As we start a new year, for many it will be with a weary heart. 2004 was a year of violence and blood, of suffering mostly man-made, though topped with an earthquake that sent a tidal wave to devastate vast swathes of Asian shores, leaving 150,000 dead and millions homeless.
In 2004 we witnessed the unfolding horror in Iraq and Palestine. US-UK occupation forces continued to wreak havoc in Iraq, destroying Falluja, wrecking the homes of ordinary people while pretending to fight terrorists. The retaliation was equally random. Civilians were bombed, innocent people taken into captivity and hostages murdered. And this is the tip of the iceberg. The horror on the ground surpasses that reported.
The occupation of Iraq was not a quest for liberation, or a campaign for democracy. It was a catastrophic operation for which the innocent, both Iraqis and non-Iraqis, were made to pay. With the fall of Saddam's regime the US president announced the cessation of major military operations in Iraq. Ironically, his announcement marked the beginning of an atrocious phase of violence.
In Palestine the picture was equally grim. Israel continued its aggression against the Palestinians, against a people who fight for the liberation of their occupied land. The Israeli occupation forces committed acts of unspeakable violence and perpetrated crimes that amount to ethnic cleansing. The occupation forces waged a disgraceful campaign against the Palestinians and the late President Yasser Arafat.
During operations codenamed for maximum intimidation -- Days of Penitence was one among many -- war crimes were committed that should be tried by international tribunes. Buildings were demolished with inhabitants still inside. A Palestinian child was killed while going to school. An Israeli officer sprayed her with bullets, firing even after she was dead.
In North Ossetia, on 3 September, a terrorist group stormed a school in Beslan, holding over 1,000 students and staff hostage. The operation ended in carnage when 350 people were killed, including 170 children. The perpetrators and their backers may claim to be seeking legitimate goals yet they committed a crime of unspeakable horror, an atrocity that cannot be sufficiently condemned and one that no punishment can redress. Such acts are a disgrace to the cause in whose name they are committed. Ends cannot justify the means, not when the means are so despicable.
In Sudan the picture was hardly better. Janjaweed marauders visited unspeakable horrors on innocent victims. The government in Khartoum promised to cooperate in full with the international community to stop the transgressions. What followed was extraordinary. Instead of the international community cooperating with the government to protect civilians sanctions -- the favourite weapon of "selective" foreign intervention -- were introduced in the form of Resolution 1556 of 30 July.
Sanctions can only amplify the human tragedy in western Sudan. The task at hand was to stop the aggression and protect civilians. Instead, we saw sanctions imposed and denunciations made for purely political purposes.
Terror operations took the world by storm, in Spain, Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Egypt was not spared. Bombers targeted Taba on 7 October. The bombings in south Sinai were horrendous, regardless of the excuses given by the perpetrators. Again, the cycle of horror dominated a spiral of violence and counter- violence.
Amid all the despair are signs of hope, of valiant efforts to end the mayhem. Many spoke out exposing crimes, calling for freedom, justice, and fairness. Opinion polls held in various countries, including Western nations, showed a preference for John Kerry over George Bush. The polls were a sign that the world had had enough with destruction and bloodshed. Perhaps the new Bush administration would take note.
It was a US journalist, Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker, who disclosed the horror of Abu Ghraib. People of conscience remain willing to disclose the scandals and crimes in which their countries are embroiled. Many US officials have spoken candidly about the true motives for the invasion of Iraq and their testimonies have provided ammunition to those who oppose the war and the continued occupation.
Cairo exerted immense efforts to pave the way for an independent Iraq. The Sharm El- Sheikh conference was held on 23 November 2003 and, regardless of what the sceptics say, the conference was an attempt to end the cycle of violence and destruction and get the occupation forces to abide by international law.
The International Court of Justice last July passed a historic decision opposing the building of the separation wall in the heart of the occupied West Bank. The court called for the wall to be removed and for damages to be paid to Palestinians who have suffered because of it.
The unilateral disengagement plan by which Israel is to withdraw from Gaza has gained momentum. Egypt strove to ensure the plan would be linked with the roadmap. Meanwhile the Palestinians are trying to consolidate their institutions through local and presidential elections.
