SIGNS OF THE TIMES
THERE is a definite backgrounder to the sorry state of affairs in and around Afghanistan. For the last several years foreign powers, including the two superpowers of the world, have been playing ‘political games’ not just in Afghanistan but also intruding in the Middle East, the so-called Arab world.
Commentators had been stating that the Arab governments were cautious in their approach but the Arab masses were talking of the ‘invisible army’ of America and Allies more than seen in their lands. In fact, several Arab academics could also unearth the ‘mystery’ to the sudden surfacing of the well-organised terror outfits! Set up by the American and Israeli intelligence agencies together with the weak proxy governments in the midst of the so-called ‘Muslim world’.
Today, with internal strife and civil war accelerating, the masses are left with nil resources to fight the masterminds! Ruled that they are by proxy governments!
It gets more than obvious that several of these countries stand devastated by tactical intrusions of foreign powers, that have ‘used’ the age-old Western ploy of creating a civil war like situation.
See the human tragedies unfolding in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen! Hitting those shots of fleeing citizens …running, escaping, fleeing towards a nowhere of sorts! Even if they manage to flee all intact and alive, they would have the refugee tag pinned on them for generations to come. Made to run from their homelands, uprooted and destroyed and demolished and ridiculed! If you recall, French publications like Charlie Hebdo mocked the tragic death of the Syrian child Aylan Kurdi! He and his family were seeking refuge because of the expansionist designs of the mighty nations of the world, using the different alibis to establish base before striking.
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s grandson, Asfandyar Wali Khan, had detailed in an interview given to me, “Religion was used by Americans in Afghanistan to create their base, otherwise Afghan struggles had been based on nationalism and not religion.”
And the former Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saif-El-Islam was specific when he spoke of “outside interests” behind the anarchy in their region. In the autumn of 2001, I interviewed him for a national daily, when he was visiting New Delhi. During the course of that interview when I asked him to comment on the ‘terror tags’ heaped by the Western Powers on his father and on his government, that they are funding terrorist groups/outfits, he said: “It all depends on your perception. Many liberation leaders were viewed as being terrorists but later they became heroes. In the sense when Nelson Mandela was in trouble we helped him out, when Mugabe was having problems we helped him too, so does that mean we helped terrorist outfits! Mind you, both these men fought liberation wars and later emerged as heroes. In fact, in my own country’s war for liberation from the Italians we had lost about three-quarters of our population, so realize the problems involved. It’s all matter of perception and image.”
When I interviewed the well-known Arab academic, Clovis Maksoud — then Professor of International Relations and director of the Centre for Global South at the American University in Washington and before that he had served as the Arab League ambassador to India from 1961-66 and later ambassador to the United Nations and the US — he focused on the fact that people of the Arab countries had realized that there were vested interests of “outsiders” to destroy their lands. Clovis detailed why the Arab world was not taking on American intrusions, “There is a broad strategic dependence of the Arab States on the US, based on the false assumption that the US is the only power that can make Israel respond to the Palestinian issue. This dependence is flawed because Israel has flouted all international norms. In fact, Israel is the only country that has never declared its boundaries since 1967. It has not acknowledged the fact that it’s an occupying power and given itself the license to expand its settlements. This has meant violating UN resolution of the 4th Geneva Convention that does not allow any occupying power to alter the boundaries of the country it occupies… At the same time the US has chosen to make Israel its principal ally and this has given Israel the license to defy the UN convention with impunity.” Clovis was of the view that America’s ‘occupation’ of Iraq was a planned attack. “Yes, it was a planned attack. An attack planned much before 9/11. I would only say that September 11 delayed it. Anyway, it’s been a disaster…In the aftermath of 9/11, Arab and Muslim communities were collectively held responsible for the act.”
And if one were to focus on Latin American countries, it’s best to know what the well-known Mexican writer and columnist, Juan Miguel De Mora, told me, when he was visiting New Delhi in 2004. Hitting out at America, he began by quoting two former Mexican Presidents, “Mexican President, General Porfirio Diaz, had said many decades back (he was president till 1910), ‘Poor Mexico so far from God and so close to the US.’ Then another Mexican President, Adolfo Lopez Mateos, had said that the biggest problem faced by Mexico is ‘the US.’” Together with that, Mora came up with his own comments, “But in my opinion both the Mexican presidents were too diplomatic! President Bush’s democracy is like Stalin’s and I have been writing in my columns that Bush’s policies are a danger to humanity.”
As Noam Chomsky detailed, “in the Reagan years alone the US sponsored state terrorists in Central America left hundreds of thousands of tortured and mutilated corpses, millions maimed and orphaned and four countries in ruins. In the same years, West-backed South African depredations killed 1.5 million people. I need not speak of West Asia or much else …All of this, however, is barred from the annals of terrorism by a simple devise: the term ‘terrorism’ like most terms of political discourse has two meanings, a literal one and a propagandist one. Needless to add that the propagandist version is preferred: terrorism is terrorism that is directed against the USA, its friends and allies.”
Noam Chomsky also drew parallels between US and the Nazis: “The Nazis, for example, bitterly condemned terrorism and conducted what they called ‘counter terrorism’ against terrorist partisans. The USA agreed. It organized and conducted similar ‘counter terrorism’ in the post-war years.”
One could go focusing on the games getting played by the political rulers, here, in our country. In fact, its relevant to focus on the human tragedies taking place in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Going by the reported cases it wouldn’t be amiss to say that caste and communal killings and anarchy are taking place along the patterns of the dark ages. In fact, a naïve soul commented that she was waiting for any of the concerned Union Ministers to rush towards Uttar Pradesh to reach out to the traumatized children and women and men! One of the haunting scenes was that of a rickshaw puller of Kanpur getting thrashed by a group of Right-Wing goons, after forcing him to chant Hindutva slogans. And that poor man’s daughter clinging to him even whilst he was getting thrashed and hounded… Then the rickshaw puller’s family sitting back in deep sorrow as their tormentors were let off by the police the very next day! What would one say this! Hopelessness spreading out as never before.
Humra Quraishi is a Delhi-based writer-columnist-journalist. She is also the author of several books including Kashmir: The Untold Story. The views expressed here are personal.