus at all on the human cost, pain and misery such acts are augmenting. As if these people do not enjoy a similar integrity, which these wars claimed to aim to save in the first place. This is without mentioning the pain and humiliation of displacement, migration, orphaning and widowing, and a thousand other painful consequence of violence and absolute lack of security and normal human life. The maximum reaction of this administration to the worst massacre in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan in which innocent civilians were killed, was to express “regret” as if “regret” is a legitimate price for the loss of innocent lives.

During this period of seven years, since 9/11/2001, the claim was that the U.S. that is a military and economic giant can afford to launch as many wars as it wishes without being affected by them. As September represents now a unique history in the minds of the Americans, it has become more unique this year through calling the bluff of the economic invincibility of the United States. This economic shake up in the U.S. is no less dramatic in its consequences than the events of 9/11/2001, but in different domains.

What has been proven by the economic crises hitting the market of the U.S. is the self-evident idea that all aspects of people’s or countries lives are interconnected. Human life has one matrix with different designs, shapes, and colors, but the integrity of human life should be equal everywhere and anywhere regardless of race, color, age or social strata. In this sense, you cannot totally separate the military from the social and economic life. Those who imagined that they can launch wars and destroy the lives of millions of people while remaining in their homes unscathed do not have deep understanding of the intricacies of human life. It is true that the pictures of tortured, widowed and raped women in Iraq and Afghanistan are not allowed to reach international media but there are other ways in which the blood and pain of millions of innocent people makes its impact across and beyond oceans. News started to appear that the cost of saving the financial American system exceeds the cost of the unnecessary invasion of Iraq or the American budget for defense.

History may well record that the world has taken a U turn after Sept. 2001. History may also record 2008 as the last year of the one polar system and may well mention the events which led to his enormous change. These events start with the Israeli defeat in Lebanon in 2006 and proceed with Russia and China using the Veto against an American decision with regard to Zimbabwe and it may well record that the Russian decision to protect their security as they see fit is an important one for them and the world. History may also well record that the movements in Latin America for independence, sovereignty and integrity played a role in undermining the unipolar system of the world.

From this date people will begin to believe that the political, economic, military and cultural aspects of life are interconnected and that there is no “they” and “us” but only one human family with one body and one destiny. They may also take into account that any action which destroys lives even in the far-off land is bound to make an impact on those who perpetrated it. The only way we can all save the world is by believing again that we share one planet and there is no “they” and “us” but only “us” who are responsible for every human soul and no excuse should be accepted for the destruction of even one human life.

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban is political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency, and the former minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer, and has been a professor at Damascus University since 1985. She received her PhD in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She was the spokesperson for Syria. She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

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