Heads or tails
USA and political Islam are two sides of one coin
April 26, 2005
Message to 'Women from Iraq & Iran:
Visionaries for Peace in the 21st Century Conference',
Westfield State College, Westfield Massachusetts, April 14-17,
I know that peace
in the 21st century can often be difficult to envision especially
when we -- our lives, our rights,
our children, cities, schools and homes - are caught in the
crossfire in a war of terrorists.
It is crucial for any successful
discussion around visions of peace for the 21st century to look
at the USA's
adverse role in today's post-Cold War world. Iraq is a
model for what the USA represents for the 21st century -- insecurity,
disorder, poverty and hunger, mass unemployment, destruction,
No claims of weapons of mass destruction, liberation
from dictatorship, a defence of rights and a war on terror can
conceal its real nature. In Iraq, it is stripped naked and bare.
It is itself the only state to have used the atomic bomb; it
itself supported the dictatorship it has 'liberated' the
people of Iraq from; it is itself the main cause of the Iraqi
people's rightlessness. And despite its claims of fighting
a war on terror, the USA is itself a pole of international terrorism
in the world today.
it is not just Iraq. For profit and hegemony, the US ruling class
would turn this world, including America, into another
Iraq if it could. But that is only one part of 21st century reality.
Any successful discussion must also look at the other pole
terrorism in the world today -- political Islam.
It is political
Islam that hangs the likes of sweet 16-year-old Atefeh Rajabi
for 'acts incompatible with chastity' in city centres,
stones Maryam Ayoubi for adultery, throws acid in the faces
of those who refuse to veil, beheads prostitutes, and legally
sexual apartheid and misogyny.
All of you will have become
uncomfortably familiar with this right-wing reactionary political
from September 11 onwards when it went about its business
as usual but this time outside its zone of influence and power.
Political Islam and its ruling class would also turn this world
another Iraq if it could.
This vile movement may make many
claims as the USA does in order to legitimise its barbarity
-- from people's liberation
to democracy to rights - but they are only claims to dupe and
legitimise. It cares as much for the liberation of the people
of Palestine and Iraq as the USA does -- not more, not less.
Both will indiscriminately maim and slaughter the very people
they claim to defend. One will behead Westerners feigning
defence of women prisoners in Iraq with one hand whilst killing
women who refuse to veil with another. The other will feign
a defence of rights through indiscriminate bombings whilst
its soldiers' boots are trampling over tortured naked bodies.
both have women defenders -- from Maggie Thatcher and Condi
Rice to Fayezeh Rafsanjani and Zahra Shojaie who make declarations
about women's rights but implement misogyny. They both
have their media -- from CNN to Aljazeera, think tanks and
academics whipping up hype to make us believe that their claims
are not deceptions; that they are slaughtering for more than
profit and political power; that they actually have legitimate
demands and grievances and no alternative but terrorism ...
practical terms -- notwithstanding the differences -- however,
the USA and political Islam are two sides of one coin. They
have the same agenda, the same vision, the same infinite capacity
for violence, the same reliance on religion and reaction,
the same need for hegemony and profit-making. They represent
same new world order for 21st century humanity.
You don't need
to look beyond Abu Gharib or Evin prison or Guantanamo to see
it. When it comes to you and I, when it
comes to the people of America, Iran, Iraq... they are one
and the same and will Iraq-ise
the world if we let them.
But only if.
We must not let them exploit the suffering of millions
of people caught in their crossfire by claiming to represent
Only 21st century humanity can defend the interests of
humanity as well as peace and social justice.
This is our
Maryam Namazie is the host of 'The
International English, is a Central Council Member of the
Organisation of Women's Liberation and Director of the International
Relations Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran.