“It wasn’t war, it was butchery”

Living in Pitiless Times: Baghdad, Beirut and Paris. 2015

I can’t get this article out of my mind, more than all the ones I read on terrorism and violence in 2015. I’m not sure why. It’s by Vijay Prashad, educated in the US and working out of New Delhi. An excerpt:

“Where did these ISIS attackers come from? The temptation is to blame religion or race, to take the eye off more substantial areas of investigation. Amnesia is the order of the day. Each terror attack on the west resets the clock. No-one must pay attention to the western and Saudi-backed World Muslim League, whose job was to destroy the forces of secular nationalism and communism in the Arab world in the 1960s and 1970s. All those who were on the good side of history fell to the sword, destroyed as anti-Islamic in order to protect the Gulf Arab emirates and the Saudi kingdom as well as western interests in oil and power.

We must not mention the western and Saudi assault on Afghanistan in the 1970s, before the Soviet intervention, to cut down that nation’s communist republic. No one should talk about the creation of the “mujahideen”, whose core contained a brutal kernel that exploded into al-Qaeda. Why make so much of the wars on Iraq and then on Libya and Syria, which wrecked states and turned them – like Afghanistan – into playgrounds for the “jihadis”, children of the Cold War?

Disbelief will greet those who remind us of western violence, from the aerial bombardment of Libya in 1911 to the bombing of Libya in 2011 – untold numbers dead; “it was not war,” wrote a journalist in 1911, “it was butchery.” Few will go to their shelves and pull out Leila Sebbar’s La Seine était rouge, a searing novel about the French government’s murder of hundreds of pro-Algerian protesters in Paris in October 1961.”

The article can also be found here.

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