All the pillars of the earth would shake if a Christian or a Jew is killed or if a Buddhist statue is destroyed or comes to any harm. International forces wherever they may be join together to condemn the killing of an individual so long as he or she is not of Arab or Muslim background. These same leaders do not hesitate to condemn any infliction that comes to a Buddhist statue in Afghanistan.
Several years ago, the Taliban in Afghanistan attempted to destroy Buddhist statues found in the country, which were carved into the stone on the side of the mountain. Kofi Anan, the then UN secretary-general, called on world leaders to appeal to the Afghani government and asked scholars, politicians and religious clergy to go to Afghanistan and appeal to the Taliban and urge them to not destroy these statues which are sacred to the world’s Buddhist population.
I do not want to go into the details of all of the events that have taken place in the world in recent years but I do want to point to the recent events in Paris and the killing of several journalists and political cartoonists who worked for Charlie Hebdo, a Parisian newspaper that provoked the Muslim community by drawing pictures of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him. The newspaper even dared to go so far as to draw a pig on top of the Kaaba [the most sacred point in Islam]. We, as Muslims, condemn the killing of any individual regardless of his or her religion; however, we criminalise their unnecessarily hostile reactions towards Islam but in no way shape or form condone any incitement to kill them.
More than 50 presidents and world leaders united in Paris for an unprecedented demonstration in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Many high-ranking Arab officials went to Paris to participate in this event including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose people witnessed a massacre merely a few months before Charlie Hebdo which left more than 2,000 dead in the Gaza Strip. All of the destruction that occurred in the Gaza Strip was met with barely any reaction from Arab and Islamic leaders in comparison to the international reaction to the events in Paris.
Last week, three young Muslim Americans whose families came to America in pursuit of knowledge and livelihood were killed in cold blood. A young man, his wife and her sister were shot to death by a violent American despite the fact that they had done nothing to provoke him and yet, a crime of this magnitude was not met with the same protests that we witnessed in London and Paris because the victims were not white.
Once again, we did not hear Arab and Muslim leaders condemn this heinous crime in the same way that they were quick to condemn the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Is a human being not a human being regardless of their creed or ethnicity? UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon issued a statement condemning the massacre three days after it happened. US President Barack Obama also issued a statement three days after the crime but the statement was not appropriate for the crime. None of the statements that were issued described the killer as a terrorist or the crime as a terrorist act. What we are more likely to hear in reaction to this crime is how the perpetrator is mentally ill or deranged in an effort to protect him from life imprisonment or the death penalty according to state law.
Western governments and the officials working for these governments do not give any value to Arab or Muslim life within their own countries or abroad and the main reason for that is that Arab leaders do not give any value to Arab life within our own countries. Look, for example, how the United States sends drones to places like Yemen and Iraq, causing large amounts of death and destruction. What can we make of leaders like Al-Assad in Syria who shoot at their own civilians and use chemical weapons against people who are already languishing in their homes?
The same goes for those living in Egypt, Yemen, Libya and other countries. Meanwhile Palestinians continue to die on a daily basis and the Arab countries and Palestinian Authority do not lift a finger. Gaza is being held under siege by the Egyptian government and the Arabs do not lift a finger. There is no cure for Zionist aggression, which has prevented the Palestinians from gaining access to proper food and medicine. How can we expect Western governments to hold Arab blood in high regard when we ourselves do not know its value?
This article was first published by alaraby.co.uk
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.