Monday, September 25, 2006

The Muslim Dead

Israeli blogger, Imshin, has rendered us a great service. She has translated a long article from the Hebrew newspaper, Maariv, in which Ben Dror Yemini has taken the trouble to do some counting. Rather unpleasant counting it is, too. The dead. The Muslim dead. Those dead at Israeli hands, and those at the hands of fellow Muslims, and of others, as well (see below).

60,000 Arabs have died in the Arab-Israel conflict since 1948 — a few thousand were Palestinian. In that same period, the lower-end estimate of Muslims killed by Muslims (in Algeria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, etc) is 8.67 million.

Ben Dror Yemini concludes:

Obviously, in recent years, the Palestinian victims have received most of the attention of the Media and the Academia. In actual fact, these make up just a small percentage of the total sum of all victims. The total sum of Palestinians killed by Israel in the territories that were conquered is several thousand. 1,378 were killed in the first Intifada, and 3,700 since the start of the second Intifada.

This is less, for instance, than the Muslim victims massacred by former Syrian president, Hafez Assad in Hama in 1982. This is less than the Palestinians massacred by King Hussein in 1971. This is less than the number of those killed in one single massacre of Muslim Bosnians by the Serbs in 1991 in Srebrenica, a massacre that left 8,000 dead.

At least half a million Algerians died during the French occupation. A million Afghanis died during the Soviet occupation. Millions of Muslims and Arabs were killed and slaughtered at the hands of Muslims. But all the world knows about one Mohammed al-Dura [on which, see this].

The genocide that Israel is not committing, that is completely libelous, hides the real genocide, the silenced genocide that Arabs and Muslims are committing mainly against themselves. The libel has to stop so as to look at reality. It is in the interest of the Arabs and the Muslims. Israel pays in image. They pay in blood. If there is any morality left in the world, this should be in the interest of whoever has a remaining drop of it in him. And should it happen, it will be small news for Israel, and great news, far greater news, for Arabs and Muslims.
(via Pajamas Media)


wodge said...

What happens to those numbers if you add in the category: number of people killed by despots and tyrants helped into power by western governments?

NoolaBeulah said...

I imagine the numbers would remain the same. But I can't see that it would make much difference to the point, which is that 1. we are dealing with a culture that is in the throes of immense changes, mostly due to the need to modernise after centuries of stagnation; 2. that this is a battle mostly within Islam, where most of the victims are Muslim; 3. that 'world opinion' has completely different standards for Muslim-Muslim killings than for Western-Muslim killings; 4. that it is not necessarily wrong to have somewhat different standards, however, not when those applied to the West, and especially to Israel, are both impracticable and hysterical.

wodge said...

In most countries, if you encourage or help someone to commit murder, it's regarded rightly as a crime.

So when the US, encouraged CIA trained golden boy Saddam Hussain to go to war with Iran and the West lined up to sell him weapons to do it, they got just as much blood on their hands as the 'muslim' Saddam Hussain.

NoolaBeulah said...

Those were the days of 'he might be a sonofabitch, but he's our sonofabitch'. 'Realism' they call it, and it looks like it's on the way back. Not very pleasant, I agree.

But here, as always, perspective is vital. It is not just the Americans who do/have done this - every country does, always has and always will. The Americans are the biggest players so it is easy to offload all reponsibility on to them. This is a mistake.

No, emphatically no - the West does not have "as much blood on their hands as the 'muslim' Saddam Hussain". Those who commit crimes are responsible for those crimes - have it any other way and all moral responsibility goes up in a puff of smoke. Aside from that, the idea that Saddam Hussein was doing anything just for our sakes is laughable, and he himself had lots of laughs over our sqeamishness. He played the realpolitik game for his own ends just as we do. Our ends, however, are far preferable to his.

wodge said...

Western ends seem to be to install despots by supplying them with diplomatic kudos, military aid and intelligence often in return for stripping natural resources and maintaining military bases.

For example, in Iran in 1953 the CIA helped orchestrate a coup against the elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, who was wildly popular at home for having nationalised his country's oil industry, much to the dismay of American and British oil companies who previously owned Iranian oil. In his place they brought to power the brutal Shah who through his dreaded secret police, the SAVAK, tortured and murdered thousands.

And in Iraq in 1963 the CIA helped bring the Baath party to power. CIA stations all over the Middle East helped draw up lists of thousands of alleged opponents who were executed, overseen by the new head of intelligence, a young Saddam Hussein, who returned from exile in Egypt. Roger Morris, a former State Department foreign service officer, said "It was there in Cairo that (Saddam) and others were first contacted by the agency....It's a regime that was unquestionably midwived by the United States, and the (CIA's) involvement there was really primary."

NoolaBeulah said...

True. But so what?

1. Whatever we (or 'they', if you prefer) may have done in the past does not preclude action in the present. Times change; policies change.

2. If you want or need to shift the blame for Saddam's actions away from Saddam, then consider France and Russia whose roles in supplying the means for those actions was far greater than America's.

3. Bush's policy was, in fact, a major shift from the old 'realist' one of installing amenable dictators. Its (probably misplaced) idealism was that if the people in Iraq had the means to choose and hold to account their own governments, then the political breeding ground of terrorism would be removed.

4. It is a mistake to assume that, but for American (or Western) interference, these countries would by now be better off. At best, they might be like Egypt. More likely, they would be like Syria or Iran. In any case, the interference of the US would not give way to autonomy, but to interference from others, as can be seen in Lebanon at the moment.