So, Mr. Obama blinked.  At least for now.World leaders competing for power and clout are scurrying across the globe pretending to bring “peace” to this troubled world, thriving on these golden opportunities for leaving a “legacy” behind just like Henry Kissinger, whose advice is still being sought in such matters. It does not matter that his legacy is death not life, dictatorship not democracy, oppression not freedom, and war not peace.

Not to be left behind, the legal experts are trying to find ways under international law to bomb a country down to a heap of rubble and exterminate whole people like varmints. We are being warned that we ignore these ‘sacred’ laws at our own peril. However, let us be clear about these and all other manmade laws: they are made by the powerful and rich, for the benefit of the powerful and rich, and implemented by the powerful and rich; they are the tools of the rich to keep the poor in line, to keep them under control, and prevent them from committing any mischief; and they are implemented selectively.  They are invoked in the name of God, world peace, freedom, or for promoting human ingenuity, but it is all a farce. 

What about the immorality of using chemical weapons and crossing of the red line? Unfortunately, this “moral” issue has become a political tool to score points rather than a genuine effort to separate truth from lies. And the red line was drawn by hands dripping with innocent blood. Who are real culprits committing these immoral crimes and crossing this red line, anyway? Is it the paid mercenaries who are mostly born and raised amongst violence and destruction, and who either due to ignorance or poverty, or to gain some self-respect and prestige, put their lives on line for a few coins thrown their way and who do not even have the technology, skills and knowhow of making or even properly using these weapons?

Or should it be the dictator who has brutally suppressed his own people and who has been supported from time to times by the same powers, who are now hankering to tear him apart and throw him in front of hunting dogs?

Shouldn’t those who profit by producing and selling chemical weapons be held responsible? Is anyone asking the questions: Who is producing this lethal gas? Where is the research conducted to develop most deadly weapons of mass destructions (WMD)? Who holds the largest stock piles of the WMDs? Who has used their WMDs in the most blatant way?  Who is arming anyone willing to pay the prices for these lethal chemicals? Answers to these questions will lead us to the real criminals.  But who will bell the cat?

How do we make sense of all this mayhem, turmoil and propaganda, and sift through all this confusion to find truth and a way out? For that we have to get down to some basics.

Let’s ask the classic question in a mystery novel: whodunit? And the usual answer is: those most benefitting from this crime--All those who want to establish their hegemony in the region; those who are producing, selling and profiteering in this war economy; those who have their petro-dollars invested in the Western capitalist ventures; those who want to rob, exploit, maim and kill people to fill their coffers.  They are the multi-national corporations, the arms industry, the oil barons of the west and the Arab world, the army generals, the media moguls and so on.  So, forget the morality, religion, freedom, peace, and justice etc.  It is the money and power, stupid!  They are the ones who make decisions to wage war but don’t go to war themselves. Instead, lure the poor into the hell of war on various pretexts. 

As Chris Hedges saysin Boston Review on 14 July 2012, “We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory and adventure.  We hold these promises against deadend jobs of small town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debts, lack of health insurance and dread of unemployment.  The military is the call of the sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind counters of Wal-Mart to fight and die for war profiteers and elites.”

Now, the most fundamental question of all: How did the genuine uprising of the people of Syria in particular and the Arab world in general, against cruel and despotic rulers turn into civil wars, total destruction of infrastructure, killing hundreds of thousands innocent people and displacing millions more?  A simple answer is that the tiny minority belonging to any country, religion, or sect, who controls the world, is deathly afraid of the people power.  Thus as soon as it realized that it is up against this tremendous power, its whole machinery came into action to co-opt this people movement.  In some cases they tried to impose democracy and when the results were contrary to their expectations, they used illegal means to depose elected governments, like in Egypt, in others they infiltrated the people movement with reactionary elements and created a civil war, like in Syria and yet in others, destroyed the whole country down to stone age as in Libya.  All their slogans of democracy, freedom and justice are as hollow as the trunk of an old tree, eaten up by insects and disease from inside. They know that they are numerically a tiny minority and if ever the masses decide to unite and rise up and are successful, they don’t stand a chance. All their halos of religion, nationalism, and regionalism will be stripped and their slogans of freedom, justice and morality will be exposed because in the last analysis it is nothing but a class war. It reminds me of Faiz’s poem, Kuttey.

The only way forward is for the masses of the world to develop class consciousness, and by uniting, rising up and throwing off this yoke of slavery, subordination, and servitude imposed upon them by these ruthless, evil, and merciless self-proclaimed managers of the world.  It is as true of the people of the so called civilized and democratic countries, which are in essence ruled by oligarchy like UK and USA, as it is of those ruled by dictators and monarchs like the Arab world, as well as of the ones ruled by despotic democratically elected ruling elite like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. The key here is for people to claim what rightfully belongs to them--that is all the natural resources, means of production and establish democracy of masses.  It is either this or barbarism.  So, what kind of legacy do we, The People, want to leave behind?

The writer is a practicing physician and resides in Florida. She is a founding member of Rise for Pakistan and International Youth Movement. She is a founding member and was the chairperson of the Human Development Foundation, and has served on the board of PAKPAC. She is also a life member of APPNA.