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‘It just won’t’

I will say this again, after probably having parroted it a thousand times earlier – we live in interesting times; very interesting indeed; the things that…

I will say this again, after probably having parroted it a thousand times earlier – we live in interesting times; very interesting indeed; the things that happen in the world today. This is a time when you go through what men and women even in the recent past have not seen in a whole lifetime. I mean, who would have thought that it would be South Africa leading the charge at The Hague against Israel’s genocide in Palestine?

Who would have thought that the era of western moral sanctimony is conclusively now in the past and the BRICS-led Global South will really emerge as a viable front?

The Russia/Ukraine, Israel/Palestine tangos are probably the most significant milestones of this metamorphosis so far. It laid bare before the eyes of everyone on earth who has eyes and can actually reason with their intellect instead of their prejudice the unfathomable hypocrisy and bankruptcy of the west.

There is something I have to confess. And it is something very difficult to admit – there was a time when I used to believe that there was some sort of sociological malignancy inherent to the engineering of Muslim societies; there was also a time I was as disillusioned with the idea of a Muslim/African potential. There was a time I wholeheartedly believed that the part of the world sharing this same identity is headed towards a self-inflicted extinction – there was a time I believed so wholeheartedly, even if subliminally, of the superiority of western ideation and the metaphors of their thought-process.

I mean the evidence is all over the place; you are conditioned by it, indoctrinated by it and radicalised by it from the day you were born in this global village to the day you leave it. It even formed a part of our folkloric culture–I’m talking about the legend of the “bature”.

I once had a conversation with a Jewish American guy, who insisted that Islam has contributed nothing but pain and… and overall, Muslims have been a blight upon mankind. Get this – his proof of that was that Muslims have won only three Nobel Prizes in science and technology whereas Jews, despite their population being a measly fraction of the global Muslim population, have been awarded all six of the Nobel Foundation’s categories – they have won 36 (19% of the total), they have won 38 in Economics (41% of the total), 16 in Literature (13% of the total), nine in Peace (8% of total), 56 in Physics (25% of total) and 59 in

Medicine 59 (26% of total).

He was equating the Jews winning a prize that has been around for only a century to superiority in something that has existed for thousands of years. He was equating superiority with something that is so politicised… and he was conveniently forgetting that he couldn’t even write his own age without using something so fundamental, something called the “Hindu-Arabic” numerals. He was conveniently forgetting the Muslim legends whose contributions paved the way for the strides the west has made in the revolution of knowledge and its applications.

That is how the western thought process works when the subject is Islam and Muslims.

I saw the clip of an interview by a British podcast host with the Palestinian ambassador to Britain. In the course of the interview, the host asked the ambassador what he thought was the way out from this quandary. The ambassador proposed the equal “application of rules and guidelines” across board, such that the IDF would also be listed as a terrorist organisation same as Hamas. The host responded that that was not going to happen, but the ambassador kept the pressure on, asking the host why – a question to which he responded after a quick mental consultation, with a simple “it just won’t”.

The ambassador asked the host what he thinks terrorism means. He drew parallels between what Hamas and the IDF do. They target mostly civilians; they had a policy of demolishing buildings housing the family of anyone the Israelis summarily convicted as a terrorist. For every building a Palestinian rocket hits, the IDF takes out 10 buildings and anyone unfortunate to be in those buildings. They deliberately targeted and took out Palestinians in hundreds and thousands – even tens of thousands of innocents as punishment for the supposed crimes committed by a single or a handful of Palestinians. They drop bombs on hospitals, schools and refugee camps. They even took bulldozers to cemeteries in Gaza, exhumed and desecrated bodies of long dead and buried Palestinians – all in “self-defence”.

This happens to be the textbook definition of terrorism. When the objective is to instill fear in the general public as a measure of vengeance, which you call deterrence, it is undeniably clear that you are a terrorist. When you are the Minister of National Security and you hand out automatic rifles and submachine guns to illegal settlers who use those weapons to attack and cleanse the Palestinian ethnicity in the lands they control and occupy… you are a state sponsor of terrorism.

Yet, the Palestinians are the terrorists and Israel is their victim.

It was just beguiling and disillusioning. In the past, I was always ready to at least entertain the likelihood of western social superiority because Muslims are always in the news for all the wrong reasons. Their societies are orders of magnitude ahead of us in virtually all social development indices! They care about not only the rights of actual human beings but animals and even trees. Meanwhile, Muslims were detonating bombs in busy markets, mosques and churches and other public places. And many of us, especially those who matter among Muslims, aren’t that quick in condemning them and distancing Islam from those crimes – our leaders, especially in the clerical categories, seem to give off that same “it just won’t” vibe. So, they were better than us – I grew up with this ideology like most millennials.

Now I know better. Now I have seen who “they” really are. Now I have been disabused of the notion that my identity is intrinsically wretched.

Now I know that they are in fact not better than us.

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