Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Replies to your questions PART I

Below are the rest of your questions from emails and the comment section which have remained unanswered I will post them over several parts:

1. Libyan version of perestroika?

Alan, sometime ago you sent me a link for an article which suggests that the current activities in Libya where some kind of a perestroika a la Libyan. My opinion is that Libya cannot remain isolated for much longer we are too near Europe and other countries and it needs to catch up with the rest of the world .What is the use for all the heartache of taking a beating for causes which are not our cause and for which the legitimate people concerned already deal with America behind the scenes while paying lip service for their cause. So I think that in the end what has happened in the last months should have been undertaken years ago. If paying and declaring the WMD will get my country out of a fix it partially and maybe naively got itself into then by all means let’s close this chapter the way America wants. Then we can start a new page, improve ourselves, increase the education of our people, join the industrialized world, and stop worrying about being the champions of the underdog. I believe that when you can achieve realistic goals one at a time the farther away dreams will get nearer once you get used to being winner.

2. What do Libyans know and think of the fact that your government practiced terrorism and bombed civilian planes in the past?

Marco, Libyan alleged practice of terrorism is only that: alleged, there is no proof beyond reasonable doubt that those civilian planes have been bombed as a result of Libyan meddling. If you read the transcript of the two court cases you will find that some statements leave a lot to be desired. Also remember that only one Libyan got convicted (and he wants to appeal) while at the beginning everyone was adamant that it was both Libyans. History will show the truth sooner or later. At the moment clearing our name one way or another is the best strategy to go forward. If later on it turns out that it was a deliberate Libyan act then I’m sure Libyans will totally refuse it. But if it turns out that we have been wronged then I would demand suitable reparation for the years of hardship the Libyan people suffered from the West and especially America and France regarding this question. I would like to point out that any act of terrorism by whoever is totally condemned by the Libyan people. We also have suffered from terrorism.

3. arabs - can't live with 'em, can't nuke 'em

Paul, I noticed you on many Iraqi blogs, and your comments always seemed to be prejudiced against Arabs and so much anti – Arab and anti- Muslim (you put the two in the same bag interchangeably) . Of course that is your privilege and you are entitled to your opinion even though at times you did write comments which I found logical. I just wanted to tell you not to base your views about us from people who have renounced Islam, and others who keep denigrating their fellow Arabs. Why don’t you try to reach out, meet or interact with Arabs and Middle-Easterners who are at the same time good examples of Muslims (it is possible you know). Don’t make the same mistakes that you accuse Arabs of that they are namely being prejudiced against Americans.

4. Afghanistan is effectively imprisoned by foreign troop (Pakistani, Iranian, Chinese, Uzbek, Tajik, Turkmenistan).Somehow they manage to live in those conditions. Perhaps Afghans are more mature and intelligent and peaceful than Arabs?

Again, If you remember Zeyad’s posts about the history of the Arab tribes? You will understand why Arabs are unable to manage to live under foreign troops even though they may be more benign than the local dictator. This is derived from the make up of the Arab personality. I personally believe that ‘when you can’t fight them, join them’ to survive and have peace. Look at Germans they gratefully took the Marshall plan and proceeded to become a success and the Japanese also grabbed the American offer after being carpet bombed in WWII. The Arab’s pride will yet be their doom , they are not less intelligent than the Afghan but collectively they have more money, they are not literally all starving en masse, they do not all have to live on handouts or from the proceeds of the drug trade (I know some Arab countries are enjoying a lot of American aid, I know some others have famines and grinding wars, but perhaps I’m being overly romantic but I think that collectively they are not as needy as the Afghans). I would have saved myself the heartache and bowed to the superpower now, because if I do so I will live to become in time a strong superpower or my kids would; but if I stand in the face of the storm I may be decimated. Unfortunately we still think according to the Arabic rhyme which says [biladi wan in jarat 3aliya 3aziza, wa ahli wa in dhanu bi kiramu] – ‘my country will remain dear to me even if hurt me , and my people will remain generous despite having failed me’. Roughly speaking it is my nation and I will love it against all odds. This might be a wrong attitude in the western eyes but that is how many Arabs think still and that is what prevents them from accepting foreign occupation even when it is covertly done and even if accepting the status quo may be better in the long run.
Personally I wish that the Iraqis would stop the insurgency and stop giving the Americans the reason to remain one day more on Iraqi soil. This way Americans will eventually have to go. My idea is that we will see some more bloodshed.
Occupation does not have to be military also, the worst type of occupation is the economic one and that is obvious in many countries and that makes me very mad, but until we allow them to take advantage of us and don’t work on improving ourselves so that we may compete, then we deserve what befalls us.

