Saturday, September 29, 2007

HOLY LAND FOUNDATION TRIAL: an e-mail exchange

An e-mail exchange that tells a great deal.

First Writer: ". . .I guess when people get terrified, they fall back on fundamentalism like what is happening in the M.E. as well who are being taken advantage of as well by charlatans over there who tell them to blow themselves up and go straight to heaven. . ."

Excerpts from response by Tanya Hsu:
". . .no Arab Muslim can be 'taken advantage of' in the way you think in the West. Defending ones’ country is – or should be – innate to all mankind. Were it not for the survival instinct we never would have survived as a species, and the Arabs are without question the truest of those fighters to this day. They’ve had to be, given the climate and world’s harshest condition and culture. Do or die made them live this long – they aren’t about to give it up now, to a bunch of goons wearing flak jackets, helmets and protective padding.Fourth, there is no 'fundamentalism' as you believe, in Islam. One reads one book, the Qu’ran, which is absolutely unaltered throughout time. Therefore, if you are a Muslim, you believe the Qu’ran. There’s no innovation and interpretation involved, and no contradiction with modern times. . ."

My (even more opinionated) response:
I must add something to Tanya's message. I don't pretend to know what is going on in Iraq. All I know is, from sitting through most of the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas, the government will do and say anything to keep the myth of Muslim "terrorism" and "fundamentalism" alive.

My personal position of gentle skepticism has turned into full-fledged fury at the way we Americans have been duped into believing that what is, in general, a defensive position---the attempt to save their way of life---among Arabs and Muslims is an offensive "clash of civilizations." I don't understand, for example, the religious zealotry of the Taliban (that I do not understand it does not make it "evil"). And I suppose OBL and his troops are up to not much good. But other than that, as far as I can tell, the Western world has NOTHING to fear from Islam and the Islamic peoples. That, for example, Saudi Arabia's government is based on a completely different understanding from ours of the way societies should be organized is obvious to anyone who really takes time to study it. But does "difference" equate with "wrongness" or "evil?" I hope not. Just because Thomas Jefferson said that our rights come from God, and we all choose to believe that, can we assume that God (whatever one wishes to believe about or call the numinous---or not believe at all) ordained western civilization? Where did God, Allah, Yahweh, Shiva, Itzamná, Jah, Nam, Olorun, Angra Mainyu, Erda, Hera, Isis, Krishna, Bumba, or Elegua spell out the structure of liberal democracy or capitalism?

No, my friend, "those who are being taken advantage of as well by charlatans" are not "over there." They are in Peoria and Fort Lauderdale and Omaha and Dallas and New York and San Francisco. The charlatans have duped Americans into accepting the devastation and occupation of Iraq, the fundamentalist-Zionist claims of Israel over all of the land from the Jordan to the sea, the imminent destruction of Iran, and a "bunker mentality" of "us versus them" that allows for indiscriminate military and civil war-mongering against one-sixth of the world's population for the purpose of making the charlatans richer and bankrupting our own society on their behalf.

The charlatans are in power in the White House, Number 10 Downing Street, the US Capitol, all of the State Houses, the Cabell Federal Court building, and the media. If the following does not represent being duped by charlatanism at its very worst, I cannot for the life of me figure out what it represents:

On the November 14, 2004, edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck interviewed Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim ever elected to Congress. Beck said, "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."

Who is the charlatan in this exchange?