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Anatomy of Racism
"This chauvinism about western superiority is not limited to their history and social etiquette and ethics, but also to their philosophical, ethnological, anthropological, neurological and psychological assumptions and theories."
Webster defines racism as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial difference produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. While racism has existed in some form or another, probably its worst manifestation has had been seen in the history of Europe and the Americas.
Truly, the history of Western civilization is littered with the corpses of the ‘other’ peoples. The blueprints for justifications of murder, genocide, annexation, plunder and colonization - all can be found in the Bible  and in the statements of its interpreters, Church fathers and leaders, and those who came later as philosophers – believing Christians and non-believing atheists, let alone the slave-traders and –masters, colonizers and warmongers. Strictly speaking if there ever were just one factor around which all of them agreed to it was in their basic belief about the superiority of their white European race.
Thus we are not surprised to find that the West presented our world with the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the near-extinction of the Native Americans and the Australian Aborigines, the Pogroms, Witch-burning and gypsy-hunting, the Ghettos and the Embargos, the two World Wars, Ethnic cleansing, the Jewish Holocaust and the Genocides, and not to forget the African slavery (or Holocaust). Let us also not overlook the western contribution to such ideologies as Nazism, Fascism, Zionism and Marxism/Socialism/Communism. (The list above is by no means a comprehensive one.) Nor are we astonished with the monstrosity of the crimes that were committed against prisoners and detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Diego Garcia and other places around the world (including the United States). She was the first to try out her latest WMDs on the ‘other’ people (actually the only one to ever drop atom bombs – and there too, the bombs were dropped on Japan and not Germany). She is also responsible for total extermination of some human races from the face of our globe. Over and above all these acts of mass-murder, demonic savagery and violence she has also systematically destroyed the culture, religion, identity and way of life of the peoples that she conquered. But none of these really troubles her. Like a megalomaniac and one gravely afflicted with cognitive dissonance, she is convinced of her ‘civilizing’ mission and has chosen to be amnesic about her troubling past.
The chauvinistic attitude of European superiority has given rise to western egocentrism – something that has always existed since the time of ancient Greece. For a European (and American), civilized world always meant the West; history thus begins from Greece, and ends in England, France, Germany and America. Forgotten are the contributions of Islamic civilization to make that dotted connection possible from Ancient Greece to new Europe (and America). Forgotten also are the Sumerian, Egyptian, Persian, Chinese, Indian, Arab and other civilizations in making our world history. It was all too natural therefore to rediscover Jesus, born in Bethlehem in Palestine, as a European with blond straight hair and greenish eyes. As the (so-called) Son of God, he had to appear European for the collective spirit of the West! His birthday had to be transplanted to December 25 to match the pagan festivity around Sol Invicticus, popularly observed across the Roman Empire. Even his mother Mary had to appear European looking. So complete is this transformation that all his disciples also, minus Judas Iscariot, had to appear European!
The western egocentrism was reinforced by the period of colonial domination, when much of the non-Western (including the Muslim) world fell under European domination. This is what late Prof. Edward Said called “Orientalism.” Belief in their own cultural (religious and racial) superiority helped Europeans to justify colonialism; Europeans were fulfilling a God-given (or evolutionary) duty by educating and enlightening the ignorant non-Westerners.
Racism is so much entrenched within the western psyche that many westerners are unaware of its very existence until put the test. The Clinton Administration won’t send troops to stop the genocide in Rwanda. The treatment of the other people, e.g., the Afghans or Iraqis or other Muslims in the prisons and detention camps, is directly linked to that racist mentality. The highly offensive remarks of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, General Boykin, Pat Robertson, Bush and Blair all are part of that contemptuous mindset. So is the contemptible U.S. donation for the five million victims of the Tsunami earthquake that hit 11 Asian countries on the Boxing Day!
