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The hierarchy of human suffering


Among the many tragedies afflicting the Muslim Ummah is also the fact that the West determines for us whom we can support and those we must not help.

Despite claiming that all human beings are equal—there is even a Universal Declaration of Human Rights that is brandished in the face of those that the West opposes—the reality is that from the West’s point of view, there is a hierarchy of human beings, their values and indeed their suffering. This is evident from the manner in which human suffering is reported. For instance, when a US citizen—often a soldier—is killed in some part of the world where Washington warlords are waging wars, there are immediate calls for expressions of immense grief. This was illustrated when US Navy Seal Ryan Owen was killed during a murderous assault on Yemeni civilians on January 30. The US attack resulted in the murder of 24 civilians among them 13 children. One of the dead was Nawwar al-Awlaqi, the eight-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaqi. Nawwar was shot twice in the neck from close range. She was then denied medical help for two hours. She bled to death. Her father—an American citizen—was extra-judicially executed in a drone strike in Yemen on September 30, 2011.

We need to contrast the coverage of the killing of eight-year-old Nawwar with that of Owen. During his address to a joint session of Congress on February 28, President Donald Trump had Owen’s widow in the audience and called her husband an “American hero”. Members of Congress and the select audience in attendance gave a standing ovation. What was heroic about killing innocent civilians and why did Nawwar’s coldblooded murder not evoke even passing sympathy? Her death was dismissed as “collateral damage”.

The same attitude is apparent when an Israeli soldier is killed. The Western corporate media not only show endless scenes of the grieving family with cameras zooming in on the lowering of the casket into the grave but often some connection is found to the Holocaust as well. It matters not if the Israeli soldier was involved in attacking innocent Palestinians. The latter can be clubbed, shot or killed but these are of little significance. When the “other” is dehumanized, it is easy to dismiss their suffering.

This is one side of the picture. It would be pointless to expect anything different from Western elites and their craven media. They have declared war on Islam and Muslims. But what about the Muslims; how do they react to the suffering of fellow Muslims? Forget about the illegitimate regimes that litter the Muslim landscape. Unfortunately, even well meaning Muslims are duped by Western propaganda. Even those that have some understanding of the issues tend to play it safe.

Thus, if the West is in favor of supporting Syrian refugees, Muslims are in the forefront; if the West does not want anyone to help the Palestinians, Kashmiris, Yemenis and Rohingyas, the Muslims also stay away from them. It was evident last month in the manner in which a host of Muslim charitable organizations talked up the suffering of the Syrian people—yes, their suffering is real—and mentioned the war entering its six year, but what about the suffering of others, like the Libyans, the Kashmiris, the Iraqis, the Yemenis, etc? Should Muslims exercise selective concern or indulge in selective morality? Is there a hierarchy of suffering and should it be determined for us by the very enemies that have caused such suffering in the first place?

Let us recall some facts first. The 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip live in an open-air prison. The UN says more than 80% are food deficient. The 12 million Kashmiris living under India’s brutal military occupation have suffered death (100,000 since 1989), destruction of their property and humiliation in the form of the rape of thousands of women. The “peaceful” Buddhists are burning Rohingya Muslims alive and millions have had to flee. Some are not even allowed to leave. According to UNICEF, a Yemeni child dies every 10 minutes from severe malnutrition and other problems related to the Saudi-imposed war. The Yemenis’ suffering is compounded by a tight siege imposed from the land and sea in which the Saudis’ Western masters—the US and Britain—and their so-called allies are also involved. Malnutrition has stunted many children for life. Should these peoples’ suffering not register on our conscience?

This is one part of the problem. The other is that Muslims merely offer palliative care. Unless the root cause of these problems is identified, Muslims will forever be giving handouts without achieving anything. In fact, the West wants it that way. Not surprisingly, there has been a mushrooming of charitable organizations all producing glossy brochures with heart-wrenching pictures of suffering children and women tugging at Muslims’ emotions. Helping the suffering humanity is an Islamic obligation but so is identifying the causes of why such tragedies occur in the first place.

Unless Muslims understand the larger reality and take steps to remedy it, they will simply be used as tools to advance the nefarious agenda of the West and its puppets in the Muslim world.

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 46, No. 2

Rajab 04, 14382017-04-01

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