Reading Dr Azmi Sharom’s opinion piece in The Star today really got me peeved at the sheer wrongness of his article – wrong in its facts and assumptions, wrong in its conclusions and solutions, wrong in its hypocritical double standards.
So I took it upon myself to ruthlessly dissect and mock his proud article for all (i.e. visitors to my blog) to see.
Blockquoted excerpts from The Star 5 May 2011, my responses in normal paragraphs:
Terror threat remains
BRAVE NEW WORLD
By AZMI SHAROM
Despite my sarcastic tone, let’s be clear. I think the world is a better place without Osama, mass murderer and hide-and-seek champion. He has claimed responsibility for the killing of thousands of civilians and in that he is monstrous.
I am of course aware that people like former US President George W. Bush and former British Premier Tony Blair are also responsible for the deaths of thousands with their, I submit, utterly unlawful war against Iraq. Be that as it may, Osama is still an international criminal and his demise will not see me shedding any tears.
See the smug moral equivalence here? Oh, Osama was bad because he killed thousands, sure, but Bush & Blair are just as bad because they ‘killed’ thousands too!
He totally ignores the different means and ends at play in this comparison – for Osama killing was the ends, for Bush & Blair it was but the means to get rid of Saddam Hussein. And by the way, the vast majority of deaths of Iraqi civilians was caused by terrorists along the lines of Osama’s gang, not US or British troops. So double whammy and shot-in-own-foot for him on that one.
And speaking of Saddam Hussein… I note that he does not mention Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi anywhere, although he does mention the already-deposed Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
Might this be because citing Gaddafi would cause his readers to realize that whatever atrocities Libya’s psycho leader perpetrated that led to the Arab League and NATO wanting to out him, Saddam perpetrated much, much worse?
Imagine what an informed reader would be thinking if he had put the names Gaddafi and Saddam in the same article:
Soooo…. Outing Gaddafi over a few shot rebels (who commit plenty of atrocities of their own and include Al Qaeda affiliated types) is just grounds for a multinational invasion by 11 nations agreeing to military action… But Saddam’s genocide of Iraqi Kurds, arbitrary arrest and torture of Iraqis, chemical weapons usage, rape rooms, invading Kuwait, warring on Iran and defying UN resolutions is NOT just grounds for a multinational invasion by 40 nations agreeing to military action? Riiiiiiight.
Yes, I can see why he would want to avoid any mention of Gaddafi which might shine a spotlight on a certain hypocritical stance.
And further to Saddam’s murderousness, I continue to contend that Bush & Blair’s invasion saved a net 750,000 Muslim lives (it’s probably over 1 million by today).
So, Bush & Blair are just as bad as Osama? Says a lot about the kind of mentality Dr Azmi Sharom has.
The politically cynical point out that this operation has come at a terribly convenient time for Barack Obama. The killing of Osama will boost his flagging popularity, just in time for the tough upcoming presidential election.
Ace puts that theory to rest as follows:
But this stuff about him being able to to take out Osama at anytime he wanted and choosing, for maximum political impact, May 1, 2011, as the “best” month for doing this?
No, the best month for doing this is either August or September or October of 2012, taking all the oxygen out of the presidential race and showing Obama in his finest moment right before the election.
The next-best time would be August or September or October of 2010 — having the same effect, and boosting Democrats running for Congress.
Now, six months after one election and eighteen months away from the next?
So the idea that Obama chose now of all times to declare Osama dead is merely shallow analysis again.
I for one believe that he was killed by the MI6. It is all a British plot designed to keep the world’s press preoccupied so that William and Kate will have a peaceful honeymoon.
Yes, the same MI6 who killed Princess Diana because she was going to convert to Islam to marry Dodi Fayed and shame the British throne, surely. /flippancy
With Osama now dead, it does not mean that the problem he symbolised has gone. The world must still deal with terrorism and, more importantly, the causes of terrorism.
There will always be mad men in the world, those who think that violence is the method to achieve their objectives. But for these kind of people to get large numbers of followers and supporters cannot be simply explained away by saying that all of them are bad.
Terrorism is not some sort of mental problem, it is the result of political, economic and social factors.
