When America started bombarding Iraq, after President George Bush of United States made that offensive and egotistical statement, that President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and his children should leave their country within 48 hours, the feeling that engulfed millions of people all over the world, is simply unbearable. Think of the looming destruction of innocent lives and multibillion dollar infrastructures of a nation.
While having sleepless night over a nightmarish experience in the face of the hopelessness of the world in taming the present American leadership who regards other sovereign countries as part of their colonies, my mind reflected the unpredictable feelings of over 300 million Arabs and more than a billion Muslims all over the world in the agony, and the subsequent expeditions that would undoubtedly follow especially, the breeding of more terrorists and suicide bombers that would at the end creates global enmity amongst leadership in the world, more particularly in the Gulf Region.
As a Muslim I write specifically to all my brothers and sisters not to despair in the face of the melancholy and the seeming direct attack. Probably by the time you read this letter, the battle would have intensified hoping that it would not justify the Third World War as predicted by the renown soothsayer, Nostradamus. So far, we have seen the way Washington repeatedly flouts international laws in its obvious bid to assert supremacy over other nations. Take for instance, the illegal incursion of an American spy plane into China early in the wake of Bush administration, and what about the unnecessary vetoes against other Permanent members of the Security Council on resolutions to protect the Palestinian from the clutches of the Israel, and the recent categorization of some nations as evils, while it sees itself as the lord of the world.
It may be time for global protests and demonstrations against the acts of barbarism and war crimes currently perpetuated by the self-imposed World Police. The question at this stage is, would the iraqi crisis force us to lose our sense of direction and resort to the loss of lives and properties of other citizens in this country as was the case in the past? Would there be any reason to attack one another for an American crime?
We must recognize that those in the forefront of protests against the American invasion and the new face of re-colonization are non Muslim nations. In fact, other individuals abound who do not practice our faith but admire our perseverance and peaceful nature. The Vatican where Pope John Paul II has been an outspoken opponent of a war on Iraq, delivered a biting response to Bush when he stated that “Whoever decides that all peaceful means under international law have been exhausted is assuming a grave responsibility before God, his conscience and before history.” The new Chinese President Hu Jintao, while speaking on the phone with French President Jacques Chirac and Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the door to peace cannot be closed, and that only the political resolution of the Iraqi issue within the framework of the United Nations is the correct way. France which remains resolute on its antiwar posture, reiterated that Iraq today, does not represent an immediate threat to justify an immediate war. While German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told his nation that his question on the war with Iraq remains, “Does the levels of threats posed by Iraq dictator justify a war which will result in the certain death of thousands of innocent men, women and children? He added that, his answer remains NO. Russia insisted that there was still time for diplomacy, as its parliament postponed ratification of a key disarmament treaty in protest over the US threat to attack Iraq. Britain where its Prime Minister, Tony Blair prostitutes with America, like a shameless girlfriend, has witnessed resignations of some key cabinet members who include Robin Cook and John Denham among others.
Other side of the divide we witnessed protests by non-Muslims and non-Arabs from different races, tribes, religions and creeds voicing out their anger against the American war policy. Presently, there are more than a hundred antiwar human shield in Iraq who had traveled from Europe and agreed to stake their lives to be bombed along with innocent Iraqi citizens in the event of bombardment. Mr. Richard Scrase, director of the London Human Shields Action Group was reported to have said that more volunteers are being deployed to Iraq to be stationed at oil refineries, food silos, water treatment plants, power stations and hospitals. As a Muslim, I was seriously moved by the action of human right activists, world leaders, youths and religious leaders for the sense of brotherhood and fraternity so far exhibited.
As Muslims, we should therefore reciprocate such love exhibited by others by not indulging in action and reaction that would be detrimental to the global solidarity. We should extend our concerns to the Iraqis by our affection and supplications over their unjust persecution by a powerful nation. Senseless protest, violent demonstration, destruction of properties and mass looting which have been the bane of exhibitions of grievances in Nigeria should be avoided. At least we have read several editorials from leading national newspapers owned by Christians denouncing in strong terms the American attempted atrocities on the Iraqi people. The Federal Government too, has come out publicly to condemn the American posture for unwarranted bloodletting. I believe these responses have so far indicated a very high sense of solidarity. Where a protest match is necessary, we may emulate the last Kano Muslim-Women’s peaceful match to the Emir’s palace without any injury or stealing as civilized people.
The verse quoted above from the glorious Quran is instructive to all of us. Reading the verse again and again, I wonder whether the misfortune of Iraq is a fulfilment of the prophesy. I cannot say but it may not be difficult to recall that as a secular world with Christians holding top positions of authority, Iraq had received supports and assistance from Western World including America and other Arab nations to emerge one of the powerful nations in the Gulf and perpetuated some crimes without any caution. It was encouraged by its then supporters to wage a near-decade senseless war with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a non-Arab country in a bid to stop radical Islamization of the region, when it could have even checkmated Israel. It also deployed deadly weapons against the Shiite and Kurdish people in the region, not forgetting the invasion of Kuwait, an Arab nation.
At this juncture, the Muslims and Christians all over should continue to pray to God to forgive us our past misdeeds, and seek God’s guidance and protection of the Iraqi people and the world in general from the unfortunate misdeeds of America, the arrogant Superpower and self-imposed World Police which is bent on putting the world on flame.
What we learn in history is what other didn’t learn from history. One thing common with history is the rise and fall of great nations. We heard the rise and fall of Songhai Empire, Ottoman Empire, Roman Empire, German Empire and Soviet Empire. Even at a local region were the Borno, Oyo and Benin empires. Who knows, this may likely be the fall of another powerful Empire. We live to see.
This article by Yushau A. Shuaib was originally published in Post Express March23, New Nigeria March25, Daily Independent March31, Daily Champion March28 and Daily Trust April 1, 2003.