To Haifi: ridiculous rhetoric [Archives:2003/635/Letters to the Editor]

May 12 2003

Gary Crook
[email protected]

I want to tell Al-Haifi that his attempt was overly simplistic rhetoric. To use references to Richard the Lionhearted and referring to the United States as a satellite of Great Britain or Israel, while making for colorful imagery, is ludicrous because it has no merit. You obviously have no grasp at all of America or what western civilization represents. Your stereo-types of the West are just as ignorant as one accusing the Middle East of being a bunch of 14th century camel-jockeys. That is NOT true and neither is your view of the West. As a thinking man I, frankly, find your rhetoric offensive and ignorant. It would be nice and more productive if we could have a discourse on how we can overcome our different points of view without insulting each other's cultures. If you've never lived in a free and open society like the U.S. how can you criticize something you know nothing about?
I cannot criticize Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, etc for how they run their countries because I haven't experienced the culture.
America wants open and free trade and cultural exchange with like minded people around the world; not dictators, tyrants, or religious fanatics. Do you have open access to religious freedom? I think not. Are you allowed to read the Bible? I think not. I am not a Christian or Jew, but I am not afraid of your right to read and practice the teachings of the Koran. I have a Bible and The Holy Koran sitting side by side on my bookshelf. I also have writings from The Upanishads and Buhhda and transcendentalists and Marx and Nitzche, Lenin, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Ho Chi Minh on my bookshelf. I am free to read and write and experience the wonders of this world and no one to tell me I can't. There are many mosques in America, how many synagogues and churches are their in Yemen? Can I speak about the teachings of Buddha or Jesus in Baghdad?
Until the United States Marines showed up in Karbala, a Shiite Muslim had no voice in Baghdad. Now he does! We want the oppressed and down-trodden in Iraq to have a voice again. That is why we are there. Iraq is and always will be a nation of Islam. The real question is, Why are Jews and Christians not welcome in Baghdad?
Why are you afraid of people having the right to worship God (or not worship anything) as they wish? Why do you think Islam is the only religion that should be allowed in the world? This is what I want dialogue on.