Remember J. F. Kennedy, the American president who said to his people, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for your country." In the current situation, every American must reconsider this challenge. At this time Americans may well find that their answer is that, if they do feel that they have to do something for their country, then they have to do it now. Marches and protests by themselves are just not enough–they have to get together and sign a vote of "no confidence" in their government and president, before he pulls them all down with him. Only then can they truly say that they have done something for their country.
Bush says that he is attacking Iraq to help the Iraqi people to get rid of their dictator, Saddam Hussein. This man was placed there by the western governments in 1979 to help them fight Islamic Iran. He did not succeed, but even so was left in place until he became comfortable in his presidential seat. Yet now that he no longer pays the West homage he has to be removed with "surgical precision"; his country must endure his "decapitation", despite all the other lives that must be sacrificed in "collateral damage".
All the Middle-Eastern countries are run by dictators who were placed there by the West: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia (Aal-e Saud was placed there by Britain), and even the recent promotion of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan. All has been done with one purpose: to keep the area unstable, ungovernable and subjugated. These governments have all remained in power because of the deliberately induced and fostered weakness and fragmentation of their people.
But now this invasion of Iraq demonstrates that the American and British governments, as well as their people, do not abide by the principles of democracy. Democracy is supposed to be based on the ‘fundamental principle’ of "rule of the people, for the people, by the people", yet daily the protest-marches and petitions emphatically state that this invasion is "not [to be done] in my name": so these supposedly democratically-elected governments are not pursuing this course of action with a mandate from their people. This ‘democracy’ is just a farce–it is a dictatorship, for want of a more insulting term. If this is a sample of the democracy that the West wants to grant to the Middle East, Middle-Easterners will certainly say "no thanks": better the devil we know than one from the West, will be their quite reasonable attitude. But it will be interesting to see how the ‘free’ people of the West handle this problem.
In a true democracy a huge amount of tolerance and consideration has to be invested to make it work. The West and its peoples, on the other hand, assume that if other people do not share their ideas, attitudes and priorities, their way of dressing, eating, living and so forth, then they are "uncivilized", "barbaric", "backward", "primitive", "superstitious", and what have you. Throughout history, "wherever the West has gone into and colonised a people they assume that they have the superior knowledge, culture and civilisation and want to impose it on the colonised. From Robinson Crusoe, Napoleon, Christopher Columbus right down to present times" (Robert Fisk).
Westerners do not want to accept and tolerate any differences between peoples in culture, language, outlook and so on: that is why they want to control the minds of people all over the world by exporting American "culture" and "lifestyle" via television and cinema: their McDonalds, their CNN, their Sky news, their banking-systems based on usury, and their Hollywood trash. The moment other peoples or cultures decide that they do not want to accept all that, and make it clear that they prefer to maintain their own identities, they are perceived as a threat to the West.
In the meantime, to the rest of the world it has become crystal-clear that the UN has always been the puppet of the West. In the same way that communism fell, so too will these capitalist gangsters fall. The farce has to end eventually. A new social order will have to take its place. So, as Muslims, we hope that our future generations can prepare themselves so that when that void appears, then we can fill it with credible leaders and a strong fellowship based on sound governance as ordained by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
[Shameema Ismail is a Crescent reader in Laudium, Pretoria, South Africa.]