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Osgerby: Islamophobia and ‘Pax Americana’

BY PAUL OSGERBY | APRIL 14, 2015 5:00 AM

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It seems with every passing day, the death toll increases in the Middle East as tension continues to rise. Just two days ago, two separate bombs detonated in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing at least a dozen and injuring more. Sinai Province Group, an ISIS affiliate, was behind the tragedies.

Differing powers, from states to sub-states to organizations, have ignited a slew of attacks causing civilian casualties in order to vie for control of certain regions under banners like religion.

Centuries-old conflicts have been dug out of their graves to be reborn.

John Batchelor, a New York radio host, wrote an Al Jazeera opinion piece marking the turmoil “as part of a single epochal transition: the end of Pax Americana in the Middle East.”

First, by prescribing the terminology of “Pax Americana,” Western imperialistic tradition is perpetuated as America’s manifest domination of the world. Batchelor’s claiming that the withdrawal of United States’ international mediation in the region has caused a collapse; our military maintained homogeneity.

It follows the algorithmic theory that by diminishing our presence in the Middle East, a vacuum has been created to allow potential terrorist or politically threating organizations fester in the region.

This is an extension of Islamophobia and imperialism.

As each day churns out a new tragedy in the Middle East, fingers are pointed to the ISIS insurgency, or coined by others in the media as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. By the way, the term “Levant” refers to Greek and Roman perspectives of where that region of the world is situated — another instance of Western dominion.

What needs to be addressed here is that global superpowers, such as the United States and United Kingdom, need to stop infantilizing the region. We think we are responsible for the caretaking of an entire subcontinent.

Perhaps we fear their judicial and religious systems, which are by no means mutually exclusive (though the same can be recognized in South America). We banner their law enforcement as an infringement on human rights. Yet, we in turn infringe on human rights with unmitigated drone strikes on civilian communities on the hunch that military intelligence has recognized a terrorist threat.

The whirr of helicopter blades carries the ever-present possibility of death in the Middle East. This instance occurs nearly daily.

Just as the sounds of said blades are created through a repetition of cycles through the air, we breed a cycle of conflict through push-and-shove militaristic presences and rhetoric. Do not be mistaken.

Our media’s portrayal of the Middle East is further propagating an idealized Western dominance.

To say that our lack of armed forces in the “Levant” allowed a cesspool to cultivate organizations such as the ISIS is blinded by Western ideology and therefore imperialism.

I am not saying the atrocities that ISIS has committed should go without repercussions. Justice should be served.

However, to portray the United States as necessary to the political stability of the Middle East is just another push against those regional powers that will ultimately garner another retaliation. Using terminology such as “Pax Americana” is just another push that indirectly feeds Islamophobia.


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