Western Imperialism and the Unspoken Tyranny of Colonization
Arnold Toynbee (A Study of History) clarified the European paradoxes of history that when political, moral and intellectual values come close to stagnation, “warriors become dreamers” to overrun the world. European colonization of the racially inferior herds was a planned scheme of things not an accidental history – an obsessive political belief that Europeans were superior in their intellect, ethnicity, race, color and human configuration than the other people of the globe.
Britain embarked on invading and conquering the fertile heartlands of Asia and Africa to occupy their natural resources and use human beings as slave trade – a business ran efficiently across the seas unto the making of new America. Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and other followed the suit. Strangely enough, none seemed to have challenged the other Europeans in their domain of business enterprise, military control and imperialist quest for political supremacy. Many Europeans interpret it – a history making events for the emerging liberal democracy, industrialization and cheap labor sweat of Asian and African origins. Lord Macaulay, a British Viceroy of India spelled out the futuristic education policy in clear terms: “Indian in color but British in taste, thinking and behavior” – the new neo-colonial generations of future Indians seen from the British eyes and mindset. After centuries of warfare and killings of million and millions of fellow human beings, they claim to be civilized nation – the nuisance baggage you will hear often referred to at global academic conferences and at the redundant UNO Security apparatus. Were all the European imperial forces acts as terrorism or peacemaking across the globe? Racially conscientious Europeans forced by the nature and compulsion of the self-image went on to global conquests by radiating aggressive and violent acts as a deliberate policy – a political engine to encroach the Asian and African continents for centuries.
H.G. Wells (Outline of History, Bk 5) said it right: “So began the first of the most wasteful and disastrous series of wars that has ever darkened the history of mankind.”
Terrorism originates from the Western colonial powers but none would dare to concede it for the FEAR of unknown intellectual, moral and political consequences in contemporary history. When the European businessmen explored new world markets for diminishing resources and their armed forces invaded and occupied the vast Islamic world, there were no television, internet, video cameras and stone throwing public and voices of reason to call them foreign mercenaries, aggressors and terrorists. The colonization scheme of things was not outcome of the Western democratic values to spread freedom, liberty and justice but ferocity of violence and killings of millions and millions of human lives for the Empires to be built on colored bloodbaths. The European crusaders crossed the channels and unknown time zones to subjugate the much divided Muslim people as part of their superior nationalism perception and values that Muslims were inferior to the European race and could be used as subjects without human identity and as raw material to build the new Empires. Many centuries past, if there was a UNO, it would not have dared to call the European intruders as terrorists because it would have been their own organization as Muslims lived in slavery and denial of basic human rights and identity. In an information age, knowledge–driven global culture of reason, ignorance is no longer a requisite to learn from the living history.
India under the Mughal Empire prior to British imperialist designs and subjugation had enjoyed an enriched culture, educational institutions, monetary currencies, social and economic development, and a viable system of governance suitable to the interest of the people. With British onslaught, business deceits and occupation of India, these public institutions were dismantled and their foundations destroyed and replaced by force with British system of educational indoctrination, thinking modes and behaviors, laws and justice, morals, organizations and imported culture. The Indians were compelled to assume new identities and to learn English and assimilate into European style culturally manifested landscape of India. Was this imperialism a choice in democracy and civilization?
Throughout human history the destitute and poor people of Asia and Africa never had the thinking or capacity to threaten the European by any means. Until European incursions into their lands, they had peaceful societal outlook, educational institutions, industrial development, human freedom, public institutions and viable system of governance. Take India for instance, it had a history of almost thousand years of rule by Mughal Empire and major advancements in economic and intellectual progressive domains. British went there as businessmen and through intrigues, tactful deceptions and backdoor conspiracies worked hard to divide and disintegrate the unity of the local people. They divided them by force of treachery and ruled over them. In 1857 at the last war in Delhi, it is said almost two millions Indian mostly Muslims were killed by the British armies to link India as a jewel to the British crown. The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled to Burma and his son’s head chopped off and presented to him on a breakfast plate. British historians call it a mutiny, the succeeding generations of Muslims narrate it as an episode of freedom movement crushed by the British colonial invaders. Perhaps, the British Queen should take initiatives to address these inhuman atrocities against the Asian and African people and forced colonization, more so when she is set to celebrate her golden jubilee soon. Would the British Crown apologize from the Muslims for its killing and aggressive war and occupation of India under the Mughal Empire?
