Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It is verbal Jihad now

Devil taken control of logos

From The Statesman
ND Batra

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said on CBS “60 Minutes” news magazine that a US diplomat had threatened to turn “the Land of the Pure” into the “stone age” if his government did not fully and unconditionally cooperate with the USA in hunting down the Taliban and Al-Qaida after the September 11 attacks.

In a joint Press conference recently with President George W Bush on the lawns of the White House when reporters asked the Pakistani strongman to elaborate on his brazen remark, General Musharraf tried to wriggle out of public embarrassment by saying that he was under contract with his publisher to keep his mouth shut until the book was released. While reporters guffawed at Gen Musharraf’s crude attempt at self-promotion of his book, Mr Bush could not control himself and retorted derisively that what the Pakistani is saying is, “buy the book”.

Normally, politicians indulge in the luxury of ghost-written kiss-and-tell books for money ~ and revenge against their detractors ~ after they retire or are kicked out of office. Gen Musharraf, as they say, wants to make hay while the sun shines. But Gen Musharraf was not the only one who put Mr Bush in a spot with his tongue wagging out of control. Mr Bush’s worst nemesis has been Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who took the podium at the UN General Assembly and let it out, “Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the President of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world.“Truly. As the owner of the world…... As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.”

Like Iran, Venezuela sits on a huge oil reservoir and wants to use his country’s natural resources in forging a global alliance against the USA. Oil hungry-China is willing to oblige and help Venezuela in diverting its oil resources across the Pacific, as are some other countries hunting desperately for natural resources.

Iran’s media savvy President, Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joined a select group of people in this world who have been denying that the Holocaust ever occurred.Last December, Mr Ahmadinejad said that the West “has given more significance to the myth of the genocide of the Jews, even more significant than God, religion, and the prophets.” Whenever reporters try to pin him down about his views on the historical reality of the genocide, he ducks the question and changes the topic. His constant refrain, which probably embodies the Arab-Muslim attitude toward Israel, has been: “If you have burned the Jews, why don’t you give a piece of Europe, the USA, Canada or Alaska to Israel… .Our question is, if you have committed this huge crime, why should the innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime?” He forgets that Israel like ancient Persia is where it should be. Islam and Christianity rose out of Judaism.

When the head of a nation such as Iran with nuclear ambitions, and a supporter of extra-territorial militant groups such as Hezbollah, says that Israel should be “wiped off the map”, the global community cannot ignore the statement as a loony tune.

Abusive and self-righteous rhetoric has been ravaging global diplomacy for quite sometime. Addressing the University of Regensburg in Bavaria, Germany, as a “call for a dialogue of the Christian faith with the modern world, and for a dialogue between all cultures and religions”, Pope Benedict XVI uttered some inflammatory words quoting “Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologus, in exchange with a Persian scholar,” which the Pontiff has been desperately trying to unsay since then: “Show me just what Mohammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” The Vatican could not have failed to imagine the reaction such an insulting statement coming from the Pope would have caused.

The pope tried to apologise, “I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims. These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought.”Papal spin masters and apologists on both sides of the Atlantic have not succeeded in assuaging outraged Muslims who have burned and pillaged churches to prove once again that extremists have taken full control over Muslim sensibilities.But what was the Pope thinking when he chose a text that did not represent the Catholic Church's present thinking?

When on 19 April, 2005 Cardinal Joseph Alois Ratzinger assumed the papal throne, he ceased to be an individual. He became the singular voice of the Catholic Church. He could not have been unaware of what he was saying. I believe that the Pope was trying to admonish the global Catholic community about the gulf that divides it from Islam, which has continued to be from medieval Persia to modern Iran “evil and inhuman”. In the Internet age, his words could not have been limited to the faithful only.

One might speculate as to what prompted Pope Benedict to dig out an obscure statement of a medieval ruler but his views are not very far from those of President Bush, who said before the National Endowment for Democracy last year, “Islamic terrorist attacks serve a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane. Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism.”

The West does not look at Islam as a gentler and kinder religion. Nor does it know how to deal with it.

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