|Dr Muzaffar Iqbal|
| November 25, 2011 |
In the era before the global rise of terror, the small-time terrorist was called a “bad-mâsh”. This was the appellation of the one who established his writ on the neighborhood by brute force. The bad-mâsh had a say and a cut in every sale of property and other monetary transaction in his realm, and he was feared by all and respected by none. He was untouchable not only because he had arms, but also because he was in league with local police (which received its share in his ‘business’). Each bad-mâsh had his own territory. Small bad-mâshs joined hands with bigger bad-mâshs, who, in turn, made alliances with each other. They seldom fought with each other and respected each other’s territories.
By March 1798, the French Directoire had agreed to his plan. On July 1, 1798, he had landed at Alexandria with 40,000 troops. The Englishmen were taken by surprise as were the Ottomans; the great grab had started in earnest. The rest, as they say, is history.
“For too long this horde of slaves, bought in the Caucasus and Georgia, have tyrannized the most beautiful part of the world; but God, on whom all depends, has ordained that their empire shall end. People of Egypt, they have told you that I come to destroy your religion, but do not believe it; I have come to restore your rights, punish the usurpers and that I respect God, his Prophet and the Koran more than the Mameluks. Tell them that all men are equal before God; wisdom, talents, virtues are the only things to make one man different from another... Is there a more beautiful land? It belongs to the Mameluks. If Egypt is their farm, then they should show the lease that God gave them for it...Qadis, Shaykhs, Imams, I ask you to tell the people that we are true Muslims too. Wasn’t it us who destroyed the Knights of Malta? Wasn’t it us who destroyed the Pope who used to say that he had a duty to make war on Muslims? Wasn’t it us who have at all times been friends to the Great Lord and enemies to his enemies? ... Thrice happy are those who will be with us! They shall prosper in their fortune and in their rank. Happy are those who will be neutral! They will get to know us over time, and join their ranks with ours. But unhappy, thrice unhappy, are those who shall arm themselves to fight for the Mameluks and who shall fight against us! There shall be no hope for them, they shall perish.”
They are still doing it. They decide who can and who cannot have nuclear weapons. They dictate which country should have democracy and which country should be allowed to suffer the fiefdom status; they impose sanctions on one country and sell billions of dollars of weapons of mass destruction to another. They arrive on their high-flying bombers over the sky of a country to implant democracy if the country has sweet light crude, but they turn away their faces from another country where the sweet light crude is not available. They have been doing this bad-mâshsi for so long that they have forgotten how not to do it. There is no stopping them, at least not in the foreseeable future.