OPINION by Iqbal Jassat – So the bombing of ISIS has started.
This is the “breaking” news hours after Paris came under attack. But is it really “new” news, worthy of being flashed across most TV channels as “breaking”? Or is it “new” news based on the expectation that France will unleash its fury in the aftermath of the attacks?
French politicians may present it as a legitimate response to the attacks which Hollande emphatically described as an “act of war”. And we can be sure that just as various TV channels, from CNN to BBC have had saturated coverage of the attacks, more of the same will dominate the screens. The difference is that we will not be shown how ruthless France can be as its vicious bombing spree of ISIS-held areas exact revenge.
What may be missing in the type of gung-ho coverage for most of the world who rely on CNN or BBC for their daily diet of politically loaded soundbites, is context and substance.
Does “context and substance” matter when “civilisation is under attack”?
Why should France, Britain, America and NATO waste time in the frivolous pursuit of explaining their need to repeat mistakes by lending weight to moral bankruptcy of failed policies?
Their rationale may be skewed; morally indefensible; legally unsound…who cares about such niceties when your country is brought to a standstill and gripped by fear. And by no more than 7 or 8 persons nogal!
Cameron and Obama haven’t minced their words of support for France. Echoing each other, they’ve effectively closed ranks. And unsurprisingly, the rhetoric they indulge in is not any different from Netanyahu’s or indeed that of Blair and Bush.
Its tough talk. Militant. Vengeful. And totally unmindful of granting carte blanch to a collective of rightwing racists to imperil an allready unstable relationship with France’s Muslim population of 5 million.
Marginalised and victimised for carrying names such as Muhammad, Omar, Rabia and Maryam, they face a renewed backlash filled with hate and venom. Philippe de Villiers, president of Movement for France, attributed this “immense drama in Paris” to “mosqueisation” (the construction of many mosques) of France. Not to be outdone, the Mayor of Nimes, Jean-Paul Fournier evoked a “civil war”.
And as expected, the far-right party, the National Front is on the rise by exploiting the tragedy via overt Islamophobia. Not difficult in the current climate which now places a burden on Muslims, especially those from former French colonies in Africa and the Arab world, to display an extraordinary form of loyalty.
Opportunists across the world who thrive on Islamophobia, seem to have crawled out of the woodworks. These self-styled “terror experts” are deployed across media platforms to pontificate and confuse without any regard to the causes of attacks.
Their narrative is not any different to Israel’s. This is expected given that many of the so-called “think tanks” that flourish across Europe and America are directly linked to Israel. Its an industry that thrives on superficial information on the “evil Islamist ideology”, which unfortunately inevitably resonates among an uninformed public.
Voices of reason thus have difficulty in finding space in an atmosphere of fear, suspicion and uncertainty. But these voices do exist. One of them is Alain Gresh of Le Monde Diplomatique, who correctly insists that despite heightened emotions, one has to analyse.
His analysis finds that France (along with the US) is the country most engaged militarily abroad. From Mali to Syria, from Central African Republic to Iraq. “But its policy is incoherent and often aggravates conflict, resulting in fuelling the phenomenon it says it is fighting.”
De Villiers goes on to argue the need for additional assessment to be made of the discredited War of Terror which was launched after 9/11 and the pertinent fact that attacks have been concentrated in Muslim countries. Is it not unexpected therefore that people, whether linked to al-Qaeda or ISIS, would be convinced that they are taking part in a resistance against international aggression against Muslims, he asks.
In the final analysis I fully concur with him that its time to end the Occupation of Palestine and for France to drop the option of bombs. Media Review Network