Many Westerners genuinely believe in their supremacy! Their scholars and teachers have cemented this mentality. As a matter of fact all western philosophers (with very few exceptions) from David Hume (1711-76), Georg W. F. Hegel (1770-1831), Theodor Noldeke (1836-1930) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)  to Sigmund Freud and André Siegfried (1875-1959)  have shown a very prejudiced attitude towards their white race. Even Ernest Renan (1823-92), a great anthropologist and philologist, suggested that the western or northern race was superior to all others and that the blacks of Africa, the aboriginals of Australia and the native Indians of America as members of the "inferior race". According to Count Joseph-Arthur Gobineau (1816-82), mankind is divided into three basic races. The most inferior is the black race, closely followed by the yellow race; the white race is the most superior.
Hegel was arguably the greatest intellectual mind of the West. His philosophy gave rise to almost all the western intellectual movements of the 19th and the 20th century. Marxism, Existentialism, Psychoanalysis, and historiology - all have their roots in Hegel. Speaking about him, Dr. Ali Shariati (d. 1977), one of the great intellectual minds of the East, remarked some 30 years ago: “Hegel who purported to be a great genius said that the Spirit was 'unconscious' before it entered into the world of nature and animal. There it reached a stage of self-consciousness and then in the form of a spirit it entered into man. Then it started its first evolutionary stage when it entered into the Eastern man. Having completed its Eastern evolution it entered into the Western man. Then it entered into the Germans to achieve further perfection, and then it entered into the German government. And finally it entered the kingdom which rules us now." Wow! Look how far Hegel's whole reasoning and arguments have gone!”
To a westerner, the ancient war between the Persians and the Greeks was a war with the barbarians. This, in spite of the fact that the Medo-Persian Empire under Dhul Qarnain (King Cyrus) had a superior culture and that he defeated the Greeks very badly (see the Qur’an: Surah al-Kahf for details). So is the war between the Persians and the Byzantines during the time of the Prophet of Islam.
This chauvinism about western superiority is not limited to their history and social etiquette and ethics, but also to their philosophical, ethnological, anthropological, neurological and psychological assumptions and theories. To elaborate on this thread, Dr. Shariati remarked, “Professor Siegfried states that, "God or Nature has created two kinds of races in nature: the boss who must direct, and the laborer who must obey. Which one is needed more? Obviously the laborer. Every thousand laborers calls for two to three bosses. So, God has created a European race - who is the boss, and an Eastern race - who is the laborer. This is why the birth rate of the East is 3%-5% annually, while for West is 1%." … He [Siegfried] further says, "What you see and tend to ignore on the sidewalk is a French gentleman, an average worker with blond hair and blue eyes, who can easily direct huge organizations and offices of the East. While, if you go to the East, you will find great thinkers and personalities who are incapable of directing a six-man organization. Why? Because the Western brain creates civilization and organization while the Eastern brain is sentimental, poetical, and theosophical. [Reference: L'Ame des peuples (Spirit of Nations), tr. into Persian by Ahmad Aram, Tehran]”
There were times when many in the once-colonized Eastern countries believed in such baloney about supremacy of the Western mind. But those days are numbered, thanks to genuine and progressive native intellectuals who were able to sort out symptoms from root causes behind the apparent lagging of their newly independent countries. The best minds in many prestigious western universities today are those of non-westerners. [Already every other faculty member in Engineering in many top-rated American universities is a foreign-born Easterner. And their proportion is steadily rising.] Many non-westerners now run some of the biggest corporations on both sides of the Atlantic. [This, in spite of the not-so-subtle prejudice or discrimination that is so common in the corporate world.] The advancement in areas of science and technology in the western world owes heavily to these non-western experts. So much claptrap about western superior race!
