And now Mr Bush let’s talk about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo

Marianne Ranke-Cormier

All that fuss for caricatures published month ago, last September, and which at that time had offended nobody, neither in the Muslim world, nor in the Arab world ? Strange indeed that it erupted so much later in time.  Strange too isn’it, that you were among the first ones to intervene for condemning us, the Europeans, and more specifically Denmark, one of your very few allies left in the EU.

How much did you have fun when in the European political world our heads of states and governments could not agree on a joint position, or when Calderoli, the Italian minister, ‘defended’ freedom of expression in order to serve his rightist extremists objectives. By doing so, he was certain to lose its ministerial job … but he is sure to secure more votes for his xenophobic party.

The rest of the European political class spent its time blaming any denigration of religious symbols and expressing apologies for “offences” … as the Pope did.  Though they are no Popes. They are democratic political leaders.

And then you joined the chorus, too happy to show ‘support’ and ‘understanding’ for the Muslims … in order to try to make them forget that you bomb them every single day in Iraq or elsewhere? Or was it a ‘pre-emptive’ communication strike’ in order to distract Muslims and the rest of the world of the new images coming out from Abu Ghraib, or the international condemnations of Guantanamo?

In any case, who are you to intervene within a debate between the Europeans and the Muslim world? Are you Muslim? Are you European? You are neither one or the other. So, how can you dare assert your opinion on this matter? As anybody on the Muslim or European sides asked you to do so? Not that we heard of?

So why were you suddenly so fast in being vocal on the topic? Again, I can’t prevent myself to wonder how much ‘useful’ was the coincidence of having the caricature troubles just a few days before a new Abu Ghraib scandal and the Guantanamo condemnation. I must be very suspicious. But looking at all the lies you and your administration have told to the world in the past 5 years, I cannot prevent myself to be suspicious, when it comes to your speeches and deeds.

However Mr. Bush, if you could enjoy division between our national leaders within the EU, you must know that heads of state or of government are not anymore making the EU foreign policy when it comes to major European decisions. The European citizens have taken over their national leadership … as proved by the recent defeat of our ‘establishment’ regarding the EU Constitution.

And in this caricature crisis, Mr. Bush, the European citizens did feel to be all Danes, because they do care for freedom of speech, and they do want to keep religions at bay of politics. Two things you obviously do not share with us, the Europeans.

And in a way, I am really wondering whether you had that much fun in the end …. because ultimately chaos did not take place in Europe!  Admittedly some Muslims demonstrated in the streets of the European capitals, but it was peacefully, as it is their most legitimate right. There were no riots such as the time of the suburbs’ crisis in France, proving again, by the way, that there was no religious content within those riots. Maybe somebody, somewhere, in an obscure task force of an unknown secret agency, made another mistake: contrarily to what is believed by many in Washington DC, Europe is not on the verge of a religious war, neither of an anti-Muslim backlash.

Now Mr. Bush, let’s talk about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, these centers in which you locked up thousands of so-called “terrorists“, Arabic or not, but all Muslims, without any fair trial (if any trial at all), without legal protection … and for whom you believe that torture is a very decent process to apply.

So let’s talk about these people whom you oblige to abjure their faith, whom you make spit on the Coran, walk in leaves like dogs, upon which your soldiers and your guards urinate, these men whom you hang by the feet, which are violated, beaten, humiliated until the extreme. Yes, let’s talk of them, because, you should know, Mr. Bush, that in Europe (and most probably everywhere else in the world but in the USA), this is what people are talking about when one mentions you, the US government or the Americans (even if I do know very well that many Americans do not share your views).

Yes, let’s talk about that, Mr. Bush, because this is not spin, this is where reality lies. Not in the supposed to be ‘clash of civilizations’ between Europe and the Muslim world or between the ‘West’ and the ‘Orient’, it is definitely within a clash between civilization and barbary. And, you are the barbaric Mr. Bush. And the Europeans are not feeling anymore anything in common with you and your likes.

If you want to have a clue about the fact that the ‘West’ is dead, that we Europeans do not share anymore values with your administration, think over this fact, Mr. Bush: I prefer a thousand time to see my flag being burnt for simple drawings, offending some people but resulting from freedom of expression, rather than to see it being burnt once because, as a citizen of my country, I would have to share the responsibility for tortures, killings, crimes against humanity.

And, Mr. Bush, you may fool yourself by thinking that Muslims don’t make such a difference, but belive me, the awakening will be rude. Because they do. And we, Europeans, do too!

Marianne Ranke-Cormier (21-02-2006 - Paris-Arriach (France-Austria) )