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Academic Interface with the West

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#16 [Permalink] Posted on 13th May 2020 11:56
America : The Farewell Tour


Chauncey DeVega takes a look at the bleak prospects.

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Chris Hedges is quoted as saying that he feels that these are good times compared to what is in store for the USA.

These are deceptively ominous words.

Samuel Huntintgon had used the damning phrase that the US as a world power has declined in his infamous book The Clash of Civilizations and the Making of New World Order.

I do not remember these words being in his original Foreign Affairs magazine article - that I had read when it was published a few years earlier than the book.

The implication is that he felt that US is not baying for a clash - it is just a thing that will happen as a normal course event in the history of civilizations.

In the book the theses got, intentional or unintentional, focus that the Islamic civilization is more prone to clash with the rest of the civilizations. Only Chinese civilization was the exception with whom Islam happened to be at relative peace.

Let us not forget that in 1990 the US had given a bloody nose to Iraq. Iraq happened to be a country that US had supported in former's folly in going to war with its powerful neighbour - Iran.

Of course there was warm, if not hot, talks in the western press about Islamic terrorism around that time. And for more than four decades the US has been thwarting all attempts to step Israeli expansionist activities in the UN.

Time was ripe to punish their former allies, the Muslims, who did the task of decimating the USSR in Afghanistan in 1989.

And did the US take up the task in all earnestness?

The Muslim world is still reeling under the vagaries of US liberation of Islam and Muslims from fundamentalism and the rest.

May be Chris Hedges' dire forecast is a blessing in disguise and the Muslim world can really heave a collective sigh of relief at the US losing some bite.

Quote:
Empires fall a little bit at a time and then all at once. Over the last two decades, America has proven itself to be well along on that journey. The coronavirus pandemic has simply pushed our nation further along that downward spiral.


Thankfully the communists or the Muslims are not to be blamed for the latest cause of decline.
Quote:

Ultimately, the pandemic has further exposed and exacerbated — for those still somehow in denial about the decades-long reality of America as a decaying empire — deep political, social, economic, cultural and other societal problems.


Quote:
The country's infrastructure is rotting. Trump presides over a plutocratic, corrupt, cruel, authoritarian, pathological kakistocracy. The commons is being reduced to rubble while the ultra-rich extract ever more wealth and other resources from the American people. Excessive military spending has left the United States incapable of attending to the basic needs of its people. A culture of distraction and spectacle has rendered many Americans incapable of being responsible engaged citizens. Our public educational system does not teach critical thinking skills.


The rot is comprehensive - political, social, economic, cultural and other societal problems.

Quote:
Radical right-wing Christians, white terrorist organizations and other neofascist paramilitaries and extremists are engaging in a campaign of thuggery, intimidation and violence against multiracial American democracy.


Thank God, for a change, the US looks inward for her problems.

The author cites a George Packer quote from the Atlantic :

Quote:
The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational, and collective. The United States reacted instead like Pakistan or Belarus — like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering. The administration squandered two irretrievable months to prepare. From the president came willful blindness, scapegoating, boasts, and lies. From his mouthpieces, conspiracy theories and miracle cures. A few senators and corporate executives acted quickly — not to prevent the coming disaster, but to profit from it. When a government doctor tried to warn the public of the danger, the White House took the mic and politicized the message.

Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state.


Even in this meltdown the Muslims as the dark role model are not at all far from the US imagination.

Even a journalist of Vietnamese origin now can chip in diagnosis:

Quote:
If anything good emerges out of this period, it might be an awakening to the pre-existing conditions of our body politic. We were not as healthy as we thought we were. The biological virus afflicting individuals is also a social virus. Its symptoms — inequality, callousness, selfishness and a profit motive that undervalues human life and overvalues commodities — were for too long masked by the hearty good cheer of American exceptionalism, the ruddiness of someone a few steps away from a heart attack.


The falling apart story of Yugoslavia is being brought in. May be this time self-assurance motivated adventure will not be directed against the Muslim world.
Quote:

In this conversation, Hedges warns that the tumult and pain of Trump's coronavirus crisis is but a preview of far worse things in America's future, as social inequality and political failure combine to create a full collapse of the country's already declining standard of living, as well as its ailing democracy.


The US was a glorious paradigm and in that it was inevitable that living standards higher than sustainable were the norm. Falling of living standards can not thus be taken as a decline but a normal corrective course of nature.
Quote:

Hedges also explains how the Democratic Party and its presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, will likely not be able to respond to the Age of Trump and the economic and social destruction created by gangster capitalism, in combination with the coronavirus pandemic. Why? Because the Democrats are also part of the plutocratic establishment that has failed the American people.

For long I have been feeling that the mess that Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi has engendered in Indian economy will not easily fixed by anyone taking over the reins from him. But I digress. Coming back to the US - are the people of America so innocent that they have no part in American wrongs?

