[News] Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Nov 27 11:28:47 EST 2015

November 27, 2015

  Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake

by Ramzy Baroud <http://www.counterpunch.org/author/ramzy-baroud/>


I still remember that smug look on his face, followed by the 
matter-of-fact remarks that had western journalists laugh out loud.

“I’m now going to show you a picture of the luckiest man in Iraq,” 
General Norman Schwarzkopf, known as ‘Stormin’ Norman, said at a press 
conference sometime in 1991, as he showed a video of US bombs blasting 
an Iraqi bridge, seconds after the Iraqi driver managed to cross it.

But then, a far more unjust invasion and war followed in 2003, following 
a decade-long siege that cost Iraq a million of its children and its 
entire economy.

It marked the end of sanity and the dissipation of any past illusions 
that the United States was a friend of the Arabs. Not only did the 
Americans destroy the central piece of our civilizational and collective 
experience that spanned millennia, it took pleasure in degrading us in 
the process. Their soldiers raped our women with obvious delight. They 
tortured our men, and posed with the dead, mutilated bodies in 
photographs – mementos to prolong the humiliation for eternity; they 
butchered our people, explained in articulate terms as necessary and 
unavoidable collateral damage; they blew up our mosques and churches and 
refused to accept that what was done to Iraq over the course of twenty 
years might possibly constitute war crimes.

Then, they expanded their war taking it as far as US bombers could 
reach; they tortured and floated their prisoners aboard large ships, 
cunningly arguing that torture in international waters does not 
constitute a crime; they suspended their victims on crosses and 
photographed them for future entertainment.

Their entertainers, media experts, intellectuals and philosophers made 
careers from dissecting us, dehumanizing us, belittling everything we 
hold dear; they did not spare a symbol, a prophet, a tradition, values 
or set of morals. When we reacted and protested out of despair, they 
further censured us for being intolerant to view the humor in our 
demise; they used our angry shouts to further highlight their sense of 
superiority and our imposed lowliness.

They claimed that we initiated it all. But they lied. It was their 
unqualified, inflated sense of importance that made them assign 
September 11, 2001 as the inauguration of history. All that they did to 
us, all the colonial experiences and the open-ended butchery of the 
brown man, the black man, any man or woman who did not look like them or 
uphold their values, was inconsequential.

All the millions who died in Iraq were not considered a viable context 
to any historical understanding of terrorism; in fact, terrorism became 
us; the whole concept of terror, which is violence inflicted on innocent 
civilians for political ends, abruptly became an entirely Arab and 
Muslim trait. In retrospect, the US-Western-Israeli slaughter of the 
Vietnamese, Koreans, Cambodians, Palestinians, Lebanese, Egyptians, 
South Americans, Africans, was spared any censure. Yet, when Arabs 
attempted to resist, they were deemed the originators of violence, the 
harbingers of terror.

Furthermore, they carried out massive social and demographic experiments 
in Iraq which have been unleashed throughout the Middle East, since. 
They pitted their victims against one another: the Shia against the 
Sunni, the Sunni against the Sunni, the Arabs against the Kurds, and the 
Kurds against the Turks. They called it a strategy, and congratulated 
themselves on a job well done as they purportedly withdrew from Iraq. 
They disregarded the consequences of tampering with civilizations that 
have evolved over the course of millennia.

When their experiments went awry, they blamed their victims. Their 
entertainers, media experts, intellectuals and philosophers flooded 
every public platform to inform the world that the vital mistake of the 
Bush administration was the assumption that Arabs were ready for 
democracy and that, unlike the Japanese and the Germans, Arabs were made 
of different blood, flesh and tears. Meanwhile, the finest of Arab men 
were raped in their jails, kidnapped in broad daylight, tortured aboard 
large ships in international waters, where the Law did not apply.

When the Americans and their allies claimed that they had left the 
region, they left behind bleeding, impoverished nations, licking their 
wounds and searching for bodies under rubble in diverse and macabre 
landscapes. Yet, the Americans, the British, the French and the 
Israelis, continue to stage their democratic elections around the debate 
of who will hit us the hardest, humiliate us the most, teach the most 
unforgettable lesson and, in their late night comedies, they mock our pain.

We, then, sprang up like wild grass in a desert, multiplied, and roamed 
the streets of Rabat, Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, calling for a 
revolution. We wanted democracy for our sake, not Bush’s democracy 
tinged with blood; we wanted equality, change and reforms and a world in 
which Gaza is not habitually destroyed by Israel and children of Derra 
could protest without being shot; where leaders do not pose as 
divinities and relish the endless arsenals of their western benefactors. 
We sought a life in which freedom is not a rickety dingy crossing the 
sea to some uncertain horizon where we are treated as human rubbish on 
the streets of western lands.

However, we were crushed; pulverized; imprisoned, burnt, beaten and 
raped and, once more, told that we are not yet ready for democracy; not 
ready to be free, to breathe, to exist with even a speck of dignity.

Many of us are still honorably fighting for our communities; others 
despaired: they carried arms and went to war, fighting whoever they 
perceive to be an enemy, who were many. Others went mad, lost every 
sense of humanity; exacted revenge, tragically believing that justice 
can be achieved by doing unto others what they have done unto you. They 
were joined by others who headed to the West, some of whom had escaped 
the miseries of their homelands, but found that their utopia was marred 
with alienation, racism and neglect, saturated with a smug sense of 
superiority afflicted upon them by their old masters.

It became a vicious cycle, and few seem interested now in revisiting 
General Schwarzkopf’s conquests in Iraq and Vietnam – with his smug 
attitude and the amusement of western journalists – to know what 
actually went wrong. They still refuse to acknowledge history, the 
bleeding Palestinian wound, the heartbroken Egyptian revolutionaries and 
the destroyed sense of Iraqi nationhood, the hemorrhaging streets of 
Libya and the horrifying outcomes of all the western terrorist wars, 
with blind, oil-hungry dominating foreign policies that have shattered 
the Cradle of Civilization, like never before.

However, this violence no longer affects Arabs alone, although Arabs and 
Muslims remain the larger recipients of its horror. When the militants, 
spawned by the US and their allies, felt cornered, they fanned out to 
every corner of the globe, killing innocent people and shouting the name 
of God in their final moment. Recently, they came for the French, a day 
after they blew up the Lebanese, and few days after the Russians; and, 
before that, the Turks and the Kurds, and, simultaneously, the Syrians 
and the Iraqis.

Who is next? No one really knows. We keep telling ourselves that ‘it’s 
just a transition’ and ‘all will be well once the dust has settled’. But 
the Russians, the Americans and everyone else continue bombing, each 
insisting that they are bombing the right people for the right reason 
while, on the ground, everyone is shooting at whoever they deem the 
enemy, the terrorist, a designation that is often redefined. Yet, few 
speak out to recognize our shared humanity and victimhood.

No – do not always expect the initials ISIS to offer an explanation for 
all that goes wrong. Those who orchestrated the war on Iraq and those 
feeding the war in Syria and arming Israel cannot be vindicated.

The crux of the matter: we either live in dignity together or continue 
to perish alone, warring tribes and grief-stricken nations. This is not 
just about indiscriminate bombing – our humanity, in fact, the future of 
the human race is at stake.

/*Dr. Ramzy Baroud* has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 
years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media 
consultant, an author of several books and the founder of 
PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom 
Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: 

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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