5. These are not hate words – in case you think that somebody disagreeing with you hates you.

Somebody sent me the above words. Once and for all, I do not consider anyone disagreeing with me as someone who hates me. He/she does not know me to hate or love me in the first place. In fact those who disagree with me open my eyes to many matters heretofore unknown which may help me in my personal growth. Whilst those who sent me real hate filled words, where I would like to say that the fact that they took the time to read my posts and actually write to me to utter those hate words (not disagreements) means that they don’t really hate me or my words, but that my words have somehow reached their subconscious/hearts and perhaps affected/touched them and they are reaching out in their blindness looking for someone to lead them to the truth.

6. “Can you honestly say that everything bad you hear about the Americans is true and that the Iraqi insurgents are all innocent people just fighting for their freedom? It’s about the power struggle and who really doesn’t believe that insurgents are using mosques to fight from?”

No, there are bad and good people everywhere. Some of the Iraqi insurgents may not be lily white, but in their fight against an occupying army small details do not count anymore and they become freedom fighters and anything they do to get rid of their presumed enemy becomes legitimate. I don’t think they should have used the mosques though. Personally they should have just let the Americans walk through( as I said above), but I think that there has been also much provocation from the American side. As I said Arabs are very proud people when loosing face before a stranger especially and this characteristic is not to their advantage at the moment. The time of chivalry and knights is long gone.

7. “If a Muslim killed an American child playing dolls in their yard just because the child was American, another Muslim can’t turn him in because the child is an infidel and you can’t turn on a Muslim to give justice to an infidel. Isn’t that what some Muslims teach? There might be a lot of things wrong in the US but believing that everyone who is your religion is better than everyone who isn’t your religion is not one of them.

No JstMeZ, a Muslim is not going to kill that child just because she is American: that is a crime. If some deranged people teach that, then they are going against all the principles of Islam ans should be locked up. But we have to listen to Mr. Bush himself who said there are rotten apples everywhere so these maybe our rotten apples. Threfore no, Islam does not condone hiding a criminal just because he is a Muslim, rather justice should be brought upon him. That is regarding the particular example you raised. What we Muslims believe is that the better amongst us is the person who has the strongest faith in God. Sometimes the most outwardly devout one may not be the best one. The Koran says “lakum dinakum wa li dini”, that is you have your religion and I have mine! Since you have been informed about Islam then the choice is up to you, take it or leave it. Once we clearly make our choices then we are held accountable for them. Not all Muslims are good, but also not all non-muslims of whatever ethnicity are good either. The only people who believe that everyone who is from their religion is better than the rest are guess who? : the Jews. Please go check their scripture. Please remember that only in Islamic countries, different races and religions managed to live harmoniously and equally.

8. No, the root of terrorist violence lies in the "traditional arab" value system.

I admit Dan that some Arabs have resorted to terrorism but that is not an exclusive trait to us. Please remember IRA , the shining path, the Ku Klux Klan, the US government , the Khmer Rouge, the Spanish ETA, the Corsicans, Abu Sayaf, the Mafia, the Crusaders, the Israeli Army, JFK’s assassin, Ronald Reagan’s would be assassin, those Japanese groups which used sarin gas and many more. I don’t think these people share an Arab ancestry or the traditional Arab value system do they? So maybe you should learn a little about the traditional Arab values before, professing an opinion.

