The stereotype of Islam being a “flawed” religion and Muslims “terrorists” in an existential war against the West (actually Christianity) has a very long history. This belief has been used to justify both attacks and colonization from the Crusades, to the colonial period, to the ongoing use of Muslim nations as pawns on a geo-political chessboard, largely based on a desire to control and exploit the riches of the Muslim lands. This hateful bias was brought into the modern era in part by attacks by extremist groups, but also by the West, particularly the United States, breathing new life into hateful stereotypes, and using the politics of fear to create an ever-ready threatening monster. Today, Islamophobia is not an individual, or even cultural, disability; it’s national policy. An important point that Dr Khawaja makes in this essay is that the rule of law is breaking down. Or perhaps it is totally broken. We are learning the sad lesson that if laws, agreements, and conventions are not honoured and enforced, they are not worth the paper they are written on. In fact, they may well be harmful. The repeated disregard of the rulings of bodies attempting to address injustice and violations of human rights and protections, undermines the force of law. It paves the way for chaos. We can see this happening in the United States where there is a snowball effect of loss of rights and standing of some peoples is spreading to make more and more people “less than” and expendable. This is happening with the impetus of a self-claimed nationalist president, Donald J. Trump, and his campaign to make America white again.
Injustice to and violence against one always impacts the whole. Sadly, it seems that people refuse to learn this lesson of history and repeatedly allow themselves to be drawn into fear and hatred to justify the denial of humanity to others.
The Global Conventions Have Betrayed Humanity
The United Nations Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions, the Declaration of Human Rights, the Human Rights Commission and numerous other paper-based laws and conventions are, often, a distraction from the prevalent reality of raging global conflicts, needing urgent and forceful action for peace and human security. The workings of countless international institutions appear to have diminished the hope for systematic global law and order. While mankind bleeds globally, the institutional leadership formulated by a certain class of people relies on false statements to console humanity with platitudes that ‘all is well’. The institutional culture of governance is no different than that in the previous century of mediocre politicians. In the 21st-century knowledge-based, rational society, politics is nothing except conflict management, protection of human rights, peace, human security and human progress. But cynicism about politicians and their role in societal peace and progress is becoming endemic. Most politicians are like actors, pretending on screen for the good of the people. Thomas Paine rightly pointed out in ‘The Rights of Man’ (1792) that “[M]an is not the enemy of man but through the medium of false system of government – the wisdom of a nation should apply itself to reform the system – revolution by reason and accommodation rather than convulsion.” Twenty-first century politicians are detached from the thoughts and concerns of the real world; lacking understanding and imperatives of the sanctity of human life. The global order needs a navigational change. Politicians do not see themselves as citizens but a class of people who rule society. Once elected, their agenda contradicts the principles of human life and priorities.
Two World Wars devastated humanity and the planet because of the failure of global institutions and leadership. It is estimated that 65 million people were killed during the Second World War. The account of the First World War is not recorded correctly except there being several millions lost in the planned savagery – man against man. War negates human nature and societal peace and harmony. H.G. Wells manifested the declaration of human rights in 1939 and wondered “What are we fighting for?”
The 1928 Paris General Treaty (Kellog-Brand Pact) signatories renounced the use of force – war — as an instrument of national policy and agreed to settle conflicts by “pacific means.” In 1925, Geneva Protocols prohibited the use of poisonous gases as crime against peace and waging a war of aggression. The commencement of the Second World War witnessed betrayal of all the peaceful principles. The 1949 Geneva Convention called for respect of human rights and integrated human rights with the law of war. Many conventions described the rules, but nothing sensible was practiced to support the good conventions. Living history tells how the world was engulfed with the insanity of planned wars, and how the European-American coalition advanced killing machines deliberately massacring millions and millions across the global landscape. Have we, the THINKING PEOPLE of the globe, learned anything useful from the record of history? Have we paid heed to ensure the practice of the rules and laws of peace and war? In an endless and self-repeating political treachery, the tragic tensions of history are intensifying global affairs. Unless humanity is actively organized for peace, the coming of the Third World War is reasonably predictable.
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