Opinion * FAQ * Write for The Iranian
* Editorial policy

Enemy within
Who should we wage a war against?

By Ali Khalili
November 8, 2001
The Iranian

The "War Against Terrorism" must seem quite justified to many. Afterall, America was attacked right at its heart and the theory withholds that you have a right to self-defence. And I am sure, there are quite a few who could tell you the reasons and the roots of the attack on America and that America was merely ripping the seeds it sowed for so long.

And if we go back, there is maybe a way to justify Iraq's aggression against Iran and Iran's prolongation of a futile war, if you look through the eyes of either side. And I am sure, there must have been some conviction in the hearts of the soldiers who fought the World War II or those who fought the trench warfares of first war .

And maybe, the Arab invaders of Iran felt righteous about their cause when they nearly wiped out the whole Persian Empire. And I am sure, had we had the opportunity to get better news services, there was a way to reason why Iran sent an army of forty odd nations to conquire Athens or why Nader Shah made a rendez-vous attack on India and raped it of its riches and returned.

But at the end of the day, no matter which side we are on, no matter how righteous we feel about our cause to wage war on another nation, another people, or another group, whether they are the Americans, the Afghans, the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims or whoever, we are not doing anything more than beating a dead horse... a horse that has been beaten to death more than just once.

The pundits would remember that World War I was supposed to be the war to end all war. But isn't it ironic that after thousands of years, humanity was thinking that a war and a bloody one in that, would end all wars? And isn't it ironic that this is still our trend of thought?

Today, one group calls for a Islamic Jihad and the other is launching a "war on terrorism". Both feel justified and victimized and argue that the only way to treat their ill, is by running airplanes full of innocent people into towers or by dropping bombs on the evil forces of Taliban. But are we going to get anywhere from here? Is there any point to what we do? I am sure that everyone in the history of mankind, felt an urgency, and a need to impose their thoughts.

And look how far we have come? We are still fighting wars against one another. We are still killing one another, in any name, for any cause. But is the enemy really America or Osama Bin Laden? Are the Jews the culprits of our pain? Are the Arabs these terrorist-minded people that bear the blame for everything? Wasn't there pain and misery, before all these were even relevant, for centuries after centuries?

Weren't the Arabs who feel victimized today, the same people who conquired every piece of land from Afghanistan to Spain and showed no pity towards their captivated Iranians? Or weren't the Iranians the same people who at every opportune moment, ventured to other territories for a piece of land? Or aren't the Jews, who are now in the giving end of things, the same people who were living under Hitler and were at the receving end of things five decades ago? Weren't the Romans, the Brits, the Mongols, the Russians, the Japanese and the French, some of the most brutal conquirers ever?

So, who is to blame? who should we wage a war against? How long can we blame America or Jews or muslims or this and that for? How many more wars do we need to wage? How many enemies do we need to create? Will the war against Taliban, be the war to end all wars? Will terror end, in all of its forms after this day for everyone? Or would the destruction of America at all cost, save our world and make life better?

When after September 11th, Colin Powell said that the "enemy is within us", he was quite right. Except, for he didn't mean what I mean. Humanbeings have fought one another for thousands of years, quite often for causes that were at the time in the eyes of some justified. We have looked to blame our miseries on others... sometimes justified and sometimes nothing more than a way of taking the blame away from ourselves.

We have divided our world , by countless boundaries, whether in the form of actual national borders that we kill and die for and have no idea who has drawn them or the flags we so passionately wave but have no idea where they actually come from or the religions who again we trust are coming from these eternally righteous sources but can never be sure of or our pigmentation and biology which quite often have no control over.

Yes, the enemy is within. The enemy is within us, all of us and if there is one war worth fighting, is the war against all wars, the war within. Centuries have gone by and still, very few people, if any at all, can truly claim that they have managed to win this one, because hate is always easier than love, because blaming others is always easier than forgiving and moving on, because generalizing is always so much easier, because we are always the right one, the good one or at least the better one.

It is ironic, because winning this war needs no fancy war tools, no suicide bombers, no massive armies marching onwards towards the enemy and yet, we are still fighting, everyday, more than five billion battles, in every corner of the world. And more often than not, the battle is lost, because we choose to hate this person for their color, religion, ethnicity, or whatever that happens that differentiates them from us.

It's a tough war to fight... it's a tough war to win, as history could tell you. So many other exterior wars have come and gone, but this one, we still must fight... everyone of us, everyday, every waking hour and everywhere. And whether we will have a better world tommorow will not depend on the small words of a few self-centered politicians and hatemonging warriors, who would do almost anything to guarantee an election or make sure that their philosophy prevails.

The war against terrorism as Geroge W likes to call it or the war between Muslims and America as Osama likes to call it, will come and go. Some will lose their lives along the path and some will feel more pain, misery and fear. But at the end of the day, it will be upto us, to fight the real fight; to leave our comfort zones; to break the barriers; to push aside everything that we were told was sacred enough to justify drawing lines between us and others; to do our best to remove everything that makes our world, a world of "us" and "them". And to forgive and forget, when taking these steps feels a little bit too hard early on.

It may sound like a cliche... too easy to say and too hard for the hungary or disposed. It definitely does not sound very glamerous. We all want to be the one who will be remembered for ever, the freedom fighter, the liberator, the icon. But we have had quite a few of those in history and obviously, they were not the answer.

A few years ago, I received an annual letter from my Member of Parliament for end of year reviews. At the end of it, there was a line that I will always remember : "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." Indeed, the problems of our world could only be fixed, if the beast inside can be tamed and defeated.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for the writer Ali Khalili


... following the
September 11, terrorist attacks

By Ali Khalili

Farewell cherry tree
During the Iran-Iraq war thousands of boys were sent to Europe. I was one of them


Features archive

* Recent

* Cover stories

* Writers

* All sections

Flower delivery in Iran
Copyright © Iranian.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Terms for more information contact: times@iranian.com
Web design by BTC Consultants
Internet server Global Publishing Group