The media and right-wing politicians were quick to latch on to last month’s Brussels bombing to support a narrative of nationalism and xenophobia that leads to more war and terrorism.
Sarcasm aside, Europe is indeed battling dangerous demons. Demons which the world, and mainly Europeans themselves, thought died long ago with the fall of Nazism in 1945 — back when Germany was gripped by a terrifying ideology that claimed millions of innocent lives.
Then, anti-Semitism was almost a state religion, a political truth professed and preached not just by state officials, but state institutions. The media also played a key role in popularizing, rationalizing and otherwise mainstreaming the hate of the Jews, the hate of this elusive “others” fascists are always so keen on targeting.
Today this hateful, sadistic nihilism is coming back to haunt the world. In this age of globalism, and globalization, fascism, too, has become a global brand.
And while hate might not be a new concept, state officials, industry leaders and other movers and shakers’ show a startling willingness to promote the cultural, ethnic and sectarian narratives which, in the end, might destroy the very freedom they claim to protect.
It would be wise to remember that fascism does not rhyme with civil liberties.
It was Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul that owns Fox News, in the wake of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack in France, who suggested that all Muslims share the guilt of terrorism. He stated: “Maybe most Moslems are peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.”
Not only does this statement ignore many protests against terrorism in the Muslim world, but fast forward to 2016 and the rhetoric remains very much the same — if not even more sinister in undertones.
Take comments by Laurence Rossignol, France’s minister of family, children and women’s rights. In a Mar. 30 interview. Rossignol calmly stated that Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab are like “Negroes who accept slavery … Of course there are women who choose it [the veil] … There were American Negroes who were in favour of slavery.”
Who said colonialism was dead? Quite clearly the miasmas of imperialism and ethnocentrism survived America’s grand world democracy-building project and that little charter known as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
But what’s truly behind Islamophobia? What if Islam is just a convenient scapegoat in a Middle Eastern game of thrones? What if, and it is a big IF, this rising fascism against all things Arab, Muslim or vaguely Islamic-looking is actually the manifestation of unfettered capitalism?
In other words, Muslims have become a target of choice not because of their faith, or their alleged potential link to radicalism, but because of their geography, and Western powers’ hunger for control in the Middle East. Fear and hate here have been engineered as conduits for imperialism — a mean to justify wars and mass killings.