Sin Grows With Doing Good
This past week, Clarion Fund, mailed over 28 million anti-Islam propaganda DVD's as a gift to Americans, wrapped in major newspapers delivered in the battleground states. Anyone with half a brain would understand the genius of Clarion’s marketing tactic to demonize the "other."
Googling generally reveals much but not in case of Clarion. It yielded only their 646, New York-based telephone number.
History teaches us that in every era demagogues spread hateful propaganda against marginalized religious and ethnic minorities, often as a prelude to aggressive military action.
Propaganda precedes action. First the “satire” – big-nosed mean carpenter, the big-lip-mama, the diseased illegal aliens and of course the feathered Chiefs, the Japs, the Huns, the Reds and now the “Towel-heads.”
Action gives death to many and almost permanently demonizes the survivors. Remember Wounded Knee, Kunta-Kinte, Manzanar and now it is Bagram, Abu Gharaib, Guantanamo and the renditions.
Here is a sample of “total demonization.” A hijab (head scarf) clad Muslim nurse shares her post 9-11 encounter with Mr. Neuville, a blind patient who admires her caring support for him. After listening to the post 9-11 radio and television, Mr. Neuville confided in the hijab clad Muslim nurse that, “Muslims must be hung naked with the nooses from Home Depot - we will save our country, cheap!”
Nazis similarly argued that by killing “diseased” members of the society they would heal the “national body.”
Fast forward … “What is infected, must be cut out” said the Khmer Rouge justifying the slaughter of Cambodians.
Fast forwarding to our times, we are taught of the Afghanis and the Iraqis as the monsters in the mountains with the missiles. And oh yes, they are coming and in fact they may be right here amid us.
We were also conditioned by the typical Hollywood fare with its dark-skinned villains ala “Delta Force, Executive Decision, Rules of Engagement, The Seige.”
What is hate? An ambiguous term. I hate overcooked eggs, perhaps you love them.
The advisors and the speech writers know this well. They spiced the recipe of “hate” with “evil.” We remember Bush: “our war is war against terrorism and evil,” of course followed by the infamous maxim of “axis of evil.”
There does not seem to be much difference between George Bush and Mullah Omar. The President said, “you are with us or against us,” and the still missing Taliban Chief responded – “the U.S., U.K., U.N. are all made up of evil doers.”
Evil is a moral issue - far more complex than hate. T.S. Eliot’s phrase in “Murder in the Cathedral” is chilling - “sin grows with doing good.”
The United States of America is doing good - “getting rid of the diseased,” “healing the nation” and “giving prosperity to the wretched.”
On the eve of the American Revolution in 1775, – Dr. Samuel Johnson said, “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”
Over 225 years later, the Americans are being asked to wave a Chinese-made-American-flag in one hand and salute the President with the other. The almost-direct divine-connection of the Cowboy, he claims calls him to “rid the evil” by “doing good.”
Now, a hockey mom with a stick in one hand, a barrel in the other wishes to do the same: “rid the evil” by “doing good.”
Eliot was right, “sin grows with doing good.”
Shakeel Syed is Executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.