The Great Rebellion of our age: thoughts on the Paris terrorist attacks

History repeats itself. As simple as it sounds, it never ceases to surprise me how the exact same thing happens over and over again and we choose not to learn from it.

Around the same time the killings in Paris happened, I read an article about the “Great Rebellion” or “Sepoy Revolt” in India, 1857, when 300 Sepoy—local soldiers recruted by the East India Company—insurged against their British officers, rode to Delhi and massacrated each and every Christian citizen, men, women and children alike. What followed were countless brutal battles and finally the victory of the British troops that invaded Delhi and on their part slaughtered thousands of civilians.

The roots of the revolt lay in the British imperialistic violence and their ruthless invasion of Indian soil since the beginning of the 18th century. Lord Wellesley, a cunning rhetorician, with the help of the conservative media, had managed to portray the Indian Mogul Tipu Sultan as an evil Muslim monster, a raging fanatic, a cruel enemy, to convince the British Parlament of an expensive and controversial crusade, aimed at demonstrating power over all European rivals, as well as striking preemptively against potentially hostile Muslim empires. Thus, British presence in India had developed from an economical partnership to an exploitative occupation, that not only annexed two thirds of the territory, but also portrayed the Christian colonizers as liberators, that were to free the Indians of their dark backwardness and bring them salvation. However, the Indian population’s fear of the missionaries had fueled resentment toward British rule and boosted the rise of Islamist groups eager to end the kāfir (unbeliever) regime on Indian soil. After the rebellion had been put down, the Mogul emperor, who had cooperated with the Sepoy—most of whom were Hindus—, was accused of partaking in an international Muslim conspiracy. Instead of questioning their own foreign policy, the British found the reason for all bloodshed in Islamist fanatism. As always was and until today has remained the case, the Western imperialists refused to understand that forcing a racist and hegemonial regime onto a foreign land must have two effects: to turn the population against the intruder and to offer a breeding ground for any type of extremism.

Without wanting to justify any kind of violence no matter what its history may be, I will link the bloody events of Delhi to those of Paris in two senses: (1) that the violence we have seen in Paris twice this year, in New York’s traumatic 9/11 attacks, and in various other Western cities, rose from the ruins of Western Imperialism; and (2) that the way violence is dealt with in the media and in society in Europe and the USA is something that we as the civil society urgently need to challenge. Continue reading

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Conspiring Against Conspiracy Theorists?

Bin Laden’s death has led to a debate about whether or not it was right to kill him, why he was not arrested instead and even whether or not he was actually killed. But not only that; it has also led to a debate about whether debating these questions is reasonable or just a pastime for conspiracy theorists. It seems that some German broadcasters have declared war on conspiracy theories. The German daily newspaper „Nordbayerische Nachrichten“ spent half a column quoting the Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri, who compares conspiracy theorists to cockroaches, saying that the main difference between cockroaches and conspiracy theorists is that cockroaches can be eliminated with bug spray. Okay, you can dislike those paranoiacs but mentioning it in a context that puts everyone who expresses doubts about so-called facts on the same page with them is just not fair. German state TV published an interview ridiculing those, who question groundbreaking events, in a similar way. I find those journalistic statements quite an insult to sanity and reason. It sounds as if they are proud of taking everything they hear and see as a fact.

First of all, not every person who doesn’t believe every single piece of information just like that is a conspiracy theorist. It is a natural result of incomplete news coverage that people think of ways to fill those logical gaps themselves. Instead of making fun of those who search for further answers, the media should be responsible for providing so much information that any further theories would become unnecessary. Continue reading

No Human Rights for Bin Laden?

„And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to Al Qaeda’s terror, justice has been done.“ Those were Obama’s words after announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden, who has for many been a symbol of anti-Western terrorism in the last years. But has justice really been done? I am definitely not a supporter of Bin Laden, nor do I want to participate in any conspiracy theories about his death, but after reading more and more about the topic I just see so many questions that have to be asked. One of them is: why is there no evidence? Continue reading