Now the question is: why does the West propagate such falsehoods? I infer it is because of two main reasons: 1) repeating the mantra of White supremacy helps psychologically to inflate the Western ego and renew the faith among her own rank and file (necessary for further exploitation of the East), and 2) (something that sociologists, since the days of Ibn Khaldun have known) she knows very well that cultural slavery is the worst form of slavery. In order to achieve this purpose, the exploiter searches for ways to deprive a nation of its personality, which is defined as the unique aspects of a culture that differentiates it from another. The exploitive sociology of Europe and America, therefore, has realized that in order to rob and exploit the East, it has to strip her of her personality; she has to be defeated and denuded completely. She has to be proven that she is inferior to the European race; everything she produces is also inferior. Once this is accomplished she will proudly follow the West, and become a happy consumer of western goods that are produced by the Capitalist West. [Yes, it is all about exploitation and greed.] She will have European/American advisers to even choose and decide for herself. He who has a past but cannot recognize it is an easy prey in this vicious game of exploitation.
This task of cultural imperialism is, therefore, shouldered by two forces – one imperial/occupational, carried out by its ‘imperialist’ intellectuals, think tanks and ‘experts’ - and the other native, comprising of culturally alienated ‘house niggers’ or (whom I call) ‘cultural coolies.’ These ‘house niggers,’ acting like vultures and hyenas that wait to devour the corpse, are often more zealous than their masters. To defeat racism, it is, therefore, necessary to identify these two forces and confront their untenable messages.
Racism and West-mania have worked in the past and will continue to work for a foreseeable future until the East can reclaim and redevelop her personality.
. See the Book of Genesis 9:21-26 for justification of racism against the children of Ham, identified with the African race. The concept of e Chosen People is also limited to the Children of Judah, or the Jewish people, something that has become a rallying cry to justify the Zionist annexation of Palestine, at the exclusion of its indigenous people – the Palestinians.
. Contrast the Christian attitude on racism with Islam. The Qur’an says: “O mankind! Lo! We have created male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” (39:13) Also, reflect on the verse 30:22 (And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your language and colors. Lo! Herein indeed are portents for men of knowledge.) In his Farewell hajj speech, the prophet of Islam said, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve; an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”
. To understand the Crusades, it is imperative to analyze Pope Urban II’s statement, “Oh, race of Franks, race from across the mountains, race chosen and beloved by God, as shines forth in very many of your works, set apart from all nations by the situation of your country, as well as by your Catholic faith and the honor of the Holy Church! … From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently has been brought to our ears: namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accused race, a race utterly alienated from God, a gene ration, forsooth, which has neither directed its heart nor entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians …” According to western historians, anywhere from 1 to 5 million Muslims were killed during the Crusades. (See Anthony Nuttings’ book on The Arabs for an account of Christian brutality and savagery.) As far as Jewish victims are concerned, in Jerusalem the Jews fled from the Crusaders, locking themselves in the main synagogue, where all 969 were burnt to death. Outside, the Crusaders, who believed they were avenging the death of Christ, sang, Christ, We Adore Thee, holding their Crusader crosses aloft. Earlier that day, as the Crusaders ran over the mutilated bodies of those slaughtered, one leader, Raymond of Aguilers, quoted Psalm 118:24: 'This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.' Approximately a quarter to one-third of the entire Jewish population in Germany and northern France was murdered during the First Crusade. In Germany, in return for royal protection they were made 'serfs of the Imperial Chamber'. Required to pay vast sums for this privilege, the Jews eventually became a very real source of royal revenue. As the king's property, they could be -- and were -- bought, loaned and sold, to pay off creditors. The custom spread to other countries. Church leaders justified this status theologically on the basis of earlier Church teaching that the Jews were doomed to perpetual servitude for having crucified Christ. At the time of the Third Crusade one of the most tragic anti-Jewish riots in England occurred in York where nearly a thousand Jews were casualties.
. In 1480 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain established a tribunal to purge the Church of those who clandestinely clung to their Muslim and Jewish faith. Wholesale arrests followed. In 1481 the first victims were burnt at the stake. Over the years an estimated 30,000 marranos were consigned to the flames. The Spanish Inquisition had a long history (from the fifteenth century until the threshold of the nineteenth century, and a wide geographical reach, spreading with all its well-documented atrocities to Latin America.
