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Objectivity is in fact the problem

Reader comment on item: Islamist Turkey vs. Secular Iran?
in response to reader comment: objectivity

Submitted by Michel C. Zala (Switzerland), Jan 6, 2011 at 14:24

it is more important how other people think about us than how we think about ourselves. Americans may think that they always help the world without expecting any benefits from them with great genoricity and they export democracy,human rights and freedoms to the world. But the problem is we Turks simply think the opposite way with about 95% majority(world record). so you have to think why we think this way.

Anti-Americanism is on the rise worldwide. No doubt about it. I have reflected about this sad trend for a long time now and it pains me. Just a few days ago, I found mysef in a heated debate with my Swiss godson and best friends about America, Assange and the so-called American dream, during which I was attacked, because I called myself an American and not Swiss, even though I was born here. It gave me pause indeed, after which I came to realize, that I actually should declare myself as Swiss-American, as there is no such thing as an American and if, it should be reserved for Indians. If you think about it, reflect on her short history, you will have to admit, that "being American" is so much more about a philosophy, a dream, a way of thinking, than a historical definition or identity of a people with a distinctive historical profile, is it not?

The thread which links all these people from literally every corner of the world together, the common denominators of The American People are: They all are pioneers, adventurers, free-thinkers, immigrants, fugitives from nations, where they were either persecuted, poor, imprisoned, oppressed, overtaxed, or otherwise denied to "pursue their happiness" freely. It is why, as opposed to other countries, Americans still qualify and identify themselves according to their origin as either African-American, Caucasian (white), Hispanics (Latino), Indian or Asian-Americans. Since the first wave of emigrants originated not that long ago from literally all European nations, they were collated as Caucasian, even though many still call themselves proudly Italo-American, Irish-American, German-American or Anglo-American etc.

In that sense indeed, it would best qualify my personal feelings about the topic, if I were to qualify myself as Swiss-American, proud of my roots, albeit even prouder of the attribute of being called an American. Because of the philosophy she represents, we feel so close to nations, such as Canada or Australia, the only two other nations with a similar development, even though their structure, legal system and history leans much more on an Anglistic heritage and lacks the actual revolutionary element.

I myself grew up in one of the most rich, democratic, free, beautiful, peaceful, perfectly organized, social, friendly, hospitable, charitable, perfectionist, clean, orderly countries of the world. I enjoyed one of the top 3 school and education systems. As business executive I made a ton of money. So why did I emigrate to America, chose to make half the money and didn't even speak English on a business level?

While in most cases people coming to America were oppressed (financially, politically,) in my case it was nothing but the opportunity to move and shake things, think out of the box, try new ideas, be a pioneer myself. I felt restricted, over-regulated, constrained, hampered. From politics to corporate, everything was too static, rigid, perfect for my taste. Whereas the roads in Switzerland are like carpets, I felt nevertheless much more home on the potholes of Californian jam-packed freeways.

Whereas the political process in Europe must be described as two steps forward, one controlled step back, it is in America two leaps forward, a bloody nose and then a stumble sideways, only to get up and bundle an unbridled energy and boundless optimism and take yet another huge leap forward.

I myself opted to leave pessimism, cowardice, cynicism, indeciveness, sarcasm, disillusion and arrogance behind and go with optimism,courage, faith, trust and sometimes naivete. I went with the rebel children as opposed to the thoughtful, organized parents.

Havas, what I try to convey to you is, that we are the children of the old nations. We were their outcasts, their garbage, their best and their worst - but also their conscience. Our sheer existence and rise to the only superpower reminds our parents of their sins and short comings and created on a psychological dimension an inferiority complex, which was later compounded by many successful (military) engagements, where our parents either failed, or were incapable to intervene.

Most embarassing was for instance the engagement in former Jugoslawia, where even the very self-confident Europeans were unable to clean up the mess in their own backyard. Another example was Afghanistan, where 250000 Russians with the shortest supply lines could not do, what 50k American special forces did on the other side of the globe.

From Germany to South Korea, prospering, healthy, free societies exist now, because America felt compelled to come to their rescue. Dozens of nations can now freely vote, exercise freedom of speech, oppose their own government, debate and dissent and flourish in the process. Non of these countries are occupied and or added to American territory. Most of these nations even have at times harsh trade deficits, meaning that they sell more to us, than we sell to them. Hence, not even the argument of economical imperialism is valid.

All that said, there is undoubtedly a rising anti-American resentment. To explain it with at times heavy -handed diplomacy or policy, mistakes often declared in hindsight (Saddam support or the engagement in Vietnam), would be too simplistic. I have a different take on this and dare to venture, that a class of weak students always monitors the efforts of the Grade A student with suspicion. If one power has all the power, it creates fear, as people always extrapolate from their own frame of mind, from the perspective of their own history and traditions.

You said it yourself, if Iran was in the position of America today, we would not live in a benign world. I can emphatize with you, when you said before, that you think, if you lived in Iran you would be a Terrorist. The tragic fact is, that a thief will always judge the world around him with the eyes of a thief. The deep distrust vs America stems from that emotional, psychological aspect. You know very well, that, if Turks were in a position of superpower, they would act and behave in a certain way, which is why you look at America with fear, distrust and suspicion. It is not so much about what they did so far, it is so much more about, what they could in fact do, if they wanted to. They could be imperialists, strong-arm other nations, invade them and rob them of their wealth..... if they wanted to.

The notion however that there could be a fundamentally benign superpower, escapes you, because you (somewhat understandably) judge from your own frame of mind, history and tradition.

Cuba for instance has now been a thorne in the side of America for decades. Half of the Cubans live already as Cuban-Americans. It would just about have taken a couple of aircraft carriers and the Castro regime could have been gone within a few weeks. God knows, a lot of Americans would have supported it.

Why do you think, did we never get serious and eliminate the Castro regime? If we were imperialists, why not do the logical thing and focus on our neighbors, Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia, from where we quite actually face real threats. Instead, we endlessly debate border security, while more people die on the Mexican border yearly, than during the civil war in Lebanon. These are not the actions of an imperialistic power, wouldn't you agree?

we think we did nothing wrong in our history ,islam is a beautiful religon which teaches only good things and internal problems we have in our country is mostly provocated by the imperialist west.. but as we see here in mr pipes' site all westerners are terrified by islam and we turks are specificly cursed by many people for the things we did in our past.

Tragic statement in so many ways, dear Havas. Once again comparing, we in America very much deplore, debate and discuss, where we ourselves during our own short history went wrong. We owned up to the fact that we owe Indians a great debth. We accept responsibility for our own terrible mistakes, crimes against humanity, if you will, committed against Indians for instance. For example Abu Graibh and My Lai, have left deep wounds in our own conscience and significant efforts were spent to face our own demons. A vast amount of people in America still deplore the use ot the Atom bomb in Hiroshima as a crime, even though valid arguments could be made that America was attacked and many lives would have been lost, if the bomb would not have been used. ( I subscribe to the latter viewpoint)

Do such debates and discussions exist in Turkey, when facing a historical responsibility with regards to the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides? If you deny that such atrocities even occured, how can you as a people ever grow and improve, thus such never again can happen again? Do you see the difference here? We freely and painfully admit, where we went wrong, we discuss and debate it and implement the necessary measures. You on the other hand state, that you never did anything wrong? I can only recommend to you to read your own history and own up to the sad fact that it is a history of bloodshed, invasions, genocides and terrible misery brought upon so many other nations by the Ottomans and later Turkey.

Why d you think do so many Armenians live in America? It is time the Turks as well join the civilized world and accept their own responsibility and maybe even apologize. I have many times advocated to not comparing genocides and atrocities, as it is futile - however, the Turks do rank far up the list of the worst atrocities of only the 20ths century ( see my post Genozides) - time for a bit of humility and introspection, wouldn't you agree?

Secondly, Islam. Nothing wrong with it?

The fears in the West not justified? Nothing wrong with the sad fact that all terror is currently of muslim origin? What muslim country is currently subject to imperialism? Have we ever attacked Saudi Arabia, Jemen, Sudan, Egypt, from where at present we are finding ourselves under almost daily terror? What is wrong with a religion which condones suicide bombings of innocent civilians? What is wrong with a religion which promotes medieval stoning of women committing adultery? What is wrong with beheadings of hostages or prisoners of war? What is wrong with hacking off the hand of a shop lifter? What is wrong with a religion, where such murderers are being celebrated as martyrs, dying during a Djhihaad, going straightway to paradise? What is wrong with a religion which treats women as second class human beings, denying them any equality to men? A religion which still arranges marriages, where 12 year old girls are being raped into submission by 60 year old farts? What is wrong with a religion issuing Fatwas against critical journalists, writers and cartoonists? What is wrong with Islam, when a Taliban bombs historical wonders into rubble, just because they are not of muslim origin? What is wrong with a religion , which at present, today condones a clear and present genocide committed in Sudan on the non-muslim population of said country? No mufti, Imam, Ayatollah, Mullah, speaks out against it. Silence.

