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Hard to point fingers
Where there is hate, there is a reason

By Ali Khalili
March 26, 2002
The Iranian
This is my response to the article, "Victimology".

I don't think I fit into the category of "Muslims" as Lee Howard Hodges had so pointedly targeted. After all, I believe that for one to be called Muslim or Christian or Jew , you must at least practice its fundamental rules. In my case, I lost my faith in Islam and all religions right around the same time REM was singing "Losing my religion".

Nonetheless, I feel saddened that in 2002, an educated person, can take such a grand shot at a label that covers well over one billion people. I agree with my friend on one topic and that is people need to get out of the blaming game, although in his article he seems to be just as guilty in playing that game.

But in my mind, there is no doubt that Iranians and Muslims have been dealt with quite unkindly over the last few centuries. However, that is how this world seems to work as both Iranians and Muslims acted quite similarly when they had power. So, I believe that complaining is futile and you must move on.

The way I see it, life is like a soccer match. You're either that whiny annoyed player who is complaining of rough treatment, or the more classy one, who takes the hits, but still goes on. But if we ever want to have a peaceful world and I believe that is what the author's objectives and wishes are, then we can not go on ignoring our mistakes and wrongdoings. We can not live a lifetime, imposing double standards of all kinds on every second nation and expect that at the end, we will have an easy life.

To start with, let me correct a mistake in "Victimology". Since 9/11, the American media have been talking about America's lack of popularity in Muslim world. But let there be no mistake. A America is not very popular outside of Muslim world either. Even, a great portion of the populace of America's allies are not very fond of America. I speak as someone who has been to a few countries along the path. So, the myth that it's all love everywhere else and a few "rag heads" hate them, is simply incorrect.

But I take no joy that America is disliked or hated. I believe in the human race as a whole, not as all these little nations we have built and all these temporary and transitional flags and names we tend to rally around. Nevertheless, where there is hate, there is a reason. Things don't just pop out of the ground.

The difference between the Muslim World and other nations that have felt the wrath of America, is that hate is fueled by a very powerful religion and a long history which includes some years of power and might which Muslims look back quite fondly to. Days, when the number of European and Jewish scientists could probably be counted on one hand, while Islamic nations were enjoying a renaissance of a kind.

Your argument regarding America and democracy in the Middle East, unfortunately smells of old colonial mentality. Did Japan or Germany have grand democratic traditions when America allowed them to be democratic in 1945?

Was Iran's record of having a half century long history of struggle for freedom and democracy, which started with the 1907 Constitutional Revolution, not better than the record of Japan and Germany? And if so, then why did the Americans decide to topple its only ever hope of democracy in 1953? And was it not this same misguided coup which fueled Islamic extremism which eventually bit America on the back?

And on the issue of Palestine, I still have to read one fair argument regarding the double standard surrounding the issue. Why would Palestinians not fight the oppression that has been imposed on them, when America and its allies spoke fondly of the French Resistance and Partisans and the Jewish fighters who were the Ghetto Ghosts in Warsaw? Was their fight for their homeland and their basic human rights any more worthwhile than the 50 years old Palestinian quest for their homeland?

Why is it okay for the French to fight a Nazi government which invaded their country and took over France, but people in another land, should just bite the bullet and accept the fact that their land was robbed from them? Why was it okay for them to take up guns but the same people recommend the Palestinians to take the route of Gandhi?

Doesn't it smell of hypocrisy, when a democratic country like the U.S. fully supports the degradation of a people, by taking away their land and giving it to a group of people, on the basis of some book that few believe in and the fact that Europeans happen to be intolerant?

My friend, I accept and understand part of your criticism. We live in one huge mess and we are all guilty of its many problems. We must try to fix these problems. But in fixing them, it's hard to point fingers at this and that group and blame them for the misery. After all, we each live in a little glass house and throwing too many stones, is not necessarily very wise.

Instead, I deeply believe that we should all look inside, at ourselves, and at how we can improve this world. We should stop looking at the world as us, them, and others and look at this big piece of rock we have inherited as a place that we must live and coexist in. And to do so, we must communicate.

We must look at our shortcomings and failures and mistakes as peoples and individuals and try to fix them, as hard as it maybe. We should stop taking the high point of morality and realize that beyond these names and labels that politicians and warmongers like to throw around, we are all nothing but fallible human beings.

While Muslims should try to get over the conspiracy theory problems, I think it would be wise for Americans as a people, to get out of the glow of Star and Stripes and start looking at how their government functions around the world.

I think the Americans as a people should question the fact that the foreign policy of the most powerful nation in the world, is rarely directed by the interest of the people themselves and is more often than not, guided by the next highest bidder in DC.

And then, maybe, when it comes to elections, they would start thinking about a wholesale change of a system that is unfortunately corrupted with power and money.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment to the writer Ali Khalili


It is not America's moral responsibility to create or foster "free societies" in the Muslim world. This is the responsibility of Muslims themselves

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