The West is forced to confront the reality of Islam
Stabroek News
October 10, 2001

Dear Editor,

There is something hypocritical about international diplomacy. When the USA supported and trained the Taliban against the Soviet communist threat, weren't they aware of the extremist philosophy of their friends? Or perhaps their friends were the lesser of two evils and thus could have been endured the more easily. It is amazing now how the global alliances have been drawn up. Strange events do spark the strangest friendships.

The 'international' alliance has today struck at what it perceives to be the heart of the al Qaeda 'terrorist' organization. But September 11 was not a sudden idea by that organization, nor was it the work of mad men. Surely the women who protested the harsh conditions of French Roman Catholicism in the 18th century and who stormed the Bastille in great anger must have been described as those who stood beside their men folk in Guyana during the inhumane centuries of slavery and indentureship. They were then "women falsely so called".

Indeed, as then even so now, out of evil, good shall come. Already, the West is forced to confront the reality of Islam and to understand the ways and concerns of its adherents. Anyone who has read the history of modern Israel, about the overt and covert diplomatic machinations that went into the establishment of the State in 1948 against the concerns of the Arabs living in the area at the time will appreciate why the Middle East is so locked into

a seemingly senseless, everlasting war. The USA will never win this new one for the simply reason it is a war of religious ideology sparked not by human theories of government but by dogmas of perceived divine and eternal origin. Such dogmas form the core of religion and religion is not a passing fad. They may catch Osama bin Laden today, but fundamentalism will not die.

What the technologically mighty USA has to do is exactly what it has been forced to do now in order to gain international support for its actions, not build a star wars shield that costs US$100M for each test, all the while bluntly refusing to listen to international voices of reason. Indeed this is a new world and we live in a new order, the order of globalization and sometimes too close proximity. But such is the way things are and we need a new attitude best exemplified by the diplomatic initiatives of the Clinton Administration. For heaven's sake, make friends not enemies.

Finally, isn't it sadly ironic that with all the money the Bush Administration seeks to spend on starwars, a fraction of that in American dollars and with simple American cardboard cutters and with American commercial planes, 19 men smashed the symbol of their financial power to smithereens in their own house as it were? That should make the world think.

Yours faithfully,

Mark A.C. Blair