7.9.06

Images of the Israeli agressions in Gaza and Lebanon and Muslim public opinion


The photo above was taken last sunday in Istanbul, Turkey, near the Eyyup Mosque. The banner was displayed in many places in Istanbul by a human rights group in a donations drive effort for the people of Palestine and Lebanon. Behind the banner there was a tent hosting a charity bazaar. The place was crowded. The little girls on the photo were accompanied by their mother and little brother who stood at the left, outside the picture. My attention was first focused on the banner trying to understand what was written on it. I noticed the girls when I decided to take a photo because I was waiting for the crowd who would gather in front of the banner to clear. The little girls kept going back and forth between their mother and the center of the banner pointing to the images of the latest Israeli agressions in Gaza and Lebanon and they did this for the whole time I was there, about ten minutes. The most famous (or infamous) photographs of the Israeli agressions were on the banner: the little Israeli girl signing the bombs with a 'from the children of Israel to the children of Lebanon' . Finally I decided to include them in the picture and they were still standing there when I left. I wondered what the girls were saying to their mother and what their mother might have told them about the terrible images.

The Eyyup mosque stands at the base of the Pierre Loti hill and is visited mostly on sundays by families. After the prayer, entire families, as well as couples, walk up the hill through the cemetary or take the cable car to the top to gather at the terrace of the Pierre Loti Café and sip tea or coffee while enjoying the scenic views of the golden horn and Istanbul. On this particular sunday, the mosque and the bazaar were busy with families coming to celebrate the 'Sunnet' of their 10 year old boys. The celebration is meant to mark the beginning of the age of manhood for boys who are dressed for this particular day like princes and courted by their little brothers, sisters, parents, grand'parents and the extended family.
I wondered what all these Muslims, living in a secular country like Turkey, might have felt inside them by seeing the images of the Israeli agressions on the banner ? What might they have discussed between them and with their children on the topic while sitting and chatting at the Pierre Loti café after the prayer ?

Terrible thoughts crossed my mind: whatever the causes of the recent Israeli agressions on Arab and mostly Muslim civilians, there was no rational and moral justification and no explanation for it, whatever the impact of these agressions, their main and most durable fallout seems to be the misunderstandings and the hate they were building between people of the middle east for generations to come.

I had an irrational fear :
As the war on terror is, from the point of view of USrael, a war on Muslim terror;
and
As the war on Muslim terror is producing casualties mainly among civilians, therefore Muslim civilians, and a lot of opression if we think of Iraq, AbuGhraib and Guantanamo;
and
If there was to be any 'rational' justification to all the nonsense produced by the war on terror (and there may not be any);
It follows that the war on terror's main apparent 'rational' intent is to inflame Muslim public opinion.

Communities tend to stand together in the face of danger and challenges. Since the end of the Ottoman empire, between unjust authoritarian regimes and western opression via Israel's hegemonic wars in the ME, the majority of Muslims in the ME were never able to taste the luxury of individualism that is the immediate and main consequence of a peaceful life and economic development. The absence of physical and moral danger on individuals and of the fears that accompany them are the necessary and sufficient conditions for personal development. No fool will stand alone in the face of oddities. Other animal species have understood this before us. The most common understanding of the theory of Natural Selection is that selection favours genes. However this unimodal and mainstream explanation of selection and adaptation was always challenged by other ones which state that selection is also exerted at the individual and at the group-species levels, and not only at the gene level. Few years ago, philosopher Elliott Sober and biologist David Sloane Wilson wrote an authoritative essay on the subject titled 'Unto others: the evolution and psychology of unselfish behaviour' which became instantly a necessary reading in the field in which they argue that the psychology of unselfish behaviour finds its roots in its biology and that genes and individuals might have played a secondary role in evolution when the selection pressure was more challenging for the survival of the group. Because the survival of the individual and the dissemination of its genes in the species depend mostly on the survival of the group.

The 'War on Terror', as conducted by the US and Israel in the ME, is cementing Muslim communautarism to the extent that this communautarism is reaching secular Muslims in secular countries and Turkey is a clear example. I was in Istanbul the day after the last terrorist attacks in Turkey. I left Istanbul the day after the parliament voted the participation of their armed forces in the multinational force in Lebanon. From my discussions with Turkish people, I felt a strong support for Lebanese and Palestinians and I was not wrong in this impression because I found a poll published by the Economist in its August 19th-25th issue in which more than 60 % of Turkish people claimed they sympathise more with Palestinians than with Israelis while less than 3 % claimed the contrary. In its latest issue, the Economist publishes an article arguing that the radical Islam temptation is running high among kurds. In defense of this thesis the article lists the fact that it was a Muslim group called the 'Kurdistan Freedom Falcons' that claimed the responsibility for the latest attacks against foreigners and the fact that radical Muslim temptation existed before among kurds but was used by Turkish authorities to fight the marxist PKK. This temptation is being fueled by 'anti-Israel and anti-American passions running high across Turkey' and being particularly dangerous in kurdish regions. While I don't agree completely with their analysis because I don't think that the Islamist temptation among kurds can add a particular or an additional menace for Turkey because, Islamist or not, the kurdish separatist issue is destabilising for the region and kurds may turn out to be, as they were before, the sacrificial lamb of conflicting interests, I do hope that Turkey will succeed in resolving these complexe issues related to its future because this is a country where Islam has proved to be able to coexist with secularism, development and the individual quest for the good and ordinary life outside communautarist temptations*.

