The other side of the coin
I have to clarify few things regarding my previous post. Even though al-Rashed’s article sheds light on a major source of the problem, which is terrorism carried out by Muslims, he just presents one valid side of a very complicated problem. Blaming Muslims and Muslims religious leaders doesn’t remove the blame from America, Israel, and other countries and it doesn’t make them more innocent or virtuous. America is a major player in the spread of terrorism. In fact America is a terrorist in many ways, as much as those Muslim terrorists are. So if we are keen on understanding the problem and on trying to find solutions for it, we have to acknowledge all sources of the problem. Focusing on one side and ignoring the other doesn’t help… it just creates more confusion.
Now regarding al-Rashed’s article, it certainly fails to present the other different sides of the problem. He focuses on Islamic extremism but fails to mention or even hint at America as being a contributive party in the emergence of this Islamic terrorism and also in committing terrorism in the region. America’s recent invasion of Iraq killed atleast 11,000 innocent civilians. If that is not terrorism, I don’t know what is. And let us not conceal it under the guise of liberation and freedom. Innocent people die by the hundreds and thousands, and so we have a serious problem… humanity in its entirety is in jeopardy.
One more thing I wish to address is death and the view of death in those atrocities we see today and why the American military is not receiving the same kind of stern criticism and repulsive reaction Muslim terrorists do.
I will rely on David Grossman’s analysis in his book On Killing to tackle this issue. In his book, Grossman compares the atrocities of Hamburg (1943) and Babylon (689 B.C.) and poses the question: What is the difference? A valid question to ask today would be: What is the difference between the death caused by the American military and the death caused by the Islamic fundamentalists?" “There is no distinction in the results – in both, the innocent population involved died horribly ..” Grossman answers his question. “The difference is that, emotionally, when we dwell on the butchers of Babylon or Auschwitz or My Lai, we feel revulsion at the psychotic and alien state that permitted these individuals to perform their awful deeds. We cannot understand how anyone could perform such inhuman atrocities on their fellow man … But when most people think of those who bombed Hamburg or Hiroshima, there is no feeling of disgust for the deed, certainly not the intensity of disgust felt of Nazi executioners. When we mentally empathize with the bomber crews, when we put ourselves in their places, most cannot truly see themselves doing any different than they did. Therefore we do not judge them as criminals.”
Today Muslim terrorists are regarded as being more culpable than America because of this psychological factor Grossman mentions. One way of killing should not be glorified over the other. Killing is ugly… killing is bad and especially if it results in the death of innocent civilians and that’s exactly why we have to acknowledge and fight all sources and forms of terrorism for it seems to me that the term “terrorist” has been recently defined by the media as inclusive of only non-governmental entities and guerrillas which happen to be mostly Muslim, as if no western government is eligible of being associated with this term, whether partially or completely and that undermines the process of solving the problem because despite all the great things in America (the nation), America (the government) is responsible for a great deal of the terrorism the world is facing today and that kind of terrorism should be equally feared and denounced.