9. How many bases do we have in Libya?


How many in Syria?

How many did we have in Iraq?

NONE, but now you will have many as of now which makes up for all the ones not present in Libya or Syria.

10. Who 'controlled' Iraqi oil before liberation?

Bob, before ‘liberation’ oil was controlled by Saddam who was an American puppet. When he stopped wanting to be a puppet he was not in control at all anymore and America controlled the oil via the UN arm. I mean if he was really was in control of the oil he would not have sold only the quotas allowed by the UN oil- for- food program.
You can say that the only side benefit for the Iraqi people from this latest war on Iraq is the accidental removal of Saddam. If you really cared for their freedom then you would have removed him and allowed them to choose how to carry on with their lives..but that is for another post.


jimmmy said...

i think that you responded to most of the questions- even the insulting ones- with poise, clear thinking, and respect, but i disagree heartily with you answer to comment #10.
i don't think that saddam was ever an american 'puppet'. puppet implies control to me, and i don't think that ever occured. we may have had 'influence' with saddam in the years that we supplied him with weapons during the eighties, but that was just because we would have done anything for iran NOT to win. if we were to talk about the amount of money involved in iraq in the eighties, i think you could make a good case that france, germany, and russia had (and have) more money at stake in nuclear energy plants, water filtering systems, and other major infrastructure projects. he started getting unstable, and then we had nothing to do with him. we certainly didn't ask him to invade kuwait, and we certainly didn't control him post-war, or else the sanctions wouldn't have been imposed. you can say all you want about the oil-for-food program, which was a miserable corrupt failure (very little of the corruption occuring in the states if you follow www.acepilots.com/unscam). we didn't control the oil then, and we're not going to control it afterward, and that's that. if memory serves, saddam was constantly fighting with OPEC countries over the volume of oil he was selling.
thanks for your site!

Highlander said...

Thanks Jimmy . Regarding #10 I understand your concern and explanations but this is what many in the Middle-East feel, look at big-pharaoh's (http://bigpharaoh.blogspot.com/) entry of 15th of July as well.

Heiko said...

I'd like to comment on your point #7

1. Non-muslims are not treated as equals in countries with Sharia law. There is equality before the law in secular democracies like Germany or South Korea, or indeed Israel.

2. There are many interpretations of Islam. I've got great respect for the simple religiosity of my Malaysian colleague, which differs little from mine as a Christian. However, rather less tolerant interpretations of Islam enjoy much wider currency than you allow for in your defensive argument. In particular, many Muslims unfortunately DO think that non-Muslims should not enjoy the same rights as Muslims. And a worryingly large minority take the Koran and Hadith literally, where they are at their worst, eg Surah 9:

# Give tiding of a painful doom to Christians and Jews. 34
# If you refuse to fight, Allah will afflict you with a painful doom.

# Fight the disbelievers and hypocrites. Be harsh with them. They are all going to hell anyway.

3. You say: <<< The Koran says “lakum dinakum wa li dini”, that is you have your religion and I have mine! >>>

I gather that Mohammed wrote this, while he was militarily weak. Once he had power he mercilessly went on to slaughter and pillage those with a different religion, and throughout the caliphate, the "people of the book" had to pay an extra tax (willingly according to the Koran, otherwise the unbelievers were to be slaughtered).

I'll buy that you believe in a reformed version of Islam, and relativate Mohammed's behaviour as being a sign of his time etc., but it would be nice to mention both this dark past, and the fact that there IS a basis in Islamic writings for terrorism, slaughter of non-believers etc..

Christians and Jews do after all acknowledge past failures and I am not aware of any major Jewish or Christian group that wouldn't reject any and all interpretations of scripture contrary to human rights.