MohammedKillers without BordersFri Feb 11, 2005 21:46188.8.131.52
Killers Without Borders
By Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, PhD
Director Afghan DU & Recovery Fund
It is interesting that people describe different periods in history with existing adjectives in use in each respective period. To judge an era as either beneficial or harmful, people in different periods in time used their respective linguistic terms such as good, comfortable, bad and evil describing the ambiance created by a regime, ruler or empire. Rarely, have people resorted to events as descriptive indicators of their experience in a particular period in time; instead, they used linguistic means, namely, adjectives in describing some period in history as either good or bad. The reason for this is that each period in history has established terminology in use denoting the events, phenomena and social reality around them. For example, the Stalin era could easily be described by words such as evil, or Stalin and his crimes could easily be viewed as manifestation of evil. Although American academics of the Jewish faith have used 'holocaust' describing the mass murders of Stalin's era as a type of descriptive synonym equivalent to the Jewish experience under the Nazis. To my knowledge, no one has used one current event or social phenomenon in place of existing adjective as a type of antonym trying to describe another current event, until now. The reason that compels me to do so in this paper stems from the ineffectiveness of adjectives in describing our current state of affairs.
The boundless murders committed by the government of the United States under variously false pretexts make the government of the United States and its armed forces 'Killers without Borders'. The group that I chose to use as an antonym in describing the heinousness of the United States crimes worldwide is 'Doctors without Borders'. The reason I chose this group to serve as an antonym in this essay is rather straightforward. That is, 'Doctors without Borders' engage in benevolence with the sole purpose of saving lives irrespective of national borders, while, the US policy makers and armed forces serve as 'Killers without Borders' ready to murder innocent people without the slightest regard to basic human decency, national sovereignty or official borders.
The group 'Doctors without Borders' as its name connotes are doctors who do not value political and geographic borders in bringing life saving treatments and medicines to the needy whenever violence and disease have taken their toll on the poor and the disenfranchised. There are no material gains for these selfless doctors except the intangibles, feeling that they have done something good and decent amidst vast indecency in the world today. This group does not care about peoples' political affiliations, religious beliefs, national origin or ethnic descent. After all decency does not recognize the world in such clear terms as the evil portrayed and perpetrated by the United States of America. The government of the United States with the blessing of majority of its people 52% voting for Bush---have chosen the role of a gigantic mass killer aimed at satisfying its lust for material gains and imposing sheer pain on other people, who choose to be different.
Similar to 'Doctors without Borders', the United States does not recognize borders, however, contrary to the 'Doctors without Borders', the US does not aim at helping the poor and the needy, instead, it targets the weak militarily, depriving people of lives worldwide under the false banner of democracy and liberation.
Strategies of the Killers Without Borders
The Uniquely effective Use of the Word 'Democracy'
The significance of language as the crucial tool in human existence can not be looked at as a mere tool of communication. Language does not only serve as a tool of communication, but it also plays a crucial role as a major component of social structure. What I mean by social structure is any relatively stable pattern of social behavior. Hence, the function of language is much broader than is apparent at the outset. It is essential to realize that language is the tool of socialization and an effective tool of dissemination and diffusion of culture. Since culture does not remain still, the agents of socialization along with tools of socialization adjust accordingly. Agents of socialization are families, schools, peer groups, and media; they change with the passage of time as is evident for every adult in his/her middle age. What used to be 'cool' at their youth is no longer cool at adulthood. The use and meaning of some words are appropriate at certain point in one's life, but they lose their meaning from the intended with passage of years and decades. This is especially true for various descriptive jargons and phrases used by colonial powers describing their political and economic intent of subjugation of the conquered people in different parts of the world. For example, when Napoleon entered Egypt, he portrayed himself as someone who had come to civilize the Egyptian or for that matter any other people. Hence, Napoleon saw himself as a liberator than an occupier. The pertinent phrases of the early European powers were christianization and civilization. These words were appropriate from the perspective of the colonial powers in that time, after all, 'what was good for the Europeans had to be good for everybody else in the world'. Thus, the imposition of values and denigration of other cultures and religions are nothing unique to the current global hegemon, the United States, but rather inherited from its European predecessors.
