Last Friday, Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London, said: “Very often, people get incredibly angry about injustices that they see…They would have been reading about the torture at Guantanamo Bay, at Baghram airbase. They would have read stuff about how, I think it is 54 different countries secretly collaborated with America for this rendition — people being snatched off streets taken to be tortured, because the Bush regime believed that they were all potential terrorists…There was such ignorance in the Bush White House about Islam and about the history of so many disputes that exist in the Middle East. People get angry — they lash out…It’s the whole squalid intervention that has disfigured the record of the Western democracies. I think this fuels the anger of the young men, who — as we saw in Boston — went out, and, out of anger and demand for revenge, claimed lives in the West.”
It’s not often I admit that a Liberal is correct, but Livingstone really hit the nail on the head. Think about it: there have been so many acts of unnecessary aggression on the part of the United States over the last 20 years that we cannot ever know how much we have damaged the psyches of those in the Middle East.
What most Americans don’t understand is how different people in the Middle East are; how fragile they are. Europeans—specifically the English—have a depth of understanding that we simply do not have. What I wonder is how they achieved such enlightenment; and why we have been left so far behind.
These bombers—should we even call them that? It sounds so accusatory—came from a place of righteous anger. The brothers Tsarnaev were provoked into deliberately planning, slowly building, and precisely setting off those bombs at the Boston Marathon. They were provoked by America’s actions abroad. Think of the atrocities America has perpetrated:
1. We marched into Iraq—a shining city on a hill—and assassinated their leader; a man so deeply beloved by his people that they built—under absolutely no coercion or death threats—monuments in his honor. He loved his people so much that he had to kill them using poisonous gasses, boiling oil, and human shredding machines. If he hadn’t done so, they may have wandered out of the paradise he built just for them. In a way, Saddam was like God. We killed God. Shame on us.
2. Shame on us for invading Iraq, following our assassination of Saddam, and trying to construct a Democracy. A Democracy?! Disgusting! Freedom?! Horrid! Who are we to dictate what the definition of freedom is? Living with daily fear of death and torture may not be our cup of tea, but it may suit others just fine.
3. The way in which the United States behaves toward Iran is deplorable. We act as if their leader is an egomaniacal, sociopathic, anti-Semitic psychopath! All he ever said was “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury,” and “Iran can recruit hundreds of suicide bombers a day. Suicide is an invincible weapon. Suicide bombers in this land showed us the way, and they enlighten our future.” We act as if Ahmadinejad is a lunatic or something.
4. We do not give enough aid to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; that’s for sure. President Morsi has truly been given a bad rap. Quotes taken totally out of context make him look down-right awful. For example: “Either [you accept] the Zionists and everything they want, or else there is war. This is what the occupiers of the land of Palestine know—these blood suckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, these descendants of apes and pigs.” Sounds reasonable to me.
I could go on to list numerous other slights, but for the sake of time, I won’t. Needless to repeat, it is obviously the fault of the United States that the Boston freedom fighters set off those explosive devices.
It’s not as if almost the entirety of the Middle East is subject to a fanatical faith that demands the slaying of non-believers. It’s not as if these men were following some sort of religion or creed that promises a grand reward for terminating infidels. It’s not as if some holy war has been waged against the West for decades. That’s crazy talk.
It is we who should be ashamed; ashamed of our cruel desires to set nations free, and dismantle dictatorships. Who are we to judge? We should be asking Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for forgiveness; and thanking him and his dearly departed brother for cleansing us.
Thank you, former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, for setting us straight. Thank you for saying what others are too afraid to utter. Thank you for your incredible courage. You are certainly not the stupidest person in the world.