MANY people, especially in the Muslim world, see the current barbarity in the Middle East as a religious conflict, which I believe is not a correct characterisation of the conflict. South Africa, a Christian-majority country is at the forefront, while many Muslim countries are only paying lip-service to the cause of Palestinian rights. Besides, many Jews in the West, and even in Israel itself, are advocating a ceasefire and humane treatment of the Palestinians (as can be seen in the image above showing two Holocaust survivors in the United States). How can one make sense of this in a religious context?
This conflict actually has more to do with a certain mindset common to the colonisers regardless of their religion. The colonisers always tend to look down on subjugated people as lesser human beings. This is the mindset that is at play in the Middle East today.
This mindset is pervasive, knows no boundaries, and exists in every country, including Muslim countries. However, in the so-called ‘free’ Western world, it is part and parcel of foreign policy.
I always wonder about the mindset that is behind these wars that destroy many innocent lives. One possible explanation of this mindset is the history of these countries which were either the beneficiaries of colonisation, like the United Kingdom and France, among others, or had emerged on colonised lands, like the United States, Canada and Australia, or had been empires and occupiers of the past, like Russia, Iran and Turkiye.
I think all these countries suffer from imperial syndrome, for they always try to find a solution either in wars or in an occupation. Unequivocal support for Israel by major Western countries emanates from this very mindset. This imperialistic mindset dictates their moral compass as well as their definition of right and wrong. Peace in the world will remain elusive as long as this mindset remains entrenched.
However, I see a silver lining in the explosion on social media, with people, especially those of the young generation, having more information than their predecessors now. They are fighting back and trying to bring about change to make the world a better place for one and all.
Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2024