. Estimates of death tolls amongst the Native Americans as a result of annexation of their land by Europeans vary between 20 to 145 million. In 1788, during the early phase of British colonization of Australia, there were probably a million Aborigines. In the 1920s, by the time they completed colonization of their land, there was only 30,000 of them left alive. In the nearby New Zealand, the Maori population declined from 240,000 to just around 40,000 in 1896. (Mark Cocker, Rivers of Blood, Rivers of Gold (1998))
. During the reign of Czar Alexander III, Russia's first major pogrom began at Easter 1881 and spread to a hundred Jewish communities. The czar's adviser intended to solve the Jewish problem by causing a third to emigrate, a third to die, and a third to disappear (i.e. to be converted). Pogroms and accompanying mass emigrations continued under Czar Nicholas II (1894-1917), who regarded the Jews as Christ-killers … Even after World War II, pogroms occurred in Poland, despite the horrors of the Holocaust and the greatly decimated Jewish population.
. The Reformation did not convert the people of Europe to orthodox Christianity through preaching and catechisms alone. It was the 300 year period of witch-hunting from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, what R.H. Robbins called "the shocking nightmare, the foulest crime and deepest shame of western civilization,"...that ensured the European abandonment of the belief in magic. The Church created the elaborate concept of devil worship and then, used the persecution of it to wipe out dissent, subordinate the individual to authoritarian control, and openly denigrate women." (The Dark Side of Christianity, ch. 8) In The Killings of Witches, Bethancourt lists 628 named and 268,331 unnamed witches killed as of Dec. 2000, and estimates that between 20,000 and 500,000 people were killed as witches. [http://www.illusions.com/burning/burnwitc.htm]
. In the second half of the sixteenth century ghettos were introduced, firstly in Italy and then in the Austrian Empire. The ghetto was considered an additional demonstration of the error of Judaism: 'A Jewish ghetto is a better proof of the truth of the religion of Jesus Christ than a whole school of theologians' (G. B. Roberti, eighteenth century).
. Just the latest embargo on Iraq in the 1990s resulted in the death of 1.5 million Iraqis, of which nearly half a million were infants under the age of five.
. Fifteen million died during the First World War. Fifty five million people got killed during the Second World War (of which 30 million were civilians).
. In the last decade alone (1990s) a quarter million of Muslims in the former Yugoslavia were ethnically cleansed by the Orthodox Serbs.
. Much of the crimes against the Jewish people were sanctioned by the Church since the days of Paul of Tarsus. Speaking about Jews, Justin (c. 100-165 C.E.), an early Christian father, said, the 'tribulations were justly imposed upon you, for you have murdered the Just One.' The third-century Christian theologians, including Hippolytus and Origen, elaborated on this theory. In the fourth century it was to dominate Christian thinking. Under Emperor Justinian I (483-565) many laws protecting Jewish religious and civil rights were abolished and restrictions were imposed. Later, in the seventh century, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius imposed forced baptism upon the Jews in order to ensure unity within his realm. France's Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) declared that they were 'a race who had not God for their father, but were of the devil'. Following the custom of theologians of his day, he had taken a scripture (John 8:44) and applied it to the whole Jewish people for all time. Centuries later Nazi leader Julius Streicher carried this further, recommending 'the extermination of that people whose father is the devil.’ Hitler claimed, as he chronicled his sixteen steps to Nazi policy, 'I am only doing the work of the Catholic Church. The Protestant leader Martin Luther was also the one who said, 'Verily a hopeless, wicked, venomous and devilish thing is the existence of these Jews, who for fourteen hundred years have been, and still are, our pest, torment and misfortune. They are just devils and nothing more.’ In the tract Concerning the Jews and Their Lies (published 1542) Luther wrote: "Firstly, their synagogues should be set on fire … Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed … Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer-books and Talmuds … Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach any more … Fifthly, passport and travelling privileges should be absolutely forbidden to the Jews … Sixthly, they ought to be stopped from usury … Seventhly, let the young and strong Jews and Jewesses be given the flail, the axe, the hoe, the spade, the distaff, and spindle, and let them earn their bread by the sweat of their noses … We ought to drive the rascally lazy bones out of our system … Therefore away with them … 'To sum up, dear princes and nobles who have Jews in your domains, if this advice of mine does not suit you, then find a better one so that you and we may all be free of this insufferable devilish burden -- the Jews.” Luther's anti-Jewish teachings were to be applied literally in the Third Reich.