With the advent of the British Empire, the above-mentioned phrases were still in use but were used selectively in different parts of the world. For example, in regions where Islam was the dominant religion the phrase christianization would be dropped and instead, they would use the phrase civilization and modernization, respectively. Slowly, civilization as the choice jargon would be almost entirely replaced by modernization and modernity and technology. Incidentally, every colonial power's aim was to obtain raw materials from the conquered regions, and then the resultant manufactured goods would be transported back to the conquered regions and sold to the populations there. What could be more profitable than this, especially, when raw natural resources are secured for free? It is worth mentioning that the British would also employ the corrupt elite in the conquered lands and use these influential locals as front in dealing with the population. Today, we see the same thing with a different form.
The United States copied some of the methods of the British; however, the US is much more efficient in portraying falsehood under the guise of phrases that are valued every where. As I mentioned that different deceptive phrases were used by colonial powers in different times and places, the phrases the US chose are democracy, liberty and freedom. These phrases are significant worldwide and transcend national borders and different regions. After all, these phrases envisage fundamental human necessities and god granted rights. However, these phrases would not find meaning unless presented in tangible manner to the conquered people and people worldwide. This is when local puppets from the region that have sold out and chose to exchange their dignity for some dirty dollars and authority, become tools of dissemination and diffusion of falsehood. This is similar to the British practice, but much more sophisticated. The sophistication of the mechanism the US uses is not really the invention of the United States but rather it is the consequence of globalization, which made travel from different parts of the world easy and facilitated opportunities for foreign nationals to receive education or seek employment. These foreign nationals became ideal instruments of manipulation. Although they chose to sell themselves out for prospects of power and money, they also serve as an effective smoke screen for the conquered region. For example, in Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, who was an asset of the US intelligence agencies, the CIA especially, served as a tool of the US hegemony; thus, he provided the tangibility needed behind the phrases democracy, liberty, and freedom.
How this works is rather effective. The effectiveness is two folds and has two groups of consumers, local and global.
1) The use of the word democracy manifests legitimacy in the eyes of subjugated local people and portrays a glimpse of hope for the future of local people. This is especially true when the subjected population has suffered either from induced civil wars, such as in Afghanistan orchestrated by the CIA after 1992 or from US installed and supported dictators, such as Saddam Hussein of Iraq.
2) The US attempts to use democracy as a vehicle of legitimacy to audience worldwide as if though people worldwide were ignorant had narrow sources of information as do Americans by being glued to their television sets.
The appointment of Karzai in Afghanistan and Alawi in Iraq are portrayed to the world as fruits of US foreign policy success. Now let's explore what these fruits of democracy have brought to their respective regions.
In Afghanistan, there are thousands more widows today than there were before the US invasion. There are more than 32,000 Afghan civilians - a conservative number - who have lost their lives to the US bombing. This number reflects only those victims who lost their lives from October 7, 2001 to the first three months of 2002. Moreover, there are thousands more orphans today than before the US invasion. These orphans are roaming Afghan streets and alleys, sleeping in cemeteries and bombed buildings, only to die from cold weather and disease. The other dreadful consequence for these orphans is the high rate of kidnapping. These orphans are kidnapped and then sold into slavery and prostitution or they serve as candidates for harvesting human organs to be sold to the highest bidder. Orphans are not the only ones that are kidnapped, but rather, due to the insecurity in different parts of the country, criminals target children of various backgrounds for these heinous purposes. Another tragedy that dwarfs all others is the heavy contamination of Afghanistan with uranium isotopes after the US used bunker-buster bombs and cannons using uranium projectiles. This incidentally is the "gift" that keeps on giving since uranium has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, a perpetual death sentence has been imposed on the entire nation.
