Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
It is no more possible to rationally make sense of what is happening in Pakistan in this season of death and destruction; but perhaps it is only a matter for degree for one cannot really construct a rational picture of the world anymore. Yet, one cannot lapse into despair, because in all situations we find ourselves, there is always a choice and even if all choices are stark, there is always a lesser evil. In addition, there is the inescapable moral imperative and consequences of what one chooses. What four hundred Irish men and women did to Tony Blair in Dublin last week is a case in point.
Kate O’Sullivan from Cork attempted to make a citizen’s arrest during the signing before Blair’s security team dragged her away. “I went up to him and I said ‘Mr Blair, I’m here to make a citizen’s arrest for the war crimes that you’ve committed’,” she said later.
Kate O’Sullivan is only 24. She is a member of the Irish Palestine Solidarity Movement. Then there was Richard Boyd-Barrett of the Anti-War Movement who accused the former prime minister of making blood money from the Iraq war: “It really is shameful that somebody can be responsible for the death and destruction that he was responsible for in Iraq and Afghanistan and walk away without any accounting for that and become a very wealthy man off the back of it.”
As the event unfolded, police had to intervene but some 400 men, women and even children did make a difference in this world where it has become increasingly difficult for most people to keep the glow of hope alive. They had the courage, time, and desire to remind the man responsible for death and destruction of at least one million human beings in Iraq about what he had done when he was intoxicated with power, not that he has sobered up after leaving the Downing Street.
Four men were arrested and later released. The effort of these men and women caused a huge security operation to come into existence around Dublin’s main thoroughfare in preparation for the Blair visit. The city tram service was suspended and the shops in the surrounding area were closed. Blair had to be whisked away from a side entrance of the store after about an hour.
The immediate result of what these 400 men and women did in Dublin was the cancellation of another signing ceremony which was to be held in London two days later, but the far greater importance of the courage and initiative of these Irish men and women was that they showed a mirror to Blair; a mirror in which he refused to look, but a mirror nevertheless.
One resident of Dublin summed up what appeared in the mirror: “The police are west Brits who are protecting a British terrorist and the people queuing up over there should be ashamed of themselves. All these people buying the book are jackeens and traitors.”
While it is true that the demonstration in Dublin did little to change the stark realities of a world in which a Prime Minister of Britain can lead his nation into a scam-war, and then have the audacity of writing his memoirs and make money out of it, especially when everyone in the world knows that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that Tony Blair’s most infamous and shameful act in that scam-war was the so-called “45-minute claim” which was included in the September 2002 dossier but redacted after the war. He claimed that Saddam Hussein was able to deploy nuclear weapons within 45 minutes of giving the order. This dossier also contained the words, “the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons.”
Later, much later, when damage had already been done, Blair admitted that it was a scam—albeit in his own wordy and twisted way. During an official British inquiry held after the war, he refused to acknowledge any guilt, instead he said: “it would have been better if (newspaper) headlines about the ‘45-minute claim’ had been corrected” to state that the claim referred to battlefield munitions, rather than to missiles.” Note the wordy, baseless, and utterly deceitful manner of his speaking: “With the benefit of hindsight, I would have liked to have published the intelligence reports themselves, since they were ‘absolutely strong enough’.”
What does it mean to rain death and destruction on millions of innocent civilians on the basis of “absolutely strong reports”? Does he not think that those million plus men, women and children were actually human beings whose lives were important enough to deserve much more than “strong reports”?
So, there is little one can make sense of a world in which the killer of over one million men, women, and children can walk around freely and even speak to the press and say such outrageous things as his statement last week in which he compared the so-called “Islamic fundamentalism” with revolutionary communism, saying, “It’s the religious or cultural equivalent of it, and its roots are deep, its tentacles are long and its narrative about Islam stretches far further than we think, into even parts of mainstream opinion who abhor the extremism, but sort of buy some of the rhetoric that goes with it.”
No, there is no way one can make sense of the world when all that is left is falsehood in the garb of truth and truth has been obliterated by the sheer power of an evil and bankrupt media which dominates the world—there is no such thing left as a free, objective press, even though there are still some free, objective and conscientious journalists.
Muzaffar Iqbal is the founder-president of Center for Islam and Science (www.cis-ca.org), Canada, and editor of Islam & Science, a semi-annual journal of Islamic perspectives on science and civilization. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry (University of Saskatchewan, Canada, 1983), and then left the field of experimental science to fully devote himself to study Islam, its spiritual, intellecutal and scientific traditions.
Born in Lahore, Pakistan, he has lived in Canada since 1979. He has held academic and research positions at University of Saskatchewan (1979-1984), University of Wisconsin-Madison (1984-85), and McGill University (1986). During 1990-1999, he pursued his research and study on various aspects of Islam in Pakistan, where he also worked as Director, Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) between 1991-96 and as Director, Pakistan Academy of Sciences (1998-99). He is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.