Posted by Turkish delight from 64-66-215-221.stkn.bigvalley.net (22.214.171.124) on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 at 11:39PM :
The American calamity
publisher: Muzaffar Iqbal
By: Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
It was one of those fine Wednesday mornings when everything seems normal. But when Aysha Nudrat Unus, 62, of Herndon, VA, heard loud banging on the door of her residence at 930 am, she knew all is not well. Shortly afterwards, she saw a man in a black jacket and the barrel of a gun against the glass door.
Her 19-year-old daughter picked the phone and dialled 911, the emergency number for police assistance. But she did not have to wait for the police to arrive; several men broke open the door.
One pointed a gun at her daughter and asked her to put the phone down. These were not thieves or bandits, they were American officials who had raided their home. The officials did not present them with the warrant or even show an ID badge. Her daughter and she were handcuffed and held on their family room sofa for the next six hours.
On that Wednesday, March 20th, the American government crossed yet another limit; it attacked its own citizens because they happen to be Muslims. About 150 “law enforcement” officers from a group created by the Treasury Department after the September 11, raided a number of Muslim homes and the offices of various American Muslim organisations. Those who suffered this infamy included the International Institute of Islamic Thought, the Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences, the Muslim World League and the Fiqh Council of North America. All of these organisations belong to Muslims who have been very forthright in their vocal support for the American cause and who are called moderates.
The American crusade against Islam and Muslims is now definitely in its most aggressive phase. One can say with enough justification that this crusade is not going to stop in the near future. But the irony of the situation is that now the American government is attacking its own citizens who have been supportive of their government’s actions after September 11.
One woman whose home was raided asked where do we turn to? We used to think that we call police but now it is the police against us.” A high school teacher from Fairfax Stations, Va said “We feel the system has humiliated us. This is the most un-American thing I have ever seen.”
But the raid was not only a violation of all civilised norms, it was a clear indicator of a deeply pathological state of the American system. When officials rifle through family photographs, throw the contents of drawers on the bed and take away the family’s computer, credit cards, passports and bank account information, then we must ask some serious questions about the system that allows such atrocities against its own citizens. But note, these citizens are all Muslims. They have lived in America for decades and they have, technically speaking, the same rights as any other American citizen. But practically, “it seems like the government is declaring open season on Muslim American groups,” said Abdul Wahab Alkebsi, executive director of the Islamic Institute. Louay Safi, director of research at IIIT, said the agents confined workers to a room without showing them a search warrant and tried to conduct interviews without any attorneys present.
But is this the only response that ought to emerge? Where are the mainstream champions of human rights? When it comes to Muslims, even American Muslims, one finds a strange impairment of all rational faculties. It is as if citizens of this most powerful state on earth have a collective defect in their psyche which impairs their sense of justice, values and decency in certain cases. Or is it a silent compliance to the Bush crusade? Is there something deeply flawed in the system? What would the founding fathers of America say to the degeneration of a state that was supposed to be harbinger of freedom, respect, equality and human dignity? Is the American system at the brink degenerating into an apartheid system?
The recent raids should have opened the eyes of those Americans who still hold on to the great ideals of their forefathers.
But, instead, there is an eerie silence; there are no voices audible over the vast network of public information system, no columns against this act of barbaric proportions. Just a few whimpers, mixed with unsubstantiated allusions to financial support by the organisations to certain other suspect groups.
Why? Why have the great majority of Americans turned their eyes away from the calamity that their state is inflicting on so many other nations and now on its own citizens? It would seem strange that a single event that happened on September 11 would hollow out the system and produce this blindness. There must have been something inherently flawed in the system before the September event. That inherent flaw of the system which disposes it toward acts of terrorism against its own citizens lies in the control of information that flows through the electronic media in North America. This is by far the only source of information for most Americans and Canadians. And this vital source, which forms their ideas and worldviews, is heavily controlled. This is where the power lies. This is where the money is. This is the Waterloo of the American system.
This control has suffocated all possibilities of a natural growth and has increasingly brought the American system to a state of pathological degeneration. But the strange thing is that because of a near total control, most Americans are not even aware that they are being controlled; this is George Orwell in action. This is the greatest blindness that even obliterates the consciousness of being blind.
Those few who know what is happening, have been coerced into silence. Dissent has been made meaningless. The high-pitch noise that fills the foreground has made serious reflection difficult, if not altogether impossible. This is why America has increasingly become a society which has no great writers, artists, philosophers and thinkers. It is impossible to think of another Melville or Faulkner coming out of the present malaise. It is even impossible to think of another Thomas Jefferson, eating his dinner alone in the White House.
But this purely American malaise has serious consequences for the rest of the world. The global reach of America transfers its malaise to the rest of the world. And the most important question for other civilisations and states is would the giant take them down when it reaches its logical end?
Given the American insatiable appetite for grandiose and the narcissism inherent in the system, it is likely that the collapse of America will be a catastrophic event for the rest of the world. Unlike the Soviet Union, it will not be a limited event. Already, the breakdown of the civil society in America has produced its counterparts in regions of the world.
According to the latest report of the International Human Rights Commission, many governments are using the pretext of war on terrorism to imprison their opponents and crush religious freedom.
Given the economic and military leverage of America, it is likely that its current calamity will engulf the entire globe.
However, the last six months have produced a certain degree of soul searching in Europe and perhaps, it will resist the American pressure for joining the next round of its crusade against Islam and Muslim. The American assault on its own citizens and its unabashed pursuit of double standards may serve as an eye-opener for many Europeans.
But in the final analysis, it is Muslims who must prepare themselves for a long and costly battle with the giant now deeply wounded and suffering an internal crisis of unimaginable proportions. When the final brunt will come, it is neither Europe, nor the puppet regimes in the Muslim lands who will face the weight of a crumbling civilisation; it will be those who hold an alternate worldview who will have to fight the last battles at all fronts. The battlegrounds for this ultimate encounter are already visible. What happened in Virginia on March 20th was merely a small indication of how some complacent Muslims have dug their trenches on fragile foundations; in the coming weeks and months, these moderate Muslims will find out that their loyalty to the state they have chosen to be their home, will never be accepted by that system because the system is inherently flawed and malevolent toward Islam.
The writer is a freelance columnist.
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