A Muslim's Shame and Outrage
By Dr Shireen M. Mazari

The angry helplessness keeps growing as one watches the murder of the Lebanese people by the Israeli state, aided and abetted by the US. Clearly, the will of the international community has been effectively thwarted by the US, at the UN Security Council, which wants Israel to continue to kill Lebanese and Palestinians till its murderous appetite is sated.
How much blood of these hapless peoples will have to be spilled before the Israelis are satisfied? The world will only know when the US, supported by its continuing faithful sidekick Blair of Britain (this is what Brittania has been reduced to!), allows a ceasefire resolution to go through in the UNSC. Of course, judging by the past record, this satiation of the Israeli appetite for Arab blood will only be temporary, but it will allow some breathing space, literally, to the Lebanese and Palestinian people.
That one powerful state can prevent the whole world from providing some succor to the victims of a rogue state and can reduce international law to nought shows the fragility of an international system premised on law and basic rules of conduct in peacetime and in war. But of course, post-9/11 Muslim and Arab blood has become cheap and the US itself has shown its penchant for depriving Muslims of even the most basic of human dignity –be it in Qila Jhangi, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib or Bagram.
So the rage continues to build across the world, but especially in Muslim civil societies. As a Muslim I am angry not only at the US and Israel but also at the Muslim states which have shown a total lack of courage and will to challenge the lawlessness of the Israeli-US combine which is resulting in the murder of countless innocents in Palestine and Lebanon. With all its combined economic and military potential and capabilities, the Muslim World has shown an amazing degree of haplessness in the face of the Israeli military aggression. A lack of unity and parochial interests has made the OIC, for all intents and purposes, the Organization for Immobilised Countries. One by one each can be victimized at will it would appear -- especially within the Arab World. Yet Article II (A:4&6 and B:4) of the OIC Charter provides its members with legitimate grounds for intervention in Lebanon.
An emergency meeting of the executive committee of this ineffectual body will take place in Malaysia on August 3, but it would have been more appropriate if an OIC envoy had paid a visit to Beirut at least two weeks earlier. Even in symbolic terms it would have given a feeling to the Lebanese that they had not been abandoned by the Muslim World. As it is, as a Muslim I watched in vain to see a timely high profile visit from a Muslim leader to Beirut even as representatives of European countries arrived in that besieged capital. And as a Muslim I have been reduced to shame to see the damning silence of the Muslim World in the face of the continuing killings of Arabs by the Israelis and in the face of the impassioned pleas of the Lebanese leadership. Earlier, in Rome, Fuad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, in a voice trembling with emotion, listed the unending record of Israeli aggression against the Lebanese state as Condoleezza Rice stood unmoved and determined to indulge Israel's killing spree, and Kofi Annan showed his bureaucratic mindset which circumscribed his condemnation of Israeli aggression in Lebanon. This should be one reason why a UN bureaucrat should never be made Secretary General of the organization. Watching this Rome press conference was a source of pain and anger not only at the impunity of the US -- which continued to rationalize Israel's aggression against innocent civilians -- but also at the absence of the Muslim states' voices of protest. A few whimpers is all one continues to hear but no challenge to the Israeli killing spree.
Are the Muslim states' really so helpless in the face of Israeli aggression and killing? We, who are so ready to kill each other, have been frozen into inaction as the brave nation of Lebanon faces the might of a murderous Israel. Or is it our internal differences that prevent us from unifying into a source of power and strength? Is this what the Ummah has been reduced to? I also wonder whether the civil societies in Europe felt the same rage and frustration as Hitler proceeded unhindered in his murderous designs and leaders like Britain's Chamberlain acquiesced at Munich?
As a so-called moderate or "westernized" Muslim I resent the unhindered targeting of Muslim states by the powerful and their allies -- especially the US and Israel. And, in this context, I cannot help but admire those amongst us who have the courage to fight for the just cause of Palestine and the battle against Zionist aggression. But as an ordinary Muslim who has never seen the need to wear my religion on my sleeve, I am also frustrated at the continuing loss of political and social space to the extremists in our midst, because of the sheer ineffectiveness of the mainstream Muslim political leadership to defend the rights of the Muslims and to protect the Muslims from the killings at the hands of rogue and criminal states.
The force of the Bush Administration's unilateralism is all-pervasive. In the Middle East it is allowing a bloodbath of the Arabs. Closer to home it is giving cover to India's proliferation record and seeking to provide India with a legitimate cover for its LIC operations against Pakistan by seeking to give Indian forces legal access into Afghanistan under the guise of "international peacekeepers". It seems there are no limits to the US pursuing its unilateralist agenda just as there are no effective limits on Israel's murderous designs within its own neighborhood.
The Muslim states of the Middle East are being ripped asunder and Rice has the nerve to proclaim that these are the birth pangs of a "new Middle East"! The foundations of a subjugated Arab world are being built on Arab blood, especially that of its future generations --given what seems to be the special targeting of children in Lebanon and Palestine. I suppose the US logic in allowing Israel its killing spree, and obstructing international calls for an immediate ceasefire is to let as many of the next generation of Lebanese and Palestinians be killed as is possible so that eventually there are few left to fight the tyranny of Israel and its expanding occupation of Arab lands.
The voice of the Muslim states has been muted effectively. But the voice of the Muslim people cries out loudly. As a Muslim, I see us besieged from without and from within and as the carnage continues against the Palestinians and Lebanese my sense of outrage at Israel and the US is juxtaposed by my shame as part of the Muslim Ummah.
(The writer is director general of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad. Courtesy The News)



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