Colonialism’s strategies for weakening “enjoining truth & patience” in target societies

In a part of his speech on the anniversary of the first revelation received by Prophet Muhammad (s) (Mab’ath), Imam Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, referred to one of the soft war strategies used by colonial powers with the aim of weakening determination, creating disappointment, and consequently, preventing nations from progressing. This Op-Ed article tries to explain some aspects of these strategy that are used for colonizing nations.

The role of “watchfulness” and “stability” in the prosperity of nations

Any society needs two things to attain both material and spiritual prosperity: “watchfulness” and “stability.” Watchfulness leads to making precise, correct decisions, to realizing the existence of possible dangers and obstacles lying ahead in the path of society and to making sensible decisions. On the other hand, stability ensures continuation in the making of right decisions.  In other words, stability guarantees the actualization and permanence of actions being done for the well-being and benefit of society with the passage of time and any possible social, political, or cultural fluctuations. And in this way, they have the desired, favorable effect.


The consequences of endangering these two qualities in society

Therefore, it is vital to safeguard these two qualities, namely watchfulness and stability, in any society. A society that lacks mindfulness and watchfulness resembles a ship whose captain, sailors, and all those on the ship have fallen into a deep sleep and confusion. They are neither aware of their current location nor their final destination. The future of such a ship and the people on it is to a large extent in the hands of the stormy waves, whirlpools, and cliffs in the sea. In this example, an absence of stability would lead to the sailors, who had tried their best to steer the ship in the right direction, losing their enthusiasm and fervor in the face of challenging waves and leaving the ship to move on its own. So in the end, they will find themselves kept back by the waves and the whirlpools, and all their attempts and struggles will be futile.


The relationship between “enjoining truth and patience” and watchfulness and stability

Protecting and preserving these two qualities in a society is not that difficult. It highly depends on a kind of inner, moral sense, which is called responsibility. A sense of responsibility is not limited to a particular person or group. Rather, it involves all members of society. In a society that does not have the needed sense of responsibility, people do not care about and protect each other or their society in general.

When taking a closer look at the members of a responsible society one will observe social interactions and conversations that are intended to guide and advise one another. This guidance and spirit of giving advice play a twofold function. Firstly, they pave the way toward making the right decisions and taking action. Secondly, they create a stability and perseverance in staying on the right course of decision making and taking action. In short, in a “responsible community,” every single individual is concerned and watchful about his/her fellow citizens not falling into oblivion or the paths leading to destruction. As a result, the members of such a society are always involved in dynamic, constructive conversations with each other. They truly care about each other. It is very important to them that their fellow citizens make the right decisions, take the right action and remain steady on that course.

There are some societies in which the qualities of mindfulness and stability are not taken seriously. They have built their hopes on two shaky premises. First, that they will face no storms, whirlpools, or cliffs. And second, they are hopeful that although the members of their community may not exhibit stability and perseverance, there are gentle waves to push them toward the desired goals. The question that arises is that even if all natural elements act in accordance with our desires, is it possible to overlook the always-present threat of pirates and bandits?  


Why is weakening the system of “enjoining truth and patience” so important for colonizers?

Human history has proven that colonializing, predatory countries are very likely to focus their usurping, domineering intentions and plans on those communities that are the least watchful and stable. The colonizer, contrary to the weak, neglectful community, is quite active and alert in the sense that it is continuously making plans and trying to orchestrate the situation to its own benefit. Consequently, among its plans and strategies, the colonizer pays special attention to two things with regard to the target society. It endeavors to decrease individual and collective watchfulness, and it works to weaken stability. To attain these essential goals, the colonizer resorts to a series of strategies, which are mostly focused on undermining the two-sided process of watchfulness and stability. Indeed, the colonizer tries to break the life-giving chain of mutual responsibility, concern and stability among the members of the target society. At the heart of this strategy of the colonizer lies a series of attempts aimed at weakening the kind, caring, humane relationship that exists between the individuals and groups in a society in such a way that it will no longer be possible for them to enjoin each other to vigilance and perseverance.


