A new ethos has emerged in world politics out of the so-called war on terror that associates terrorism with Muslims & Arabs & justifies barbarism in the interests of fighting “head-chopping jihadis.” This ethos has long been fully operative in propaganda against the Palestinian struggle but some of its ugliest manifestations emerged in the Arab Spring uprisings, first with orientalist & demeaning analyses of those uprisings, like those of Robert Fisk. Then there were those who approved of the massacres of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members in Egypt. It’s true that after the election of Morsi, the MB played a violent & reactionary role in Egyptian politics. But when the military ousted Morsi & turned on the MB, it was a human rights issue to stand with them against the violence & slaughter. One progressive after another justified those massacres because the MB were after all extremists. Since when do human rights advocates consider it allowable for armies to mow down people we don’t agree with? When did human rights advocates decide it was okay to endorse the methods of oppressors & ignore the civilized demands of due process?
This vengeful ethos has come to fruition in Syria where fascists, Stalinists, & political halfwits converge to justify the carpet bombing of civilians whom they label “head-chopping jihadis.” Is bombing the only way their demented minds can conceive of fighting terrorism? But of course they’re not fighting terrorism. They’re fighting revolution. They’re going after Muslims & Arabs fighting for democracy against dictatorship.
How did this ethos emerge from the war on terror? How was it progressives got suckered into adopting this ethos when it is the rationale used to occupy Afghanistan, to bomb the madrassa filled with little kids in Kunduz, to carpet bomb Mosul & Raqqa, Aleppo & Eastern Ghouta into dead zones? To carpet bomb Yemen for now over three years? People can rant & rave against the degeneracy of the left but quite frankly that’s a straw man. The so-called left hasn’t exerted much energy, let alone influence, for at least 40 years. For the most part, they’ve been talking to their own belly buttons & not even to each other. The political crisis is profound & one singular sign of that is that many who oppose Assad call for a humanitarian US intervention against him. What planet are they flying in from? Out of this political crisis & stagnation, the extreme right wing has been emboldened & Stalinism has finally found its true home within fascism. Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum & in the absence of political leadership, that vacuum has been filled with the decaying windbags of the left marching lockstep with fascists.
Is there a solution to this crisis? Damn right there is. It is to look to those Muslims & Arabs being vilified as terrorists who are standing up against all odds against war, occupation, genocide. Those are the leaders of political regeneration. It’s a tragedy such leadership is not forthcoming from those countries that conduct the wars against Muslims & Arabs. But we should thank our lucky stars that leadership does exist & that it emerges from the oppressed who have a vested, uncompromising interest in freedom. We’re talking Palestinians, Kashmiris, Rohingya, Syrians, Afghans, Yemenis, Iraqis, Egyptians, Bahrainis. You know: the very ones we’re supposed to hate.