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QeRN – Opinion – This is a child killed by the indiscriminate bombing and shelling of US forces on the city of Fallujah; in retaliation to the murder of four ex-US Army mercenaries in the city last week.

As one Iraqi put it: ” ‘Collateral damage’ is a pretty word for ‘cowardice’. I am a terrorist when I am attacked in my home, in my city, in my country by an occupying force?”

While the US media churns out ‘sovereignty’, ‘collateral damage’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘democracy’, is it falling on deaf ears in some parts of the world. Let us take a look.

A ‘gullibility gap’ seems to be appearing between the older generation in Iraq and in other Islamic countries and those born after 1970. On the surface, it appears as the wisdom of the older people against the brashness of the younger ones. On deeper analysis however, another discernible difference appears. This analysis was conducted on data from polls conducted by Zogby in 2003:

The post-WWII generation – born between 1940 and 1970 – were raised on the propaganda of the Cold War – appear to trust the US and Europe even while criticizing it. They have faith in the ultimate fairness of things and the virtue of patience. More importantly, they believe n a peaceful world, and think of current conflicts as aberrations in the grand scheme of things. However, they seem to to be almost universally proud of their heritage and culture.

The attitude of the subsequent generations is slightly different. While about a third share the profile of the older generations, about 50% have no faith in fairness or justice in international issues, especially when it comes to the US, Europe or Israel. An alarming mindset of ‘perpetual conflict’ is also apparent in this group. Another minor group in this generation are the so-called ‘Westernized’ youth – who believe in Western positions on divisive issues.

The best-laid plans can be overturned by generational demographics. Within a few years, one generation loses its influence while the next one comes in. In Islamic countries, where the retirement age is far below 65, the 25-50 age range holds the most sway in politics, business and society. As one generation slips away, and the other takes hold, things should be interesting.