IN MY VIEW
The We vs Them Dichotomy; the unanswered questions
By Chidi Emmanuel
When the US-led coalition forces invaded Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11, many said it fuelled terrorism. When Israel launched a war against Hezbollah (though it was disproportionate), no one bothered to ask why. The reason for waging the war- (Hezbollah-Katusha rockets raining on Northern Israel, unprovoked Hezbollah attacks and the kidnappings of two Israeli troops) fell on deaf ears. Why is it that when Muslims kill Muslims, it does not fuel terrorism but when Westerners kill Muslims, all hell breaks loose? Why is it ok for Muslims to rage against a ‘discriminatory West’, claiming segregation at every turn but then deny basic rights and freedoms to non-Muslims living in the Middle East?
Saddam, the former Iraqi leader, invaded a peace loving Kuwait, massacred the Kurds and celebrated his chemical weapons as he delightedly unleashed them on the Iraqi and Iranian people. These acts never fuelled terrorism nor even triggered much protest in the Arab world. Hamas and Fatah have been battling it out in Gaza with heavy casualties on both sides. Sudanese government and its Janjaweed militia have massacred to their satisfaction and committed the worst genocide in history without anyone challenging them. Palestinians in Lebanon have been locked up in a camp- no work, no education, no freedom etc. These are crimes committed by Muslims against Muslims. The lip-condemnations are not stopping thousands of Darfuns from perishing.
The questions are: Are these heinous acts not enough to trigger terrorism? Why is it that only the ‘crimes committed’ by Westerners spark terrorism? Why is it that when Muslims slay Muslims, everything seems normal? These questions remain unanswered. There are some much rights violations in the Muslim World -but will remain unnoticed by the Al Jazeera TV and other Arab media outlets.
If a US soldier slaps terror suspects (We), the Muslim world will take to the street but if Westerners (them) are gruesomely beheaded, no one will protest. It has come to a point that if a Muslim is deported because of violation of residency law, he will go back and tells his people (We) that he was deported (by them) because he is a Muslim. If a Muslim gets slapped anywhere outside the Muslim world, he will claim he was slapped because he is a Muslim. If a Western nation re-adjusts its immigration policies in a bid to fight terrorism and illegal immigration, some Muslims will cry foul. But if a Muslim nation, Kuwait for example, places restrictions including visa bans on predominantly Muslim countries, it is welcomed and tagged ‘security measures’. Just to mention but a few.
Are we really justified in our condemnations and actions? If millions of Christians, Hindus, Pagans, Budhhists in this Muslim world can be compelled to fast during the Holy Month of Ramadan (it is a crime to eat in public during the daytime), why can’t a Muslim lady teacher in the UK remove the face veil (niqab) - for her students to see her face even though there is a rule against that? How can you be justified to seek freedom and rights elsewhere (Western world) but deny others their rights and freedom in your own world (Muslim World)?