Asharq Al-awsat English https://aawsat.com/english Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper http://feedly.com/icon.svg

Terror, Racism and Eugenicists

Terror, Racism and Eugenicists

Friday, 3 May, 2019 - 18:15
I recall a famous quote by the Tony Benn, the former British Leftist Labor minister which is: “The Marxist analysis has got nothing to do with what happened in Stalin's Russia: it's like blaming Jesus Christ for the Inquisition in Spain”.

Indeed, it is inappropriate to directly link an idea, ideology or a value system whose followers tolerate opposition and accept coexistence with those who disagree with him or her, with individuals or groups -from any religion, ideology or race – resorting to imposition, suppression or elimination against opponents.

In the last few days we witnessed a heinous massacre in Sri Lanka. Within a short time, we learned that behind what happened were the same groups that have strived to force Islam and Muslims everywhere in a “Zero option” war against the whole world. Furthermore, as if launching this “war” against Christian civilians in the West was not enough, these groups have now turned against the Buddhists and Hindus in south Asia.

Sure enough, by targeting Buddhist civilians, the absurd and dubious crimes are not going to lessen the suffering of the innocent Rohingya Muslims. And through killing innocent Hindus, they are not going to weaken Hindu extremists, like India Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is fighting crucial “marathon” elections; in fact, the opposite is true.

Moreover, we have seen how the absurd crimes – falsely committed under the banners of religion – have increased the popular support for extreme Christian racists throughout Europe and the Americas, and recently, Australia and New Zealand. In Europe, voters are expected to vote soon in the European parliamentary elections amid high expectations that racist and populist right would make big gains throughout the continent.

This phenomenon, indeed, is not limited to Europe, which is now the first destination to would-be refugees and immigrants from Asia and Africa, as anti-immigrants and anti-Muslims right has been riding high in the Americas too.

Given the above, the one thing that must not be forgotten is that the biggest and earliest damage done by the self-claimed “Islamist’” extremism took place in the Arab and Muslim countries. In these countries the extremists, be they Sunnis or Shiites, have been slaughtering, burning, and murdering Muslims in indiscriminate explosions.

“Islamist” extremism has directly contributed to the destruction these countries’ institutions, ruined their economies, denigrated their sovereignty, displaced their populations, and driven out their best brains and skills.

Thus, what we are at is actually a mass suicidal war; one in which Islam, as a religion, a civilization, an identity, a people, is being thrown into unequal and unwinnable confrontation against the world and human civilization.

Anyway, those who are still capable of analyzing world affairs must try to monitor the social and political developments that are affecting our world.

Early last year, the British The Independent newspaper published a noteworthy article entitled, “Support for eugenics never really went away, but this is how it's becoming mainstream again” by Dr. Louise Raw. In this article Raw mentioned meetings taking place in one of London top universities and organized by groups that are interested in “improving” the human race; and went on to detail the main philosophical, political and cultural currents that developed ideas and beliefs serving that goal.

Raw explained that the idea of “improving” the human race was not new but goes back to the days of Plato (381 BC) who considered the desirability of “selective breeding” for the ruling elite; then added that in the 18th century “English curate Thomas Malthus’s work contradicted the contemporary view that human societies were naturally improving. Instead, he argued that better living conditions lead inexorably to population growth and scarcity of resources. Malthus became extremely influential and was read by Charles Darwin”. Darwin’s research on evolution and inherited traits, as Raw said “would form the basis for the work of his cousin Francis Galton, who would coin the word ‘eugenics’ (from the Greek word ‘eugenes’ which means ‘well-born’) in 1883. While Darwin praised Galton’s earlier work, at least to him, he was always dubious about crude attempts to apply his scientific findings to the real world. This, unfortunately, was precisely Galton’s aim”.

With Galton, who visited the Middle East, had a thoroughly racist attitude. He went much further than Darwin’s usage of words like “savages” and “favored races” to establish a fully-fledged school in elucidating racial discrimination and inherited specificities. As Raw put “Galton’s work leads to appalling and inevitable conclusions: that a more brutal solution is required to resolve the ‘problem’ of non-white races, and that disabled or less physically strong working-class people are of no use to society, and deserve to starve”.

Hence, going the history of the Eugenicists, one must not be surprised how theories of “pure race” and “superior nation” or the impossibility of bridging the gap between “advanced” and “backward” peoples. This means that neither Adolf Hitler nor Josef Mengele invented or developed anything. Even, before them racist exclusionist practices known to humanity were the rule rather than the exception. Perhaps, naivety and tragedies of wars were the prime promoters of utopian slogans like “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” and “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Such slogans have made us really believe that we can build a civilized world at peace with itself.

Well, leaving Galton now and going back to Malthus, we are confronted by two stark realities, one economic, the other technological. These two realities do not encourage us to expect any end to racism, selfishness and fight for survival any time soon. We can all see that the mainstays of capitalism that preach unrestricted “free market”, “globalization” and “free movement of goods and services” are shaking and all but collapsing. Astonishing technological advances are speedily killing off long regarded givens, jobs and practices, and revolutionizing the people’s lifestyles, means of communication, interests, as well as redefining their needs and remedies.

Today we live in a rapidly changing world. It is changing much faster than our expectations, and even our perceptions.

We live a time of redefining identities, along with interests, friends and enemies.

The Independent’s above-mentioned article was, thus, absolutely right to say that discrimination, based on race and color, has returned to the political “mainstream”, after being temporarily concealed under a films cover.

We are really living the era of the “clash of civilizations”, and there are those not only cannot wait for the clash to happen, but are keen to justify it.

Other opinion articles

Editor Picks

Multimedia