In Defense of Freedom
After so many voices, here are my reactions to the terrible situation invoving September 11 and my suggestions for solutions:
This is not a war between cultures. This is a classic struggle between freedom's tolerance and intolerance played against a background of different conceptions of good and evil. It is fueled by a heinous crime, but it is not a war of cultures.
I think sentiments that would promote culture wars play right into the hands of the “fundamentalist” terrorists, the so-called jihadists or Islamists. They want a war between cultures, not merely war between states. Their aim is the destruction of the Western cultures and globalization in a struggle against a fundamentalist Muslim world, which they term as the Crusader and the Jew against the people of Allah. This is a warped view of Islam, and Muslims also decry it. The elements which contribute to this condition were observed and explained in the book, "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" by Thomas Friedman.
The only solution is a politico-religious solution. The fundamentalists of all extremes must be marginalized and discredited, even excommunicated--BY THEIR OWN PEOPLE. Let them be judged by their God and their own righteous laws. No other solution will bring peace and freedom to the world. No alternative exists it seems, except worldwide police state conditions, including legions of Roman-like occupiers. Unfortunately that seems to be the direction the world is now going.
The problem is Fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is a parasitic movement. It is parasitic on culture; it is parasitic on globalization. It derives its legitimacy from a warped view of its host. It is promoted by those who would subvert the doctrines of its host religion and culture, whether it be Conservative Christian or Shiite Muslim. As one editorial said of bin Laden and Falwell after their recent unguarded remarks blaming evils of America for the Attack, that it sounds as if they are twins that were separated at birth. [The (SF) Recorder (Legal Newspaper), Sept 21, 2001]
Those who would populate America with extreme fundamentalist Christianity, and those who would populate the world with anti-western extreme fundamentalist Islam are both equally misguided. Clearly there are evils to which both extremes are reacting, and opponents of each other are using the perceived failures of a perceived chauvinistic international policy and are inciting sympathies by propagandist characterizations of innocent suffering, but there is no need to go to war to totally eliminate evil. It would only beget more evil.
From the beginning of history there has been a coexistence of evil and good. It was so planned in order to create choice. The contrary plan would use the existence of evil as an excuse to eradicate good in the name of go(o)d.
The proper approach is defensive: Defend your people, your rights, your own country and your own religion, even to the point of loss of one's own blood, but do not make offensive attacks. That will only provoke reactive assault and revenge. It should be Operation Infinite Patience, for the struggle will be long.
Evil will reap its own reward, as God Himself will be the ultimate judge. Those who do evil must surely face judgment, but it is the most evil of prejudice to attribute the evil to an entire culture.
Someone said that there must be a superpower in the world, and we should be glad it is the USA, because it can understand freedom. Let us be united in our resolve to protect freedom, the freedom that allows us to choose good over evil, to do good and to be good. But let us not fall into the trap of attempting to eradicate evil by force beyond defense, even though it may mean the loss of our own blood.
Kenneth R. Allen
September 21, 2001
Comments by readers:
I agree with your thoughts and can, unfortunately, add another example:
Fundamentalist Jews. Since the 1967 war, it is they whose insistence on taking over all the land that God "promised" to the Jews of three millennia ago (and to hell with the peoples and history of the last two millennia), who have the blood of thousands on their hands, if not on their collective conscience. Their disregard of international law in settling an occupied area and their literal an-eye-for-an-eye thinking has been teaching us for decades about "Roman occupiers" and that violence "begets [further] evil".
The Jewish lobby is so strong in this country that we do not get the same
information about the Israel-Palestinian conflict that people in other
countries regularly receive. I had to go to a French newspaper website
(Le Monde) to see maps of how many settlements there were (now there are more)
and their locations. The same site told me about the location of water in
relation to the settlements and the restrictions on Arabs drilling for water while Israelis use 90% of the water of the occupied territories.
I grew up in a household where the standard tales of the creation of the State of Israel were told, because they were thought to be the truth, e.g., the majority of Palestinians left Israel because most were afraid of repercussions by their Arab allies if they didn't.
But you have traveled in Israel and what should be Palestine, and have talked with people there. You know what is going on.