We have just entered 2012 and there are no signs of Armageddon as predicted by some, but it’s still early days. However, I would happily bet that the world would go on past 2012, because to date nobody can predict the relatively small phenomena like earthquakes and hurricanes, therefore, what are the chances of predicting the end of the world? As the year comes to an end, most people utter “Happy New Year”, yet few reflect on the statement: will it be a ‘happy’ one? Will there be peace and prosperity for all? Will it be a greener planet, where conflict, crime and poverty are eliminated; and in societies families and communities take precedence over the few greedy making extortionate profits?
They say by examining the past you understand the present, which in turn allows you to prepare for the future. Hence, the pertinent question is: what have we learnt from the events of 2011?
At the end of the year, the West is still struggling with the debt crisis, economic stagnation, rising unemployment and trying to prevent the collapse of the Euro-Zone; despite the Arab Spring, real democracy and freedom has not materialised in the Arab world; Africa is rich with natural resources and minerals, yet it is still working on becoming self-sufficient trying to eliminate basic poverty; Palestinians are still looking for a homeland, Iraq has an uncertain future, the feuding Afghans will never unify; and for sure India will move on to become a greater power with China and Brazil. Then you have the Muslims in the West debating the important subject of saying "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year", otherwise they are still making noise about how they were the leading nation 800 years ago!
In terms of financial crisis, almost everyone blames the greedy bankers, men in suits making extortionate profits in good times, and given huge bonuses for failures through bad times; in return they produce nothing tangible. The Capitalist West is stuck in limbo, the greedy bankers and traders create the wealth, thus they cannot be curtailed; everything needs to be done so they can flourish to create the wealth. The entire society is dependent upon them. It means they cannot be punished when they get it wrong; they are bailed out by tax-payers as bankruptcy is not an option for them. When things are good, they get all the benefits, and the rest are waiting for it to trickle down. It’s a win-win situation for the city boys.
It’s not further regulation or deregulation, the system is rotten at the very core and this need to be changed for a permanent cure. The Muslims have the solution, because Islam prohibits interest; it also prohibits using paper money (fiat) as currency that allows wealth and credit creation out of thin air, creating huge debts; and Islam also forbids using money as a commodity, which encourages traders to play with it in their casinos, regardless of the consequences for the entire nation. Money is simply a medium of exchange and it should be kept as that.
Many commentators are of the view that the Arab Spring has been the most significant event in 2011, something what the Americans were trying to instigate with their firepower in Iraq over a decade ago and failed miserably. But suddenly the mass uprising for democracy was ignited in Tunisia and rapidly spread to other countries, confirming that true liberation can only come from within and not from an invading army.
The event was read as a clear rejection of the model of a global Islamic State, as espoused by radical Islamic groups. From the evidence, it is pretty clear that the radical groups do not remotely have a popular mandate, and hence their reluctance to participate in elections with their perfect solutions, against the secular groups who are at least engaging at a practical level with their imperfect solutions.
Finally, the Arabs expressed their desire to establish their version of democracy fused with conservative Islamic values, rather than a radical theocratic state that is hostile towards the West. Or maybe it is the West that is inherently hostile towards such a state having an intolerant nature. The most uncomfortable question remains unanswered: if the Arabs can rise for self-determination why that is restricted to certain states? Why can’t the Palestinians have an independent state? Or the people in Saudi, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar elect their government?
The unlawful killing of Usamah Bin Laden was not questioned by anyone. Why he was not captured and put on trial? Did the US really fear his eloquent tongue, rather than anything else? In any case, this event timed nicely with the policy to withdraw US troops from Iraq, thus giving ammunition to conspiracy theories. There was no celebration in Iraq, except the ones showing contempt for the sadistic US forces.
Then came the unexpected act of terrorism from the far right, a lone white man in Norway went on a killing spree. Why unexpected? Because, everyone has been brainwashed to expect that such acts can only be carried out by radical Muslims; remember the initial reaction to the Oklahoma bomber. Why the term radical? You don’t hear of radical IRA in the UK or radical Basques in Spain or radical Maoist in India. Another paradox of propaganda, a lone suicide bomber has earned the title of being a radical but a F16 pilot dropping far more powerful explosives is somehow benign in comparison.
Regardless of your view on terrorism, there was concurrence that the actions of the Norwegian man were a genuine act of terrorism, rather than an act of retaliation that is politically motivated. This time, it really established the fact that terrorism was not the monopoly of the Muslims; even major newspapers admitted the uncomfortable statistics that terrorism from Muslims is very small in comparison to other sources of terrorism, but this was all admitted in small print rather than massive headlines. In fact, if there was no interference in the Islamic world, and if the Palestinians were given justice, there would be no acts of violence from the Muslims towards the West. I would happily take bets on that too. I wish some bookies would take up my challenge and make me a rich man.
In short, have we learnt that there can be no peace without justice?
Will the media stop selective coverage of the small retaliatory actions from the Palestinians and turn a blind eye to the daily violence of the Israelis, which is suffocating an entire nation like a python. When does a massacre of a civilian population by an organised army become a right of retaliation? Especially from a nation that is always begging the world to recognise its past suffering. Don’t cry terrorism when you are terrorising others.
This was followed by the summer riots that led to the death of the son of Mr. Tariq Jehan in the city of Birmingham, which appeared to be racially motivated. His compassionate response of forgiving the criminals prevented a further riot and an escalation of violence. Finally, the arrogant media was humbled and humiliated, those pen-fascist journalists and commentators stopped and took note. Some even came forward and admitted their guilt of demonising the Muslims for decades and were asking for forgiveness. Maybe 2012 will be marked by a sharp decrease in hypocrisy and double standards from the media and the Muslims residing in the West under the security and protection of the Western governments will also start to show gratitude, instead of constantly criticising.
Yamin Zakaria (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published on 03/1/2012