The last frontier


MPA (400+ posts)
Quantum note

Friday, July 09, 2010
Muzaffar Iqbal

One cannot ignore Afghanistan. Not only because it is next to Pakistan, but also because it is the last frontier of resistance against a near-complete re-colonization of the Muslim world. Near complete, because, in the final analysis, it is Iran, which remains to be subdued and made subservient after Afghanistan. But the battle for Afghanistan is not over yet. And it is not going to be over in the near future, unless many centuries of history of that brave and daunting land suddenly vanishes and leaves behind a populace which has lost its soul. Short of that unlikely event, the US-led NATO forces can count on being in the rugged valleys and formidable mountains of Afghanistan for generations to come.

There is no triumph in this for either side, as each day spent on the front is exceedingly difficult for all whose lives are on the line. But as things stand, there is no sign of any recognition in Washington that the ill-fated adventure in Afghanistan is doomed; that what was started by George W Bush in the aftershock of 9/11 was the hallmark of lack of any statesmanship. The US leadership shows total lack of any public acknowledgement of links between its current economic crisis and the five billion dollars per month bill for its Afghan adventure, although one cannot assume that the "wise guys", with their heads bent on logbooks, cannot put two plus two together.

Yet, the public posture defiantly talks about the same old stuff day after day: it is the next surge that is going to route the Taliban; we are not done yet, but just give us a few more weeks or months and we will get rid of the last Talib. And all of this is justified with the convoluted and nauseating refrain: we are fighting for our security; our men are rendering heroic services for the safety of our citizens; we are bringing relief and development to the Afghans. One cannot think of any other way to understand this rhetoric than the old adage: repeat a lie long enough, and you will start to believe it.

Despite all the lies, what is abundantly clear, however, is the fact that after three centuries of siesta, the Muslim mind is waking up and in its initial rumblings there is much chaos, confusion, and violence. But it is no more asleep as it was when a few hundred British soldiers could conquer an entire continent. Today, the situation of the Muslim world is not what it was even fifty years ago when the colonizers rapidly reconstructed a web of re-colonization before departing from lands they had plundered for over two centuries.

Today, when a Sir Richard Dalton (Britain's ambassador to Iran from 2003 to 2006) stands in front of the Chilcot Inquiry and acknowledges that Tony Blair "very much exaggerated" Iran's role in supporting Al Qaeda insurgents in their attacks on British and US forces in Iraq", Muslims immediately understand the fake nature of this drama, which ultimately means nothing in real terms: Tony Blair did what he did and George W Bush did what he did not because of any "misreading" by a small man in the large picture, but because of their inbred suspicion, bordering on hatred, of Islam and Muslims.

This inbred hatred is contagious; it is built into the foundational institutions of the western civilization; it is taught and injected into young minds as soon as they start to go to school and it is perpetuated through a closely connected and mutually interdependent collusion of economic, political, and intellectual interests.

There are glimmers of light in this dark scenario: large-scale, repeated lying has made the mainstream western media unreliable and the shaking of public confidence has led to the emergence of alternate sources, the internet being the most powerful. Yet, one cannot take comfort in this small window of light in the pitch darkness; fundamental institutions of the western world (its academy, its economic structure, its cultural outlets, its opinion making agencies, its state-funding factories which produce weapons of mass-destruction) are too powerful to be taken down by a little movie, such as Restrepo or The Oath, both of which were shown to small gatherings in Europe last month. Or by a few journalists such as Robert Fisk, who said last month: "How many times have I heard western reporters talking about "foreign fighters" in Afghanistan?But not onceeverhave I heard a mainstream western television station refer to the fact that there are at least 150,000 "foreign fighters" in Afghanistan, and that all of them happen to be wearing American, British and other NATO uniforms. It is "we" who are the real "foreign fighters".

In the final analysis, it is the battle grounds of the last frontier against western aggression where the fate of the Muslim world is being decided.

The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: [email protected]
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