May 27th, 2017

Comment Gone Lengthy, CGL V.

Posted: November 11, 2004

Felicity and Faramin,

I seem to have missed out on a lot lately. The two of you make some compelling arguments, let me try and see if I can help put my perspective across too.

Felicity, you have a very valid point. I will be the first one to admit that it is imperative that we put our house in order as a nation. Yet, I feel you are slightly off course.

Despite our flaws and shortcomings as a nation, we have a right to live – to not be bombed into oblivion, because a very powerful and insecure country two continents away from us has been led to believe that we pose a threat to that country. If this American premise to attack Iraq is justified, then perhaps another nuclear country might be just as justified in nuking US for fear that someday the US might nuke them. The reason no-one has done that so far is not because US has “taken them all out”, but because factually speaking no country would want to get into a war with the super power. Theoretically, however, a country strong enough to “take US out” should take it out, because US poses a threat to it – as does every other country of the world to every other country of the world. Justifying this premise, thus, is plunging the world into war.

Yes, the US name does seem to come up more often than any other, despite the fact that there are actually some countries in the world where man has inflicted and continues to inflict worse misery on fellowmen. Yet, you must make room for the fact that the US is, if only on paper, the most educated, the most advanced, the most democratic, and the most just country in the world. The US has not become a super power solely because it has the largest stockpile of annihilation material, but also because it has led the world for over a century now in all walks of life. It is the seat of learning, the epitome of civilization and the land of ideals and dreams – or at least until very recently was so. That is the real reason for its being at the top. It is at the top, because the rest of the world looks up to it.

When this leader of the world turns into a vigilante, and then into a bully – the rest of the world cannot be blamed for becoming jittery. When the US, as the leader of human rights, attacks and destroys country after country, and actually takes high moral ground for having done so, the task of the smaller bullies becomes easy. The life of an average human being becomes so much more endangered.

By comparison, when in countries with less than 30% literacy rate, and rampant ignorance crimes against humanity are committed, they do not pose a threat to the rest of the world. They pose a challenge. The economic factors that have allowed these extremist outfits to flourish need to be addressed – not by anyone in particular, but by all who care. So that the next generation is not hijacked in the name of religion. Where I know that in the last 20 years media in our own country has had an intolerant rhetoric tilt, we both know that all and sundry revile the attackers of the mosques – be they sunni victims of shia attacks, or shia victims of sunni attacks. The silent as well as the non silent segments speak out against this outrage. But, that is a different discussion. What I mean to say is these extremist factions do not have any pretensions of, or claims to being the champion of the people. So, their crimes, while no less severe, pale by comparison to those of the US because the US and its respect for human rights were to be the epitome of hope.

Also, the power of those extremist factiosn when compared with this bull gone crazy is nothing in terms of the threat it poses to the world. Hence, one sees more people speaking out against the US actions than others crimes. In short, US actions have a deeper, much deper impact on the shape of things to come than anyone else.

I do not present the extremists’ ignorance and intolerance-steeped upbringing as an excuse for their actions – I just hold US in greater contempt because it is better equipped to respect and defend humanity and does not do so. Instead, what one sees it indulging in is the worst kind of selfish manouvers – where a deemed threat to US lives, however preposterous, is reason enough to flatten a country full of people.

The two, Felicity, rooting out ignorance-induced extremism and stopping power-drunk bullyism are not mutually exclusive. However, for the threat it poses to the world, the latter needs immediate attention. Achieving the former might not be of much use, if the latter by then has got out of hands. Addressing the US problem might just make it lots easier to contain the extremism threat. Imagine, even if half the billions spent on bombing Iraq and Afghanistan had been invested helping poorer nations cement their academic institutions and structure, the last three years might have brought a sea chnge in the way the world looked at the US.

Instead, the world looks at this bully gone crazy with fear, apprehension, and despair.

For full discussion, please refer Faramin’s blog.

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