Well it’s the anniversary of the Batu Lintang Japanese POW camp in Borneo being liberated by the Australian 9th division, saving some 2,000 people.
It’s also Ganesh Chaturthi. The first of a ten day festival honouring Ganesh, the elephant headed son of Shiva and Parvati, who bestows wisdom, good fortune and prosperity. He’s been described as ‘everyone’s best friend.’
On this day in 1773 Benjamin Franklin published a satirical piece titled “Rules by which a great empire may be reduced to a small one“.
Though that probably isn’t what we’ll be hearing about today. Most of today will be about potential Koran burning and US over-the-top patriotism that plays straight into the hands of the military-industrial complex and it’s never ending hunger for cannon fodder. A.K.A. your son or daughter. But probably not the son or daughter of anyone involved in the governing or industry of this military industrial complex.
What we’ll have is a whole lot of jumping up and down and self-righteous indignance in response to the destruction of the world trade centres in New York. Some nutter may or may not burn copies of the Koran, claiming that Islam is a religion of intolerance and violence, while proclaiming the superiority of another religion noted for intolerance and violence. About 1,700 years of it, in various forms.
This discussion is not about the supposed “virtues” of any particular patriarchal religion in comparison to any other. This is a little piece of history, just to fill in some gaps and provide some background.
The Ottoman Empire covered vast areas of the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe from the 13th century until 1922. At it’s height, the territory included Greece, Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Georgia, parts of Romania and Ukraine, and the northern coast of Africa as far as Algiers.
The Ottomans brought an end to the Byzantine Empire and it was they who changed the name of Constantinople to Istanbul in 1453. The Ottoman Empire was one of those Islamic states in the Middle Ages where tolerance toward other religions was practiced. When the Moors were kicked out of Europe by the Normans, many Jews went as well, since the treatment of Jews by Muslims was a lot better than that of the Christians at the time.
By the 20th century the empire was “winding down”. Rulers in Turkey were allowing officers in the provinces greater autonomy regarding laws and taxes, and the whole thing was steadily declining but in a somewhat civilised manner.
Enter the First World War. Remember Gallipoli? The story of
stupid brave ANZACS being ordered to attack a country with whom we were not at war for the sake of the British Empire’s lust for resources stemming the tide, is rehashed every April. On Portuguese Independence Day.
When the Ottoman Empire finally fell, the British were up to their necks setting up politics in the Middle East to their own advantage, including dividing up the former provinces of Mesopotamia and “inventing” Kuwait in order to prevent the northern countries from having any kind of autonomy in the oil trade, by denying them access to a sea port.
After WW2 the Brits had pretty much decided their colonial days were over, so the US stepped in to keep up appearances. Puppet governments, unpopular royal members of all but deposed monarchies and whole new nations were drawn up out of the good will of the US military-industrial complex, for the benefit of the citizens of the Middle East.
This kind of worked for about 50 years all up. As far as the US and Western Europe was concerned. We won’t overlook the involvement of other European nations and Australia, but since this is September 11th, this article focuses on the US history in the Middle East.
When Saddam Hussein decided that Kuwait really ought to be part of Mesopotamia, as it had been historically, and there were rumours of trading oil in euros rather than dollars, all of a sudden the US’ best buddy at keeping Iran in line became a threat.
One could digress at this point reviewing the lies and misrepresentation fed to the
mushrooms people of the West by the media/government/big business unholy trinity. One could ask why Murdoch and Howard have not been indicted over the rendition of Mamdouh Habib, for instance. We do know that in the interests of maintaining this outrageous misrepresented sense of patriotism to preserve power for the Evil Overlords, News Ltd., Haliburton, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon &ors, the stories and white wash will be repeated endlessly, in a constant stream of infectious journalistic diahrrea for a week in Australia and the UK as well as the US. Gotta keep the mill workers in line.
During WW2 the Germans and Japanese formed an “Axis of Evil” that was to their enemies a threat to all that is good. In Australia every ANZAC day the stories of atrocities and death camps and muddy geurilla fighting in Papua New Guinea are replayed by Murdochistan’s propaganda organs ad nauseum. Brave soldiers captured in battle were kept in horrific conditions, starved and tortured by the Japanese in “death camps” like
Abu Ghraib Guantanamo Bay Camp Cropper Batu Lintang.
Australian soldiers and indigenous freedom fighters battled tooth and nail in Timor and the highlands of PNG to repel an invading force determined to extend the territories of the
coalition of the willing Empire of the Rising Sun, in order to secure a prosperous future for her well deserving, industrious citizens.
Germany perhaps thought that since many other European nations had made their wealthy invading and colonising other countries, then it should be alright for them too. Except that they invaded countries full of white people at a time when workers collectives and unions were threatening the power of the mill owners. Japan was extending it’s battles with China and Korea, hoping to expand it’s resource base and territory.
Why did we invade Iraq, anyone?
Afghanistan? Who brought the Wahhabis to power in Saudi Arabia and armed the Taliban to resist the USSR?
Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it’s a wonder surviving diggers from WW2 can bear to show their faces in the ANZAC day parades. Now that their own nation, the country they fought and bled to protect and defend, is doing the same thing the Japanese did.
So what exactly are we telling the younger generations via the mainstream media these days? That it’s okay to invade another country, slaughter men, women and children and put people in concentration camps, if you’re part of the US Empire?
What are new recruits in the US being told, that they have to defend their homes and families against the threat of terrorism? Isn’t that what the Afghan recruits are being told? Dude, it’s their fcuking country!
If citizens in the US, UK, Australia and ors are so terribly concerned about terrorism that they’ll permit body searches at airports, legislation removing their freedom to criticise their government, and even the horrific practice of extraordinary rendition.
Today, on September 11th, there will be footage of the twin towers, the explosions and returned service-persons who’ve suffered dreadful injuries to both body and mind. There will be politicians and journalists recounting the horrors of war and embedding the ever present threat of acts of terror. In Murdochistan there will be bugger all about the history of the Anglo-West in Mesopotamia and the fact that we jolly started it.
Considering the history, bloodshed, invasions, lies and murder involved here, the offer by an Imam to construct an Islamic cultural centre near the twin towers site looks like a very generous olive branch. “Improving East-West relations.” Sounds quite reasonable. No wonder the mass media hate it!
And end to terrorism begins at home. Instead of displaying 9-11 twibbons or #sept11memorial focusing on New York, how about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans for whom any day may be a September 11? Going about their daily business, trying to feed their kids or keep the house, when a drone or bomb lands in the middle of it all and blows their children and their livelihood to pieces. Perhaps flying an Afghan flag might be more appropriate as an observance of the need for peace?
Perhaps we could have a good, hard look at ourselves and our foreign policy, and consider the option of developing prosperity and security by minding our own business and managing our own resources? Ganeshi help us!