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Trump Is a Symptom Not the Disease


#1

Trump Is a Symptom Not the Disease

Hamid Dabashi

On the same day that the depth of Donald Trump's racist bigotry hit a new low bycalling for a "total and complete" ban on Muslims entering the United States, anothernews item emerged that was overshadowed by the circus surrounding Trump: Candice Miller, a US Congresswoman, introduced a bill, the


#3

When does the media start reporting news instead of opinions. It's getting tiresome reading the news like the National Enquirer, all up for interpretation and mostly lies.


#4

Sharia is NOT fundamentalism--you really need to brush up on your scholarship.


#6

Hey, Trump--I lived in an Arab country for five years! I might be part of a sleeper cell!! You never know what might happen ...


#7

You know what really bothers me about the level of hatred we are seeing against Muslims? This country used to be considered a 'melting pot' where ALL peoples were welcome -- why have we rejected that? If we continue with this attitude what we are most afraid of will happen and it will be wholly because we asked for it!

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

We are all immigrants because the only people that were here when we arrived on the boats were Native Americans!


#8

You ignore cause and effect: There is a pattern of world-wide self-serving violence coming from Western countries under Washington's leadership. ISIL is mostly a result of the American attack and occupation of Iraq. America's wars need justification for the US taxpayer. So Islamophobia is deployed in various ways: Check out ReelMoslems and learn how Hollywood depicts Arabs/Moslems. Supporters of Israel buy into the notion that Israel is that civilised Western outpost in a jungle. Read Said about the age-old Orientalism. When Trump talks, he delves into a deep, often unspoken reservoir of anti-Moslem ideas floating around in Western societies.


#9

The people of the Middle East--Western Asia--have the great misfortune to be born in an important area of the world, in interesting times. If the Middle East was not home to the "world's energy reserves" and if Israel had been founded in South America (as the Zionists once proposed), then Muslims would not suffering and dying in the ways described by Mr. Dabashi. When the British and the French carved up the Middle East for their own purposes at the end of World War I they laid the foundation for the tragic history of the region that was to follow. Balkanization was always part of the policy designs of the Great Western Powers: Sunni against Shiite, Muslim against Christian, Arab against Kurd, religionists versus secularists and so on--the British and the French were content to exploit all these differences. When the Americans entered the scene at a later date, they made common cause with the House of Saud, and the reactionary emirate states.

In the climate of decolonization, there was talk of an "Arab awakening." Secular pan-Arabism became an ideal. Nationalists like Nasser of Egypt inspired a politics of hope. But "the Arabs" could not be allowed to think that their oil was really their oil, just as the Palestinians had to be disabused of the notion that Palestine was their home. The British and Americans instigated a coup in Iran on the assumption that Iranian oil belonged to them.

Now, as pointed out by Edward Said and others, the Great Western Powers could only have their way in the Middle East because of the political immaturity of the Middle Eastern nations. Sectarianism of one sort another has been a living curse. The oppression of the Kurds and other ethnic minorities has been a moral disgrace. The political left offered a mature vision of secular (pan-Arab) national development. But the Cold War was hot and the Imperial Powers made sure that the influence of the Left was negated. It's well known that one part of the strategy of marginalizing the Left was to encourage the growth of Islamic fundamentalism.

The political culture of the Middle East is now psychotic. The psychosis is a result of trauma: too much suffering, too much war, too many dead children and blasted landscapes. In Palestine, desperation rules, and the same is true in Iraq, Syria, Yemen Libya, and Afghanistan, as the Imperial Powers have made the term "Middle East" consonant with a theater of perpetual war rather than a strict geographic location.

The corrupt Gulf states are very much the center of psychotic politics. Saudi Arabia is a nightmare society: a country of feudal princes and foreign serfs; a place where women are slaves; where thieves have their hands chopped off; where money flows like water--or oil! Saudi Arabia is the covert ally of Israel in controlling "the Arab world." It notoriously funds Sunni Islamic extremists, including ISIS. These vicious types spend most of their time and energy killing and terrorizing the Shiite "infidels." But they do find time to launch the occasional attack against "the Crusaders" from the West. 9/11 was an operation carried out by Saudi nationals. It's unclear how much was known by Saudi government agencies. Saudi Arabia is the number one asset for the United States among the Arab nations. How it all works? Go figure!