. In the post-Soviet era alone, more than a hundred thousand Muslims were killed in Chechnya by the Russian Orthodox Christians. Let us also not forget the genocide of Muslims in the Caucasus during Czar and Stalin’s rule in Russia.
. No definitive estimate is possible. According to some historians, eighteen million Africans are estimated to have died during the trade. In American Holocaust (1992), David Stannard estimates that some 30 to 60 million Africans died being enslaved.
. Here let’s also not forget the use of Agent Orange, depleted uranium, and Tuskegee experiment on the Vietnamese, Iraqis/Afghans and Black Americans, respectively.
. In Tasmania, the native population declined from 5,000 in 1800 to 200 in 1830 to 3 in 1869 to zero in 1877. (Jared Diamond, The Third Chimpanzee (1993))
. See this author’s article “The White Man’s Burden: the never-ending saga” or “The burning itch to civilize others.”
. Islam rejects Trinity. Jesus is accepted as a prophet and messenger of God, who foretold the coming of the last messenger – Muhammad (S).
. According to the Gospel accounts (Luke 2:8), Jesus was born when the shepherds used to graze their cattle in the fields. An objective analysis leads us to the conclusion that he probably was born between April and September (spring-summer), and surely not during the winter season in December.
. Edward Said, Orientalism, New York: Vintage, 1979.
. In a 1748 essay, "Of National Characters," Hume said: “I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the Whites, such as the ancient Germans, the present Tartars, have still something eminent about them, in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negro slaves dispersed all over Europe, of whom none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity; though low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession.” (Philosophical Works, Vol. III, pp. 228-9.)
. Hegel says: “In Negro life the characteristic point is the fact that consciousness has not yet attained to the realization of any substantial objective existence-as for example, God, or Law-in which the interest of man's volition is involved and in which he realizes his own being. This distinction between himself as an individual and the universality of his essential being, the African in the uniform, undeveloped oneness of his existence has not yet attained; so that the Knowledge of an absolute Being, an Other and a Higher than his individual self, is entirely wanting. The Negro, as already observed, exhibits the natural man in his completely wild and untamed state. We must lay aside all thought of reverence and morality-all that we call feeling-if we would rightly comprehend him; there is nothing harmonious with humanity to be found in this type of character.” “What we properly understand by Africa, is the Unhistorical, Undeveloped Spirit, still involved in the conditions of mere nature, and which had to be presented here only as on the threshold of the World's History." [GWF Hegel, The Philosophy of History, New York: Dover (1956), pp. 93-99]
. See the book: The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, Doubleday Anchor Books, 1956.
. The French political scientist and educator André Siegfried (1875–1959) was regarded as one of the most perceptive political commentators of his time.
. Man and Islam – Lectures by Ali Shariati, tr. Ghulam M. Fayez, Univ. of Mashad Press, Mashad, Iran (1982), pp. 160-161.
. According to Mowlana Abul Kalam Azad (Tarjumanal Qur’an), Dhul Qarnain was the title for Emperor Cyrus of Persia who ruled around 536 B.C. He is also recognized as the Messiah (the anointed one) in the Bible (Isaiah 45:1).
. Op. cit., p. 162.
. However, there still remain some culturally alienated individuals, promoted and pampered by the West as “intellectuals,” who see no evil with the West or its atrocities against the East. They are the Fuad Ajamis, Amir Taheris and Khaled Durans of our time.
. The development of the personality of a generation results from the collective flow of the spiritual, mystical, intellectual, humanistic, aesthetic, artistic, and scientific currents of the past generations.
. It is thus no wonder that western ‘experts’ like Pipes call for total defeat of Palestinians and Muslims.
by courtesy & © 2005 Habib Siddiqui
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