By Dr Muzaffar Iqbal
February 11, 2012
This is an urgent notice to all concerned to immediately arrange for the burial of the body called Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), together with that of its six subsidiary organs, five specialised institutions and organs, and four standing committees. The urgency comes from the fact the stench from this dead body has now become unbearable.
The OIC, called “O, I See!” by insiders, has been rotting for quite some time, but it is the Arab Spring which has really spread its foul smell. This is perhaps because of all the fresh blood of hopeful youth that has been spilled in lands which have not seen an iota of hope for at least three generations, and where, even now, tanks, planes, and murderous armies are killing scores of their own people whose only sin is that they want to live in dignity, while the OIC looked on.
The urgent need to bury the OIC also stems from several other reasons: it was an organisation created to diffuse the first real Muslim awakening in the post-colonial era. It was conceived by the self-serving and often self-appointed kings and potentates of the Muslim world at the very beginning of the resurgence of Islamic consciousness in the Muslim mind, and it was formally established in Rabat on Sept 25, 1969. Rabat, let us recall, was then the hub of the most extreme Jewish influence and the immediate cause of the OIC’s establishment was the recent criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
The following year, it was decided to establish a permanent secretariat in Jeddah. Over the last forty years, the organisation grew from its 25 founding members to its present membership of 57 states, all but five of which are autocratic states run by overlords.
In 2005, the OIC made a desperate attempt to survive and its third extraordinary session of the Islamic Summit, held in Mecca in December 2005, laid down a “blueprint,” really blue with the onslaught of death, but called the “Ten-Year Programme of Action.” The blueprint envisaged “joint action of member states, promotion of tolerance and moderation, modernisation, extensive reforms in all spheres of activities, including science and technology, education and trade enhancement, and emphasises good governance and promotion of human rights in the Muslim world, especially with regard to rights of children, women and the elderly, and the family values enshrined in Islam.”
This attempt remained unsuccessful. But on June 28, 2011, when the OIC was already in death convulsions, it made another attempt: it tried to resurrect itself by changing its name to “Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.” This, however, proved to be futile and it died in violent agony. Since then, its body has been awaiting a burial. Can someone please hurry up and dig the grave?
The decaying body has become so nauseating that one does not even have time and patience to write an obituary. But something should be said, lest it take revenge and send back the potentates who established it into the world in the form of ghosts. This is not merely a joke: the ghost of that terrible man called Hafez al-Assad is already wreaking havoc in Homs.
According to the last reports (as of Feb 7), the Syrian military assault on Homs has maimed and massacred hundreds of people, following the defeat of a UN Security Council resolution, because of a veto by China and Russia, the United States has shut its embassy in Damascus and Belgium and Britain recalled their ambassadors.
The current massacre in Homs is nowhere close to the Hama massacre of February 1982, when the Syrian army, under the orders of the Hafez al-Assad, conducted a scorched earth operation against the town under the direct supervision of Assad’s younger brother, Rifaat al-Assad, who now lives in London in luxury. At least 20,000 people, or as many as 40,000 of them, were brutally murdered by the father of the current ruler.
One must also remember the Black September massacre in Jordan in 1970, “the single deadliest act by any Arab government against its own people in the modern Middle East,” and countless “lesser” massacres which continue to happen throughout the Muslim world. One must also remember that the OIC never uttered a word against these massacres, just as it has not uttered a single word about the current round of massacres in Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Syria.
Over the span of its existence, the OIC witnessed various ups and downs; it has had many storms in many teacups. Its potentate members, who represented no one but themselves, used to come together in grand gatherings to bolster their egos. In one of the sessions, Qaddafi is said to have blown cigar smoke on the amir of Qatar, and finally he paid the price for it. But many escaped justice in this world, although nothing can save them from the justice of the Most Just.
The OIC’s most unforgivable crime is that it successfully diffused the Islamic fervour of two generations and sucked up all hopes of a pan-Islamic future. It destroyed hope throughout the Muslim world when that hope was still in its nascent state. It blew out the candle when the light had just started to flicker after a long night of colonial rule.
The body of this deadly organisation, even in its new incarnation, does not deserve anything. But just so that one can at least protect future generations from its stench, it must be buried along with all of its parts, including the sitting and standing committees, one of which is in Islamabad.
The writer is a freelance columnist.