By Kenan Malik
How ironic ,the leaders of the free world who recently attended the freedom of speech Paris march, even some who missed, are headed to Saudi Arabia with their heads bowed to pay respect to a leader who despised freedom of speech and Western way of life. Oil is thicker than blood. A worth reading article by Kenan Malik. ( F. Sheikh)
The world has lost a revered leader’, claimed US Secretary of John Kerry on the death last week of Saudi King Abdullah, a ‘man of wisdom and vision’, in Kerry’s words. David Cameron praised his ‘commitment to peace’ and ordered flags to be flown at half mast on government buildings. Christine Legarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, even hailed him as a proto-feminist, a ‘strong advocate of women’.
In reality, the man that virtually every Western leader has bent over backwards to praise over the past few days was a vicious tyrant, the absolute ruler of a kingdom that practiced torture and judicial murder, crushed any opposition, flogged and beheaded dissidents, imposed sharia law in the most brutal fashion, and exported jihadism across the world. He governed over a kingdom in which women need the approval of a male relative or guardian to marry, open a bank account, obtain a passport, attend university or to see a doctor, even for serious medical emergencies; a kingdom in which a woman must have a male chaperone any time she leaves home and is forbidden from driving. One would have thought that even the head the IMF should be able to see that this does not amount to ‘strong advocacy for women’.
Apologists for the late King Abdullah claim that he was a ‘reformer’ because he sought to bring about change slowly against the entrenched forces of the clergy and of culture. In fact, both the ‘cultural traditions’ and the ‘traditional’ religious norms of Saudi Arabia have only been established over the past two centuries, created, or appropriated, by the Saud clan, as a means of consolidating and maintaining its power.
Recently released movie ‘ American Sniper’ is on the life of an American soldier who killed the most Iraqis by sniper shots. Many think him as outlaw trigger happy soldier but movie depicts him as a hero and Iraqis as savage and subhuman Arabs. Ironically every prominent Western leader is heading Saudi Arabia, sponsor of radical Islam, to pay their tribute at the death of King Abdullah. Below is a movie review by Brian Turner, a soldier writer.( F. Sheikh)
“The film made me remember something else, too: the oft-repeated phrase We should just drop a nuke and turn this whole goddamn place into a glass fucking parking lot. This was an enlargement of what I’d regularly heard prior to deploying from Ft. Lewis, Washington:I’m going to go over there and shoot somebody in the face. And so, what started as an erasure of the signature of one’s identity, their face, evolved into the complete erasure of a civilization. But the thing is, I don’t think there was any clue about what was actually being erased in the first place. And in that cluelessness lays the problem with American Sniper.
This isn’t the defining film of the Iraq War. After nearly a quarter century of war and occupation in Iraq, we still haven’t seen that film. I’m beginning to think we’re incapable as a nation of producing a film of that magnitude, one that would explore the civilian experience of war, one that might begin to approach so vast and profound a repository of knowledge. I’m more and more certain that, if such a film film ever arrives, it’ll be made by Iraqi filmmakers a decade or more from now, and it’ll be little known or viewed, if at all, on our shores. The children of Iraq have far more to teach me about the war I fought in than any film I’ve yet seen — and I hope some of those children have the courage and opportunity to share their lessons onscreen. If this film I can only vaguely imagine is ever made, it certainly won’t gross $100 million on its opening weekend.
The biggest problem I have with American Sniper is also a problem I have with myself. It’s a problem I sometimes find in my own work, and it’s an American problem: We don’t see, or even try to see, actual Iraqi people. We lack the empathy necessary to see them as fully human. In American Sniper, Iraqi men, women, and children are known and defined only in relation to combat and the potential threat they pose. Their bodies are the site and source of violence. In both the film and our collective imagination, their humanity is reduced in ways that, ultimately, define our own narrow humanity. In American Sniper, Iraqis are called “savages,” and the “streets are crawling” with them. Eastwood and his screenwriter Jason Hall give Iraqis no memorable lines. Their interior lives are a blank canvas, with no access points to let us in. I get why that is: If Iraqis are seen in any other light, if their humanity is recognized, then the construct of our imagination, the ride-off-into-the-sunset-on-a-white-horse story we tell ourselves to push forward, falls apart.”
Posted by F. Sheikh
Shared by Tahir Mahmood
I’ve never been a fan of global conferences to solve problems, but when I read that the Obama administration is organizing a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism for Feb. 18, in response to the Paris killings, I had a visceral reaction: Is there a box on my tax returns that I can check so my tax dollars won’t go to pay for this?
When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam from the recent explosions of violence against civilians (most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the Taliban in Pakistan, by Al Qaeda in Paris and by jihadists in Yemen and Iraq. We’ve entered the theater of the absurd.
Last week the conservative columnist Rich Lowry wrote an essay in Politico Magazine that contained quotes from White House spokesman Josh Earnest that I could not believe. I was sure they were made up. But I checked the transcript: 100 percent correct. I can’t say it better than Lowry did:
“The administration has lapsed into unselfconscious ridiculousness. Asked why the administration won’t say [after the Paris attacks] we are at war with radical Islam, Earnest on Tuesday explained the administration’s first concern ‘is accuracy. We want to describe exactly what happened. These are individuals who carried out an act of terrorism, and they later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam and their own deviant view of it.’
This makes it sound as if the Charlie Hebdo terrorists set out to commit a random act of violent extremism and only subsequently, when they realized that they needed some justification, did they reach for Islam.