More from RELS 348: Empire, Religion, and Colonialism

A response to T.J. Petrowski’s story “Attack in Paris a Direct Result of Western Imperialism” on the website dissidentvoice.org

In a recent terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly magazine based in Paris, twelve innocent people were killed. The perpetrators of the attack have come forward and identified themselves as belonging to a branch of the Islamic extremist group Al-Qaeda. The terrorists justified their ruthless murders as an act of holy Jihad carried out to uphold the values of their Islamic religion. Terrorism in and of itself, however, is no more than a violent and savage crime against humanity. Attacks against media and press organizations are essentially an attack against one of the most fundamental rights of mankind, and, therefore, they cannot be justified in any way whatsoever. By denying the freedom of speech through armed threats, these violent Islamic terrorists have done nothing but prove themselves once more as public enemies.

But there is a lesson here to be learned for all of us. Strictly speaking, the aggressive forces of Islamic extremists have not come about naturally. 20th century was an era of imperialism, when capitalistic nations of the West competed for and, eventually, colonized land in the Middle East, as well as in Asia, Africa, and South America. In various attempts to seize control of and monopolize natural resources in the Middle East, the Western powers have deprived the area of its natural political, economic, socio-cultural, and religious environment, thus beginning a long cycle of violence and oppression. In particular, they meddled in Shia-Sunni relations and sparked the conflict between Christians and Isamist, creating friction between various groups and ideologies. Thus, the chaos that inhabit the Mid-East today can be said to stem from a history of wrongful intrusion and domination by Western imperialists.

NL

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