Towards the end

Published April 23, 2024
The writer is an architect.
The writer is an architect.

EUROPE destroyed itself and also the rest of the world as a result of World War II. Since it had colonies all over the world, they were also inadvertently drawn into the chaos.

Towards the end of the war, and especially after, Europe discovered the terrible physical and ‘moral’ cost of it. Europe had in the past two centuries devastated its colonies through highly rapacious and political processes supported by deep-seated racism. By the end of the war, the Europeans also discovered how the Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs had been placed in concentration camps and gassed and starved to death by the millions as they were looked upon as racially inferior to the Aryan race.

The Jews were an educated, financially powerful community with strong links to European and American politics, academia, and global financial institutions. As such, their inhuman extermination, and the large numbers involved, became the most important issue that troubled post-war Europe’s conscience. The devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not acquire the same importance in the European psyche.

Due to the tragic war and the racism that was part of it, the major powers (who had won World War II and who were largely European colonists) got together to create the United Nations and formulate its goals, rules, regulations, and covenants, which have grown over the years. The covenants have proposed equality of mankind, irrespective of caste, creed, or ethnicity, and sought to maintain the sanctity of national frontiers and guarantee that the causes and repercussions of World War II would never be seen again. The headquarters of the UN’s various agencies were for the most part located in European cities, and the initial formulations of the UN Charter and its supporting documents were developed by Western intellectuals, politicians, and academia. Thus, the UN was, for the most part, a European/ US construct.

Europe has dismantled its own value system.

As a result of the barbaric destruction of Gaza, the occupation of Palestinian land by Israeli homes, and the genocide that is accompanying it, Europe and the US, by supporting Israel’s war against Hamas and the Palestinian people have violated everything that the UN Charter promotes and which the Western colonial countries have supported not only internationally but also within their own countries. Post-World War II, they have promoted these values as their own and have considered countries and societies that violated them as ‘uncivilised’. So Europe has dismantled its own ‘civilisation’ and value system.

To assuage its post-war conscience, Europe developed two terms: one was ‘Holocaust’ and the other ‘antisemitism’. The Holocaust is used to describe the mass murder of ethnic communities that Europe carried out. Another term that has evolved is ‘antisemitism’, which means that anyone who acts or says anything that is anti-Jewish is anti-Semite. Almost all European countries have laws that can punish those who deny the Holocaust and/ or is antisemitic.

Israel and its supporters and benefactors have used these two terms to promote the concept that any individual or country that denies the Holocaust or says anything that is antisemitic is anti-Israel. The Western powers have supported this concept since the end of World War II.

This is ironic because many communities in the Global South, such as the Arabs, and the Muslims, were not involved in the Holocaust, but they have been accused of denying it. Similarly, they had nothing to do with the extermination of the Jews. Not only that, the Arabs themselves are Semites, and Islam is a Semitic religion. The Muslim faith is derived from Abraham, as is the Jewish faith. They are two bra­nches of the same tribe. So history is a major casua­lty in the Euro­p­ean narrative of this form of reasoning.

Another myth that has been promoted is the invincibility and discipline of the Israeli army. This has been proven by Israeli Western-supported victories because of which Arab countries have refrained from attacking Israel directly since 1967. Iran by its recent attack has shattered this myth and the denial of the Holocaust and antisemitism have become a joke universally but the price for this has been paid by the children and women of Gaza.

The public, especially the young, in most Western countries have protested against their governments’ support for Israel. This should not be allowed to fizzle out, as the anger against the Saudi crown prince for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has — he is now the blue-eyed boy of the Western world. The formal and informal alliances that had been formed among opponents of Israel should be kept alive so that a positive change can take place in international media and the last remnants of colonialism can be wiped out, and a more equitable world created for the coming generation.

The writer is an architect.

arifhasan37@gmail.com

www.arifhasan.org

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2024

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