The first strategy used by the colonizer: Inculcating individualism

Promoting individualism and a self-centered life style is an important strategy that is often used by the colonizer. The rationale behind this measure can be understood based on the policy of the colonizer that has already been discussed. They wish to disrupt and minimize the relationships between individuals and social groups in the target community so as to minimize the positive impact of the enlightened, watchful sector of society on those who are less wary and conscious. And this process may be seen in the social and cultural lives of colonized nations. Indeed, the desired result of the colonizer’s strategy is to reduce the “communal identity” to a mere “individual identity.” In this way, human interconnections turn into various single individuals. One point here that requires serious attention is that colonization is no longer carried out in its country-based form as it was in the past. The incessant growing crisis of individualism and social indifference in many western societies is sufficient proof that global colonialism, which is run by cartels and conglomerate companies, knows no geographical borders. In order to carry out its expansionist policies and reach its goals, it is willing to target any community, even its own.


The second strategy used by the colonizer: Causing division and animosity by highlighting ethnicity and nationalism

The history of colonization reveals the second strategy that has been devised to erode the enjoining of truth and patience in communities. A good example of this is how they destroy the bonds  of support between neighboring nations and countries. This strategy is based upon excessively highlighting nationalism and ethnicity with the purpose of creating animosity and hatred between different nations and ethnic groups. In this way, they will be deprived of benefitting from the wise, kind advice of each other. In this regard, the history of Latin American, Islamic, Eastern European, and African countries shows that each of these countries has to some extent experienced the harmful effects of this move by the colonizers.


The third strategy used by the colonizer: Changing the mentality of target communities through propaganda

The third strategy used by the colonizer is the use of the media to reorient and change the mentality of the target nation. The media networks, which are available to the colonizing powers, have provided them with a good opportunity to produce and spread their own discourse and propaganda among the colonized nations in order to create social tensions and bring stagnation to societies. Many studies conducted on this issue are indicative of the fact that petty differences in society, which have been developed and orchestrated by the colonizers, together with distracting the attention of individuals and the community of a given society from essential, vital issues, may all be some of the outcomes of the mentioned scheme of the media and propaganda machines. These social disturbances based on petty matters actually waste a substantial amount of the energy and power of a society. And in this way, they postpone or stop the actualization of a genuine, constructive social cause. This reduction in the community’s energy and power becomes more serious when these petty disturbances created by the colonizer grow and turn into a real threat to the dominant movement of the society. On the other hand, the reduction in the strength of the society leads to a reduction of stability. The individuals in the society who have become distracted (as a result of the propaganda attacks of the colonizer) become deaf and blind to the wise, constructive enjoining of truth and patience. 


The fourth strategy used by the colonizer: Highlighting sensual instincts as being the ultimate goal

The final strategy used by the colonizer to destroy enjoining one another to truth and patience in societies is based on prioritizing and highlighting the sensual instincts. Accordingly, these instincts are guided to take on a central position in society and to overcome rationality and spirituality. In this way, the kind, caring advice and counsel of individuals, which is rooted in rationality and wisdom, will no longer have any effect. In other words, in a society where instincts are deemed and defined to be the main social impetus and their fulfillment has become the only goal, that society will no longer be able to recognize nor respect its higher material and spiritual goals, let alone think about enjoining each other to truth and patience.



Today, readers are well aware that the strategies that have been discussed are not the only strategies devised and used by colonizers to destroy the system of enjoining one another to truth and patience that ultimately leads to social cohesion and consolidation. Thus, in addition to shaping and developing the elements that are needed for success, it is necessary for every society to develop the social relationships and structures that safeguard those elements. No doubt, the kind and caring system where people “enjoin one another to follow the truth, and enjoin one another to patience”[2] is one of the most integral parts in that unifying, firm social structure.   



[2] Holy Qur’an, 103:3.