This is not about the Anti-War movement nor mainstream American "Left." per se. These two are oxymorons and are effectively non-existent.
This is more prompted by an article I read on the Yugoslave experiment i.e the Balkanization of Yugoslavia and the role of Nato, the UN, U.S and International Tribunal for War crimes in the balkanization of that country.
The article in question was published in the Monthly Review. It's a long one and well worth reading. The authors obviously spent a great deal of time in researching facts and in providing a very good account of the wilfull partition of that country.
Providing good background information on the run up to the ultimate destruction of what was formerly known as Federal Yugoslavia.
The article is overtly pro-Serbian and sympathetic to Slobodan Milosevic, portraying him as the patriotic Yugoslav who was ultimately framed by the U.S, NATO, Carla Del Ponte, the Media, the U.N ...
I have no political objections to the content of the article except for a few facets which I will dwell on because I think they are important in shedding light on the undercurrent discourse of Western Marxists/Leftists.
The undercurrent ideological assumptions and pinnings of Western Marxists/Leftists when it comes to Islam and Muslims in particular.
And this is the point I will be focusing on - namely the use of descriptive language revealing the true ideological mind frames of these Marxist/Leftist authors.
This is not a trial of these particular authors per se, but rather using this article to point out a greater truth about the Western Left and their cultural/ideological position vis à vis Islam, Muslims and I may add Arabs.
Even though they try hard and go to great lengths in hiding it (their position)through the usual politically correct jargon so as to not come out as overtly racist or should I say colonialist?
However and thankfully so, the devil does hide in the detail. And it is on this particular little/big devil I shall be focusing now.
Back to the article. And as I said I shall be focusing on the use of language here not so much the actual content.
When discussing the complicity of the International community and its agencies, in pressing charges for genocide against the Serbian leader, the authors discuss the role of language and imagery and the inflation of numbers through deliberate fabricated exaggerations.
They further state that both ethnic groups (amongst others), the Croatians and Bosnian Muslims have contributed to the above.
- the Croatians and their officials, known for their ethnic cleansing of Serbs, armed with an ideology of ultra chauvinism bordering on fascism.
- the Bosnian Muslims and their officials for greatly exaggerating the death toll of Bosnian Muslims and the allegations of the systematic raping campaign of Bosnian Muslim women.
When discussing the Croats, the authors referred to a fascist ideology, an ultra chauvinistic idelogy of secessionism which was the ideological pillar for the Croatian separatist movement.
When discussing the Bosnian Muslims, the authors referred to a quote by Ali Izetbegovic in the 70's where he allegedly stated that Islam cannot coexist with any other forms of nationalism. And I quote.
"Similarly, in Alija Izetbegovic’s Islamic Declaration, first circulated in 1970 but republished in 1990 for his presidential campaign, his major theme is what he called the "incompatibility of Islam with non-Islamic systems." "There is neither peace nor coexistence between the 'Islamic religion’ and non-Islamic social and political institutions," Izetbegovic argued. "Having the right to govern its own world, Islam clearly excludes the right and possibility of putting a foreign ideology into practice on its territory. There is thus no principle of secular government and the State must express and support the moral principles of religion."
The authors also note the numbers of Bosnian Muslims massacred were grossly exaggerated but they do admit that the number of Bosnian Muslims was twice as higher as that of Serbs but definitely not the alleged 200'000 Muslims killed.
Then the authors, slip in a seemingly innocuous sentence when describing "Bosnian Muslim Officials" by adding, these latter are not known for their "scruples."
Of course, we know that Bosnian Muslims contrary to the Croats were not engaged in the ethnic cleansing of the Serbs. Now whether, the Serbs have purposefully or not, ethnically cleansed the Bosnian Muslims is a subject for another debate. This is not my point of contention here.
I want to discuss the use of language alone. And this is where the "discourse" becomes "interesting."
The Croatians and their leader Tujdman are portrayed as a nationalistic, separatist, chauvinistic, bordering on fascism bunch. The reader assumes - OK another bunch of ultra chauvinistic separatists bunch. There are no ethical implications as to their or their leader's moral status. There is no explicit value judgement on their morality so to speak nor on their being Christians.
But notice the following. When it comes to the Bosnian Muslims and their leader, the authors make it a point to:
- downplay the fact that Bosnian muslims were looked down upon by the other religious communities in Yugoslavia and viewed as lesser beings.
- downplay the fact that the systematic rape of Bosnian women by the Nato Forces,UN Peace keeping forces, the Serbs and the Croats, did take place precisely because of the above perception of Muslims.
- downplay the fact or at least do not elaborate further on what they themselves asserted - notably that the number of Bosnians killed were double that of the Serbs.
Not only do they fail to address the above, the authors then go and insert a quote by the Bosnian "muslim" leader as to the incompatibility of Islam with any other forms of rule and then go and insert another bit "Official Bosnian Muslim leaders are not known for their scruples."
Now the reader is left with two distinct and interrelated messages.
1) Islam is also another form of Fascism incapable of co-existing within a modern political State.
