By Jahanzeb Hussain
29 January, 2012
I wonder how Europe and North America would react if the victims of 9/11, 7/7 and Madrid bombings were universally declared as nothing but “collateral damage”. It is simply unthinkable that victims who happen to be citizens of imperialist countries can be deprived of their humanity, the value of their life negated and their memories brushed under the rug. It would be totally wrong if we dismissed the lost lives as a mean to an end. Human life is an end in itself and its worth can never be diminished.
However, it is culturally accepted that when an innocent Iraqi, Palestinian, Afghan and a Pakistani dies they are not automatically accorded the same human right that Westerners and whites are. They are not viewed as valuable lives, but they are looked down upon as “collateral damage”. They are not human beings, but they are objects and chattel. They are subordinates and secondary. There are no memorials for them. There are no events for them to mark their death anniversaries. Nobody cares about them. Why should anyone as they are just sorry people who are getting in our way as we “light up” the world with “freedom” and “democracy”? After all they are just “terrorists” by our interpretation of the world, therefore all these people should not be deserving of the rights that North America and Europe take for granted. They are less human than us, so it doesn’t matter what they go through as they don’t feel and breathe. They can be killed and it’s all right as long as we keep deriving self-satisfaction out of it, because we are doing something “good” and “noble”.
Here is what will happen if tomorrow morning if there is a bomb attack in London or Paris or NY or any other European or North American city vs. a drone attack in Pakistan:
The citizens of imperialist nations will be remembered till the end of living days, their personal stories will be told a million times over, their pictures will be all over the media, tears of their families will be broadcasted, leaders around the world will pay visits to the attacked sites, there will be compensations to the families, there will be fierce rhetoric against the attackers and a promise of revenge. On the other hand, Pakistani women and children killed in a bomb attack will be a tool for an end, meaning their murder will be justified under the name of “fighting terrorism” and making the “world safe for democracy”. They will not be humans but tools and a means to some supposedly higher end. Moreover, the leaders and intellectuals of the “Free World” will preach to these barbarians that they actually don’t understand what a noble act America and her allies are undertaking. The immature children, as Pakistanis clearly are given the fact that they are Pakistanis, will be taught that they are incapable of seeing that what is being done is in reality good for them. American and her allies are angels who can’t commit sins and they will say to Pakistanis that they should be silent and let the masters carry on and not be ungrateful, and one day you will comprehend what an amazing service has been done to Pakistanis – or Iraqis, Afghans, and whoever else happens to be “benefiting” from Western “benevolence”.
According to the Western narrative, the lives lost of these people are not actually anything wrong, but a sacrifice. The divine European and North American men are busy in some grand project, which once completed, will reveal itself worthy of millions of lost lives of Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and others.
This article was originally published on http://jahanzebjz.tumblr.com. Jahanzeb Hussain is the editor of Collateral Damage Magazine. He is a 22-year old student based in Vancouver, where he goes to Simon Fraser University. He also represents the Vancouver chapter of Afghans For Peace.
Jahanzeb Hussain is the editor of Collateral Damage Magazine. He is a 22-year old student based in Vancouver, where he goes to Simon Fraser University. He also represents the Vancouver chapter of Afghans For Peace.