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To the West, Christians, and Americans

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To the West, Christian, and Americans, from the last section of Manifesto for Islamic Reform, by Edip Yuksel

The following words are not from an enemy of yours, but from someone who is a member of your society and cares about your interest as much as you care. These are not the words of a politician either, who is ready to break a world record in somersault to appease you; neither the words of a religious leader who lives in a parallel universe of deception and hallucination. These are the words of a common man who left his country behind to seek peace, justice, and liberty. These are the words of a grateful person who found such a refuge in your midst. So, do not treat these words of advice with prejudice, but with care. Do not be scared to hear the truth about your "way of life" which always highlighted the freedom of expression and justice for all. Do not expect me to count the list of the many good things you have accomplished; you hear them frequently from speeches and news in your media, and you celebrate them in your holidays. Sure, you should remember the good things in your past, present, and remember them, so that you can continue repeating those good things. However, you need to hear the other voice too; the voice that you have not yet allocated a holiday to hear. You should open your ears to what you do not hear from those who have invested interest in caressing your ego, nationalism, patriotism, and feelings. I think you do not wish to be aloof to the facts around you and repeat the pattern of all fallen civilizations in history. Do not be arrogant, aloof, self-righteous, and selfish, since they will only inflict you further harm.

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free.

Since you have separated the church from state, since you have appreciated the importance of freedom, God has blessed you with progress, abundance and prosperity. Though your history is tainted with wars, oppression, superstitions, and injustices, such as crusades, inquisition, indulgences, sectarian wars, witch-hunt, holocaust, slavery, racism, colonialism, misogynistic practices, sexual abuse, you seem to have learned from the past mistakes and have come up with a better functioning society that tolerates diversity and respects science. Though your society suffers from a myriad of problems such as promiscuous lifestyle, sexually transmitted diseases, high divorce rate, high crimes, videogames teaching violence, addiction with drugs and alcohol, gambling, greed, big gap between rich and poor, children abused by priests, high number of prisoners per capita, homelessness, waste, pollution, jingoism, apathy, etc., your constitutions, courts, congresses, and academic institutions are still functioning. Freedom has its own side effects, and having the freedom of living one's life according to their own choice, without the fear of government repression is by far the greatest value. The greatest danger to your society is the corruption of the democratic process through the influence of money and lobbies. When big corporations control your finance, media, and congress, your democracy and freedom will be only an illusion. However, there is hope, since you frequently demonstrate the confidence to be self-critical and you are able to acknowledge your weaknesses and shortcomings. You have also demonstrated times and again that you have the ability to find novel solutions for social, economic, and political problems. You have shown grace and generosity against your former enemies.

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We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free from self-righteousness.

The world has shrunk due to increase in population, pollution, economic interdependence, mass transportation, and speed and ease in communication; thus, you can no more have a world with half of it eating themselves to obesity while the other half starving to death. You can no more spend billions of dollars on pets, millions of dollars for cosmetic surgeries (including on your pets), gulp world's limited resources to feed your ever-increasing appetite for consuming, and yet expect love and admiration from the rest of the world to your capitalism, the system you adhere to like a religion. How can you convince the world that you are the bastion of liberty while your prison industry is booming and you have the highest number of prisoners per capita in the world? You can no more support cruel, corrupt, regressive puppet regimes and occupying military forces, and expect not being hurt by those who you have deprived directly or indirectly from freedom, education, progress, prosperity and hope. You can no more self-righteously claim to be a free and civilized nation while spending a great portion of your national production on conventional and unconventional weapons, which transforms you into arrogant beasts running from one war to another, from one occupation to another. You can no more fool yourselves to be a peaceful nation while you have been shedding the blood of millions of people around the globe in more than hundred wars, covert operations and occupations in less than a century! You cannot condemn terrorism without apologizing to humanity for destroying not one, but two cities in its entirety as retaliation to an attack of your enemy to your military base. If terrorism means to intimidate the enemy by aiming at civilians, then you should look in the mirror without trying to find justification for your own aggression and acts of terrorism. You cannot talk about a free and better world while you reject banning landmines that kill and maim so many innocent people every day.

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free from our own transgression.

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Watch out for the right (wrong) wing religious organizations; when they are passionate about a social or political issue think thrice. If their historical record is a measure, they occasionally get it right, but usually they are wrong, very wrong. You cannot let the left-behind fiction fans lead your global policy. However, pay more attention to the other wing, to the other groups, such as Quakers. Their record, their conscience, their heart, their stand for peace and justice, is what you need. We are not telling you to turn your left cheek when you are slapped; but beware of getting intoxicated with power. While you might be pretending to be David, without knowing, your arrogance and transgression might transform you into a Goliath. The change might be slow, so you might not be able to notice it by looking at yourself through the mirror; especially when there are some politician magicians and their entourage whose job is to distort and contort the mirror so that you cannot see yourself as you should.