Quote:
A society can change so quickly because the underlying structures are rotten. There is the patina or the veneer of a functioning system, but the foundations of it are so decayed that they can't take the stress. That was true in the Weimar Republic in Germany, before the Nazis took full control. That was true in Yugoslavia before the civil war and ethnic violence. It is true here in the United States too.


The question for the rest of the world or at least that part of the world that has suffered because of the US should feel sad?

I'll prefer to lick my own wounds.
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#17 [Permalink] Posted on 13th May 2020 14:35
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Prof sahib can write a small summary in simple english for these type of articles. Else the reader from sub-continent may assume different things.

And scholars, thinkers in Sub-continent eagerly wait for urdu translation for these type of heart warming messages.
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#18 [Permalink] Posted on 14th May 2020 11:53
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Saad Mian there was a time on the forums when I was doing translations from Urdu to English even when most junior members were asking me. By now I am physically and mentally exhausted. Thus it is difficult to entertain even small amount of home work.

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#19 [Permalink] Posted on 22nd May 2020 13:30
Post by a Facebook Friend

Someone on facebook suggested a documentary "Civilization - Is the West History?" I watched all 6 episodes. It basically presented an argument that the Western civilization dominated the world because of 6 factors which the west followed.

1. Competition
2. Science
3. Democracy, based on rule of law and property rights
4. Modern medicine
5. Consumerism, buy more-produce more, world-wide marketing for example jeans
6. Work Ethics, based on the principle of earn more - spend more and not on living an ascetic (darveshi) life.

It says no other nation is following all six of them today therefore Western Civilization is likely to keep dominating the world in near future.
What do you think?
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#20 [Permalink] Posted on 22nd May 2020 14:34
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Is it dominance or Zulm.

If the arab world can go back by 1400 years. They can dominate the world. The sedatives induced by west have made them weak.

Let the west dominate the technology but to sell they have to visit the door steps of Arabs. And without money the west can not run the show.

Regarding dominance, I say India missed dominace by a few seconds. If lunar lander would have landed on moon, the rover would have moved out, crawls on moon surface, sends images. Can we imagine the image of India.

But wait..................

Indians are dying of starvation. Millions are walking for 1500 kms and odd on road, while walking they are dying. Today, a big proportion of population is surviving on single meal. Then what is the use of dominance. I recall a family in a city collectively committing suicide as they could not afford medicine for typhoid for their child.
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#21 [Permalink] Posted on 22nd May 2020 14:47
Question
Looking at the calamities faced by the Muslims in all places, I want to know what is the difference between the Islamic way of life and the life of wealth, progress and strength in the west, and between the rulings on women in both societies. I am asking because I am sad about the situation of the Muslims in those countries.
Answer

Praise be to Allaah.
Firstly:

The disasters and calamities that are befalling the Muslims are only happening because they have forsaken the laws of Allaah regarding themselves, their societies and their nations. They do not support (the cause of) Allaah so how will He support them?

When some of the Muslims disobeyed the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the Battle of Uhud, Allaah punished them with defeat, even though the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the senior Sahaabah were among them. So what about the Muslims nowadays when they are disobeying Allaah night and day and transgressing His sacred limits, except for those on whom Allaah has mercy?

Secondly:

Although the Muslims are living through disasters and calamities, and are suffering a great deal, what the west is facing in its societies and in their personal situations is even worse, with regard to faith, security and the family, especially in matters pertaining to women.

If you look at recent statistics from western countries, you will see that they are more deserving of pity because of their situation. We will look at a few examples:

65% of female workers are faced with sexual harassment in the work place in some European countries.

18% of women in America have been raped or have been faced with attempted rape at some stage in their lives.

More than half of the women who are raped are under the age of 17.

Ihsaa’aat, Diraasaat, Arqaam, p. 140.

According to a phone survey in Canada, covering 12,300 women throughout Canada between February and June 1993:

Half of Canadian woman have been exposed to an incident of physical or sexual violence after the age of 16.

45% were attacked by men who were known to them.

23% of them were attacked by strangers.

23% were attacked with weapons as the result of marital disputes.

Ihsaa’aat, Diraasaat, Arqaam, p. 141

In America:

One million illegitimate children are born each year.

12 million children are homeless and living in unhealthy circumstances.

There are one million abortions each year in America.

In Britain:

25 million obscene phone calls were recorded in one year.

40 million children are homeless in Latin America.

The law in Sweden allows marriage of brothers and sisters.

Ihsaa’aat, Diraasaat, Arqaam, p. 150.

Thirdly:

We appreciate your pride in Islam, and your protective jealousy concerning the Muslims. We ask Allaah to give us and you strength.

And Allaah is the Source of strength.
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