I agree with Dabashi that Trump is merely the symptom of a deep-seated disease: the fear and hatred of the Muslim Other. But in order to understand the origins of the disease we have to go back, before 9/11, into the history of Western machinations in the Middle East. How many Americans, in these benighted times, are willing to do that? The answer contains the future treatment of Muslims in an American nation increasingly falling prey to its own psychosis...


#10

Americans were nearly twice as willing to assume that those saying they were committing violent acts in the name of Christianity weren't real Christians than they were to make the same distinction for Muslims.


#11

Good point! Why do we never hear the pejorative: RADICALIZED CHRISTIAN?


#12

You had my agreement and sympathy until your racist attack on Israel. This Jew is going to stop advocating for Muslims, which I have been doing aggressively. I will take a look at this visa proposal. You make a good argument for supporting it.


#13

I find the Nazi-like tool of "The scapegoat" appalling, unjust, and morally repugnant... and I thank you for mentioning "Blacks, Jews, and Latins."

Notice the glaring absence from Mr. Dabashi's irate (with cause) analysis:

"Arabs, South Asians, Iranians are today in the noble company of Native Americans, African Americans, Latino/Latina Americans, Asian Americans, fighting racism and discrimination by one brand of white supremacists or another."

He ignores, or otherwise is not aware of the anti-Semitism that was (and continues to exist, albeit more underground) so much a part of this nation's history, too.

Perhaps this is the fault of CD editors, but when will people realize that an ideal (or idea) is a principle, and the main honcho is the principal:

"To me this fundamental abrogation of human decency is worse than Trump's vulgarity. It is a fundamental democratic principal that a citizen is innocent unless proved guilty, that a citizen is entitled to his and her inalienable rights, and need not "earn" it or "fight for it"."

And lastly, I find this conclusion to be very limited. It leaves out the reality that 90% of so-called Muslim/Arab/Islamist violence is the direct result of, and response to Western encroachment, imperialism, and wars of aggression:

"There is no battle more urgent and more noble than this moral and intellectual struggle against the criminal thugs who call themselves the Taliban or al-Qaeda one day, or ISIL and Boko Haram another."

My take from this essay is a reinforcement of the same good guys versus bad guys narrative that is largely the impetus for the M.A.D.ness still defining itself as sane policy. It still frames international conflicts as sporting events and presupposes that there are winners and losers and battles are the key.


#14

Speaking of demonizing... "Jewish controlled media," huh?


#15

You have no proof for that allegation.

Did the Saudis have the means to order a stand-down order?

Did the Saudis have the means to make steel melt and buildings absolutely disintegrate in a manner FAR more consistent with controlled demolition?

Did the Saudis have motive as much as OTHER agents... such as those interested in launching an already-planned Middle East set of wars?

Did the Saudis have the means to circulate letters with Anthrax (traced to a U.S. military facility) to raise the fear and terror level one more notch?

Did the Saudis have the magical ability to seal up a hole in the Pentagon that an alleged aircraft penetrated?

You raise many good points but then you posit items like this... "Saudi Arabia is the number one asset for the United States among the Arab nations."

The hegemony of the petro-dollar is the real issue.

The U.S. has many assets. While it's refreshing to read a post that doesn't blame Israel/Jews first and foremost, that doesn't meant that other inaccuracies are not present.


#16

SR: You're blind. Why don't you check out who runs/owns the biggest media companies? Also, google Joel Stein's article on Hollywood (I'll make it easy for you, here it is http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/19/opinion/oe-stein19). Did you miss the standing ovations by congress to Bibi (despite Obama's displeasure at his presence)? Have you missed all the unnatural love shown by all the D and R candidates--and our prez--to Isreal?

