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Silly Question: “Why do the Oppressed Rebel?”

I’d like to paint a brief picture of a man named Nat Turner.  Many of you don’t know him but I think you should.  This is a man who led a group who killed men, women, and children.  He didn’t discriminate by age or gender.  He and his accomplices preferred to kill their victims with blunt instruments so as not to alert others to what they were doing and therefore the casualty rate would be higher.  One of the victims was a lady named Margaret Whitehead.  He killed her by way of a blow to the head.  He and his group went on a two day rampage that resulted in 60 deaths.  He himself admitted that he wanted to spread “terror and alarm”.

What do you think of this man and his story?  Would you say he was a terrorist?  From the appearances any reasonable person would certainly call this man a menace to society and call for his execution.  For those of you who were hoping for such a thing to happen you can relax now and rest assured Nat Turner will not be bothering anyone else ever again.  He was caught, charged with “rebellion and insurrection”, and executed around 180 years ago.  This is the version of his story that most of us get these days of “terrorists”.  “Maniacs with nothing on their minds except hate and violence” some would say.  “They shouldn’t be allowed to live with decent people” is another sentiment that would be prevalent in the hearts and minds of people.  Well, before we pass judgement let’s look further and hear some more of this killer named Nat Turner.

Nat Turner was a slave who lived in the early 1800′s in America.  Just so you will have an idea of what a slave’s life was like in those times you should understand the following:

-slaves owned nothing

-family members were sold at any time never to see one another again

-women were owned by white slave owners and some were known as the master’s “bed wenches”

-a man could only marry with his owner’s permission

-a married man’s wife was still the property of the slave owner who could have his “way” with her anytime he wanted

-slaves were forced to work but could not share in the good fruits of his labor

-children were seen as nothing more than property and not as human beings thus they were often taken from their parents and sold

-if the slave’s work wasn’t satisfactory to the owner then the slave would be whipped, or a muzzle was placed over the slave’s mouth and head so he could not eat so as to teach him or her a lesson

Is the picture becoming clearer?  This is the life that slaves such as Nat Turner had to endure.  It is only natural that one who was in this predicament would be rather motivated to do whatever was necessary to change his circumstances and, while he was at it, pay his owners back with a taste of their own medicine.  “But what about his own admission that he wanted to spread ‘terror and alarm” you might ask.  Isn’t it natural that one would want to terrorize those who terrorized him?  I would say that this is as natural as natural gets.

How can we compare Nat Turner’s story to today’s times?  Nat Turner took his rebellion too far in his killing of children and other innocents who were not in a position to help or harm him.  However all of Nat Turner’s victims were not innocents.  Nat Turner was a product of his tormentors.  It would be criminal to not charge and try Nat Turner for the crimes he committed, but it would be significantly worse to not try and convict those who set about the conditions for the creation of him.  The blood of those killed is on the hands of every slave owner as their mistreatment of their fellow human beings made this one into a bloodthirsty killer.  All of the media whitewashing will not change that.

Today the vast majority of Mujaahideen groups are fighting a just fight against their enemies in a correct and responsible way.  However some of them are transgressing the Islamic boundaries of that which is permissible.  With ease we can simply dismiss them as extremists, which some of them are.  However, we simply can’t ignore what is fueling the extreme nature found in some of these men.  Could it be the more than 1,000,000 dead in Iraq since the US first attacked in the first gulf war?  Is it a coincidence that ISIS was born in the torture chambers of Abu Ghuraib prison under the watchful eye of the US?  Is there at least a small chance that the Allies who are carrying out the bombing campaign against ISIS who gave assurances to Bashar Assad by way of the Iraqi PM that he will not be targeted (in spite of the murder of 250,000 people) has something to do with why their upset?  Is it possible that the destabilization, killing, and humiliation of the Afghan people has something to do with it?  The support for the open aired prison in Gaza maybe?  Should I stop here?

It was comedic listening to the Canadian PM call the killing of it’s soldiers on Canadian soil last week a terrorist act.  Canada has been participating in the Afghan war for 13 years that has seen the killing of more civilians than 9/11 multiplied many times over, yet somehow they feel that the laws of the right to retaliation don’t apply to them.  By their account the attacker, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau a new Muslim, waited for approximately 2 hours so he could attack soldiers in uniform.  He totally bypassed all of the civilians he came across on that fateful day last week.  What created this man to do such a thing?  Are people like him created in a vacuum?  I don’t think they are.  Yet what was learned by Canadian authorities in the wake of the attack?  A reenergized effort to push through new “anti-terror” legislation.  A shame.  A real shame.  It is like white slave owners in Nat Turner’s days asking each other: “What would make him do such a thing?”.

As long as this lack of recognition of mistakes made remains, then all of the conditions for years of killings and massacres are in place.  Maybe one day, hopefully soon, there will emerge true leaders from all sides who are committed to doing what is right and not committed to earning a few cheap votes in an election at the expense of the blood of innocents.  Please, if anyone spots this type of leader ask him to call me.

About Bilal Abdul Kareem

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