Tony Blair’s recent outburst on Political Islam sounds like an indirect confession. He has contributed towards its rise, and now wants the rest of the world to contain it. His message sounds like an intolerant person who cannot co-exist with an opposing view. If political Islam is the people’s choice then what exactly is the problem Mr Blair? Or Is Blair an intolerant extremist who wants to impose his ways on others?
He is also a war criminal; accordingly, he should stand for trial at The Hague. However, that is extremely unlikely, regardless of his crimes and the evidence presented, because leaders of a western block countries set the rules to subject others, whilst they have total immunity. The empirical evidence corroborates this; the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been largely applied on former leaders of African and Arab countries. In the spirit of equality and progress, we must break from our ‘prejudice’ and pluck out a leader for a trial from the Western block, be it Blair or Bush or even a second rate Dick Cheney will do. It is possible, the US produced a black leader, even though he may not be black enough for some, but at least it’s something. Likewise, we may get to a point, where the international tribunals are applied to all war criminals, not just the non-white ones.
What about the extremism of Tony Blair? And the question follows, what is an extremist. Let us take the commonsense approach and define it as deviation from the norm. Thus, note the following points: Is it normal for the leader of a country to invade another sovereign country on a false pretext? Yes, so much blood spilt over those mythical WMDs in Iraq, and they are still missing, but who cares as long as only Israel has them! Is it normal for a leader to lecture on religious fundamentalism and then proclaim that he has a hotline to a Christian God, who is directing the slaughter, like some modern day crusader? Is it normal for a leader to lecture on democracy, and then side with the military coup d’état in Egypt, against the choice of the people? Is it consistent to call for democracy in the Middle East, and then remain silent, as the neo-Pharaoh of Egypt calls for elections, whilst all the legitimate opposition are all locked up in jail, tortured or waiting to be executed?
All extremist acts and reacts disproportionately; the neo-conservative-led America responded to 9/11 consuming many more innocent lives in distant lands, than the approximate 3000 that perished on that day. Extremist Blair was one of the cheerleaders, and despite the level of carnage and moral outrage and deceit, he remains unrepentant, and refuses to acknowledge the flimsy and manufactured evidence supplied to support the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, because arrogance is a companion of extremists. Did these actions not contribute to destabilising the region, and propel more young Muslims to take up the ideology of Jihad as a means to repel the invasion?
Usually, torture and incarceration is attributed to non-democratic extremists like Saddam Hussein, or some other despot, but as the war unfolded, it confirmed that all extremists depict the same traits. A by-product of the war produced Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and from the leaked documents we now know with certainty that systematic torture, or as conveniently called by the liberal extremists “enhanced interrogation”, was a policy set in motion by Dick Cheney, who was then Vice President, not to mention many incarcerated until today.
The consciousness of extremists does not acknowledge the double standards, so they remain oblivious to the systematic torture and incarceration which contradict the values they preach; the fundamental values of human rights and presumption of innocence. Moreover, this policy of torture was applied on the very people they are trying to lecture about the virtues of human rights and good governance.
To add insult to injury, extremist Blair was appointed as an ambassador for peace in the Middle East where he was partly responsible for the carnage and destabilising of the region. I guess his overt pro-Zionist credentials make him very suitable for the post! Accordingly, he remained supportive of the disproportionate response by the Israeli forces, and the carnage that resulted in Gaza.
Blair tells us that he is only opposed to the extremist elements among the Muslims, who make a twisted interpretation of the text. Let us put that on freeze, and agree with him. So we would expect some kind of support and sympathy when non-extremists Muslims suffer. He could have demonstrated that over the situation in Burma and CAR (Central African Republic) were the defenceless Muslims were attacked in the most horrific manner.
As for those making a twisted interpretation of the Islamic texts, they are no different to those who make twisted interpretations of democracy. The extremist liberal clerics believe that democracy can be and should be imposed with bombs and bullets. Similarly, they argue to force a Muslim woman (nuns excluded) to remove her veil to set her free!
Only extremists would impose democracy or Islam by force. The non-extremists believe to the contrary. For different reasons both systems require the consent of the masses - this is more so for Islam, obeying the divine laws and values is worship, thus it has to come from within. And godless democracy in a secular paradigm also has a similar attribute, it is expressing the will of the people, hence also has to come from within.
Yamin Zakaria (email@example.com, #yaminzakaria)