Resetdoc is happy to host Dr. Gholamali Khoshroo’s comment on last week’s tragic killing in Kandahar Afghanistan. The article was originally published on March 14th 2012 on www.iranreview.org. Gholamali Khoshroo is Senior Editor of the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Islam and was the Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister under Seyed Mohammad Khatami’s presidency.
Just a few weeks ago, there were images of NATO soldiers on international media showing those soldiers urinating on dead bodies of the victims of Afghan war. Those images shocked the entire world, but let’s not forget that the people of Afghanistan are daily victims of similar cases of violence. Many of these cases are never caught on camera and are regularly denied. Nobody will believe that this has been the first or even the last case of NATO soldiers urinating on dead bodies; they have done this both in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world.
The catastrophic burning of the Quran at NATO military base in Bagram has upset Muslims across the world. They claimed that it had been just a mistake and the Quran pages have been burned along with useless papers on mistake. The question is why so many volumes of the Quran have been included among useless papers at that military base? Had NATO soldiers collected those Qurans from people’s homes or Afghan prisoners as examples of dangerous books promoting violence before consuming them by fire? Who believes that NATO soldiers give a damn about religious values of their victims?
In reality, however, in order to attack a country, you should first fan the flames of hatred toward that country so high that the military will be ready to embark on war with no guilty conscience. Perhaps, the soldier who has attacked poor people in a remote village using his automatic gun thought why they should wait a number of years and see those children grow into mature men who would take up arms to fight them. So, he concluded, it would be better to nip that violence in the bud. Didn’t the US defense secretary under President Ronald Reagan once say that the United States should eradicate Iranians as a nation? Aren’t Israelis making daily calls on the United States to wage a new war in the Middle East? Aren’t the US presidential candidates engaged in a hot race over putting more pressure on and waging a military attack on Iran?
At a time that this is the mentality at the highest decision-making level in the United States, how a simple soldier, who is facing horrors in Kandahar instead of having a good time in Florida, can be expected not to go down with a nervous breakdown? A closer look will show us that his nervous fit was, in fact, a result of similar nervous fit of high-ranking commanders who wage wars and call it fight on terror, or struggle against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The real person with nervous fit is the US president, who instead of insisting on freeing the Middle East from nuclear weapons, takes pride in his heartfelt love for and strategic alliance with Israel which already possesses the most destructive arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. When the US Joint Chiefs of Staff threatens the entire region with war and constantly talks about a military option to solve the United States’ domestic and international problems, it is him who has gone down with a nervous breakdown.
What happened from Abu Ghraib Prison to Bagram airbase and from Bagram airbase to Kandahar and from Kandahar to arrogant urination of NATO troops on dead bodies of bearded men, all convey the same message of Islamophobia. From the viewpoint of American strategists, Islam is the most important identity element in the Muslim Middle East. The call of “God is the greatest,” is heard in all Muslim countries many times a day. Therefore, killing of Afghan children should not be simplistically reduced to nervous attack of an American soldier, but should be construed within broader framework of Islamophobic policies and strategies of the West.
No show of power and military deployment can destroy Islam, but it simply draws NATO into the vortex of a deadly whirlpool. The best way of interaction between Islam and the West is not through fanning the flames of war, but is opening up some space for dialogue. Islamophobia will only give birth to catastrophic violence. The sole way of interaction between Islam and the West is through dialogue based on understanding as well as cooperation away from dictatorship and bullying and founded on justice and freedom.
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