By E.F Nicholson
Through some feedback on Facebook regarding the previous article and some questions I responded to myself, I chose to write this follow-up on the Paris attacks. At heart, it’s a response to a Facebook friend who expressed concern over ISIS and fundamentalist Islam being a genuine threat to Australia. This is an issue I just don’t see, and I believe the solution is far more simple than our government is willing to admit.
ISIS and radical Islam are not serious threats to Australia in any way. In Australia, 2% of the population is Muslim. From that 2%, there is a tiny minority who sympathise with ISIS and the like. Even these sympathisers have no army, no intelligence network, no political power, and no military resources. They are normal citizens who may use violence and terror to make a point, but they are, in the end, petty criminals really, rather than a real terror threat. Their access to firearms and explosives, in Australia in particular, is very limited. So even if they somehow manage to commit horrible acts here and there, it’s always going to be fairly limited. They are not a threat to Australia’s sovereignty, nationhood or economy in anyway whatsoever.
The threat that’s not a threat
There is no army that will invade Australia and bring us to war, and same goes for the US and Europe. Truth is, we brought war to them, and we continue to do so. We invaded their countries, occupied them and took over. There is no threat of them doing the same without the adequate resources they are severely lacking. They simply are not a credible threat to any Western democracy; the most they can do is disrupt our sense of normalcy and create fear. It is the media and government who seem to be more than happy to give them far more power and influence than they really wield. Maybe you could consider China or Russia to be a potential threat if they started to be aggressive, but being fearful of ISIS is like being afraid of Luxembourg or Malta invading Australia.
A threat that should be way down on the list
There are so many issues far more “threatening” than ISIS to people’s day-to-day life and well-being in Australia. The financial crisis is an example of something that has seriously fucked so many people’s lives. I have a friend whose uncle lost his entire superannuation (pension in Australia), and his state pension is too meagre to live off of, so now at 70 he has to keep working. There are millions like him, people whose lives have been ruined, and nothing has happened to the culprits, and nothing has been fixed in the system that enabled to this happen. If as much energy went into fixing this and helping its victims as is spent on “terrorism,” it would be a far better use of resources. Then you have the mother of all global threats, climate change. Again, how that can take a backseat to something as insignificant as ISIS is just beyond me. There is enough information to write many books on how and why global warming is a real threat. It’s immediate, it’s happening and its damage is potentially irresolvable. It’s a threat not just to whoever is in power, but to the future existence of humanity. It doesn’t get more “threatening” than that. Add to that nuclear arms and potential disasters like Fukushima, and you’d think nuclear non-proliferation would be a priority for the whole world. Then you have problems like the third leading cause of death being mistakes made in hospitals. How many lives could be saved if this was seriously studied with an aim of being corrected? Then corruption in government leads to the likes of GMOs and profit being the sole determination behind what goes into our food chain. These are real threats that impact real people. This year, 65 women have been murdered by men in Australia, and the budget to help women in danger has been eliminated. Can you imagine if an ISIS cell in Australia had beheaded 65 people? What kind of resources would have gone into stopping this? But 65 women? Well, whatever. As a substantial threat to Australians’ day-to-day lives and national security, radical Islam is nothing.
The function of fear
Fear plays a function when it comes to controlling people. People are more willing to tolerate having their rights taken away if they think it’s going to make them safer. Fear also sells more media space and makes for a better story. You also need to take into account how we have billion-dollar industries that profit from perpetual war. They may not create groups like ISIS, but they do profit from their existence and from our government’s policy of “attack” instead of “defend.” Take a look at how defence stocks go up in price when these types of attacks take place. The LNP has to somehow justify spending 24 billion on useless F35 fighter jets, so they ramp up these types of threats in order to do so. Don’t get me wrong, what just happened in Paris can be classified as a threat, but when you take in the whole picture along with the government’s resources and focus, it is completely out of proportion to the kind of threat it is. Don’t forget how, just as in the lead–up to the second World War, when any tyrannical government goes to invade or destroy an enemy that’s getting in the way, they all say the same thing. Hitler warned Germans about communist terrorists trying to take over Germany, and about the Jews who were funding it. Franco did the same in Spain as a way to justify murdering any threat to his dictatorship. Just because we have a free press so to speak and X-factor on the TV doesn’t negate the fact that the majority of the news and media citizens consume is a form of establishment propaganda. News Limited, which controls a huge portion of what Australians consume as news, is based around the ideology of white conservative right-wing egomaniacs. It may not be Prada, but it isn’t far from it. You could also argue that as far as threats go, having so much of our media concentrated in the hands of a few is also a huge threat to what’s in the best interest of the citizenry.
Our government can’t say it, but the biggest threat to most everyday Australians is the government itself, acting not in best interest of citizens, but rather acting on the interest of large corporate powers whose agenda and goals have nothing to do with what’s best for the people. The invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan is a clear example of that, where citizens’ long-term safety is put aside for economic interests and a resource grab. Most Australians have more in common with the average Syrian or Iraqi than they do with the likes of Malcolm Turnbull or David Cameron and the rest of the world’s political class.
Simple solution to terrorism that just gets ignored
Despite all this, there is a simple solution to make all this go away, to actually stop the terrorism at our door. The intelligence agencies in the US and UK have repeatedly stated that our involvement in the Middle East is what’s causing the terrorism. The 9/11 Commission repeated the same thing. There is a reason they are not blowing up bars in Iceland and El Salvador. Our political class and the corporate interests they represent have made a calculation that what we get from having an overbearing military presence throughout the Middle East and the access it gives us to those resources is worth the price of this type of terrorism. If we pulled out all military, stopped funding Israel and other Western-friendly dictatorships, such as all of the Gulf States, and just left the region alone, this would not be happening. Yet that will not happen, as there is too much money involved, and they have already invested too much. The truth is our meddling is exactly what fanned the flames of extremist Islam in the first place. The lives of the innocent citizens in the Middle East are expendable, and so are the lives of those in Paris, London, New York or anywhere else these attacks have taken or will take place. All the talk and speeches of stopping terrorism is totally disingenuous, as they have a solution, but it’s off the table; it’s not even discussed or debated. So if that power and dominance continues to go unquestioned and unchecked, then expect the violent reaction to it to do so as well. Violence begets violence. Terror begets terror. It’s really that simple.