We suffer the terrorism that we help create

Powerful column by Yasmin Alibhai Brown in The Independent:

Western power merchants – particularly British and Americans – in contrast, use each such tragedy to engender discord. They strut the world stage, issue threats and remind us who is boss. When will they see themselves as others see them, or try to empathise with the citizens of three quarters of the world? It was embarrassing to witness David Cameron’s colonial irritation with the Algerian upstarts who went ahead with the rescue without seeking permission from the UK or US.

Economic might is draining away fast from these old centres of power, and they have lost two key wars in the past decade. But does that make them a little more humble, less solipsistic, any the wiser? Not at all. They didn’t get to where they were with self-doubt and by playing fairly. This latest farrago has brought out the worst in these cowboys and we should be afraid, very afraid.

It just hasn’t been the same since they assassinated Bin Laden. We need a proper scoundrel to hate. So out of the desert storm he comes, a one-eyed super-villain, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, aka “Mr Malboro” because he gets rich selling smuggled cigarettes. Wow! Kathryn Bigelow can make another blokey film about Mr Malboro next. Imagine the awards. His band of maniac men call themselves Those Who Sign Their names in Blood. (How do we know any of this is true?) Soon Belmokhtar’s name will be as familiar to our children as Voldemort. We will be persuaded that another Western jihad is needed against this evil monster, to make the world safe again, a day that never comes.

Cameron said yesterday that Britain would show “iron resolve”. Leon Panetta, the US Defence Secretary stood with our man Phil Hammond and warned that the attackers would be “hunted down”, that they would find “no sanctuary, no refuge, not in Algeria, not in North Africa, not anywhere”.

The truth is that most malevolent and ruthless terrorists will find sanctuary and refuge even among people who loathe them, whose lives are blighted by extreme Islamicism. And that is because the West is loathed and feared even more. Not the great civilisations and systems of the West – those are admired and coveted. But the Occident’s hypocrisies, ethical indifference to the sufferings of its victims, paranoia, lies and catastrophic wars are detested.

It is worse still, that since 9/11, white lives appear to matter more than others and that all actions, legal or illegal, are acceptable because the end matters more than the means. And the end is to maintain Western privileges. Nations like Algeria and Mali, destabilised by Muslim militants, know Western interventions are always based on self-interest. Their own people merely become part of the necessary debris. It is a dirty deal and one that will be increasingly resisted and that means only continuing chaos for some of the poorest people on Earth.

one comment
  • examinator

    The irony of the West's arrogance in that it prevents them (us) from learning.
    How many PhDs in Zen and hobby horse maintenance, do we have to endure before the Reality of power sinks in?
    The notion that power can be indefinitely maintained by BFI (Brute force and Ignorance). Surely the leaders gained more from the 'Charge of the Light Brigade' other than Tennyson's poem? Military power has changed. Power from the barrel of a gun or Drone is at best very temporary i.e. he who has the biggest army wins much less forever. Name one real war that the the West has won since WW2? Korea?,Vietnam?, Iraq 1&2? Afghanistan ? Israel V Palestine?
    Surely the Christians can learn from their own experience …how many crusades were there? How many armies tried to stomp out Christianity or Judaism? What possesses our leaders (corporate included) that the Muslims, Chinese Communists (sic) are any less emotional to their ways? Simply put you can't fight an emotion (laughable called an idea) with Armies (BFI) .
    All the 'currently' dominant forces are doing is saving up the retribution (emotional hostility) for someone else to pay the price with interest later. The politically right and the quasi/ faux left (whatever left means) are self delusional, blind to that reality. Metaphorically speaking they are 'pissing into the wind' and waiting for the inevitable blow back.
    Name one former non white ex-colony that at the street level is welcoming of the previous colonial over lords. Be not confused they welcome out (exploitive) ill gotten money. Been to the back streets of Port Moresby (PNG) lately? that's where expats live in razor wire compounds.
    For the love of humanity survival of the biggest meanest , toughest ( as opposed to the most adaptive) isn't an absolute See The mega fauna of Australia and New Zealand.
    Genetics, Epigenetics, behavioural research and biology clearly indicate WE (HUMANS) can influence our own evolution if we adapt to the realities rather remain its captive.
    Starting with acceptance of other's reality and working with them rather than against them is perhaps the most significant advance homo sapiens.
    If we don't we will pass and be at best a curiosity to what ever intelligence evolves (if any), like the mega fauna