We end a year of man-made mayhem, engineered by the mighty, magnified by the weak and finally helped along by nature. And yet we cannot afford to lose heart. Perhaps 2005 will bring the world to its senses. It may, for a change, get its priorities right.
The West has done what they are very good at. It was the same way they have succeeded in colonnising the whole world: "Diviser pour mieux regner". Allah's promise is fulfilled; Islam is the fastest growing religion on earth. The Western intellectual world is littered by Born-Muslims and those who revive Islam in themselves(reverts). So what is our problem? " Fabi aye alaai Rabukuma tukasibaani???!!!", We(Muslims) have inherited earth as promised. We must go back to basic, forget all these nonesens Sectarian aderation. One Umma, One Dine and that is Islam. "Al-yawma ackmamtu lakum Diiny kum, waradeyetu lakum Islamu Diini"(sadacka Allah Al-azim). Soon there is going to be a vacuum in the leadership of Humanity, our actual commander(Amr-ka) America, is coming to its end(insha- Allah), for she has not fulfilled her duties as ordered to, as in the pass, she will start slipping low on the scale up to the end of time. The oldest CITY, which hold the first HOUSE(Al-Awalul bayti) on earth and the MOTHER(Umul-Kurra) of all cities will be re-elected. There is hope my Brothers and Sisters insha-Allah. This has been fore told, I think if I remember well, the recent Moon eclipse(2000-2001) were some clear signs of that has passed and which is to come. My worries are for how long but it will all come to pass(Insha-Allah).The Sauds must start thinking global for Islam is a force second to none. Through scientific break throughs on all subject matters, the West will soon find its way back into Islam and they will come for the Arabian peninsular. Al-hamdulilah Rabil Alamina. PROMISED
That said, Sister Eve, do not give in to despair. We are not as powerless as you may think. Allah is the One God, and He is a just God. Thus, actions that we undertake that lead to justice please Allah, and are ensured to succeed. Take action, Sister Eve, do not give up. Trust you heart and in God to guide you to the straight path.
Back to basic....true teaching of ISLAM is the keyword
Rasheen, I can udnerstand your cynicism. I really can. My advice to you is: get active and do something about it. Stop comlaining and take action to change things: lobby, vote, write letters (did you know that so few people actually write their congressman that one letter is considered to reflect the opinions of hundreds? This was valuable to the Environmentalists, from whom I learned this when I was in university. We should do the same thing), hell, run for office man, this is America, you can do it!
Anyway, this amy have been the year of blood, but lets pray that 2005 is the year of life! Yes!
My brother Austin implies that the article blames Israel for the increase in violence, and says that it is not wrong to have removed Sadaam.
Unfortunately, I did not see the article blaming anyone specific. BUT, my brother, the point is that NO ONE is doing the necessary work to stop the slaughter.
Invading Iraq is and was wrong and I will tell you why...Sadaam Hussain is a despicible and evil man and deserves to burn in hell for eternity for his crimes against humanity, BUT he was the head of the government of a sovereign nation. You don't just get to march into someone elses house because you don't like the way he treats his kids. This administration lied to us, and basically conned us into approving the call to arms, and I am sorry if you do not agree, but brother...what goes around comes around. When Germany or France gets the idea that perhaps the U.S. is not making the grade, and decides that they can do a better job, who is to stop them from simply coming over here and taking over?? Nukes? You see, by being civilized, even with the barbarian, you keep your moral position. We threw ours away, because we are the biggest guy on the block, and have now become the neighborhood bully. The idea that might makes right, and if I can kick your butt, then I am entitled to do so whenever I want, this must go. This mindset of "whoever dies with the most bombs wins" is what has caused the blood to flow like rivers in too much of the world.
We, thinking and feeling people, need to ride herd on our more foolhardy brothers and sisters. Just because you can do a thing, does not mean that you should do the thing. Might rarely makes Right, but it assuredly makes tyrants. Is that what you want to be?
Peace to you, my brother. May your eyes see all of what is in front of you.
You people are sick to the core with your lies and childish propaganda. The world would be a much finer place without the likes of George Bush and American warmongers.
Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful exhortation; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.
They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous.