Skip to comments.The Eagle Will Not Blink ( Tashbih Sayyed
Posted on 09/12/2002 11:22:13 AM PDT by swarthyguy
Islamist leadership in the US used the attacks on the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon to achieve their goal of dividing the American society sooner. They did not condemn these acts of terrorism spontaneously. And when they did condemn after all, they did it more to cast aspersion on the American stand against the crime than to express their sorrow. Instead of blaming the Islamist terrorists they blamed American policies. Almost all of them said that the US had it coming. Innocent Muslims all over America were the immediate victims of Islamists anti-US activities. Islamists campaign against American policies alienated American mainstream. Majority of Muslims did not agree with Islamists but were unable to voice their frustration. They had no means. Non Muslim Americans took Islamist's behavior as representative of all Muslims. There were voices asking as to why Muslims did not condemn terrorism forthrightly. Islamists used US reaction to the attacks on New York and Washington to establish before their constituencies in the Muslim world that America represents anti-Islam forces. They did not share the American concerns and resolve. Instead, they launched a campaign against the US measures to secure herself. They criticized all anti terror arrangements made by the US as Muslim specific. They tried to convince the Muslims that the US is determined to curb the Muslim civil liberties. They said that it is not Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, Taliban or Islamist forces but the CIA, Mossad, Jews and Israel that has perpetuated this terror. The innocent Muslim was at a loss to comprehend the Islamist tactics.
Comments, editorials and statements appearing in the Muslim world are a testimony that the Islamists have been successful in projecting America's war against Islamist terrorism as a war against Islam. The result of this Islamist success is manifesting itself as a rejuvenated hatred against the US. From Jakarta to Jeddah and from Karachi to Khartoum, Muslim main street is shouting its throat hoarse that US plans to attack Iraq is only a first step in a long chain of Islamic targets. Islamists have convinced the Muslim world that after Iraq, it will be the turn of Saudi Arabia and after that it will be Iran. As a direct result of this born-again anti US fervor, moderate Muslim governments in countries like Jordan, Egypt and Pakistan are reluctant to support for any anti-Iraq measures taken by Washington.
American friends have been put on defensive every where. It should be clear to all skeptics that attack on September 11, 2001, was just the formal declaration of war against freedom as represented by America. And in the battles that followed, Islamists have, it seems, have won, though temporarily, in their propaganda front.
Now they are looking right in the eyes of the American Eagle hoping her to blink. They do not know that Eagle will not blink. On September 11, 2001, the US did not just lose thousands of her bravest and the brightest but also lost her innocence. She was jolted out of a false sense of security. For the first time in her history she was made to ask herself the question as to who can hate the US so much and why there are some in this world who want to hurt her with so much intensity?
In order to understand as to who can hate the US so much, one has to understand first as to what America stands for? Only then we will be able to see clearly as to who can hate us.
America is not just a country. It is much more than that - It is an idea and a faith. An idea that believes in the ultimate triumph of human values, as reflected in the concept of democracy, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. American faith is in direct opposition to the ways of Totalitarianism, Absolutism and Authoritarianism, as reflected in the concepts of Communism, Fascism and Islamism.
From time immemorial, the clash between countries, tribes, clans and groups does not persist permanently. After some time, countries make peace with each other. Tribes reach some kind of understanding, Clans learn to live together and groups enter into agreements, which allow them to co-exist. But opposite ideas never can live side by side. Religions, ever since human being has discovered them, are in competition with each other. In order to win an upper hand, they have been waging bloody wars against each other. But despite the desire to overwhelm the other, the followers of different religions have also seen the benefits of living and letting the others live. The reason for this compromise is simple. All religions basically believe in one God, share the same idea - establishment of a state of social justice. If they would not have shared the central theme, they would have had to seek the elimination of the other.
There seems to be a contradiction when I say that all religions believe in one God whose will stands for the establishment of a state of social justice. If all the religions share in one common truth then why have their followers been fighting with each other? Because, first, none of the adherents of these religions have tried to implement this will of God in their respective societies. Second, they have allowed their faiths to mutate into exclusive clubs for the benefit of a select few, reserved for only those who believe strictly in their ways of life. None of the faiths as they are seen in action today, represent the will of God. They represent the will of those who have hijacked these faiths. That's why, whenever a state owns a religion, it does go to war with another theocracy.
American faith, on the other hand is not exclusive. Just like God's will, America believes in the universal truth of unity in diversity. In this faith, everyone, every faith and every ethnic and regional group can be an American without giving up his or her individuality. American faith is all inclusive and promises to work for everyone without any prejudice or discrimination - just the way God's will intends this world to be. That's why America faith is a threat to all such religions and "Isms" who do not believe in diversity and pluralism.
Until America was founded, human experience was that the ideas demand loyalty at the cost of all other loyalties. A loyalty to an idea tended to swallow up lesser loyalties and affiliations. The best example being of the modern nation-state, which as observed in European history, grew in power and prestige at the expense of local and regional identities and affinities, including those of religion. The idea of a nation state as presented by European nation-state did not really serve all of its citizens. It served only a particular section or class of people. It remained exclusive.
