Reformist Muslim

Exploring possibilities for the future of Islam and other thoughts

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Location: London, United Kingdom

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Left and The War on Terror

As someone who considers myself left of centre, acknowledges a 'certain degree of western culpability for spawning groups like al-Qaida', but at the same time feels that prominent polemicists such as Tariq Ali, John Pilger and Robert Fisk focus too heavily on America at the expense of analysing islamo-fascism, I found this piece by Sasha Abramsky at OpenDemocracy articulating many of my views on the fight against terrorism.

As Abramsky says, the analysis of the left is truncated as it stops at a critique of America and assumes that,
'groups like al-Qaida are almost entirely reactive, responding to western policies and actions, rather than being pro-active creatures with a virulent homegrown agenda, one not just of defence but of conquest, destruction of rivals, and, ultimately and at its most megalomaniacal, absolute subjugation.'

In my opinion this 'blindspot' also applies to things such as humanitarian intervention by Western Governments in places like Kosovo and the notable lack of outrage over the lack of action in Sudan.

In terms of finding a response to balance security and maintaining constitutional protections, Abramsky rightly argues that unless those on the left take part in this debate and come up with solutions as to effective and just measures, the likes of Wolfowitz, Cheney, Kristol and Rumsfeld will be able to 'frame the terms of the discussion as they see fit' to disastrous results. Merely critiquing the policies of the 'neo-conservative cabal' will not help fight terrorism or win political power and it is high time that those on the left begin formulating positive policies of their own to respond to the changed realites of the world we live in.

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