mehreenkasana:

It amazes me how topical 9/11 is in the American consciousness when someone asks, “Where were you on 9/11?” I was in front of the television doing my homework. But I often ask: Where were you on 10/7 or 3/20 or 6/18 or 8/6 or 9/6 or 5/15 or the other dates when Western hegemony assaulted the lives of millions of innocent men and women? Where were you when the United States employed white phosphorous in Iraq in 2004 that resulted in a 38-fold increase in leukaemia, female breast cancer, infant mortality, lymphoma and brain tumors; statistics crossing those who survived the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? More importantly, as an American, when will you apologize?

No amount of polls of Muslims denouncing ISIS will authenticate our humanity to the average Westerner who trusts propagated tropes from a culture industry more than anything else. It does not matter to the average bigot whether 126 senior Islamic scholars hailing from various parts of the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, North Africa and beyond theologically make clear in an open 24-bullet letter that the deeds of ISIS are entirely un-Islamic because to the average bigot, Islam is beyond redemption and its followers deserve to be punished by virtue of the faith they follow. It does not matter if one explains, as Alireza Doostdar does meticulously in this essay, that ISIS is not a religious problem but a political exacerbation that necessitates a contextual understanding of its chronological development and proliferation. This hostility is not innate. One is not born with vengeance for a specific group of people. It is instilled and socialized through social and institutional production of ideology from the State, media outlets, academia and everyday social exchange. It is manufactured by ever escalating dosages of premeditated images, sound bites and seductive rhetoric that lures one into regurgitating falsities about a people. It reaches to a point, as we see today, where simply appearing to be Muslim (as if there is a specific aesthetic embodied by us) elicits some of the most unwarranted suspicion, invasive questions and in many cases, outright violence.

No Apology