As a Westerner, you wake up every morning to news about the personal lives of Hollywood starlets, murky scandals of corporate billionaires, and how ChatGPT is changing the world.
What’s newsworthy and what’s not is determined by a bunch of individuals who sit at the helm of the world of mainstream media controlled by big and corrupt corporate houses.
Meanwhile, we just witnessed another Arbaeen walk, the largest and the greatest march against all forms of terrorism, imperialism, fascism and racism that takes place every year between the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.
This year was particularly remarkable with the official figure of attendees estimated at around 23 million. The unofficial figure though is above 30 million.
Arbaeen marks the 40th day after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS), his male family members and companions on the desert plains of Karbala almost 14 centuries ago by the tyrant Umayyad ruler Yazid.
Arbaeen walk unites people from all walks of life from every corner of the world for a common cause — the cause that the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) laid down his life for. Every year, as millions of people walk from Najaf to Karbala, they are offered food, water, shelter, and blessings of the holy cities.
People participating in the walk come from all social and economic classes, from North America to South Asia to West Asia to Europe to the Caucasus. It is the most unifying and trend-setting event in human history.
But chances are high that, as someone living in the West and following Western media for news, you may not have heard about this monumental annual event.
Because again this year, there was a complete media blackout of Arbaeen walk in the West, as if nothing happened, as if millions walking towards Karbala didn’t chant slogans against Western neo-imperialism, as if they didn’t seek an end to US hegemonic policies, as if they didn’t call for a better, safer and peaceful world.
An event as significant and monumental as this would surely deserve a mention in mainstream Western media, which touts itself as a go-to source for all fair and balanced news and views about the world.
There has barely been any mention of Arbaeen walk this year as if 23 million people walking in unison is an insignificant matter. Not on BBC, MSNBC, CNN, or any other major Western media platform.
What is the reason for this media blackout of Arbaeen walk? That’s the question many people are asking.
Is it because this peaceful procession is not interesting to the West’s media apparatus, which demonizes Muslim-majority countries as violent and barbaric?
Could it be that the West is instead focused on its barbaric festivals like Burning Man, which are curated for the ultra-wealthy and represent the tenets of capitalist decadence?
Or, is it because the Western regimes would not want their populations to be exposed to Imam Hussain’s (AS) message of never bowing down to a tyrant, and never accepting a life of slavery?
Imam Hussain’s (AS) life personified piety, justice, and love. He refused to pay allegiance to a despotic tyrant who sought to subjugate land and people for himself, motivated only by his lust for power and selfishness.
In his fruitless quest to force Imam Hussain (AS) to bow down to his tyrannical rule, Yazid and his minions martyred Imam and his companions. His vast army then burned down the tents of the family members of the holy household, which was followed by their imprisonment and interrogation.
It was a victory of blood over the sword. Yazid failed and was consigned to the dustbin of history while Imam Hussain (AS) won and became immortalized.
Centuries later, the message of Imam Hussain (AS) remains alive, not only in the form of the Arbaeen walk but through hundreds of millions of Muslims observing Muharram in their own communities across the world.
The message of standing up to arrogant and despotic powers is heard loud and clear.
The Yazid of our time does not come in the shape of Yazid ibn Muawiya but in the form of the imperialist US and its allies, who are bent on subjugating the world, motivated solely by their endless greed for power.
As Yazid’s despotic arrogance was met with resistance centuries ago, the despotic arrogance of imperialism is met with resistance today — which is growing each day.
The imperialist powers, spearheaded by the US, have spent decades destroying and pillaging not only Islamic holy lands but the entire world – from far east Asia to Latin America.
Where they could not destroy cities and populations, they placed their representatives to steal. When honest and just people speak out, the imperialist powers violently silence them. They demand tributes and submission, just as Yazid did of Imam Hussain (AS).
This message is made profoundly clear during the Arbaeen walk. On the 80 km stretch from Najaf to Karbala, there are 1452 poles – one every 50 meters.
This year, each pole featured a martyr who fought in the name of Islam and justice against the West and its clients – from members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in Iran to the Lion’s Den resistance in Palestine and Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq.
Emulating Imam Hussain (AS), they offered supreme sacrifices in the fight against injustice and oppression.
People participating in the walk, coming from different countries, carried photos of anti-terror martyrs such as General Qassem Soleimani, Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and more.
The flags of resistance groups in the region, including the Hashd Al-Shaabi, IRGC Quds Force, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and more fluttered all over alongside the flag of Imam Hussain (AS).
So it’s no surprise that the Western media and its masters refused to give even a sliver of attention to this extraordinary march. It is no ordinary event – it is a call against imperialism, a call to worldwide justice – which is the message of Imam Hussain (as).
Instead of reporting on the Arbaeen walk, Western regimes have continued their demonization of Islam and Muslims.
France has moved to ban the abaya, restricting girls from even entering schools in the Islamic head cover. In Denmark and Sweden, enemies of Islam continue to desecrate the Holy Quran under state patronage. In the occupied territories, Zionists continued to accompany illegal settlers to Al Aqsa, desecrating the holy site.
At the same time, the West’s media apparatuses spend all their time demonizing the very fighters and forces that are embraced as heroes and martyrs during the Arbaeen walk. Mainstream media vilifies them, smears them, and brazenly lies about them to Westerners.
If it can’t smear them, then it moves to remove the entire event from the public eye. If Americans saw that 20 million plus people entered the city of Karbala commemorating not only the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (AS) – but those like him in recent years, whom Americans have been told their entire lives are terrorists – Western media’s blackout comes into force.
It is clear through the media blackout and the constant demonization that the key to breaking the West’s message lies in a unified movement of Muslims.
The West wants a fragmented Muslim community and a caricature of Islam that is devised by its own racist and colonialist attitudes to continue its imperialist missions with public approval.
In reality, this depiction is false, as proven by Arbaeen walk and millions of followers of Imam Hussain (AS).
Year after year, more and more pilgrims join the Arbaeen procession, joining a call for justice and action. As the West and its propagandist media move to subvert this call, it should be the duty of anyone who wields the banner of justice, the banner of Imam Hussain (AS), to spread the word of his cause.
Shabbir Rizvi is a Chicago-based political analyst with a focus on US internal security and foreign policy.
(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV)