By  Mowahid Hussain Shah

June 23, 2017

Mental Walls

World War II hastened the breakup of colonial empires, expediting decolonization, and ushering in US hegemony. 9/11 was a seminal defining event. It created a dividing line, which can now be used to characterize events as pre-9/11 and post-9/11.
On September 1, 1939, when Hitler crossed into Poland, it ended one world and ushered in another world, with its vast repercussions. September 11, 2001 ended ease of travel. Trust fell by the wayside, replaced by insecurity, fear, paranoia, suspicion, and hate.
21st century Europe was envisioned to be a borderless world, but what to do with deeply embedded mental walls in the mind? Muslims are too deeply rooted through their historical presence in Europe’s past and, in its present, comprising a sizeable segment of Europe’s citizenry, to be bullied or expunged.
The city of Nice at the French Riviera has been a favorite watering hole of British aristocracy, for its soothing climes and its Mediterranean breezes on the south of France. It’s hard to visualize that Tunis is just over a one-hour flight from Nice, across the Mediterranean, and that in 1543, the legendary Muslim corsair, Hayreddin Barbarossa, pillaged the city. Even today, the area’s medieval castles are reminders of the fear of fending off Muslim invaders.
A twenty-minute ride from Nice is the principality of Monaco. In it, is the opulent Monte Carlo casino, made famous by James Bond movies. It’s also known for Arab potentates squandering their wealth into corrupt futility.
Alongside the French Riviera, presence of Algerian-origin and Tunisian-origin Muslims is ubiquitous and, despite the long hours of Ramazan, many there observe the fast. Their omnipresence is similar to the Turkish presence in Germany. Algerian-origin soccer legend Zidane became a national hero in France when his headers led to victory over Brazil in 1998, in the World Cup Final in Paris. Today, aficionados consider him as the greatest ever soccer player. On June 3, as manager of Real Madrid, Zidane’s team beat Juventus to retain the Champions League trophy, the first team in 27 years to do so.
Travel has turned into a torment. In the post-9/11 world, there are rigorous airport screenings, intrusive pat-downs, shoes off, belts off, painstaking scrutiny of carry-on contents, checked bags being opened.
Gratuitous insults haven’t worked and won’t work.
What is wrong with trying an alternate route? For example, making a good-faith effort of tackling Palestine and Kashmir to recede militancy and to give respect and salience to Muslims in the West.
Hatred and bigotry can infect quickly and spread fast. Witness the anti-Muslim rallies across the United States on June 10, with its incalculable damage to the American brand.
The answer to a protruding nail is not always the hammer.
General Stanley McChrystal, who was US Commander in Afghanistan, delineates this very point, as cited in the June 22, 2010 “Rolling Stone” story (recounted, too, in the 2017 movie, “War Machine”, loosely based on his character) that led to his firing by President Obama: “‘It’s insurgent math … for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.’”
Politicians, however, profit from building walls.

 

 

 

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PREVIOUSLY


Election 2004: Decisive but Divisive

Muslim Youth & Kashmir in America

The Big Picture: Wealth without Vision

Oxygen to Global Unrest

Punishing the Punctual

Change without Change

Don’t Be Weak

Passionate Attachment

The Confidence of Youth

The Other Side of Democracy

Campaign of Defamation

Pakistani Women & the Legal Profession

A Pakistani Journey

Farewell to Fazal

Mukhtaran and Beyond

Revamping the OIC

7/7 & After

Nuclear Double-Standard

Return to Racism

Hollywood – The Unofficial Media

The Sole Superpower

The UN at 60

A Slow Motion World War?

Elite vs. Street

Iqbal Today

Macedonia to Multan

Defending our Own

2006 & Maulana Zafar Ali Khan

Error against Terror

The Limits of Power

Cultural Weaknesses

Aggressive at Home, Submissive Abroad

Global Storm

The Farce of Free Expression

The Changing Mood

Condi & India

Xenophobia

Looking inward

Re-Thinking

A Tale of Two Presidents

Close to Home

Flashpoint Kashmir

The Spreading Rage

Confronting Adversity

The Illusion of International Law

Other Side of Extremism

Five Years after 9/11

The Educated Ignorant

The Decline of Humor

Icons

Six Years of Insanity

The War Not Being Fought

Munir Niazi

Compliance & Defiance

Counter-Message

Miscast

The Goddess of Wealth

The Meaning of Moderation

The Tora Bora of Fear

Clash of Civility

The Early Race

Challenge & Response

Will & Skill

Zealotry

Movie-Media and Pakistan

Hug with a Thug

Quest for Integrity

Unconquered

Vanity

Bringing Back the Past

Stuck in Iraq

Islam, Science and the West

Turmoil over Turkey

Leaders versus Leadership

Might Does Not Make Right

Kursi First

Vision & Will

Battle of the Billionaires

Assassination Alley

Extremism and Change

Rosy Expectations

Short-Term Gain, Long-Term Pain

Not Winning

Beyond Baghdad: Five Years after

The Hijab of Democracy

Hate, Fear & Hope

Weapon of Words

Hide N’ Seek

Yanking in the UN

Obama’s Breakthrough

Let Lahore Be Lahore

National Mood & Sports

Flirting with Fire

Trips Abroad

Georgia on the Mind

Duel for the White House

Zia to Zardari

Palestine: Avoiding the Unavoidable 

Not Working 

In the Ring 

Obama’s America

Smiles & Dreams

Quiet Deeds of Good

Crime and Indifference

Journey of Understanding

VIP-hunting

Terror via Counter-Terrorism

Umpires or Vampires?

The Long Road

Yesterday’s Reminder

Appeasement and the Real Threat

Israel’s Washington Agenda

New Challenges

Cairo and Beyond

Re-fighting Old Battles

America ’s Super Villains

Activism in America

Style without Substance

Overcoming Barriers

Ashes to Afghanistan

The Looming Change

Fear and Possibilities

What Is Not Debated 

Hired Guns

Rampage at Fort Hood

Manmohan in Washington

The Long Duel

Green Nukes

Vision and Division

Avoiding Why

Striving to Matter

Shame-proof

Anxiety and Opportunity

Putting Iraq in America

The Right Strategy

Looking Beyond

Rot at the Top

Strategic Folly

Daring & Caring

Over-Stepping on Turkey

Sudan : Perils of Provincialism

Old Fears, New Target

Europe ’s Stain

The US-Pakistan Enigma

The Status Quo Is Unacceptable

9 Years after 9/11

License to Steal

US Muslims at the Crossroads

Tumor of Terror

An Arab Voice

Disastrous Decisions

Double Game

Sticky Wiki

What Quaid Was Not

Money Conspiracy

Pharaohs & Pirates

Greed and Cricket

Change & Challenge  

Forty Years after 1971

Abandoning Our Own

Rewarding Failure

Osama and Obama

Tsunami of Tolerance

Representation and Presentation

Meek and Weak

Change or the Same?

No Easy Exit

Nation to Non-Nation

10 Years after 9/11

Shining India?

Big Power, Small Politics

Rule of the Gun

Proxy of the Powerful

Fight for Fairness

Republican Race

Actors or Directors

Speaking out

Professional Sycophants

More Provinces?

Too Much Information

Soft Separation

Soft Poison

Unemployment & Over-Population

Seize the Day

The Arab Awakening

Ben Bella

At University of Gujrat

Good People Behaving Badly

Playing Over-Smart

Do Less

Resisting the Resistible

Performance, Not PR

Home-grown Havoc

Salutation to the 65 th Year

Plague of Provincialism

USA Elections 2012

Rage

Fight or Flight

Rift and Drift

Obama II

Me and We

Small Role or Small Actors?

On Losing

Who Will Guard the Guards?

Loyal to Their Loot

Prevail or Fail

Perceptions and Reality

Toll of Occupation

Re-think, Re-examine, and Self-correct 

The Washington Tribe

Voice and Vision

Moral Slump

Wall of Illusion

Under One Banner

Bitter Harvest

Gallows and the Throne

Scent of Power

At a Standstill

Leaders and Leadership

The Deadline

Fighting Darkness

Distant Connections

Governance: The Long View

Discussion in DC

Darkness in the Mind

Killing Kennedy and Liaquat Ali

Yahya Khan Speaks on 1971

Quaid & Xmas in Washington

150 Years of FC College

Tyranny of Money

50 Years of Ali

A Dose of Truth

Little Guy, Big Impact

A Reassessment in Washington

Crimea & Kashmir

Democracy or Oligarchy?

Afghan Elites: Blaming Pakistan

Pitfalls of Intervention

Arabs in America

Never Give up

German Journey

Tyranny of Today

Manipulating Language

March & Match

Destroyers

Out of Darkness

Modi in America

Awareness or Fairness?

Mideast Maze

Easy Scapegoats

Freedom to Insult

Journey of Recovery

Mental Colonialism

Letters from a Grandfather

Power Imbalance

Discord and Division

Colloquium at Capitol Hill

Washington Lauds Gharib Nawaz

Balkan Lessons

Pivot from the Mideast

American Campus & Mideast Turmoil

Muslim Father; Two Americans

Challenging Fear

Victim Mentality

X & Ali

Fake Democracy?

Irresponsible Passivity

Erosion of Ethics

Dragon of Hate

Extreme in the Mainstream

Ugly Times

Pakistani Summer in England

Speaking Haq

At the Oval

Britain Beware

East in West

Trump Turmoil

Tiny Nation, Towering Figure

Realities: 2016

End of an Innings

Trumped

Embarrassment to America

Dishonest Media

Purana Pakistan

Media Unleashed


2001

 

Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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