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free from our sins.

You can no more give lip service to the Biblical advice regarding the speck and plank in the eyes. You can no more ignore the fact that those who live by sword are destined to die by the sword. You can no more preach, "Love your enemy" while you are out there trying every means possible to hurt your friends, half-friends, and potential friends. You can no more talk about "the golden rule" while you are working hard to justify the "iron rule" under the euphemistic expression, "preemptory strike." You can no more talk about human rights and freedom while at the same time, you have turned little islands and navy ships into torture centers and you have become the inventors of a diabolic scheme called "offshore interrogation." How come America that once led the establishment of the United Nations and promotion of Human Rights, now has turned torture into an international enterprise and high tech affair? How can you allow the gulags such as, Abu Gharib and Gitmo happen? Yes, you have not broken the records of Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot; but you should not be competing with them. Your founding fathers did not fight for independence and did not draft one of the best legal documents in human history so that you become a super war machine and be the cowboy of the world. You carpet bombed dozens of countries in your short history, destroying hundreds of cities and killing millions of them. You destroyed two big cities with its civilian population as retaliation to losing less than three thousands of your soldiers in Pearl Harbor. As retaliation to losing less than three thousand civilians by a terrorist organization, which once you trained and financed, you started two wars, killed hundreds of thousands, destroyed many cities, and are still looking for more countries to destroy. How can you label your revenge, your aggression, your disrespect to the lives of other people, as "freedom" or "civilization"? You cannot change the reality by fabricating fancy names in your PR rooms and spinning them as the corporate media your accomplice. You cannot fool the world by replacing one puppet regime with another, by supporting oppressive and cruel tyrants in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Israel, and then congratulate yourselves for being the champion of "freedom" and "democracy." You cannot preach about morality, rights, and God, as long as you do not value the lives of each innocent human being equally, regardless of their religion, nationality and color. You have been taking wars, destruction, death, horror and terror to many nations around the world without even changing your fancy lifestyle at home. Now, you are enraged and you demand justice from the world because you have tasted a small fraction of what others have tasted.

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free from the dark holes of our deception.

Why should we treat terrorizing an entire nation, destroying their cities, killing, torturing, and humiliating their children and youth in the name of "democracy and liberty" lightly? Why killing tens of thousands of civilians should be forgiven if the murderers, who are also proven congenial liars, use the magic word "collateral damage?" Why smashing the brains of children with bombs or severing their legs and arms should be considered civilized and treated differently than beheadings? Why destroying an entire neighborhood or city and massacring its population by the push of a button from the sky should not be considered equally or more evil than the individual suicide bomber blowing himself or herself up among his powerful enemies who snuffed out all their hope? Why surviving to push another button to kill more people should be considered a civilized action not the action of those who gave their own lives while doing the killing? Why should the smile of a well-fed and well-armed mass murderer be deemed more sympathetic than the pain and anger of a poor person? How can one honestly call an occupying foreign military force to be freedom fighters? How can one call the native population to be terrorists just because they are fighting against an arrogant and lethal occupation army, which was mobilized against them through lies and deception? Why are the children of poor Americans used to kill the children of poor countries?

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free from violence that has surrounded us.

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You should not favor one criminal over another because of their religion or nationality. Your media did not depict the Serbian rapists and murderers as Christian Murderers, nor they labeled IRA terrorists who engaged in a long sectarian terror campaign that took the lives of thousands, as Christian terrorists. The right wing Christian militia that massacred thousands of Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatilla camps somehow lost their religion when they became news on your media. The same with terrorist groups who claimed the cause of Zionism. Furthermore, you should know that state terrorism, regardless of the nationality and religion of the population, is much more cruel, dangerous, and sinister than the group or individual terrorism. In your stand against war, violence, and terrorism, you must be consistent and fair. Peacemakers and promoters must protest and condemn the atrocities regardless as to whether those engaged in atrocities have a uniform on them or not. If military uniform justifies the acts of terror, destruction, or genocide, then Nazi soldiers should receive your sympathy.

We must acknowledge the truth so that the truth will set us free.

One World and Shared Destiny

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EDIP YUKSEL, J.D. is a progressive American-Turkish-Kurdish author/philosopher/lawyer/activist (too many hyphens and slashes, I know). His recent English books "Quran: a Reformist Translation", "Manifesto for Islamic Reform", and "NINETEEN: God's (more...)
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