Tunisia’s Ben Ali accused the demonstrators of “unpardonable terrorist acts.”
Mubarak blamed the “Islamists” for the “rioting,” which the world of technology would prove was in fact peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations.
Gaddafi blames “Al Qaeda Terrorists” for the demonstrations in Libya, colourfully adding that Osama bin Laden “had [the demonstrators’] milk and Nescafe spiked with hallucinogenic drugs.”
Bahrain’s interior ministry claimed that they found Hezbollah “weapons and flags” at their recent demonstrations.
The power of language
These are not the words used by today’s leading war mongers in their efforts to sustain wars across the world. These are not the words of Cheney, Rice, Dubya, and indeed Obama, but rather they are the words of the Dictators against whom hundreds of thousands have risen up in the regions of North Africa, the Middle East, and the Gulf States.
What does this tell us about being a Dictator in 2011?
Firstly, it is that being in bed with someone really is the best way to learn about their favourite tips and tricks.
Secondly, it is that to invoke such language is the fastest way to scare some and subjugate others. Arguably, the former is best represented by the Allies who, when scared enough, will go to extreme measures — civil liberties and human rights be damned — to feel once more warm and cosy. While arguably, the latter is represented by those against whom the fear is directed; in this instance, the enemy is s/he who hates “freedom” and “democracy,” otherwise and not always affectionately known as the Arab Muslim.
Thirdly, the Dictator knows that them fightin’ words can — at the cost of their country men and women’s lives — be used to sustain and deepen already deep pockets of money, going to the very core of disaster capitalism.
Fourthly, and tongue in cheek aside, the Dictator understands that to invoke such language provides the invoker with a carte blanche to do whatever and as ever they please, beginning at the grandiose waging of war on other nations, and spanning all the way to the equally sinister and not so-cleverly hidden war on a complete religion in the form of banning the veil in public.
For those of us accused of being lefty socialists (the horror!), we have read and learned otherwise. We have learned that the wars waged are for profit. They are most definitely in the name of ‘freedom,’ but the kind of freedom which is felt by a few and brought on by excessive wealth. Freedom for those whose pockets are already lined so heavily that the additional weight of blood won’t much be felt.
This terminology is the red herring, it is a conversation stopper. The Allies know it, and the Dictators know it.
Among the revolutions and the toppling of Dictators, today we are also witnesses to the unfolding of language as reality. If you say it, then it is true.
Prima facie war was waged against Bin Laden, who holds title of Biggest Baddest Terrorist In the Whole Wide World, and also those odd little bits called Weapons of Mass Destruction. The Dictators watched as the leaders of “freedom” and “democracy” boldly lied about their reasons to occupy and oppress for profit, and they continue to watch as these same Allies still use this very language to justify wars which have since proven illegitimate; with Obama very early in his presidency reassuring the world that the war on terrorism remained a top priority.
Ultimately, the Dictator has tried their luck and attempted to invoke this same language. For this, they can be faulted (among so much more), but the blame is to be shared by those leading the way.
And just in case it is not 100% yet clear, then let us simplify it one step further to Dictator Math, which looks a little like:
A = The Allies can use this language, notwithstanding whether it is true or false.
B = I am in bed with the Allies.
/ A + B = I will use this same language and do precisely as the Allies.
Today’s history will be an interesting read when the chapter is spun on how it was the ‘Muslim Arab’ of the street who fought for true ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy,’ rather than the for-profit Allies who are standing back currently strategising on how to safeguard the oil reserves to which they believe they are (violently) entitled.