Think it over
The world between two evils
By M.S.N. Menon
The world is caught between two evils—the evil of American hegemony and the evil of Islamic terrorism. Both must be fought and defeated. They represent the same view—that they know better, that they have, therefore, the right to rule over the world.
A hundred years ago or so, we dreamt of an ideal world order. What we got were nightmares—Fascism, Nazism and Communism, each trying to deny men their freedom, trying to make them zombies. However, by the end of the century, they were all discredited. Empires were gone. “Utopias” were gone. But the world paid a heavy price for these experiments.
We were almost sure that no one would try to put us back into a pen. We were mistaken. America wants us to be in an American pen. And the Islamists want us to be in an Islamic pen. They offer no other option.
It was the Christian civilisation that spawned these evil orders—all making promises of a world flowing with milk and honey. How we lapped up these false promises! We got no milk or honey. Instead, we got poison. We are now being promised the Nizam-e-Mustafa—a new paradise. We saw a glimpse of it in Afghanistan under the Taliban. Are there any takers for this “paradise”? Of course, there are, for men never learn from history. Which is really the “human predicament.”
The new threat to humanity is worse because it comes from a source which is not democratic, which does not believe in reason. I mean the Islamic world. It has not produced one democratic country in all these years. That makes the present situation alarming. There are over a billion Muslims in the world. Some red in tooth and claw. Many of them are ready to die for their faith. It is a frightening thought.
True, America is an evil empire. In sixty years, it played havoc with the destinies of many peoples and nations. And it turned the world into a milch cow for the benefit of the Americans. But America is a democracy. It responds to world opinion and to domestic criticism. That gives us hope. It is not the “Satan” that it is said to be. But no Muslim country responds to the world. And there is little domestic criticism. Remember, the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddha although the world stood against it. September 11—it is loved by their God, they say. Take the case of bin Laden—a crackpot and criminal, a Pol Pot in the making. He enjoys a substantial measure of support among the educated Muslims of the world. And there is the silent majority which admires him from afar.
The Muslims prefer to bury their past. Much of it lies like a silent cemetery. It is full of revengeful ghosts. But the Maulanas tell their flock that they created paradise on earth and that it is the West which destroyed it.
I think it is time to make a law to banish anyone who proclaims that he has a solution for all the ills of men. Such a man is a dangerous lunatic. He should live in an island. Call it Utopia, if you like, for poetic justice.
There is no panacea for our ills. When nature itself goes about by trial and error, we can do no better than follow nature. Try and try again.
Today, says and authority, Islam has come to be identified with the mullah—a semi-literate man, with a scruffy beard and gown, the Taliban with his AK-47, burqua-clad women, madrasas and frenzied masses. The Muslims must come off this repulsive image.
Terror has no place in Islam—this is the claim. If this is so, let the sane Muslims work to prove it.
Change is the essence of justice. Without change, there can be no correction, there can be no justice. But some say: Not a comma of the Quran will be changed! With what result? Muslims continued to call the Mahatma a kafir, India a Dar-ul-Harb. And look at the shame of the Muslims of India having to look at the face of their Hindu “brothers” after this!
We in India fought the British empire without taking to violence. Mandela of South Africa followed the Indian example. And Martin Luther King of America followed the Gandhian path in his fight against racism in America. But Jinnah chose the path of violence. Why? Because his religion had laid down the path of violence—jihad—for him. The way of peace has never been an option.
Who can do the correction then? Only they can do it. Remember, Lincoln fought a war against his own brothers when they went wrong, when they insisted on keeping slaves. Can Islam produce a Lincoln? (That is the test…. of a civilisation.) I wonder!