Wake up, Havas, as there are fundamental design flaws in your religion. IN the name of Allah and Islam, while I write this, people are massacred. Show me please, where such happens right now in the name of God or Buddha. Where is the outcry from the muslim world? Instead of engaging in your own mess, sending your own troops into Sudan and eliminating a massmurdering regime, instead of openly condemning and villifying your own fanatics, your religious authorities prefer to clamor about discrimination in the West, the Mosqe in NY or Sharia Law in the UK. They cry foul about some backwater nutcase in the USA intending to have a Burn The Quran Day, but they all stay silent about the atrocities committed in the name of Allah.

If in fact muslim fundamentalists can abuse your religion thus blatantly, justify their actions with muslim scripture, if there is no authority within the muslim world willing or empowered to speak out against such inhuman acts and outlaw these monsters, dear friend, there is something fundamentally wrong with your religion. It does not matter, if most muslims do not arrange marriages, subscribe to Sharia law, promote stonings, support terror or suppress their women (for which they according to their own religion should be ostracised by "true and real" muslims).

What does matter howevwer is, that your religion does make room for these medieval interpretations and justifications, allowing misguided, manipulable people to conduct themselves as anything but civilized and enlightened. The problem is the distinction between faith and religion, the latter to be defined as the theological framework in which your faith operates. Nobody has and shall have a problem with your faith. But your religion, dear friend, the structure, the organization, the system, the ideology, is seriously flawed and in dire need of reformation.

To give you an example here: The Christians have their share of fanatics or fundamentalists too. They come in all shades and forms and sometimes indeed, they go overboard (abortion clinics, creationism etc.) When that happens and, if even lives were at stake, we know religious (and political) authorities, such as the Pope, who will immediately reign in any excesses. Every denomination has people who are responsible for interpretations and canon law. Who in your religion speaks for all muslims? Where is the worldly authority empowered and willing to speak out against excesses from within the muslim world? Who sais, what is right and what is not? Who will reign in the backwater mullah who called for a Djihaad? Who gave Osama Bin Laden the religious authority to call for a Holy war? The idiot Ghaddafi thinks he speaks for all muslims. So does Achmadinejaad, Mulla Omar or Bin Laden. Erdogan takes it upon himself to speak out against the Swiss after the Minaret initiative, in the name of all muslims to boycotting Swiss goods. The Wahabis in Mecca feel to be the authority, issuing rules and fatwas. Dear Havas, there is utter chaos in your religion.

Please understand... I do not have any problem with your faith, for all I care you can believe in Mickey Mouse, but your religion is seriously f@ked up, sorry to be blunt. For as long as you do not accept that reality and sad state of Islam, you can - DnM is right on the money here - never truly be free.

ı cant understand how my belief and culture islam can damage the world. but ı agree that we muslims must react much much stronger and from heart against the terrorists who call themsellves muslims.any person who kill an innocent civilian is an evil.

Your belief and culture damages the world, because the people you condemn yourself have hijacked your religion. Your religion was hijacked, because these fanatics can easily do so, as they operate within the medieval, never reformed religious framework of Islam. In some perverse sense, they stay well within the current canon law of Islam. In comparison to the Judeo-Christian world, orthodoxy is the norm in the muslim world, not the exception, which is why a reform of Islam is much more urgently needed than it was in the Christian world, where secularism had much deeper roots.

For as long, as fundamentalists, Islamists, radical Islam can easily find moral and theological justification in your ancient, never revised, never modernized, never newly defined scriptures, atrocities committed in the name of Allah will continue indefinitely to occur. It is as simple as that.

Calling terrorists evil, is courageous, Havas, but it makes you the enemy of many muslims. Ask yourself, would you voice such an opinion during your Friday visit at the mosque? Would you dare to do so? Muslims like you should be the first to call for reformation, until everyone is free to voice such an opinon without any fear of repercussions.

if we try to understand the other side we can respect even like each other more and than it can be easier to live together and beat the provocations of terrorists and the states who are behind the terrorists..

I could not agree more with you and close the circle with these lines. It is about objectivitiy. The ability to put yourself into the shoes of the other party and see the topic from their viewpoint. I invite you to do exactly that and not understand my at times harsh words as critique of someone who does not see your perspective.

Please make an effort not to react emotionally, as it is easy to fall into that trap, but to remain on a pragmatic, unemotional level, while reading this piece. Since we after all talk about Turkey and you are admittedly very cliose to the subject, I invite you to step into an imaginary elevator, push level 500, until you see all of Europe. From that point of view, high above the clouds you will have , what we call the Helicopter View, from where you may appreciate much more rationally, what I was trying to convey to you.




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