Several years ago I was invited to a conference on “The Media and Terrorism” in Bonn, Germany. After I arrived at the airport and picked up my luggage from the conveyor belt, the customs officer asked me to put it on the inspection table. He also asked me the regular question: “Why are you here?” He then asked me to open the luggage for inspection.
I showed him the invitation I had received to attend the conference. He read it and then asked me to close my luggage and leave. The strange thing was that I was the only passenger asked to go to the inspection table. Everyone else was either European or Asian. So they were spared this procedure.
Passengers were divided into two groups based on their skin colour as terrorists and non-terrorists. But how can one prove that one is not a terrorist if one does not have documents like those I had during that trip?
I have typed “lists of terrorist groups” in the search bar of Google. The search engine brought up the website of the US Department of Defence, which contains a list of 53 terrorist organisations. I had not heard about some of the listed organisations before.
The list was drawn up last year. I am not sure whether the US Department of Defence updates it every year. The list includes 32 Sunni organisations, accounting for more than 60 percent of the organisations listed. I did not count leftist or nationalist organisations like the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Abu Nidal Organisation or others.
The strange thing is that there is only one Shia organisation on the list, namely Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s military wing was added to the list recently. Other branches of the movement were excluded from the list. This means that 60 percent of the blacklisted organisations are Sunni. Why did not the people who created this list ask themselves the reasons for this?
A feeling of injustice is simmering in the Arab world. A sense of humiliation and disrespect permeates every aspect of the life of the people of the region. They face humiliation at airports and border checkpoints everywhere.
Muslims make up the bulk of all refugees. They are abused everywhere. They go through life without experiencing any compassion, and then the West asks, “Why do they hate us?”
The hatred is increasing day by day. Muslims are being targeted everywhere. Their dreams are being shattered. Some intelligence services funded by some Arab leaders are hatching conspiracies against them.
The military coup of Egyptian general Abdel Fatah Al Sisi is being called reforms. Jailing those demanding democracy is called democracy. The constitution approved by the Egyptian people has been replaced with another one written by some dancers, singers and actors. And implementing it by force is called reform of a corrupt system. In addition to this, flashing the four-fingered Rabaa Al Adawiya sign has become a crime in Egypt and some Arab countries that support the coup. This is an internal affair of Egypt.
In Syria, the situation is tragic. Events there prove that our blood is cheaper than dust blown by the wind, and that our dignity and honour have no value for the rest of the world.
Cities were attacked with chemical weapons, children got beheaded by knifes and women were raped and thrown on roads and dumping grounds, and the international community did not say a word.
Instead, the killer got rewarded for handing over his chemical arsenal for destruction. Iran deploys its soldiers and sends its weapons to Syria in order to kill innocent people who had done nothing wrong except demanding freedom.
Despite this, youth who go to Syria to help the innocent people are being called “terrorists” and imprisoned and tortured.
The world has besieged these oppressed people; they have no weapons or food. Children die of hunger if they escape bullets, and if they are lucky and manage to cross the borders into Arab countries, they are sold in slave markets, the “refugee camps”, to be counted to attract aid that never reaches them, and put in camps that look like detention camps where they live without respect and dignity.
Gaza is besieged, and children and elders are dying silently due to the shortage in food and medicines, while Al Sisi is building the siege wall and the world provides him with whatever he needs to fulfil his mission. He talks about the siege of Gaza and gets aid, but when the besieged people cry for medicines, food and cooking gas, no one pays attention to them.
Are not our matters strange? The Rohingya people are getting burnt in Burma, their children are getting killed brutally, their houses are being destroyed and they are being expelled from their homes. Meanwhile, the West is talking about democracy in Burma and providing aid to the government.
Only Turkish leaders have raised this issue in international forums and made a visit to reduce the pain of the victims.
I wonder if we will get out of this dark circle one day, and live freely so that no one can play tricks on us? When will the world stop humiliating us and describe us as terrorists if we cry out for air and freedom? When will the world start dealing with us as it deals with others, among whom we are not included?
The list posted by the US State Department on its website will be expanded, and some organisations may be removed, but others might be included, as planting thorns will not produce flowers. Humiliating people will not lead to a good life, and injustice will not extend the life of regimes.