Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
October 28, 2011
When the United States of American killed Anwar Awlaki, an American citizen living in Yemen, using a drone which found him far from any battlefield, no one was concerned about justice or even any process of justice. Now the greatest military power on earth has done the same to Abdul Rahman al-Awlaki, the 16-year-old son of Anwar Awlaki. When death came, he was at a barbecue, preparing to eat. Not many in America or elsewhere have shown interest in these two cases of illegal murder of its citizens by a state gone mad. Awlaki’s cousin and several other young people at the barbecue were also killed in the attack.
The Obama administration has not even called this loss of life a “collateral damage”; it has simply swept the entire episode under the carpet. It now seems that the US administration has unilaterally decided that it has authority to kill anyone anywhere in the world, without any due process, and without informing anyone, unless the news is leaked. This is not only the continuation of the worst strategies used during the Bush era; it is a much darker version of those policies.
One cannot even denounce these policies because there is no point left in doing so. There is now only one conclusion which can be drawn: the United States of America is the epic center of global terror; its “democracy” is an illusion, a sham. Most of its citizens are not even concerned about what their government does elsewhere in the world, and there is no hope left of any change in the present situation, because no matter which of the two parties wins the next election, the same darkness will continue to spread.
The U.S. government is literally on a rampage, continuously killing people in multiple countries around the world. What’s most striking about this is how America’s political and media elites have acquiesced to these illegal actions of their government. The government only needs to say, so and so is an al-Qaeda fighter or a terrorist and no one is bothered about what happens next. There may still be some Americans who find it abhorrent, but they do not count. If the American media announces similar stories from other countries, most Americans would feel outrageously self-righteous and condemn those governments, but when it comes to their own government routinely zapping innocent teenagers, children, women and men out of existence, using sky robots, one never hears a public outcry. The U.S. has done this so often and for so long that most of the citizenry has learned to pretend that this does not happen or is justified.
Thus, we now live under the shadow of a deadly state which has technological capability to extinguish any life anywhere in the world. It has no qualms about legality of such killings and there is not a single state, organization, or institution that can stop this state from committing these crimes against humanity. Such is the global horror and darkness of the shadow that extends from Washington DC all the way to the deserts of Yemen. This is the real heart of darkness, the ultimate horror, the complete descent of humanity into inhumanity—a unipolar world in which the distinction between justice and injustice has disappeared.
The descent of this deadly state has been gradual. Of course, 9/11 remains a watershed, but one must not forget the long history of this terror prior to this date: the banana republics of South America, the economic strangulation of communities by the American corporations, and the well-documented war crimes in Vietnam. All of this is a testimony to the growth of a deadly state that has now turned its attention toward Muslims around the world. What lies ahead is not difficult to predict: the law of jungle dictates that wolfs will remain wolfs and the goats will never find a respite. The laws of history, however, foretell a different future.
There is always a day of reckoning for terrorists, whether they are individuals or states. Human beings can descent into inhumanity, but they cannot extinguish the light of truth and justice, no matter how dark their crimes become. This law of history has been operational ever since the dawn of humanity and there is no reason to believe that American technological power has any way to alter it. There has been no individual or state on earth which has been allowed to transgress against the sanctity of life for an indefinite period.
In the short term, however, there is no respite from the terrors of this deadly state which has taken on the habit of killing its own teenage citizens in distant lands. Seen from this short-term perspective, there is no reason to believe that Pakistan’s northwest will remain immune to this terror for long. All signs point to a long-term presence of drones over Pakistan’s skies. The United States of America has no way out of the Afghan quagmire and as long as its soldiers remain on rampage on the Afghan soil, it will have drones in the area and as long as these deadly weapons are present, lives of teen age boys, innocent babies and old women will remain under the shadow of death.
There might not be any solace for those whose beloved sons and grandsons have been killed by drones except in the grand scheme of things. In the long run, however, there is no doubt that justice will prevail, here and in the Hereafter. One can at least draw solace in this pitch darkness from this time-tested, ever-present decree of the One who gives life and Who takes it away.