Incidentally, the Muslim states consorting with imperialism are not handicapped by limitations. In fact, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, most of them are not even states. They are artificially carved out pieces of land akin to a tent where nomadic culture prevails and a man, a sultan, having his bag of wealth luxuriously lives. Their instability, insecurity and artificial existence enhance their vulnerability and dependence on the goodwill of their masters. These regimes can only survive through unconditional subservience to imperialist powers; even Saudi Arabia is no exception. The rulers are beholden to the animal instincts of survival and reproduction. Their brand of Islam, the ‘oceanic’ feeling they advocate, revolves around these primitive, regressive urges. Leaving the grotesque version of their infantile neurosis aside, the fatal crime committed by them is an outright, unconditional material and moral support for the hegemonic designs of imperialism. These puppets are not even slaves since, to be one, requires the qualification of first attaining the status of a human being. These are instead mere appendages of their masters.
The newly discovered enemy of capital, Islam, in many ways is dialectically opposite to Judaism, the former foe. Jews never had a state of their own, hence they were scattered all over Europe. Numerically they were/are slim but as traders their upper class clinched the economic control of many a state, though politically in the long term it did not auger well for the whole community of Jews. For unleashing the tempest of hatred against them, this ‘Shylock’-like financial hegemony proved to be one of the most convenient tools that played well for local capitalists whenever the system was hit by recession. In contrast, the Middle Eastern Muslim elite on the other hand is oil rich, backward and, while embracing capitalism, refuses to give up outmoded tribal relations. Demographically Muslims occupy a large swath of land, having nearly 50 states under their belt where they are either ruling directly or sharing power. Hence, contrary to the Jews, they have the potential of becoming a formidable foe that, over a longer period of time, can serve the hegemonic motives of imperialism/deteriorating capitalism.
Contrary to the Jews who had to face the wrath of native European capitalists, Muslims, due to intrinsic polarisation, have long been divided into multiple sectarian camps. The sectarian division of Shias, Sunnis, Salafis and/or Wahhabis, now beheading each other, akin to Catholics and Protestants, have existed for quite a few centuries but, besides occasional incidences of violence, the atmosphere of peaceful coexistence more or less prevailed. In fact, within Islam, these sects were the reflections of real cultural-cum-class movements of their respective eras. For instance, even prior to embracing Islam, Iran was the symbol of an exquisite and splendid civilisation. Once subjugated, Shiaism, though coercively imposed by the Safavid dynasty, developed as a force of resistance against the domination of an uncivilised, uncouth, decaying Arabian ruling elite. As Bernard Lewis suggests: “Iran was indeed Islamised but it was not Arabised. Persians remained Persians. And after an interval of silence, Iran re-emerged as a separate, different and distinctive element within Islam, eventually adding a new element even to Islam itself.”
The Wahhabi/Salafi phenomenon is the most recent one. It found its acme in 1926 when, despite being a minority (22.9 percent of the total population), these so-called Puritans took over power in Saudi Arabia. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Wahhabism is an “18th-century reformist/revivalist movement for socio-moral reconstruction of society”. Any thought made redundant and eclipsed historically cannot be revived. If resurrected to fulfil certain designs, it cannot be sustained for long. Since such an artificial existence is unnatural, it is hence unviable. “The very fact that tradition has to be invoked today,” says Horkheimer, “shows that it has lost its hold on the people.” The Saudi version of Islam and most probably the state of Israel with its revived language are likely to meet the same fate. The former survives through its oil wealth, the latter as a sword of Damocles on the head of the wealthier. For imperialism, this provides an ideal situation for exploitation.
While Iraq, Syria and Libya are completely destroyed, Palestine vanished, imperialism is preparing to pitch Saudi Arabia and Iran against each other. The former, the vanguard of imperialism, is more than eager to implement the latter’s agenda. This will drain both these oil-rich countries since Iranian clerical narcissism is no saner than Saudi religious fanaticism. With Islamophobia at its peak, the powerful and infallible media have turned the people into silent, stupefied spectators. “People can somehow read in between the lines of this language of power. They understand and adjust themselves...Subjective reason conforms to anything. It lends itself as well to the uses of the adversaries as of the defenders of traditional humanitarian values. It furnishes the ideology of profit and reaction as well as the ideology for progress and revolution” (Horkheimer). It internalises the domination slowly but surely.
The old game of giving a dog a bad name and then on the altar of its own purpose sacrificing it is a favourite pastime of capitalism. History stands witness to its habit of inventing enemies. Despite becoming the biggest oil producing country of the world, the US is not prepared to give up its control over Middle Eastern states rich in black gold. For imperialist power, domination, hegemony and absolute conformism of the rest has always been the name of the game, a divine gospel. The future of the world is at stake. Capitalism creates the second nature of man. It creates its own morality, an aesthetic of domination that stands as a symbol of preservation of the capitalist status quo.
“Obscenity,” Marcuse says, “is a moral concept in the verbal arsenal of the establishment, which abuses the term by applying it, not to expressions of its own morality but to those of another. Obscene is not the picture of a naked woman who exposes her pubic hair but that of a fully clad general who exposes his medals rewarded in a war of aggression; obscene is not the ritual of the hippies but the declaration of a high dignitary of the church that war is necessary for peace.” In the people’s mind, this morality and its horrors are interjected by the power of the media. The horror is implicit neither in the way Muslims say their prayers nor hidden in the length of their beards. Wearing the hijab and veiling the face may invoke curiosity and, in some cases, a sense of disgrace or discrimination to the other gender who deals with the veiled women with straight and uncovered face. It may be frustrating for a physician to negotiate with a fully clad woman but it does not make these gestures criminally offensive. Capitalist society, by weakening the hegemony of the ego, has accepted the right of supremacy of the id. “Sex is integrated into work and public relations and is thus made more susceptible to (controlled) satisfaction.” Though even here the intentions are less than noble. The satisfaction thus achieved proves beneficial to the established system since it “generates submission and weakens the rationality of protest.”
For a sexually de-sublimated society, gender segregation may not be amusing but this does not justify any hateful violent reaction, which is becoming a norm. An impetus to an impulsive reaction akin to this is always provided by the media in collusion with the state. Under the guise of terrorism a planned state repression is what is obscene and must be condemned. History bears testimony that whenever a state, in the name of security, tends to usurp people’s liberty, tactics akin to these serve as a tool to disguise its obscene and hideous designs.
Today the domination of imperialism reins supreme. It was a similar situation when Rosa Luxemburg stated: “The course of the historical dialectic has led us back to the point at which Marx and Engels stood in 1848 when they first unfurled the banner of international socialism. We stand where they stood, but with the advantage that 70 additional years of capitalist development lie behind us.” But then Marx and Engels had the advantage of having a fully conscious proletariat right behind them while in the present era the reality is shrouded in various layers of false consciousness. When the darkness of night approaches at its acme, it heralds its negation: the dawn.