The International Writers Magazine
:Things Fall Apart

James Skinner

‘In 1978, Ayatollah Khomeini stormed into Tehran and evicted Shah Reza Pahlavi from the ‘Peacock Throne’. So ended the dynasty of the Persian King and the door to a new era of Islamic theological rule in Iran was opened. The Western world sat back, watched and accepted. The Iranian crowds were so enthralled with their new leader that they destroyed breweries, evicted foreigners, burnt American flags and wrapped up their women in black.

They did not stop at demonstrating their anger until they stormed the United States embassy and held the diplomatic core hostage for over 400 days. Except for President Jimmy Carter, who incidentally was probably the most human and peace loving president the United States has ever had, the Western world sat back, watched and again did nothing. Then along came the war between Iraq and Iran. For eight years, two Islamic factions fought a bitter conflict that left over 1 million dead. The West still kept silent. That is, except for the USA that fed Iraq with sufficient weapons to keep its arms industry in the black and feed its scientists with information for further development of even more sophisticated destructive machinery. But in 1989 a new kind of threat was laid out on the democratic Western table. An obscure and unknown British author called Salman Rushdie wrote a book called ‘The Satanic Verses’. The book irritated the Iranian leader to such to the extent that he issued a death warrant on the blasphemous writer. He called on all Muslims around the world to seek and kill Mr. Rushdie. What did the Western world do? You guessed! Nothing!

And now we have the whole issue raised once again, but on a grandiose scale. A series of cartoons printed in a Danish newspaper, the Jyllands-Posten indecently depicting the Prophet Muhammad has upset our Islamic brethren the world over. Muslims everywhere are on the rampage burning Western embassies, destroying Christian churches and even shooting priests in such far away places as Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Indonesia. Demonstrations are taking place with all kinds of anti-Western slogans, chants and menacing threats invoking a ‘Holy War’. Politicians are scared stiff, journalists are flabbergasted and the overall Western democratic population is dumbfounded. Rivers of ink have flown in all directions searching for reasons, answers, and solutions yet in the end it all boils down to the same issue. ‘East is east and West is west and never the twain shall meet’. Let’s face it; we are all, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hari Krishna’s and other Godly followers in an almighty fix. Forget about global warming, South American nationalism, stock market results, bird flu, Aids, poverty, economic upturn or downturn and umpteen numbers of other worldly problems, the human race faces a crucial situation and far more dangerous situation than all the rest put together. Unless something is done pretty soon to appease the flames, this new Islamic furore is going to end up by destroying all of us, one way or another.

Who is to blame? No one and everyone, yet I would start with Western hypocrisy.
We can all go back centuries to the days of Catholic inquisitions, expulsion of Muslims and Jews from ‘el Andalus’ and dozens of other historical events that could be used to construe the hypothesis of today’s anti-Western attitudes. Yet, without sounding like a worn out 33rpm record, the creation of the state of Israel and the expulsion of the Palestinians way back in the 1940’s is what triggered the whole affair off. For the past 60 years, the Western world has allowed this sizzling situation to fester without really doing much about it. Every president of the United States has had a go at trying to work out a ‘peace’ deal. All have failed. The United Nations has been going over the process year after year, decade after decade arriving always at the same conclusion; status quo! Why do I consider the West hypocritical? I’ll tell you. It’s simple; it’s the oil.

The West has been living off the fruits of oil for nearly two centuries. Industry, business, commerce and superb standards of living have all been fuelled, if you pardon the pun thanks to the rich oil fields in the Islamic world. No government, and it does not matter from what continent, dares tamper with the Arab hierarchy in case the pumps are suddenly shut down. In the old days, everything was running smoothly until the Shah of Iran upped the prices in the mid 70’s. Suddenly the West was in turmoil. It did not matter when he was eventually kicked out, provided the new bosses kept the stuff flowing. The Arab world rejoiced in their new found wealth and everyone was happy. But the Israeli-Palestinian wound continued to fester.

I ask; why can’t Israel accept a Palestinian state? Is it so difficult? Why can’t Arabs recognise Israel once and for all? Why has the West not stopped the Islamic hatred years ago? Nobody dares!

Take the feminist movements in the West. Equality in all directions translated into sexual freedom, similar pay packages, identical opportunities in the private and public sector have all been achieved thanks to thousands of protests, marches, government lobbying and all other tools within a democracy that can be used in the name of ‘female freedom’. Why is it though, that women have never condemned, in earnest, male Islamic treatment of the opposite sex? Why don’t we see similar movements aimed at them? Sure, there have been tapered down debates on television or articles in women’s magazines, but whole scale protest? Never! And we’re talking about nearly a third of the world’s population that is breaking the human rights’ rules!

Then there is the press. For years the Western press has lambasted dictatorships around the world from South America to the Balkans, from the Far East to Africa. Yet when it comes to some of the most ruthless dictatorships in the Middle East we have absolute silence. If we look into objective or subjective criticism that include the so called ‘tabloid’ press there is no hesitation to insult the British Royal family, to give an example, or ridicule the United States president, not to mention the Pope. Ah! But suddenly the cat is out of the bag. Along come the Danes and appear to blaspheme a Muslim prophet. Lordly be! Freedom of the press, Western press that is, is put to the test. Some journalists are saying, ‘whoopee! It’s a free for all’. Others are hiding under their printers. Hypocrites!

Then we have the politicians. Why are all the Western ones, especially the Europeans trying their utmost to cover up the foul up? Why are they pussy footing around when they should be standing up and telling their Middle Eastern counterparts, all together, ‘look, you guys, you better control your people or else we’ve all had it!’

I tell you, we’re in a real mess and I have no way of telling how it’s all going to end, but one thing is clear. It’s about time we in the West faced up to the fact that the ‘Jihad’ has started. It could be ‘every-man-for-himself’ in the very near future!

© James Skinner. February 2006.

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