While facilitating a youth workshop recently, I realized that this generation is completely shaped by the events and politics of 9/11. Though few of the youth were able to define terrorism (beyond “blowing things up”), most of them were quick to normalize surveillance, military occupation, online tracking, CCTV cameras, extraordinary rendition, torture, deportations and incarceration.
Over the past 13 years, the War on Terror has been one of linguistic and legal contortions that allow the state to fortify itself with increasing policing and surveillance powers.
The War on Terror is a geopolitical War of Terror, invoking simplistic “us versus them” jargon to crusade in the service of so-called Western civilization (such as the barely debated re-entry of Canadian special operation forces and NATO into Northern Iraq this week).
Within Canada, Muslim, Arab, racialized and Indigenous communities have been recast as outsiders and threats, while tactics of fear have been deployed to criminalize legitimate resistance movements from Turtle Island to Palestine.
In the current context, Islamophobia is predicated on the ability to designate and vilify the “dual” citizen (the Arab-Canadian or Muslim-Canadian) as a potential terrorist threat, rendering every Muslim, Arab, and/or South Asian as an eternal Other and Outsider to the nation-state.
Media rants about Islam being innately fundamentalist, conservative, barbaric and heteropatriarchal have become commonplace. By comparison, the massacre in Norway and Oak Creek gurudwara massacre were considered to be the acts of “lone” white men.
As commentator Juan Cole blogs, “White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies. White terrorists are never called ‘white.’ But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations”…