Modern nation-state demanded loyalty without offering a chance to its citizens to have a sense of belonging. And the loyalty can not be demanded as it is only commanded. Ancient Greek city-state of Sparta can be presented as an example to elaborate the point. It was considered the best public-spirited citizenry. But the citizen did not enjoy any kind of freedom. The state imposed a comprehensive regime of severe control over them. Every aspect of life, from education to marriage to childbearing to eating, fell under the state's purview. Ruthlessly obliterating any elements of privacy or individuality in its citizen's lives, or any of the institutions that mediated between the state and the individual, Sparta sought to achieve a homogeneous, mobilized, martially virtuous populace, imbued with an overwhelming sense of duty to the collective whole. Such a state did not represent the "Will of God." And no citizen in Sparta could have felt a true sense of belonging.
One's Loyalty toward his or her state is directly proportional to the degree of one's sense of belonging toward it. American idea is different from the idea of modern state. Whereas modern state competes for its citizen's loyalty against local, regional and religious identities and affinities, American idea drives its energy and achieves its objectives through the collective power of its citizens' individualities and personal faiths. In short American idea is the sum total of all human identities and affinities. US is the first state in the history that commands total loyalty of its citizens. Every citizen, irrespective of his or her religion, ethnicity or individual affinity feels a very strong sense of belonging toward America. There is a conviction among Americans that in order to be an American one does not have to give up his or her religions, local and regional identities and affinities. And this conviction is the soul of American patriotism.
Wilfred M. McClay writes in Public Interest, "But it also is wonderfully illustrative of a more general truth, which is this: A considerable part of the genius of American patriotism resides in the fact that being a proud and loyal American does not require one to yield up all of one's identity to the nation. On the contrary, American patriotism has generally affirmed and drawn upon the vibrancy and integrity of other, smaller-scale, and relatively independent loyalties. Far from weakening American national sentiment, or causing it to be halfhearted or anemically "thin," these other traditions have strengthened it immeasurably."
"Freedom. America. The two terms go together like a drum and its drumbeat. If there is one thing that all the great and small thinkers, and all the great and small leaders of America from its Founding Fathers onwards are agreed on, it is that freedom is America's most cherished ideal and the foundation of its greatness. What's more, that America cherishes and experiences freedom more than any other country on earth. In 1792, James Madison wrote in a vein of national triumphalism that persists to this day: "In Europe, charters of liberty have been granted by power. America set the example and France has followed it, of charters of power granted by liberty. This revolution in the practice of the world may, with an honest praise, be pronounced the most triumphant epoch of its history and the most consoling presage of its happiness."
There has been no letting up in this celebration since then, whether it was Emerson acclaiming how "freedom all winged expands"; the national anthem proclaiming America to be "the land of the free and the home of the brave" or the national song exulting on the "sweet land of liberty"; the Battle Hymn of the Republic which co-opted Jesus Christ himself in the celebratory lines, "He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free"; the Statue of Liberty with its stirring invitation to the poor and unfree of the world; or America's claim to be the leader of the free world in the struggle against communism during the era of the Cold War."
The principles as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, provide the basis for this devotion of Americans toward their state. America has been successful in implementing the faith that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that governments derive their legitimacy from the consent of the governed and are instituted for the purpose of securing these rights, command the citizens adherence. Abraham Lincoln capsulized the whole theme as, "a government of the people, by the people and for the people."
"Berns twice cites words from Lincoln's 1852 eulogy to Henry Clay as a definitive statement on the shape of American patriotism. Clay, Lincoln said, "loved his country partly because it was his own country, but mostly because it was a free country; and he burned with a zeal for its advancement, because he saw in such, the advancement, prosperity, and glory of human liberty, human right, and human nature." It was this sense of America's mission, as the carrier and leading advocate for universal ideals, and not merely as another nation seeking to preserve its territory or expand its place in the sun, that animated Clay and Lincoln. And, Berns argues, it has animated the generations of American patriots who fought to preserve the Union and to defeat the totalitarian powers of the twentieth century."
America is a crucible that withstands the highest degree of temperatures to smelt into reality the most beautiful and most potent alloy of human dreams. The realization on the part of citizens of what their country is doing for their good results in a tremendous amount of devotion. Such a devotion towards one's country is generally known as patriotism. Patriotism means "the devoted love, support and defense of one's country." Plato had once wrote: "There can be no affinity nearer than our country." According to Maynard Good Stoddard, "Americans have added their own undying words, such as those by the golden-tongued Daniel Webster: "Let our object be our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country. And, by the blessing of God, may that country itself become a vast and splendid monument, not of oppression and terror, but of wisdom, of peace, and of liberty, upon which the world may gaze with admiration forever."
So now we know as what America represents "the last, best hope of earth," with all the enormous responsibilities that that entails. "Ours is not a parochial patriotism," Berns insists, because "it comprises an attachment to principles that are universal." Anything less would be "un-American.
The foregoing definition of American faith makes it very simple as to who can hate us and why they want to hurt us. Every one who is against the establishment of the "Will of God" would make his or her duty to destroy American faith. Otherwise, they know that American faith will eliminate everything that stands in the way of human beings in their quest to achieve the best in them.
Otherwise, in Pakistan, he'd be dead.
Bump for him, Sheikh Kabbani of NYC, a Sufi who conducts services for both sexes where they sit together, Prof. Khaled of UCLA, and that outspoken imam in Florida.
Not too many others.
I like that.
As weird as it kinda sounded, it was beautiful.
You are right, a bump to the (few?) good people who dare speak out against the fanatics.
He actually gets it! Too bad so many of his so-called brothers in other parts of the world don't.
And for those who don't get it; he is quite correct - The Eagle won't blink - not while W is riding on her wings.
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