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Life’s primacy and cultural imageries since 9/11


By Julkipli Wadi

THERE is a beautiful line in the Holy Qur’an, which many of us are very much familiar with that says: “That if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: And if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people (Maida: 35).”

This sublime passage of the Qur’an ought to be given much reflection amid rampant killings in many countries particularly in the Muslim world today.

The 21st century should have supposedly provided us immense lessons: that past wars like World War I and II and other small and big wars that happened after them had undeniably shaped present history; yet, if they could have been avoided, history would still have taken a course of continuity although we would not know what kind or what form. The point is, big powers must have learned hard lessons after engaging in those two devastating wars, as they now prefer to engage in indirect, proxy wars and continue to wage low key and subtle “secret war.” In this regard, image-making or propaganda, while deeply rooted in political ideology and psychological warfare, have been utilized quite well even making it as the strongest form of political and cultural domination against Islam and the Muslim world these past several years.

This thought comes to mind in light of two major events that I consider significant this almost midmonth of September.

The 9/11 13th year’s commemoration was used to coincide with President Barrack Obama’s declaration of US strategy against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) or (Isil). The 9/11 and the new US strategy speak volumes on how image-making and propaganda have been utilized especially so that the erstwhile World Trade Center also known as the Ground Zero is now replaced with a museum that displays various images about that fateful day of 9/11.

The message projected is that America is a victim. And anyone who’d visit the


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