Now, the Europeans identify themselves as civilized people but the effective date for this claim remains a mystery. The previous Empires knew their geography and limits, but the newly articulated American Empire in its infancy, is challenging to the limits of the Laws of God and appears obsessed with “fear” of being replaced by the new emerging economically productive nations of Asia such as China, Japan and India and combination of others. In a reactionary and irrational impulse, President George W. Bush invoked the “War on Terrorism” against Muslims as a dictum of power, not reason and wisdom, to camouflage the prospective future with acts of barbarity and to dispel the notion of accountability in global affairs. Historically, people and nations pursuing this path of behavior have ended up in self-delusion and self-destruction.
The 9/11 attacks in the US were carried out by individuals and not inspired or supported by the religion of Islam or Muslims. Some hourly paid intellectuals turned guardian of the approved truth, allege that Islam breeds terrorism. The Western mass media complements the self crafted notion to poison the public thinking and perceptions and source of judgments against the Arabs and Muslims as “terrorists” making the treacherous claim as if Islam was at the threshold of the paradigm. The US Neo-Conservatives gang helped to rob the mankind of its human heritage. The perception of ‘radical Islam’ was invented and enhanced by the ‘fear’ of terrorism as if Arabs and Muslims were born in the eye of the storm and terrorism was an exclusive domain of the Islamic religious tenets.
Gwynne Dyer, the London based prominent writer (The International Terrorist Conspiracy”) points out that “Terrorism is a political technique, not an ideology and any group willing to use violence in pursuit of its political goals may resort to it.” He explains that “there are left-wing terrorists and right-wing terrorists; national terrorist and international terrorist; Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and atheist terrorists. In theory, you could have a “war against terrorism”, but it would involve trying to kill everybody who uses this technique anywhere in the world. The United States is not trying to do that, so it is not fighting a “war against terror.” In reality, what the United States leadership is doing is fighting its own articulated war against the people and nations who had no animosity, nor did any perceive capability to threaten the US as a global power.
British author and producer Adam Curtis (The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear: BBC documentary challenging the American version of the “War on Terrorism”), spells out the myth with clarity: “international terrorism is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services and the international media.” Remember, after the 9/11 attacks, the US official statements made no mention of involvement of the government or people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran in the accused list of the 9/11 perpetrators. In 1997, many leading architects of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), did include the name of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, PLO as selected targets to impose the American liberal democracy and throw out the authoritarian regimes. It was a strategic stunt to inject the fear into people’s mind. Paul Craig Roberts, in his recent article (“The High Price of American Gullibility”, ICH), makes a logical assertion: Bush’s rhetoric “you are with us or against us” is perfectly planned to influence the common masses. Emotional appeals to fear and to patriotism have led close to half of the population to accept unaccountable government in the name of “the war on terrorism.” What a contradiction it is that so many American have been convinced that safety lies in their sacrifice of their civil liberties and accountable government.” Obviously, human intelligence, emotions and perceptions, superficially turned antagonistic with compelling impulse of media propaganda strategies to view Arabs and Muslims as the qualified candidates for extreme militancy.
Truth is one and indivisible. When it comes to terrorism and the Arabs or Muslims, the North American and European mass media portrayals enforce two distinct order of truth – one for the general public and one reserved for the Muslims. In all human affairs, facts are considered to reach the conclusion. End cannot be assumed to play with the facts, nor based on dogmas to explain the facts of human life. Under the guise of the Anti-Terrorist legislation, America, Britain and Canada have misused the logic of power to arrest, defame and punish people of Arabian and Islamic origin who had no linkage to the terrorism myth. The strategy dictates that selected groups should be detained and tortured indefinitely, to drain out their moral, intellectual and creative energies, making them incapable to survive socially or professionally credible citizens of the country. Consequently, the public will view them as crazy and undesirable people to be counted as numbers and digits in economic terms, but not dignified human beings.
Divergent scenarios flourish to manifest lies and deception about the real aims of the “War on Terror.” When the Western leaders play with words, it is known and often acknowledged, but when the Muslim leaders offer ignorant excuses, they are masked under willful lies and deceptions without any accountability. Many Western scholars wonder, why leaders of the Arab countries and the masses appear disinterested in the post 9/11 affairs when it had direct impacts on the entire Arab and Muslim world. Foremost reasons being that the Arabs and the Muslim countries in general, do not have educated and responsible leaders to represent the masses and their interests. The West and its scheme of political subjugation institutionalized the neo-colonial authoritarianism. Arabs and Muslim societies are devoid of public institutions for thinking, change and policy development. In the made–run politics of wars, Arabs-Muslims have no weight on the scale except being digits and numbers.