Words to Convey Action
Besides being a tool of communications, language also serves as the most effective tool in conveying action. After all had it not been for language how would one distinguish an evil deed from a good one? Incidentally, it brings fort the argument of chicken and egg, whether language existed first or actions and circumstances contributed to the evolution of language. This essay is certainly not the place to argue the anthropological and philosophical aspects of this issue. However, some individuals argue that action itself is a tool of communication. If this assertion were true, could one imagine what would one person do in order to show another person to distinguish a good deed from an evil one? Perhaps, the first person would have to kill another person to convey evil, while feed another to envisage what he/she means by good. But thankfully, we have been blessed with languages as effective tools of communications.
In addition to the primary function of language, language also serves as a vehicle for the conveyance of action through the use of common as well as technical words. These words could convey action either explicitly or implicitly. We use and interpret action from spoken words on daily basis. For example, if I said that I will drive to nearby town, I have explicitly expressed my intentions, however, if I said, the nearby town is a good place to work, the listeners could deduce that I might be looking for work in the nearby town. Moreover, one needs not to use long sentences to illustrate a particular action; instead, an effective use of key words is ample to establish an intended action. This is evident in the rhetoric of this administration trying to envisage righteousness. When GW Bush used the word tyranny in his speech, he wanted to imply to the public that his actions are those of a liberator not of an oppressor. Bush and his flock of cowards used the biblical words of good and evil in his first term, again trying to distinguish himself as a god-fearing man going after evil individuals.
The continuous use of these words has conditioned the American public in an effective manner. Since Americans are glued to their television sets and their entire worldview comes from television, they become truly the ideal mass sheep to be conditioned and used in ways that they would not acknowledge being part of.
Shameless Media Pundits
The most complicit in this global murder is the US corporate media and the shameless so-called journalists and experts. Sometimes one can not help but to ask how degrading a human being becomes in order to earn a living. Perhaps, earning a living is not the issue, but rather being part of a mass deception is a complex game of flawed semblance and semantics. But amidst this tragedy of murder and deception, one discovers how low a massive industry and individuals stoop for material gains. This fact becomes apparent when reporters from large media outlets and newspapers talk on shows or express themselves in writing.
Incidentally, I was watching the Charlie Rose Show when Thomas Freedman of the New York Times appeared on his show to discuss the Iraqi election. When he was talking about the United States occupation of Iraq, he would use his index fingers in the air to present occupation in a quotation mark, illustrating as if this "occupation" is not really "occupation" but rather liberation, yes liberation. Furthermore, the same cowards of the US and Western media would not dare to report facts, in fact, they are the vehicles whereupon the conditioning mechanism succeeds in this country. This, off course, does not exonerate the American consumers; after all, they have alternative media Internet, library, but more than anything else they have their brain to rely on.
When the CIA dog, Johnny Spann lost his life in the prison uprising in Northern Afghanistan, the media was talking about this character continuously. In fact, his widow was invited to the State of the Union. When confronted by reporters, the family of this CIA agent wished the other American, John Walker Lindh - 'the American Taliban' - to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. These people fail to realize what was their son the CIA agent - doing in Afghanistan in the first place? Perhaps, one of the readers would say that the reason US invaded Afghanistan was because Bin Laden attacked the US, and the Taliban gave him sanctuary. There is no need for me to debate that point here. Those that are curious should know that it is amply established that the attacks of September 11, 2001 were part of an inside job aimed at facilitating global hegemony. But the US media could care less that more than 1200 young men were slaughtered by the US B-52 bombing in the prison uprising and another 3500 lost their lives by being sealed into transport containers in northern Afghanistan. The containers were shot when the prisoners screamed for air and water, and their bodies were dumped in Dasht-e-Lailia desert in Northern Afghanistan.
Another example of media's cowardliness is the reporting of conflict in Palestine. When Israelis entered the Jenin Refugee Camp, where they killed civilians, destroyed their houses and deprived them of food and water, the coward media outlets were exhibiting sorrow for the loss of 13 Israeli soldiers, not the poor Palestinian refugees. This discussion went on until the Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi was shocked and questioned the decency of the television report
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