SHAME ON YOU, VAVI!
By Hilton Ratcliffe, Waterfall, KZN, South Africa.
A pale winter Sun lit my garden this morning, but it did little to cheer me up. I switched on my television in the full knowledge that CNN would make my heart heavier still. Images of parched and broken children, mothers, silver-haired grannies and sobbing fathers on Iraqi mountain tops, in Gaza rubble, in the nearly-forgotten Syrian insurrection; it is almost too much to bear. Even in the comfort of my lounge, secure, warm, protected, I am desolate.
And then my grief turns to anger when I read that South African trade unionist Zwelinzima Vavi joined the throngs of suspiciously biased ideological warriors called the National Coalition for Palestine marching against anything Israeli, and by implication, against the Jewish people. While I have no doubt that Vavi’s participation is nothing more than sickening political opportunism, I am indebted to him for tipping me out of my ennui and getting me to the keyboard to try to put a perspective on this global horror.
It occurred to me as I read reports of public activism ostensibly in support of the suffering Palestinian people—and none of us can deny that they suffer terribly—is really in support of the Islamic jihad, the burgeoning 21st century fanatical religious imperialism that stares us unblinking in the face, and paints our television screens in horrifying, sickening detail of unspeakable barbarity and cruelty. Videotaped beheadings are just the tip of the iceberg. Vavi, by his appearance in sympathy with the 200 extremists who marched in Pretoria on Friday, 7th July 2014, declares thereby without shame that he supports the jihad. Why would any reasonable, rational, compassionate person want to do that?
The history of Muslim martial imperialism goes back to its very roots. The Prophet Mohammed consolidated his nascent religious social order by the military conquest of Mecca, and the ideological justification of violence to broaden the power base was entrenched in the group mindset. Of the major world religions, three have distinguished themselves with aggressive proselytizing: Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. All of these religions also augmented their missionary agenda with martial force, and the rise of Islam particularly is inseparable from military conquest. The Ottoman Empire brought the art of religious imperialism to a peak, and modern jihadist regimes apply that historical template to their campaigns, but with even greater fury.
Caption: Members of the Sunni Shaitat tribe are rounded up and marched to their deaths in Syria by fighters from ISIS in a series of horrific images posted online by the jihadist group.
This is not Zionist propaganda; it is a fact of historical record. Celebrated Muslim scholar Efraim Karsh published a compelling book on the subject entitled “Islamic Imperialism—A History” (Yale University Press, 2006). In this provocatively stimulating book, Karsh argues that the Middle East narrative is an account of the rise and fall of empires, from the first Islamic Empire of the seventh century to the Ottomans, the last great Muslim empire. Karsh contends that the conventional Western interpretation of Middle Eastern history is an inaccurate expression of slanted global politics. The region’s current chaotic conflict on all fronts is the inevitable consequence of indigenous patterns of behaviour, and foremost among these is Islam’s millenarian imperial tradition. The author explores the persistence of the Ottoman imperialist dream that haunts Middle Eastern politics to the present day, and which bares its fangs in Palestine.
Literary reviews of Karsh’s book include the following:
“He has produced an impeccable history of how the Muslim mainstream has behaved towards its neighbours…. The chapters on the Ottomans and Iran…are masterpieces of concise historical writing…. I could not recommend this magnificent effort of reportage and analysis more highly. It ought to be not only on our shelves, but also on our desks and bedside tables. Efraim Karsh is well on his way towards claiming the crown of a new generation of scholars of Islam and I wish him luck. We need him. In Muslim lands, his book ought to be translated into every local language and distributed free of charge. Alas, it will be banned. ” — Hazhir Teimourian, The Literary Review
“Anyone interested in the debate about the place of Islam in the modern world should read this book…. Karsh offers a new approach. He rejects the condescending approach of the apologists and the hateful passion of the Islamophobes. Instead he presents Islam as a rival for Western civilization in what is, after all, a contest for shaping the future of mankind. Karsh does not hide whose side he is on in this contest. Muslim readers would respect him because, while he designates Islam as an adversary, he respects them. Being disliked for the right reasons is better than being liked for the wrong ones…. What does Islam want? Karsh poses the question and answers it unambiguously: it wants to reshape the world after its own fashion just as Christianity did in its heyday. The message is clear: the world would do well to take Islam’s ambitions seriously.” — Amir Taheri, Daily Telegraph
This morning, CNN showed footage of taunting West Bank youths throwing stones at Israeli soldiers guarding the disputed interface with Israel. The soldiers reply with stun grenades. It struck me that here was a situation that encapsulates the injustice of it all. Try to imagine, if you will, what would happen if some Kurdish boys stoned ISIS fighters in Irbil. Based on the repeated behaviour of ISIS in civilian neighbourhoods in Syria and Iraq, one can with merit argue that the youths would be summarily executed before they had even lifted a stone.
