Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Killing innocents is never the answer

Brave New World (The Star)
19 September 2012

Violence only begets violence, and once more the poorest and the weakest suffer most.


IN 1998, the Clinton administration approved a cruise missile strike on Baghdad. It missed its target (an Iraqi military installation) and hit a civilian home killing the residents.

The strike was approved in response to the “guilt” of some Iraqis who had supposedly threatened the life of George Bush the elder. It did not seem to matter that the trial for said crimes was not even over yet when the missile was launched.

My point is that it does not take much for American government-sponsored violence to be unleashed on a country.

In this light, the death of Christopher Stevens, the American Ambassador to Libya, along with several of his colleagues could have severe repercussions on innocent people.

The Obama administration seems to be practising restraint for the moment, but one can question if a more hawkish government would act in the same way. As it is, Mitt Romney is making Bush-like sounds of war.

The catalyst for all this is that utterly obscene and reprehensible video insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

As of this moment, it appears that it was made by a petty crook with a shady past, and it was supported by odious right-wing groups.

These loathsome creatures can be said to be simply hatemongers, but it can also be said that whether on purpose or not, they are agents provocateurs for the hawks of America who are just itching for an excuse to wreak even more destruction on West Asia.

And nothing would serve their wicked intentions more than scenes of death and violence inflicted on American lives and property, shown with salivating eagerness by so-called news channels like Fox.

It does not matter that ordinary Libyans were the first to react in trying to save Stevens, it does not matter that the Islamic Orthodoxy, most notably the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, has condemned the killings.

The act of a shrill few would be used to colour the Islamic world as violent and sub-human.

In this light, it is of even more importance that Islamic countries that want to, rightly, protest against the film also be equally strong in their stand against the inflicting of violence. It is important because to do otherwise would be playing right into the hands of those who would wish harm unto them.

Let me be clear, this disgusting work of hatred naturally raises feelings of anger. Ordinary people as well as governments have every right to express that anger, but that expression must stop at the point of violence.

As it is, there are serious problems facing the people in Muslim countries. A quick look at the national poverty indicators of Egypt, Iraq and Sudan (where some of the biggest protests are reported) show a poverty rate of 20%, 22% and 45% respectively.

To put things in context, the Malaysian national indicators put the poverty rate at 4%. The death toll in Syria as a result of their civil war is pushing 30,000 and it has the further worrying undercurrents of being a Shia versus Sunni conflict.

In other words, the Muslim world and their leaders have far deeper and more pressing problems to contend with than the hatemongering of some people who would be happy if peace, stability, true democracy and prosperity were denied the people of the region.

The surest way to ensure the dignity of the Muslim world is the efficient and equitable distribution of their vast resources. It is to find ways to get beyond sectarian and ethnic divides.

With a prosperous, happy and educated populace, there will be the strength to brush aside idiots bent on causing strife and war.

Success is the best form of victory, and working towards that success will be the best answer to those who would wish ill towards you. The killing of innocent people would just be aiding them.

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