Muslim world is politically weak, intellectually and morally divided and leaderless. The Arab League is just a written name on paper in dry ink and nothing else. The recent events and authoritarian warmongering across the Arabian Peninsula clearly demonstrates that Arab dictators are disconnected rulers with the mainstream of their societies and people’s movement for change and freedom from the tyranny of neo-colonialism. Most of them are puppets installed by the former Western imperial masters to ensure the oil pumping and safe delivery of the oil supply lines to Western markets. When the Muslim Ummah (nation), looks for intellectual security, it fails to get any logical support – all authoritarian leaders operate under the dictates of Western masters, namely the American and British leaders. Islam is One and so should be the believing folks, but there is no unity of thought and actions across the Muslim world, a typically neo-colonial landscape governed by ignorant and intellectually bankrupt rulers, subservient to the West. For ages, the Arabs and Muslims masses continue to pray to Almighty God for change, reformation and democratically elected governments without public demonstrations.
Europeans invaded the rich and morally and spiritually advanced people of the Arab-Islamic world several times in unsuccessful attempts to take control and establish political and religious hegemony over them. The true history of the European Crusades has never ended to any decisive conclusion. In 2001, President Bush made it known that it was a “crusade” against the Islamic world after the 9/11 tragedies in the US. It is undetermined what other titles and names would the imperialist European assign to their continuous crusades against the Muslims in Asia, Middle East, North Africa and other vital strategic locations. Many pretend that it was a “democracy at work.” Rational observers would call it democracy at home and barbarity abroad. The distinction is self-explanatory.
Would the American and British political leaders learn any lessons for their failure in the on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? While the rest of the so called Islamic world was complacent and coward, an International War Tribunal in Malaysia concluded the public proceedings and unanimously charged Tony Blair and George W. Bush as guilty of crimes against the humanity in Iraq. Would the masses in Europe and America pursue the guilty verdicts and asked the officials concerned to arrest these sadistic criminals? John Laughland (“The Mask of Altruism Disguising a Colonial War: The Guardian: Aug 2, 2004), offers a real world perspective: “Just an old fashioned colonial war – the reality of killing and escalation of violence, disguised with the hypocritical mask of altruism. If Iraq has not taught us that, then we are incapable of ever learning anything.” Every beginning has its end. It is just that most transgressors do not know about it when they cross over the limits of the Laws of God. The Roman, Austro-Hungarian and British Empires collapsed after they violated the limits. Nazis claimed to run the world for thousands of years, but ended up in just 12 years after killing millions of human beings throughout the Western hemisphere. Fascism met resistance at its early stages. The beginning envisions the end. The USSR was defeated, the day it raided the destitute people of Afghanistan and disturbed the dead in graveyards with continuous bombing. The American and British surrendered the day the international community learned about the Guantanamo Bay prisoners and photos of the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. An estimated three million civilians have been killed by the American-British war in Iraq since March 2003.
After waging a decade old bogus wars of terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, America and some of its hired European allied policy makers and military strategists seem to have exhausted their rational THINKING and failed miserably to understand or differentiate between the myth of power and realities on the ground that they cannot win any wars against Islam and Muslims. Of all the forbidden truth that the Western news media does not exhibit and the political leaders failed to grasp is that the US and its former colonial allies do not have the will nor weapons to fight against God and Islam. If time and history could reawaken their conscience and give them a space for self-reflection, would they ever learn this compelling reality from the undeniable recorded history of the Nature of things?
President Obama dashed away all the optimism for ANew America – different than the perpetuated insanity of the Bush era, more akin to peace and co-existence with the rest of the global community in particular, the Arab-Muslim world. It was a political myth that Obama used to get elected, not to govern and work out a new way of thinking for the future of the US policy behavior and relationships. All the impartial observations clearly point out that Obama has been a blind follower of the Bush administration political inconsistency between thoughts and behavior. Who is going to write the closing chapter of the history of the “War on Terrorism?” Is the history going to wait for the cessation of the aggressive hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan? Would the American-led war achieve its agenda priorities or meet the same destiny as it happened to the Romans, German Nazis and the USSR Empires? Obviously, history will judge the nations and leaders by their actions, not by their claims.
In his farewell address to the American people (01/17/1961), President D. Eisenhower made the following foresight known to the masses:
…. Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent, I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and lingering sadness of war – as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years…… We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied, that those who denied the opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full…….. That the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.”
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations and author of several publications including the latest one: Arabia at Crossroads: Arab People Strive for Freedom, Peace and New Leadership. VDM Publishers Germany-UK, September 2011. Comments are welcome at: [email protected]