Sonntag, 17. Januar 2016

Power, Economics And The ‘Islamic Terrorism’ Narrative

Shortly before 130 were killed in the tragic attacks in Paris, 43 people also died in Beirut in a similar attack. Innocent human lives were taken in both instances for which ISIS claimed responsibility. There was hardly any international reaction to the attacks in Beirut, compared to the reactions to Paris. Ironically, Muslims, who also make up approximately 54 percent of Lebanon’s population and are generally among the victims of ISIS attacks, became the scapegoats, as has apparently become customary around the world since 9/11.

When a man or a woman blows him/herself up, kills and injures hundreds of innocent people, what happens afterwards is what is most noteworthy: money starts to flow, projects get funded, people get hired, security apparatuses get expanded, weapons get sold. The more fear that can be instilled in taxpayers during such times, the less objectionable they become, the fewer questions they ask and the less they hold their representatives accountable—certainly, a dream come true for any opportunist who is more than willing to exploit the situation to the fullest. However, who can hold it against them that they do what is right for their careers?

War profiteers do what is right for them. However, the rest of us need to deal with the truth that “jihadist terrorism” is the (undesired) outcome of an historical “Western” strategy of playing groups in the “Middle East” against each other, destabilizing the region and capitalizing on it—naturally, supported by the many Middle Eastern by-standers, because greed does not discriminate based on religion, ethnicity, or national allegiance. That may also explain why the terrorism narrative lacks logic—we have to fear dangerous terrorists who hate us so much that they are willing to pay the ultimate price, who choose to kill 130, 43, or 14 innocent people even though they would be able create damages at much higher rates by using many other methods of modern warfare. The majority of their victims are Muslims, while we continue marginalizing Muslims, and our media is providing these killers with the most powerful platform to reach their goal, allowing them to terrorize us by repeating the same “sensational” images over and over, 24/7, and the list goes on. The narrative does not make sense.  

Similar to other forms of politics, the terrorist narrative, too, is about economics and power. It is a crucial catalyst for the 21st century military industrial complex. Makers of the war on terror, in fact, don’t have a problem with Islam or Muslims per se, as their close relationships with one of the most repressive Islamic regimes in the world who support these terrorists, shows. Except, at some point, they start believing their own dehumanizing messages, regardless of the truth factor. In the war on terror, Muslims happen to be the convenient group to build the narrative around. It could have been anyone.

However, in the 21st century, people all around the world are becoming more and more aware that they have more in common than differences. They are inter-connected, exposing and exchanging information with each other. Isolating and marginalizing certain groups to justify wars is not as effective a tool as they used to be. Too much information is out there. People can more easily see behind the inaccuracies that they are told, even though technology is also a powerful tool to create artificial realities as the irrational fear of terror attacks in the USA shows.  

Wars are generally not democratic, they never have been. They represent the interest of the few at the cost of many. Democracy limited to the voting booth has not done justice to the many who elect the officials but have little to no say in what the officials do later on their behalf. However, technology may turn out to be the tool that enables the emphasis of democracy to shift from voting booths to a more effective platform, especially after the votes have taken place—a tool that may be particularly useful for the voters in the dominant “West” as they elect the key players and are more likely to be heard; the higher their numbers, the louder their voices.  

Only time will tell if technology is indeed a catalyst to more democracy and subsequently, for fewer wars, or rather, another tool for the continuing dominance of the few.

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