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Published in the 1-15 July 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Clash of languages

The romance of ‘clash of civilization’ has been reduced to ‘clash of languages’, as far as the current global divide is concerned. The world is divided in two groups, each with its own language, which the other simply cannot understand. 
If for Bush, Blair and Sharon, Al Qaida, Hamas, and Al Jama’a Islamiya are terrorists; for the Muslim World, Bush, Blair and Sharon themselves are the real terrorists. 

The words used by both linguist groups are the same, but the meaning is world apart. 

The language of war, started with the now departed President Reagan, when he called the Soviet Union, ‘the evil empire’. If you ask the 1.3 billion Muslims, their dictionary meaning of ‘Evil Empire’ is none other than the axis of US/UK/Israel. 

For the ignorant and uninitiated, ‘democracy’ means, government of the people, for the people, by the people. 

For Bush and Blair the word ‘democracy’ means any government that accepts their constituted and imposed constitution, that appoints their hand-picked head of state and government, and that hands over the overall defense, security and intelligence suzerainty to the American Command.

For the newly liberated nations, FREEDOM means, freedom from the colonial rule that had enslaved them for over a century or more. 

For Bush, FREEDOM for his and his country, is to be free to invade, bombard and destroy cities and villages, occupy foreign lands, capture and imprison foreign leaders and common citizens, plunder the wealth and resources of the weak and indefensible nations of the Muslim world. Time in and time out, Bush harangues his own people and the world at large, about his fight for ‘FREEDOM’. He suffers from severe case of complete disconnect while speaking a language that is virtually unknown to the rest of the world. 

No amount of shouting across the barricades will produce any result, as both sides are virtually deaf to the language of the other. 

The tragedy is that while the dialogue of the deaf is on, the only communication that hits the other, is the language of blood and gore on both sides. 

Ghulam Muhammed

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