“Death to infidels” is the barbaric war cry of the ruthless Jihad, the sociopathic monsters that are right now, as we speak, beheading children and putting their heads on poles in town squares in Christian and Kurdish regions of Iraq. I will argue that it is this very jihad, not yet mature, that Israelis face on their borders. In that frame of reference, Israeli heavy-handedness against Palestinian forces, and the tragic civilian deaths that accompany it—and no one, Israelis least of all, gloats over those deaths as jihadists do—are almost laughably feather-light by comparison. We need to be very clear on the nature of the beast we are facing. It is not Islam itself—heaven forbid!—but a powerful, intensely violent doctrine derived from interpretations of the Sharia, which has the declared intention of overpowering any society and its authority that is not completely aligned with their brand of theological terrorism. Closer to the core, it seems that it is an expression of tribal schisms that have dogged the Arab world for millennia, but we needn’t go that far in our analysis. We—the secular free world—have a battle on our hands, and we really ought to be more careful whose side we protest on.
Caption: Around 20 ISIS fighters stand behind the line of men and the squad of jihadists begin to murder the prisoners
In northern Iraq, the Islamic State has unleashed unbridled blood-lust on the unfortunate minorities, and the horror of their situation beggars belief. An eye witness reported by telephone this morning that Christian girls had been dragged to the town’s market to be sold as wives to the IS fighters. Hundreds of young girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, and they face the same fate. Al Shebaab terrorists occupied the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya and slaughtered men, women, and children in cold blood simply because they could not satisfy their captors that they were Muslim. Two young Muslims, radicalised in British mosques, butchered an off-duty British soldier on a London pavement, and then posed proudly for the camera, drenched in blood, with butcher knife in hand. In Syria, opposition forces had the unwelcome invasion of their war zone by radical groups under the umbrella of Isis. Local citizens, ripped from their peaceful daily lives by a conflict they scarcely understand, were sometimes given stark choices, and sometimes not even that flimsy hope for life. With resigned, slumped shoulders and hands bound behind their backs, non-believers walked to their tragic destiny beside a dusty ditch already littered with the staring corpses of those that felt AK47 terror before them. Far from the refined sophistication of pure Islam, these terrorists represent the pathological effect on the human psyche of a quasi-moral justification for unbridled base lusts. They define and epitomise the term terrorist. And, tragically for the reasonable, peaceable people of the world, including I believe the overwhelming majority of Muslims everywhere, these subhuman monsters fly a Muslim flag, and utter passages of Muslim doctrine at every turn, as if they have divine approval for what they do.
Caption: A couple of jihadists approach the dead prisoners and finish off any survivors from point-blank range
There is no need to debate the issue—the Palestinian offensive against Israel is labelled, by them, a jihad. Radical cadres infiltrate Palestinian society, and from the streets, schools, homes, and mosques of the most densely populated strip of land in the world, hurl their fire and their hatred at indiscriminate targets in Israel. If it were not for Israel’s missile defence system, the civilian casualties on Israel’s side would outnumber Palestinian deaths by at least ten to one. The parties firing rockets at Israel are quite open about their intentions – they want to kill Israeli citizens and they want to kill Israel. How do we expect Israel to defend itself from that? No matter whose side our sympathies favour, we cannot reasonably and rationally assert that Israel can respond to that sort of attack without seeking targets in densely-packed civilian areas. But rational thought is not what drives Vavi to join the National Coalition for Palestine in condemning Israel for all that’s bad in the Gaza conflict. At its roots, what drives this movement is barefaced anti-Semitism and tacit encouragement of the jihad.
Caption: A jihadist appears to be smiling as he holds a terrified man by his hair and begins to slice through his neck with a hunting knife.
Palestinian land was originally taken from the Israelis. The Jews are back in a homeland historically theirs from the time of Moses, and long before Palestinians got there. Neither side can premise its political ideology on the destruction of the other. The only solution is to have two viable states, and that means that Palestine must get rid of its jihadist agenda (and get rid of the jihadists operating under their noses), and Israel must end the occupation by withdrawing to its 1967 borders. That’s the starting point for a negotiated settlement. Militant Zionism and militant Muslim imperialism are just fuelling the conflict.
Don’t get me wrong; I am under no illusion that Israel’s heavy-handed and sometimes reckless approach to the issue of Palestine and the plight of the Palestinian people has much to answer for. Israel has a fundamental right to exist in the Jews’ historical homeland, but they have time and again shot themselves in the foot and given their sworn enemies blood-drenched propaganda with which to whip up public sentiment and blind the global audience to the real issues at play in this conflict. It is radical Muslim imperialism, nothing less. It is time the world and its governments realised this before the tumour becomes too invasive to treat without putting us all at risk. And before they show their true colours at anti-Israel marches.