By Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban
The noise made by the publication of photos on Facebook by Israeli soldier, Abergil Eden, showing off her being a jailer of handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian civilians, shows once again that there is a new kind of Western wars against Muslim nations. These wars started when Europe waged its wars to occupy Palestine under the slogan of 'regaining the holy land' and culminated with settler colonialism waged under the slogan of returning to the 'promised land'. In an article about the subject, Dan Murphy writes, "Israeli soldier Facebook photos: Youth culture and rules of war collide" (Christian Science Monitor, 17 August 2010). In a subtitle, the article stresses that the photos violated Israeli army and international rules concerning taking photographs of prisoners.
The soldier did not seem to know what is wrong with posting these photographs; something also done by other Israeli soldiers, while international war circles found that the 'incident' highlights the difficulties faced by western armies – always in the act of aggression – in 'controlling the flow of photos and information in the age of YouTube, Wikileaks and digital cameras. This 'incident' brings to mind the scandal of publishing photos of torturing Iraqi civilians by the soldiers of 'American democracy' in Abu Ghreib, Guantanamu and tens of other secret prisons in which the murderers of the 'free world' practice all kinds of torture against kidnapped 'suspected' innocent people.
Wikipedia recently published thousands of documents about the acts of genocide committed by NATO forces against unarmed civilians in Afghanistan and the consequences of such acts on decisions taken by the Pentagon, the White House and the Congress. The Guardian published an op-ed entitled "Wikipedia editing courses launched by Zionist groups" (18 August 2010) about Two Israeli groups which set up training courses in Wikipedia editing with aims to 'show the other side' over borders and culture. This means that Israel, as usual, wants to control the news about Israeli crimes of torture, assassination and oppression against Palestinian civilians so that the world finds it difficult to know about what Israel is doing in terms of ethnic cleansing, displacement, house demolishing, murder, torture and humiliating the native population. The reason is that the open information space, despite Zionist attempts to control it, has started to expose their crimes in Palestine and also expose the false official western position regarding them.
The Israeli daily Haaretz published on 19 August 2010 the results of an opinion poll which found that half the Americans today believe that Israeli prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is not committed to peace and that Israel's status in Germany, France and Sweden is on the decline. Results of another poll conducted by Zogby International and the University of Maryland for the Brookings Institute have raised concerns in American research institutions about the future of a region, which some people are still under the illusion that they control, and whose future they can decide. Analyzing these results, Herbert London writes in an article entitled "What we think and the Arabs believe" (18 August 2010), "despite foreign aid, diplomatic appeasement and attempts at cultural understanding a passionate hatred of Israel and the West is unflagging. Judging from the data, conditions aren't improving. There is a lack of sympathy for democracy and liberalism and growing traction for Islamism even when compared to Arab nationalism". He adds, "it is remarkable that not one moderate leader in the Arab world, alas even in the non-Arab world, makes the list of most admired figures".
What Herbert London, and others like him, do not realize is that the world has changed and that nations no longer believe that forces of occupation and settler colonialism wage wars to spread 'democracy', but to ransack our resources, oppress our people and deprive us of freedom and independence. London and his elk do not read what we read about the American mercenaries who commit murder and torture under the name of 'contractors' in Afghanistan and Iraq (The Guardian, 16 August 2010). The paper finds that there are more than 112,000 mercenaries (contractors) now working with the American army in Afghanistan, and more than 95,000 in Iraq. These are the type of notorious Blackwater murderers who uncovered the scandals of 'democratic' and 'liberal' torture in Abu Greib, Iraq.
Despite the fact that the American army has refrained, after that scandal, from naming the companies which it contracts, so that they escape any legal responsibility for the crimes they commit.
The positive side of the information and digital revolution today is that it has become extremely difficult for governments to hide the facts about their criminal wars. Leeks have started to worry the officers who control these crimes. That is why the promoters of 'democracy' and liberalism' try to stop the information flow. Otherwise, they try to 'edit' this information to give the side they 'accept' and hide the brutal side which they do not want to show. Results of the Zogby poll show that Arab and Muslim nations are no longer convinced by the promotion of western 'democracy' or believe the false slogans used by invaders in order to control our resources.
Take the speeches made by western leaders in Ramadan, for example, which aim at hiding their real racist view of the region. It is infuriating to read the statement issued by Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, known for his racist extremism and his brutal measures against civilians, when he says: "We mark this important month amid attempts to achieve direct peace talks with the Palestinians and to advance peace treaties with our Arab neighbors".
President Obama – whose army and mercenaries wage wars in different parts of our region, kill civilians and support Israeli terrorism – and his Secretary of State sent a "greeting" to the Islamic world observing that Ramadan "remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam's role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings".
The White House and the State Department hold Iftar banquets, but as Jeff Halper said in Counter Punch (16 August 2010) "Ramadan Kareem From the Netanyahu and Obama Administrations: The Message of the Bulldozers," these bulldozers and other aspects of the Apartheid regime in Palestine tell a completely different story.
Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She's got Ph.D. in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She was the spokesperson for Syria. She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.