Tell Me Who the Terrorists Are


Photo by Emmanuel Gonzalez

U.S. Bombings Since 1950.

This is not another article that attempts to condense the history of ISIS into 1,000 words or less. This is an article about perspective, a perspective that media corporations have irresponsibly created.

Best said by Lt. General William Odom, “By any measure the U.S. has long used terrorism. In ‘78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the U.S. would be in violation.”

Odom was the director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan.

A time in the world, where the U.S. shook things up in Latin America creating death squads to overthrow governments and place their own elected officials that would carry out a U.S. agenda. Recall Cuba before Fidel Castro, a Cuba at a time of utmost discrimination and racism.

Finally free from Spanish colonialism, Cuba shortly fell to United States colonialism soon after and tried to impose segregationist policies on the Cuban people.  The Youtube series, “Black In Latin America” speaks more on the American occupation for those interested.

How has America tried to overthrow governments though? That’s the interesting part. American tax dollars put guns, chemical weapons, and gave militant training to some of the most brutal killers in Latin America. It’s not a matter of diplomacy or securing economical investment, it’s kill everyone who doesn’t agree.

History professor Thomas Wright at the university of Las Vegas, Nevada said it best in his article about the U.S. involvement in Mexico, “This growing militarization and the use of terror against civilian, especially indigenous, populations under the guise of fighting drug traffickers and guerrillas, is the other, ugly face of recent political change that has seen the invigoration of civil society in urban areas and the end of the PRI’s long monopoly of political power.”

It’s a sentiment very familiar to the rest of Latin America.

And it’s the exact same thing that is happening in the Middle East and in the continent of Africa. Imperialist countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have occupied these countries and ruled with terror. Specific examples are not necessary to explain how areas with plenty of valuable resource for trade are still so poor.

Though, those in disbelief may easily find information on the colonization of Africa provided by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture through the New York Public Library.  One of hundreds of sources.

Or watch Noam Chomsky, an emeritus professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, speak on the matter in his speech entitled “Modern Day American Imperialism – Middle East and Beyond.”

But it’s not just America, almost every European country dipped their hand in the bowl.

Now, with all that said, in no way are the acts of ISIS justifiable and this is not some type of scoreboard (Although, if it were, imperialist nations would be leading in the murder count), instead this information should be used to remember that the ongoing conflicts of today are not matters of righteous and savage, they are matters of imperialism and retaliation.

Often, the criticism and understanding of ISIS brews from the notion that they are Islamic extremists. This is false and an oversimplification of the history in the Middle East. To pin it on religion is to deny the historical complexity and the narrative of those who have suffered. To blame religion, is in itself a form of colonialism.

Therefore, the reckless use of the word “jihad” has got to stop. It’s often used to describe terrorists, but jihad as Sheikh Ahmed Arafat describes it, in terms of warfare, it can be interpreted as a form of “national security,” as any other nation would have. In cases where Muslims are told to be anything but peaceful in the Quran, it is to fight back against oppressors, and even so, modern day application changes the meaning.

Arafat is from the Mosque Foundation in Chicagoland and posted his speech on ISIS and Islamophobia on Youtube. “ISIS has extreme views that have nothing to do with Islam,” he said. He then goes on to tell those who would point to violent verses in the Quran and the answer to that is, “simple, look at the context.”

The only thing simple in current affairs is that ISIS is not compatible with Islam, Zionism is not compatible with Judaism (Dr. Simona Sharoni who came to NEIU to speak on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can attest to that) and racism is not compatible with Christianity. To simply blame religion, and this goes in the case of all religions, not just Islam, is to oversimplify a situation, to limit your perspective and to be the very “blind sheep” that you criticize in religions.