In countries where the political process is exclusive and people are not allowed to take part in governance, either because the system followed is a dictatorship or a sham democracy, they are more likely to turn to unlawful methods to get their point across.
When there is widespread poverty and desperation, it is easier to get recruits into a cause which promises salvation, even though the promise comes with a price of mindless violence.
When people are faced with gross social injustice, men like Osama with the message that they will fight that injustice (as deceitful as he may be) will draw plenty of eager followers.
Ah, here he repeats the standard apologist’s line about terrorism – it’s caused by socio-economic factors like poverty and injustice and whatnot.
That the prepetrators of the Glasgow Airport bombing included multiple doctors and an engineer pursuing a PhD who were settled and accepted into Britain? Or that countless medical professionals are among the ranks of terrorists?*Shrug* No relevance.
That Al Qaeda’s ambassador to Europe, Abu Qatada is pampered with an £800,000 house and £50,000 of taxpayer money a year even as he cannot be deported back to Jordan to face trial? *Shrug* No relevance.
That most of the 19 hijackers involved in 9/11 came from middle class families? *Shrug* No relevance.
That Osama himself came from a fabulously wealthy family? *Shrug* No relevance.
That every single suicide bomber and shooter like Malik Hassan screams a certain same phrase before carrying out their massacre? *Shrug* No relevance.
That the young fighters are promised immediate entry into heaven, with 72 virgins to cater to their every whim, and that their names will be glorified by the ummah as true pious champions of the faith? *Shrug* No relevance.
That even as Muslims across the world acknowledged Osama’s death with the caveat that he was misguided and not representative of Islam, other groups were hailing him as a martyr, a holy warrior, and condemning his burial at sea as against Islam? *Shrug* No relevance.
That various moderate Muslim scholars denounce violence in the name of Islam as a misunderstanding and misapplication of ‘jihad’ by extremist Muslims when the latter carry out acts of terror? *Shrug* No relevance.
That millions of Christians are subjected to discrimination, ostracization, economic oppression, violence, slavery, rape, murder – especially those living in Muslim states – yet never seem to rise up and war against their governments and villages? (Case in point: Bombs continued to explode in the eastern half of the city and in other Christian areas outside Beirut, though they weren’t mass-casualty terrorist attacks like those in Iraq at the time. Most Christians believed they were being goaded into retaliating against one Muslim community or the other and sparking another civil war so the Syrians would be “invited” to return as peacekeepers. Not even the most ferociously bigoted Christians took the bait, though some may have been tempted.) *Shrug* No relevance, and by the way Bush & Blair are lawbreaking Crusaders didn’t you know.
That history shows us 461 years of unprovoked raids, invasion and occupation preceded the First Crusade, which should be a MASSIVE CLUE as to the motivations of modern day jihadis? No relevance, and Bush… um… Crusaders… um… Zionist oppression of Palestinians something something.
Unless the approach taken goes beyond cowboy gunship diplomacy and idiotic jingoistic flag waving, and while the causes of terrorism are not dealt with properly, all that has been achieved is the destruction of a fang. The threat is still there.
Unless the real causes of terrorism are scrutinized – instead of obfuscated and misrepresented – the threat will always be there.
Dr Azmi Sharom is a law teacher. The views expressed here are entirely his own.
And here is my own view: It’s been said that refusing to forgive someone who has wronged you hurts only yourself. After all, you are the one getting all angry and frustrated while the wronger is, in all likelihood, totally and blissfully unaware of his unforgiven state.
Similarly, it only harms my own peace of mind to feel frustrated over the unbelievably smug obtuseness of self-sure ‘pundits’ like Dr Azmi Sharom. So sure is his analysis that I doubt he’s going to be persuaded by logic or proof or facts – whatmore by an inconsequential little blog like mine – so there’s no point getting worked up over the sheer selective blindness I see.
All perceptions of smugness, obtuseness and etc on the part of Dr Azmi Sharom are IMHO, of course.
So instead, I’ll leave people like that to curl up snugly in their little cocoons stuffed under coconut shells at the bottom of a well which acts as an excellent echo chamber to reflect his chants of La la la la I can’t hear you, and be content with my utter dismantling of his worldview for him to never see.