Tuesday, January 12, 2010

America’s Predicament

January 7, 2010

By Saeed Qureshi

For a score of years, the world has become such a tense and inhospitable place to live and this trend is inexorably continuing. The scary security syndrome of United States has caught up with the rest of the world and particularly with the Islamic countries. The future of the globe is fraught with unforeseen anxieties and phobias. America is no more a place where the air passengers could walk up to the aircraft without any inhibitions, strict body searches entailing human indignities. Don’t forget you cannot remain immune even in your own country once you come under suspicion of being even remotely or inadvertently connected with Islamic radicalism, euphemistically called Islamic terrorism. Terrorism is abhorrent whether on a small or big scale. But it was a rare commodity or almost nonexistent some two decades ago.
It’s distressing to see long queues of the passengers at the airports who are inevitably obligated to pass through the scanning machines, subjected to rough body searches, with shoes or other belonging held in their hands or placed in a basket. The bewilderment better be called harassment would be writ large on everyone’s face as to why the humanity has come under such a frightening specter of fattening fear. The Islamic fascism according to western version is on the rampage against the civilized world with America in the lead. The latest incident involving a young Nigerian has fueled the already anti Muslim leaping fires of hatred and suspicion.
This is a real clash of civilizations happening before our eyes. Inside the aircraft, the Caucasians and the white skinned along with yellow skinned passengers look, at the bearded, turbaned or non white fellow passengers, with suspicion and a tinge of paranoid lurking on their tense faces. Henceforth the toilets would be watched while the passengers are inside. This in an encroachment upon the privacy of humans but more than the human dignity, the security is decidedly indispensible. These developments are no doubt evils but terrorism is the paramount evil.
The pious platitudes of president Obama in regard to build bridges of mutual understanding, respect and equality with the Muslims around the world seem to be in great jeopardy. Contrary to his claims and lofty ideals of pacification with the Islamic bloc, Obama instead is being sucked into a position of belligerency towards the Muslims. Every time, a Muslim is caught in the nasty plot of killing Americans, correspondingly the noose is further tightened around the neck of the entire Muslim world. This time 13 Islamic countries have been picked up for intense and rigorous search at the airports of their incoming or outgoing passengers.
Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other founding fathers must be turning in their graves and their souls restlessly hovering in the purgatory on what has happened to their lofty ideals enshrined in the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence which were so sagaciously written by them with a vivid prophetic vision of the future. But while these sublime documents are imperishable for their contents, the times have radically changed. Every word of these eternal documents is like a pearl pleading and protecting the inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, among others. The Bill of Rights, stipulates that, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated and no warrant shall be issued but upon probable cause and supported by oath or affirmation…” It further underlines, “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of state….”
The past ten years and more specifically the period after the 9/11 tragedy, the American nation has remained tied to the tenterhooks of perpetual fear, unmitigating paranoid and a woeful trauma so much so that a young black Nigerian can upset the apple cart of the already foolproof security apparatus of United States. With such events taking place, not only that the Americans suffer but the rest of the world too receives its ruinous fallout. The incident of bomb in the shoes, the episode of anthrax and the implicit danger in combustible lotions kept prompting the authorities to introduce more and more stringent restrictions on the air travelers. The size and weight of the baggage has been considerably reduced as well.
Without question United States is a super power and a leader of the world but look at its predicament. With such a dazzling economic and military might, it looks like a beleaguered country with a lurking fear in every mind for some dreadful thing to happen. The world looks like a war theater with United States fighting against the faceless and stateless perpetrators of suicide bombing and sabotage.
Someone should reckon and try to find out why the conflagration of 9/11 happened that changed the entire complexion of America: from a paradise on earth and an abode of tranquility, peace, liberty, freedom and human rights to a mini concentration camp, in which one has to enter after strict search and inquiry. Before 9/11 there was no social suffocation that one feels now. The immigrants were not dreaded nor treated to be a different and dangerous species. Before 9/11 the Muslim crusaders that fought against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan were the most sought after and revered humans.
Then what went wrong? It's a 6 million dollar question. How long United States would squander its resources, lose the precious lives of American soldiers, and clamp on the world and its people a pall of constant phantom of further tragedies. The security apparatus would one day reach its extreme limit and if still something dreadful happens then what next. Is there a peaceful way-out from this most oppressive climate and fright ridden pattern of life? Can Muslims, Jews and Christians become friends and dismantle their barriers erected on frivolous jingoism, faith or race based hatred and loathsome bestiality. Can we discard the dogma of Armageddon for the sake of humanity, gregarious survival and mutual peaceful coexistence? It should not be overlooked that the future of human race is common and integral. Humanity has a shared fate both in death and life.

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