However, I fear that some on both sides of this wide fabricated conflict that is the 'war on terror' who are not interested in having this model of Islam in Turkey may try to destabilise it through the Kurdish separatist issue. Awakening Muslim communautarist temptations is erasing differences of opinions within communities and between communities of Muslims not only in diversly Muslim and secular Turkey but also worldwide.

The 'War on terror' is a dangerous imposture meant to produce or provoke on the ground a reality for its 'rational justification' out of false premices. By bombing, humiliating, intimidating and menacing Muslim innocents at a large scale to supposedly avenge the misdeeds of the few, Israel and the US and western countries who are accomplices of this imposture are making sure that there will be no Good Muslims and Bad Muslims, but only Muslims !

Israel's last agression on Lebanon and willingly indiscriminate shelling of lebanese civilians is a clear example of this tactic.

* You can read here a previous post I wrote about the quest for ordinary life as a modern moral value.

9 comments:

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

If there was to be any 'rational' justification to all the nonsense produced by the war on terror (and there may not be any);
It follows that the war on terror's main apparent 'rational' intent is to inflame Muslim public opinion.

Yeah, right on the money my dear madam Sophie.
“Unintended” consequence for illiterate retards such as George W. Bush and John Abizaid.
Willfully planned goad for the Sanhedrims of Zion!

“Since the end of the Ottoman empire, between unjust authoritarian regimes and western opression via Israel's hegemonic wars in the ME, the majority of Muslims in the ME were never able to taste the luxury of individualism that is the immediate and main consequence of a peaceful life and economic development. The absence of physical and moral danger on individuals and of the fears that accompany them are the necessary and sufficient conditions for personal development.

I’ll have to disagree with you on this one: classical European enlightenment emerged in times of relatively high economic growth (think the rich decorum of Regency and Louis XV furniture and the libertine “partouzes” of the Ancien Régime).

Similarly, the first 100 years of reign of the Abbasside dynasty of Baghdad (an era during which the Arab-Islamic mindset was far more “individualistic” and rationalist than that of the West) were generally years of strong economic growth (think Sindibad, the rich Basra-based Indian Muslim merchant/adventurer, and the highly debauched [by the European standards of the time] 1001 Nights).

Sophia said...

Victor,
I think you have misunderstood the context in which I am using the word 'individualism' and it must be my fault because i didn't define the word and it needs a definition as its mainstream one is rather negative. I am using 'individualism' as opposed to 'communautarism' and in a positive way because I believe that the quest for the good life can only be achieved through an individual and personal journey away from the constraints of ideologies and communities.

So I think we pretty much agree...

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Gottya,
But, to me, "individual" and "individualist(ic)" have NO negative connotation whatsoever, not even in the "capitalist" 18th century sense...

"So I think we pretty much agree..."

Como siempre comandante as bearded poets used to say in the heydays of Guevarrism!
;9)

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Salut Sophie,

Je viens de faire un peu de "pub" pour la candidature de Jim Webb au Sénat US: c'est un type vraiment formidable, résolument anti-Bush et anti Olmert & Co.

Problème: il a beaucoup moins d'argent que son concurrent Républicain/Néocon...

--> J'ai mis des liens utiles sur mon blog pour l'aider

Veux-tu te joindre à nous?

Cdt,

Dr. V

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Je viens d’apprendre que son concurrent Républicain/Néocon, l’odieux George Felix Allen a la double-nationalité US/Israélienne...

Raison de plus pour venir en aide à Jim Webb !

« Yahveh te le rendra » comme dit la chanson.

:9)

V.

Sophia said...

Victor,
Que dois-je faire pour cela ?

Et est-ce que le fait d'être appuyé par des arabes va l'aider ?

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

“Et est-ce que le fait d'être appuyé par des arabes va l'aider ?”

Hmm...and I thought you were a Canookie Christian of the Belle Province!!
;)

Over the past decade, the White House, the Pentagon and Congress have become mere Middle-Eastern-occupied Bantustans with the kings of Israel and Saudi Arabia calling the shots…

Clearly, it’s “time we got our country back [and] on track”.

So join me in supporting the Virginian maverick…and add a link to the Jim Webb site (no pun intended!)

kurt said...

just for the record (not that it matters much) - learn to read hebrew, it's useful when dealing with israelis. The children with the rockets are writing 'blessings' to nasrallah, not to lebanese children.

Sophia said...

Victor,
J'admire ton enthousiasme et ta témérité et j'aimerais bien t'imiter mais voilà, c'est absolument contre mes principes d'intervenir dans la campagne électorale d'un candidat d'un pays dont je ne suis pas citoyenne. Je ferais peut-être une donation si je sens que c'est compatible mais c'est tout ce que je pourrais faire pour Jim Webb.

 
Since March 29th 2006