“In every lying story, there’s a grain of truth
And in every moral story, the germ of a lie
Extracting each from other is like pulling a tooth
From your own inflamed gum and it makes you cry…”
From Pau Roti to Pavarotti by Bachchoo
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of what he called the Islamic Caliphate and which the world realised was Daesh the death-cult, has been pronounced dead.
US President Donald Trump, whose American special forces killed Baghdadi, said “he died like a dog, crying and whimpering as he ran into a dead-end tunnel with two of his children whom he took with him when he detonated his suicide bomb vest”.
The reports on world television showed a load of rubble under which Baghdadi’s body parts, certainly blown to bits by the detonation, were supposedly found. The US TV reports, repeated on the BBC in Britain, said his DNA had been identified as belonging to the leader of Daesh, Baghdadi himself. How the US forensic teams had gathered this individual’s DNA in order to compare it to that of the body parts in the rubble, was not clear.
The reports also showed Mr Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence, together with several advisers and military high-ups sitting around a table and supposedly watching the assault and the end of Baghdadi recorded by the assault forces as the operation happened. Today, history can be picturised
“Baghdadi”, as this animal chose to call himself, was the most wanted man on today’s earth, responsible for the murder, execution and rape of thousands in the name of a religion whose contemporary practitioners dissociate it from his ruthless, meaningless death-cult.
That he was hunted down, cornered and killed was what he asked for.
Several times in the past years, since Daesh began its murderous intrusion into the troubled lands of the Middle East and in the process of pushing its volunteer armies back, there have been several reports of Baghdadi’s death. This time it seems beyond dispute. The US administration has hinted that it will release footage of the operation which assaulted Baghdadi’s encampment and possibly footage of his flight and final suicide.
Gentle reader, I won’t be watching.
Mr Trump’s speech curiously said that one military dog was injured in the explosion when the suicide vest was detonated and that he regretted the injury to the animal and sympathised with it. No word from the President about the two certainly innocent children whom Baghdadi took to his death with him.
There was and remains an element in this totally justified operation of a manipulated drama. Of course, the perpetrator, advocate and focus of meaningless mass murder and terrorism in our times had to be hunted down. And yes, there ought to be considerations of modern humanistic compassion versus murderous medieval-cult viciousness, but these oppositions are not, gentle reader, absolute in our world.
In the announcement of the hunting down of Baghdadi by Mr Trump’s troops, there was the feel of Batman cornering and killing the Joker. There is no doubt that Mr Trump’s triumph is calculated to and will count towards his electability in next year’s presidential election.
Baghdadi and his ideas, if death-cultism can be given the respectability of “ideas”, were evil — but is the sale by the US of weaponry and training to the Saudis to murder thousands of Yemenis less so?
Was the betrayal of the Kurds who had sacrificed thousands of lives to fight Daesh in northern Syria by Mr Trump pulling US troops out of the territory to allow Turkey to invade a great moral act? It has led to the death of thousands of innocents — fewer or more than Daesh and Baghdadi killed.
Yes, gentle reader, the world is and has perhaps always been, a complicated place and its purposes contradictory. In the past, and in the example of Daesh today, religious orders declared their intentions. “Kill the kafirs regardless, they deserve to die”, “Burn the Catholic monasteries and kill the papists”, “Hinduism demands the destruction of the heretical Buddhist cult”, etc.
Today’s states don’t declare their every intention, though it is evident why the US and the UK sells arms to Saudi Arabia. It is evident why China gives loans and assistance to hitherto underdeveloped African countries. Money, material gain and even strategy.
Yet in our world, ideological moves and gestures by politicians in power often trump military, strategic and material considerations. These are calculated to appeal to constituencies in the countries regardless of the turmoil they cause. The immediate example is that of the UK’s Boris Johnson staking his career on taking the country out of the European Union, regardless of the damage it will do to the UK’s economy, regardless of the fact that Scotland and perhaps Northern Ireland will secede and break up the country, regardless of the fact that England and Wales, if they stay together, will become second-rate Bringapore, subservient to Mr Trump’s trade deals.
Another example may be the Indian government’s appeal to its core vote through withdrawing Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. They may argue (as though they were ardent theoretical Marxists) that they are dragging reluctant Kashmir from the pastoral poverty of a feudal economy into the contemporary capitalist world. The move could not be made without a heavy military presence, curfews and the imprisonment of Kashmir’s spokespeople.
While the integration of Kashmir into the economy of the rest of India may be the end — the repressive, undemocratic imposition of such a transition is unjustifiable as the means. The transition could and should have been brought about through the mechanisms available to democratic consultation.
In the cruel transformation of the continent of North America from a tribal settlement of native Americans to the land-grabbing development that ensued from European settlement to the prosperity that US capitalism boasts, there existed no such democratic mechanisms. Slaughter and slavery were the founding principles of that transformation.
In today’s world and today’s India, the democratic mechanisms were available but were bypassed in favour of bigotry....