SHAFAQNA – On March 10, 2016 Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran warned against the danger of sectarianism – denouncing those powers which have engineered tensions within the Islamic World out of a desire for control.
Speaking before the newly elected Assembly of Experts, which duties extend to the nomination of the next Supreme Leader, Iran’s utmost religious figure, as well as constitutional guardian, Ayatollah Khamenei, spoke much needed words of not just peace, but wisdom, at a time when the world has been engulfed by hatred, xenophobia, and religious bigotry.
He stressed: “The enemies of Islam are trying to turn these differences [religious] into a religious strife so that they don’t end easily. We must not contribute to this dangerous goal.”
The Supreme Leader then went on saying: “We have been harmed by the West and we should not forget what the West has done to us. I am not in favour of cutting ties with the West, but we should know with whom we are interacting. We should have relations with the entire world except the US and the Zionist regime (Israel) but we should know that the world is not limited exclusively to the West and Europe.”
In a few sentences Ayatollah Khamenei summarized the terrible reality the Greater Middle East finds itself under, without truly grasping it. And while many will only read Iran’s rejection of Israel, I would urge readers to really ponder over the choice of words, and formulations, as they hide a truth we ought to pay attention to if we are in fact to prevent grand scale political enslavement.
The Middle East stands at war with an enemy which is as elusive, as it has been insidious and nefarious – Still, we have failed to give it its true label, thus allowing instead for its servants to define the new narrative of war, according to a pre-determined semantic, which only goal is to warped our grasp on reality.
We are at war against Terror we all have been told since 2001 … but what is Terror? And how can the world be at war with an ideology? Terror is a concept, it is not an individual, and it is not a state one can simply engage military.
What is the War on Terror if not the institutionalization of perpetual war? What is the War on Terror if not the personification of Western exceptionalism against the Greater Middle East?
When Ayatollah Khamenei speaks of the West do not hear judgment against a people or a civilization, but rather criticism against a system which claims itself democratic, when in fact it serves an imperialistic, and very authoritarian agenda. The “West”, as expressed by Iran’s Supreme Leader refers to a system of political governance, not individuals … those are the misconceptions Western governments would like to perpetuate so that people would not pay heed to warnings.
I am convinced that should the world be made to hear, and understand Iran’s true revolutionary tradition, it would recognize the democratic ideals of a republic which anchored itself in the Scriptures, to rise a system which would serve the people, and humble the mighty. Unlike America which still claims to be one nation under God, while at the same sneering in disgust at those who do ambition to live by the Words, Iran’s Islamic Republic stands by such an adage … it built its institutions on Islam’s purest tradition, it allowed for a nation to reclaim its future away from imperialism and Western patronage.
This hatred many continue to harbour towards Iran was actually manufactured by Western capitals as a knee jerk reaction to Iranians’ defiance of Britain’s unlawful claims over its natural resources. Look back in history and you will find that Britain pleaded with the UN back in the 1950s so that it’d be allowed to reclaim control over Iran’s oil and gas resources after parliament revoked the Crown’s monopoly.
Because of its resistance against Western imperialism Iran was shun, locked away in a political box – demonized for its independence, vilified for standing in its own political truth.
Just like Iran faced a very colonial power-grab some decades ago in the form of the British Petroleum Company, the Greater Middle East is facing military occupation under the convenient “counter-terrorism” label.
If you read carefully, you will see that Ayatollah Khamenei is only calling for caution, not political self-exile …He is calling for his people, and beyond, all people to understand that to find truths one needs to see past agendas, and manipulations. More importantly, he urged all to resist the dangers of political indoctrination – Wester powers do not hold a monopoly on democracy. There are in facts many paths nations could walk and still claim themselves democratic. Why assume that Democracy has to be Western to be worthy?
But what of sectarianism? What of this evil which again we have been told has eaten away at the Greater Middle East fuelling and feeding hatreds across the region, while allowing for the spread of radicalism?
How many times have you been told by the media that all MENA wars carry a sectarian element to them? How many times have we seen media used sectarian adjectives when referring to factions, officials or even countries?
Those adjectives have shaped our reality, allowing for our minds to reduce conflicts to over-simplified religious spats.
Remember this: as long as governments have you distracted, as long as you are busy hating pre-packaged scapegoats you will remain blind to the manipulations and crimes committed against you.
In their desire to have us locked out of reality, world powers have created a web of hatred: Shia versus Sunni, Muslims versus Christians, West versus East … We are trapped in binary hell!
The only sectarianism there is has been created by fascism, and fascism’s hand maiden: Wahhabism, Zionism, Us Exceptionalism, Neo-Ottomanism.
There is a war which is being waged and we have still to call it by its real name! Unfettered capitalism.
By Catherine Shakdam – This article first appeared in the American Herald Tribune