Thursday, June 02, 2005

fwd: Mr President

This is a long statement but eventually the author formulates in clear eloquent
terms what the problem is [and what it is not]. A really nice statement.
I hope you have the time to read and reflect on it.

Subject: Mr President
Date: May 23, 2005

> Qarabaghi sends you this with compliments.
> JQ
> ==============
> Mr. President:
> Please Correct Course before it is too Late!
> By Jan Qarabaghi
> It is a bad (perhaps the worst) time for America’s image-building and public
relationsefforts in the Muslim world. There is no doubt that the perception of
the country thatprides itself as the center of freedom, progress, and democracy
on this planet has beenbadly (perhaps irreparably) bruised and tarnished in the
eyes of those who call themselvesMuslims. Mrs. Bush’s harsh welcome by
Palestinian youth during her visit to Masjid Al-Aqsain Jerusalem, and long,
deadly demonstrations on the streets of “liberated” Afghanistanduring the past
week, to mention only two among many other similar cases, are but only twoopen
manifestations of the serious difficulties America is facing in winning the
heartsand minds of the Muslim world. Anti-American sentiments among Muslims have
reached such aheight that even American pawns such as Karzai feel the heat and
hurry to denounceAmerican “military mistakes” and ask for explanations and
change in Washington’s policy.
> Watching images of anti-American demonstrations and flag-burning from their
living rooms,ordinary Americans might once again ask themselves, as they did in
the aftermath of 9/11:“Why do these people hate us?”
> The answer often promulgated by extremist American politicians and media
outlets is short,simple, and openly self-serving. This answer, to paraphrase,
goes like this: They hate usbecause we are successful; they are angry because
they lack what we have. In clearerterms, according to this misguided view,
Muslims hate America because they are envious ofthe American success! The fact
that millions of America-loving Muslims live in America andmake daily
contributions to the American success totally escapes the eyes and the minds
ofthe envy-theorists. And the fact that millions of devout, practicing Muslims
over theworld respect and use American science, information, and medicine on a
daily basis doesnot tell them anything.
> The answer fabricated by the envy theorists, although initially designed to
keep aminority of political/religious bigots happy, has played an important role
in helping theAmerican public to endure and tolerate the daily news of human and
monetary costs that thecountry is asked to bear to keep the real or perceived
enemies of America off of theAmerican shores. In other words, the theory of envy
is good for the business of war and aforeign policy that seems to badly have
gone wrong.
> The true reason behind Muslim misgivings toward America does not lie in
Muslims’ envy orhatred of the American success, or even the American way of
life; rather, it lies in thegulf between what America preaches and what America
does, between what America claims asits ideals and what American shows as its
political deeds: America preaches respect forhuman rights, but in practice she
fires the U.N. designated human rights monitor foroccupied Afghanistan because
of his criticism of the way U.S. soldiers treat Afghanprisoners; America
preaches democracy, but in practice it reestablishes the power of thewarlords in
a country ruined by the same warlords; America promises nation building, butin
practice it fails to give hope to a village; America propagates free and
fairelections, but in practice it sides with her own hand-picked favorite and
wins theelection for him (she even tailors a constitution tailored for him)…
> For America to be loved, and to win respected, not only in the Muslim world,
but alsoamong the rest of humanity, she needs to pay heed to two principles:
First, stay away fromimperial hubris, and second, practice what you preach.
Because of her unprecedentedmilitary might, America’s deviation from these
principles can certainly inflictunimaginable pain on other nations, but it will
also cost America its moral authority, anauthority that can be much more
powerful than military might in a world still plagued withunpredictable crises
and tyrants.
> Thus, my humble plea in the title of this commentary: Mr. President: Please …
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