When Prejudice Defines Terrorism

Not much good news comes out these days. It is all earthquakes, hurricanes man-made and natural disasters.

It has made some people so sick that they have stopped buying papers and avoiding their television sets. I am, however, against this form of "evasive action." This type of behavior would make us lose track of what's happening around us. And that is not good. It would deprive us of a chance to notice how our enemies are methodically planning our destruction. How schemes are being orchestrated for our final submission.

And when one reads you either laugh away reports or it distresses you to the core.

A news item that distressed me was the one in Al Sharq Al Awsat which focused on U.S. efforts to plan a campaign to confine "fundamentalism and extremism." Newt Gingrich, the new blue- eyed boy of U.S. politics, has drawn up a four-point plan which includes preventive action against fundamentalists to foil them from taking overpower.

Another key point is to push ahead the Middle East process and remove all obstacles. Cooperation between various states to fight fundamentalists, planning policies that will result in the downfall of the Sudanese and Iranian regions perceived as main supporters of fundamentalists. Gingrich also set as a priority a strategy to counter "Islamic terrorism."

As Gingrich was revealing his plan, a meeting was being held in Brussels between Israel and some Arab states on one side and NATO officials on the other to discuss countering terrorism.

What a joke! If NATO cannot cope with Bosnia in its backyard, how can it face the challenges of the so-called fundamentalists?

What is happening in our world, I don't know. But it is sad to see that even our own media and some of our own people have succumbed to the cunning propaganda and are using expressions such as "fundamentalists" and "Islamic terrorists."

Terrorists are terrorists. You cannot put a label on them. However, the Islamophobe zealots like Gingrich are in a very cunning manner placing new words in the vocabulary of politics. Gingrich is a rabble-rouser. A man who announced his divorce to his wife as she lay in a cancer ward in a hospital. His present wife works for a Jewish company and some suspect it is that which makes him so gung-ho about the emphasis on "Islamic terror." Whether that is true or not is not our concern. What is of importance is that with guile and care the likes of Gingrich are shaping public images and opinions.

These zealots forget the real meaning of terror.

Let them go and ask the Bosnians, the Chechnyans and others. We never hear of Serbian or Russian terror. The world watched for three years as Bosnia was systematically decimated. Its people killed, maimed, disfigured and driven out of their minds. In Grozny, atrocities of the worst nature took place. Yet the West and Gingrich did not utter the word terrorism. On the contrary, they were hoping for a quick kill. Their conscience was itself dampened by the harsh European winter.

Nobody has accused Milosovic of terrorism. Yeltsin has not been criticized to the degree, with the harshness, his actions demanded. What little criticism was there was in a vague and guarded manner? Yet all hell breaks loose when it comes to "Islamic terror". Even Willy Claes, NATO Secretary-General, voices concern and is prepared to seek, act and destroy "fundamentalists". The Islamophobes are even prepared to use germ warfare against fundamentalists, joked a friend.

Look at the pictures coming out of the occupied West Bank these days. You will see worshippers being kicked, children's heads smashed by rifle butts by sadistic Israeli soldiers. The terror on children's faces, whether in Sarajevo, Grozny or Hebron, does not make these zealots react. For them, there is only one type of terror - "Islamic."

And what makes a person sad is that these expressions are being repeated parrot-like by many amongst us.

I am not a believer in the conspiracy theory but do firmly subscribe to the view of many others that there is a well-laid plan to reflect discredit on our nations and religion.

Islam is against all forms of terror. The Muslims themselves have been subjected to terror.

How can they subscribe to terror? If some fringe lunatic groups commit terror or an invisible hand pushes the button of death and destruction and claim to be Islamic, do we believe them?The U.S. is trying to achieve Pax Americana. Militarily it cannot be done. But using psychology coupled with axioms from the dictionaries of fanaticism and paranoia, it is trying to project the negative truth of fundamental and Islamic terror.

Israel also is subtly projected as a partner and "valuable ally" in the fight against terror.

But again the question arises who are the terrorists. Are they only those who gun down innocent tourists in a bus in Cairo? Or those who slip the throats of foreigners in Algiers? Do they not have camaraderie with the Russian and Serbian butchers?

Yes, I believe that all these are terrorists - plain terrorists.

Gingrich is ignorant about the complexities of international politics and we all know that little knowledge is dangerous.

Gingrich is not an assessor of international politics but I suspect a zealot of atavistic impulses. When he speaks of terror he should also include Israeli terror condoned by many of his gullible fellow Americans. The Muslim World - if we use the language of the zealots who have sacrificed reason to prejudice - is a weak and floundering one. Yet it poses threats to Gingrich, the U.S. lawmakers and NATO.

I shudder to think what reaction a strong Muslim World would evoke amongst those with a consistent hostility towards us.

Only time will tell.

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