Islam has been replaced by a xenophobic cartoon version, an image that, to use the words of Frantz Fanon, is the “quintessence of evil.”
By Chris Hedges and cross-posted from truthdig
The Israeli army’s wanton slaughter of unarmed Palestinians trapped behind the security barriers in Gaza evokes little outrage and condemnation within the United States because we have been indoctrinated into dehumanizing Muslims. Islam is condemned as barbaric and equated with terrorism. The resistance struggle against foreign occupation, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or Gaza, sees Muslims demonized as the enemy. Muslims are branded as irrational and inclined to violence and terrorism by their religious beliefs. We attack them not for what they do but because we see them as being different from us. We must eradicate them to save ourselves. And thus we perpetuate the very hatred and counterviolence, or terrorism, that we fear.
Muslims in this age of racialized authoritarianism have been stripped of due process in our courts and are subject—as Abid Naseer and Haroon Aswatwere in Britain before being extradited to the United States—to pretrial incarceration for years. They endure police brutality and secret trials, are convicted on secret evidence they cannot see and suffer long-term detention in solitary confinement, often in clandestine prisons known as black sites. They are kidnapped anywhere in the world and taken, hooded, drugged and shackled, to the secret sites. They are tortured through savage methods such as beatings, “walling,” sexual humiliation, close confinement, prolonged isolation, water dousing, electric shocks, waterboarding and so-called rectal rehydration. Their citizenships are revoked. Their communities and mosques are harassed, infiltrated and monitored by law enforcement. Muslim children are viewed as future terrorists. Muslim women as breeders of terrorists. Muslim men as dangerous. We are the maniacal Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” keeping the heads of “savages” on stakes outside our fortress and crying out “Exterminate all the brutes!”
We have declared a worldwide war on Muslims. Muslims, who read us better than we read ourselves, are rising up to resist. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the Middle East have been butchered since our invasion of Afghanistan. Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya have been destroyed as viable states. Millions of Muslims have been displaced or are refugees. And when desperate Muslim families attempt to flee to Europe or the United States from the hell we created in the Middle East, they are thrown into displacement camps or turned back and branded as disease carriers, thieves, rapists, barbarians and terrorists. Islamic culture and religion in our Manichean narrative have been shorn of all nuance, humanity, complexity and depth. Islam has been replaced by a xenophobic cartoon version, an image that, to use the words of Frantz Fanon, is the “quintessence of evil.” We respond to the crisis we created out of ignorance, self-exaltation and racism…