One of my friends has bipolar disorder. He suffers from it for a long time. There are moments when he is extremely reclusive, and then there are days that he does not want to go home. There are many who consider him a maniac and make fun of him both behind his back as well as in front of him. I find him as a very intelligent man whose ability to express himself is not at par with his mental prowess. This inability has left him at a perpetual internal conflict. In my view, this explains his now diagnosed mental condition.
I still do not consider him a patient, rather for me he is just a badly handled case of an extremely sensitive person with a high IQ. He still visits me often whenever he is out of his reclusive state. We spend hours sitting across a table discussing a wide range of topics from personal problems to global politics over multiple cups of tea. We have been like this for ages now. He has this ability to get fixated on an idea, or an opinion, and when he does so it is extremely difficult for anyone to make him change his view except for someone who is well aware of his tendencies.
One of our favourite topics of discussion, like other average Pakistanis, is the American foreign policy. What is different about our discussion from most Pakistanis perhaps is the fact that I do not blame the United States for all the evils that plague our part of the world, instead, I think that whatever the United States is doing is in her interests as the superpower of the world. I tell him that what has been lacking on our part is our ability to protect and project our own interests like a respectable, dignified, sovereign nation-state. But is that so? Is that also true for other states in the region? He disagrees.
I remember we were just starting out as grad students when 9/11 happened. I remember there was a mixed sentiment in the local public about what might have happened on that day. Some believed it was a cover up story and some Muslim country was going to pay for it, it later became apparent which ones. Some also believed that it happened as the official US narrative said it did. But those definitely were conspiracy theory days. Although there was a time when I used to indulge in them, I have never truly believed that real world history originated the way conspiracy theorists said it did. Maybe my scepticism was grounded on the fact that the conspiracy theories were often either too good to be true or too absurd to believe.
However, my particular friend has always had a different notion about them. He tells me “like every myth has a grain of truth, every conspiracy theory has some truth about it too which helps the molehill become a mountain”. He made a proclamation shortly after 9/11 that ‘the world will never be the same again, soon wars will ravage countries after countries, and people will be humiliated and killed just because they are Muslims, and the clash of civilisations is inevitable”.
Almost after 14 years since that day, I sadly have to admit that much of what he said then I now agree to it.
I used to believe that normal people anywhere, belonging to any caste, colour or creed, abhor violence and bloodshed. I used to tell myself often that no normal person is capable of killing a fellow human being no matter what beliefs he or she aspired to. However, over time I have learned that ‘normal’ is a subjective term. Today, Islamophobia is on a rise that is no secret to anyone, neither is the fact that white supremacism is reaching unprecedented levels.
There are people in this world who believe they are ‘liberal’ and who believe that their states are secular because they do not favour any particular moral standpoint, and yet they and their states demonize particular races, norms and ways of life. They ridicule others’ cultural values, dehumanize their pain and sufferings, and mock their religious beliefs and yet they shamelessly believe on their value neutrality – the so-called cultural foundation of the modern ‘scientific’ western society.
I still believe that it is very kind of the majority of the European public to sympathise with refugees from Syria and elsewhere. I believe that the majority of European public are normal people from my perspective, who empathise and feel the pain of their fellow human beings irrespective of their religion. It is all nice and comfy to see images of solidarity across Europe. However, what this vastly kind populace continues to ignore is the fact that these ‘refugees’ are in such miserable state because of the imperialist wars initiated by their governments, and who still continue to remain actively involved in redrawing the boundaries of the entire Africa, Middle East and Central Asia regions.
This blind pursuance of the Wolfowitz Doctrine by the United States supported by her European friends is bringing the world to a dangerous crossroads. The Iraq war and the policy of favouring a particular group of population over others, and aiding and abetting rogue groups in the region in the guise of regime change, have unleashed a cycle of violence in the Middle East that is now ready to devour Turkey. I do not know if the American policy makers have completely lost their minds, as has been hinted recently by Dr Paul Craig Roberts, or whether this collision course is deliberate, it increasingly looks like that my friend was right in the first place – the clash of civilisations is indeed inevitable.
I am also not entirely sure how long the Chinese and the Russians will tolerate the intimidating policies of the United States, but I am afraid the day they will say “that’s enough” will be the day we will be kissing goodbye to our beloved planet. I personally believe now that the ability of deciding the inevitability of the clash of civilisations is increasingly out of American hands, and the limit of patience by the Chinese and the Russians will now decide the fate of our world. The United States is now unable to control what she has unleashed.
And just the other day, my friend called on me again and said, “watch out for the last blood moon”. I told him I do not give a fig about conspiracy theories, the end of the world and the Jewish triumph. He told me “you are so naive, it is not about the Jews, it is about Zionists – they are too important to ignore, they have always been important since Hitler’s secret bankers”. He tells me that Zionism believes they will be the final victors of the impending clash of civilisations. I hear him with disbelief and I wonder because I have no answer for his prophecies but in my heart of heart, I must confess, I find myself afraid of this complete and sheer madness Samuel P. Huntington called the clash of civilisations.