2) Bosnian separatism is not due to Bosnian chauvinism like in the case of the Croats but due to Islam.
3) Furthermore there is a moral qualification which the authors did not use when discussing Croats and Slovenians, i.e "Bosnian Muslim Leaders are known for their lack of scruples."
One is left with the clear impression that these Bosnian muslims and am stressing Muslims as opposed to Bosnians.
- lied about the systematic rape of their muslim women despite the thousands of cases recorded.
- that they were not victims at all.
- that their ideology, i.e their religion Islam is a fascist one.
- and of course the final "coup de grâce" - that they have no scruples i.e are basically dishonest.
When comparing the explicit analysis for both Croats and Bosnian Muslims, one can clearly see that the former are simply considered an ultra chauvinistic bunch and the latter more than just chauvinistic - they are also devious with no scruples.
The reason I have used this article as an example, is because it provides in my opinion a very good sample of the Western Marxist/Leftists perception of Muslims and Islam.
I have heard many Western Marxists describing Islam as fascistic, strangely echoing the most reactionary right wingers like Bush and Co.
I have observed time and time again, the old COLONIAL mind set that has infected the best intentioned of Western Marxists, carrying the same patronizing colonialistic, imperialistic condescending tones.
I have seen time and time again the all too obvious CULTURAL racism of Western Marxists seeping through again and again in their jargon, essays, speeches...
It as if Western Marxists/Leftists start from the basic premise that they alone hold the ultimate truth, applicable across the board to; all situations, all people, all countries, all cultures... A universal Truth to be handed down to those "lesser people" issued from the feudal "Oriental" mode of Production with their accompanying retrograde ideological, opium-like, superstructure - religion and specifically, Islam.
I am yet to see such scathing assumptions about other religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity or God forbid, Judaism which seems to be sacrosanct to Marxists and Leftists for personal, political and historical reasons.
Marxists and Leftists did align themselves with so called Christian Liberation Theology in Latin America. They did not find in Christianity the seeds of Fascism.
Marxists and Leftists did align themselves with so called "Leftist Zionists" and did not see in Judaism any forms of chauvinistic racism or fascism. Marxists have supported Indian parties with nationalistic/chauvinistic agendas but did not see in those any form of Hindu fascism.
But lo and behold, when it comes to Islam; Allah, his prophet and his Book- you hear the term Islamo-Fascism surging its head again. It as if "Mein Kampf" is being revived in Arabic.
I believe that Western Marxists/Leftists have an inherent belief/view that Islam as opposed to other religions is basically a retrograde, reactionary ideology that places it apart and differently from other religions or should I say ideological superstructures.
Is it any wonder that "local" Marxist movements, who for the most part have been greatly influenced by an identical Western/Colonialist/Racist mind set in the Islamic and Arab world, have totally failed to capture the hearts and minds at a grass root level?
Is it any wonder that Islam and Islamic theology and however you may wish to view it, has filled that political vacuum as an alternative liberation theology- and even though it may come in different political colorings?
Yet, and this is where the political opportunism of Western Anti-Imperialists, Marxists/Leftists comes in.
Take for instance the Resistance Liberation movement in Iraq. It clearly has an Islamic coloring to it yet it has and will continue to foil the Imperalistic design.
How will our Western Marxists/Leftists qualify this Resistance movement?
What will they have to say about Islam that has managed to gather more willpower and fighting spirit than dead old Karl Marx in putting an end to the Imperialistic design?
How would they qualify it? Fascist/Reactionary/Retrograde?
It is high time that Marxists/Leftists start reviewing their own cultural and ideological assumptions which for the most part are nothing but ugly relics from a Western Imperalistic Colonialistic Racism.
Reading "Culture and Imperialism" by E.Said would be a good start, in my humble opinion. And I will provide a further bibliography if necessary.
In conclusion, and this is one of the most ironic parts in my opinion, the authors finished off their article by saying:
"We find it interesting that in the West, the million or more Iraqi deaths from the "sanctions of mass destruction" and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths that have followed the 2003 U.S. invasion are never presented as "genocide"
Of course the authors who were prompted by writing this article in defense of Slobodan Milosevic and the accusations leveled against him for Genocide (rightly or wrongly is besides the point) do mention the Iraqi Genocide but do not utter one word concerning Saddam Hussein who has suffered a worse fate than Slobodan Milosevic when it has come to charges of Genocide - charges based on grossly fabricated lies that no one or only a very few have bothered to unveil and dissect.
Is it maybe because Saddam Hussein is an Arab and a Muslim too?
Oddly enough, the title of this article on which I have based this critique is
"The Dismantling of Yugoslavia: A Study in Inhumanitarian Intervention ...and a Western Liberal-Left Intellectual and Moral Collapse."
By the way, one of these co-authors, E.Herman, has also co-authored the famous Noam Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent."
Just a detail, right?
I shall make sure to retain and remember that last sentence and wear it like a key around my neck - "The Intellectual and Moral Collapse." of the Western "Left."
And it is not recent either, this moral and intellectual collapse. It dates as far back as the first Western imperial, colonial design.