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To those who bought my homeland

There is something about the last six months that has made a completely different person out of me. The world I knew, the world I…

There is something about the last six months that has made a completely different person out of me. The world I knew, the world I thought existed, turned out to be a mirage.

As a Muslim, I have found myself wondering about that part of my identity many a time. It is said that there is no smoke without fire, so I once believed there must be a problem with me somewhere. With the rise of rightwing politics in the West, I have been told how unwelcome my very existence is, even in the homelands of my ancestors. In the backdrop of the Eurocentric global order, I am only being tolerated in the name of political correctness, not because the material substance of my identity deserves a seat at the roundtable of coequal humanity.

I make a point of being open-minded and out of the desire to give this sentiment a practical effect, I play the devil’s advocate every time I am up against the other side. But I also know that the trending narrative about a subterranean Islamisation conspiracy by Muslims has already happened in inverse bearing. Just how Christianised is the world today? Just how Christianised am I as someone born and bred in a heavily Westernised, Eurocentric world? Plenty.

But I do not see this as a terrible violation – either because I lived that life and did not see anything so wrong in it, or because I have been fed a steady dose of Eurocentric hypnosis, I have lost the ability for dispassionate judgment. But what if Nigeria and the world are indeed undergoing an Islamisation phase? Needless to say, I do not advocate this or the idea of political Islam as a whole – but Muslims are entitled to the same rights and privileges everyone else has.

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Now, I do not believe that there is a formal and premeditated Islamisation agenda, but all the same I am being watched very closely.

The traditional Muslim mindset sees the world in two geopolitical partitions – the Muslim world centred in the Global South and the Christian world headquartered in the Western world. The struggle between these two power centres goes back to the days of the crusades when Christian armies marched all the way from Western and Central Europe to the Levant to liberate the Holy Land from the Muslims. This is a struggle that is still ongoing.

When Napoleon’s army conquered parts of the Middle East, some of his generals quite literally declared that they had returned to even the score. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and the re-engineering of the geopolitical dynamics between the East and the West through Sykes-Picot, the victory of the crusades was sealed. This victory was so complete that I have become a second-class citizen even in the homelands of my ancestors.

In this aftermath, the Middle East was carved up by the French and British, who proceeded to manipulate it, strangulate it in pursuit of certain motives, I must admit, that have less to do with religion and more to do with their imperial political objectives.

The 21st Century is decisively Euro-centric, with Western civilisation practically assuming the role of a global auxiliary culture which everyone must adopt or become a cultural pariah. It is the established normal of contemporary popular culture everyone is expected to conform to by default. Yes, that is why it is such a big deal when Muslims assert a part of their identity that is against this default; that is why letting Muslims into Europe is a bad idea because they will soon build the numbers to exert effective influence on political decisions, and that is why every Muslim is expected to profusely apologise for the crimes of another Muslim even though no such obligations have been placed on the other side.

In the past six months, I have learnt that it is not terrorism when Muslims are on the receiving end. You could slaughter tens of thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians, brutalise and traumatise two million more Palestinians, you could even deny them food and water for six months and then call it a legitimate act of self-defence. Israel is allowed to defend itself as it sees fit… but Hamas and the Palestinian people are terrorists for resisting Israel’s sadistic policies against them in the homelands of their ancestors. Israel is allowed to target and bomb an Iranian Consulate protected under international law but Iran is not allowed to respond. It is absolutely unacceptable for Iran to launch 300 drones and missiles against Israel, which Iran certainly knew were not going to get past Israeli air defences, but it is perfectly okay for Israel to rain down tens of thousands of bombs and missiles against defenceless women and children in Gaza.

Religion, says Karl Marx, is the opium of the masses, the heart of a heartless world. Because of their pitiable place in the world order, Muslims find themselves with no other option but to fall back onto their faith for solace and for orientation. As a collective community, the Muslim world does not wield the wherewithal to exact its interests politically like the Western superpowers can, for example.

I have always known that someone has sold the homeland and dignity of my ancestors, but I have also discovered that I also have to pay the price of that transaction. This is a turning point.

If the current flare-up does not precipitate the Third World War, it will end one day and the world will never be the same again. Like the late Palestinian poet wrote:

“The wars will end and the leaders will shake hands. And that old woman will wait for her martyred son, and that girl will wait for her beloved husband–and those children will wait for their heroic father. I do not know who sold the homeland… but I know who paid the price.”

To those who bought the homelands of my ancestors–know that those who have sold me to you have also sold you to me. You will never be free without setting me free too. If I am your slave, then you too are my slave. To every action is an equal and opposite reaction.

Free yourself before it is too late.

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