Wow, you're either blind or too afraid to be politically incorrect.


#17

Having seen what religious fanaticism can do today and having been victimized by Christian, Jewish and Muslim fanatics through the ages, maybe some Americans mistrust those that flaunt any religion.


#20

Saudi Arab is the number one asset for the United States among the Arab world precisely because of the "hegemony of the petro-dollar." Actually, that's too crude: the real issue is not money as such, but control of the oil. Oil is the blood of contemporary capitalism: whoever controls the oil controls the world. The US controls Saudi Arabia to this end. As for the question of who perpetrated 9/11, I read the 9/11 Commission's Report. The Report leaves open some glaring questions, but there can be no doubt that the 19 individuals involved were the direct perpetrators. As for the way the towers fell, I am not a physicist and neither (I imagine) are you. You've read some stuff and so have I. I've read articles that say that the way the towers fell was indeed very possible. We did see the planes hit, but we have no hard evidence that bombs were employed. Until there is good reason to suppose otherwise, I'm going to go with the tried and trusted principle that the simplest explanation is often the most correct. The fact that Saudi operatives carried out 9/11 does NOT mean that the United States government was unaware that something was amiss. This does not mean that 9/11 was an inside job. Perhaps they underestimated what the terrorists had in mind. Incompetence and misjudgment should not be dismissed when it comes to understanding governmental affairs. In short, both positions can be true at one and the same time: Saudi nationals carried out 9/11 and the US government knew something. You yourself often criticize people for either/or thinking.


#23

Can you give the article another more careful read? Here's some help:

"These are not easy days for Muslims who live in the US and the horrid criminal acts in San Bernardino or Paris."
- 6th paragraph

"Internally we are being eaten alive by a gang of murderous mercenary cannibals who have stolen the most sacrosanct insignia of who we are and what we believe in and call themselves "Islamic" one thing or another."
- 20th paragraph

"There is no battle more urgent and more noble than this moral and intellectual struggle against the criminal thugs who call themselves the Taliban or al-Qaeda one day, or ISIL and Boko Haram another."
- 21st paragraph.


Related to your typical white islamophobic accusation of "insufficient condemnation of terrorism" I propose that, as a protest action, Muslims organize and go into, say, the "S'ahthside" bar district in my town where all the white bubbas gather, and go into each bar - men with their "Islamic style" beards and women in their hijabs, and shout over, and over and over again - loud enough to drown out everyone's conversation:

"We renounce terrorism We renounce terrorism We renounce terrorism We renounce terrorism we renounce terrorism We renounce terrorism...." continuously for at least an hour.

Will these white racists hear them now? Answer: Yes they will. But will it help? Answer: No. They will likely be assaulted by the drunken white racist thugs - simply for being Muslims.


#24

While it is true that upper management of the entertainment industry is largely Jewish, that alone does not imply that they support Israel's atrocious behavior. Sure; they largely do - but so do the WASP and Catholic managers of the media.

When I criticize Israel, I am very careful to only talk about Israel, and the associated ideology of Zionism - never "the Jews". To do so makes one quite justifiably a target of accusations of anti-Semitism.

This brings up a conundrum. I may not conflate the State of Israel with Judaism, but unfortunately, all the most vociferous USAn defenders of Israel do. They will insist that the Israel and its land-robbing, ethnic cleansing policies is the heart Judaism and Judaism is the heart of Israel and its land robbing and ethnic cleansing policies. This certainly may lead to the temptation to dispense with trying to be nice and simply just call the whole mess the fault of "The Jews". But if you do so, you are falling into their trap they have set for you!


#25

I assume you are not actually quoting a scientific poll, because I's say it is more like ten times more likely...


#26

So criticism of Israel's manifestly unjust policies - which has been one of the great racist injustices that has fed extremism in the region - is racism and "targeting the Jews" eh? Also, if you had read the article, you would have noticed that Hamid, the article author, also mentioned Israel, so there was nothing "gratuitous" about it.