Friday, February 13, 2004

Wednesday, 11/2
I am still in Amman, I am leaving tomorrow evening with Raed to Baghdad. I have missed Baghdad so
much. A small earth quake happened in Amman this morning. The people’s reaction was exaggerated.
Schools and buildings were evacuated, people were standing out in the streets. This caused stifling
traffic jams. I could hardly find a Taxi. The driver was a character. The whole way he was
sticking his head out and cursing at people. Insha allah (god willing) everyday will be an earth quake,
you dogs. So that you have to spend your money and I get to work. I laughed, one person’s disaster
can be be somebody else’s benefit. Insha allah (god willing) all your buildings will fall and all
your money is lost… you dogs…you have sold Palestine and now Iraq…All you care about is money.
Insha allah you will all die. I laughed very hard, while he screamed like an idiot. On one hand I
was afraid that another earth quake would come on the other hand, I was surprised by his behavior
and laughing. I was wondering where did this retard come from? And why did he have to pick me? Then
we passed a public security building, some police officers were standing in front of the building.
He looked at them, and continued to curse…you dogs…you too, insha allah your building will fall on
top of you right now.
At the moment everything is quiet and it’s nighttime. The city returned to its normal life. I
remember that poor driver, not even one of his wishes came true. I feel sorry for him. I sympathize
with his anger at the rich and powerful. Tomorrow will be a boring day for him. He will have to be
quiet and feel sorry at missing the chance to get revenge from his enemies.
Today I got many emails, most of them from America. They are critical of my previous article where
I mentioned that capitalism is a bad idea from the west. Everybody is upset at me, because I am
not being fair towards capitalism, an construct which has its benefits towards society and the
individual. They are all telling me that I am wrong. I would like to clarify my point of view in a more
accurate way. I think that capitalism is useful to a society that implements it as a way of
thinking and living. Everybody gets the chance to live a life and fulfill his ambitions. To build a
family and a professional future. But we have seen nothing but the ugly side of capitalism. With
military occupation, the looting of the people’s wealth and spreading new concepts. All these destroy
what the people were used to and everybody’s motto becomes everything for more money. I will
explain again, the application of capitalism in western societies took decades until things stabilized
and the society was able to control the negative and unwanted side effects. In the beginning there
was production, greed and abuse, over time and due to competition, everybody desired better sales
and naturally companies were forced to provide better services at lower costs. This didn’t happen
for the love of god. Competition, production and demand, the citizen found himself to be spoiled.
Everybody wants to keep his customers and sell his products. Here is the description of my
product, here is the price list and you decide. It would be foolish to pay more for something that you
can get for less somewhere else. With the passing of time and within this vision, there was less
cheating and the desire to produce a better product increased. How long did that take? Probably
decades. In our countries we try to emulate the west, things are unclear and immature. The companies
that startup find no competition and control the market in an ugly and cruel way. No mercy. Over
here survival not to the fittest but rather to the cruelest. This reflects on people’s manners and
the way they treat each other. Money becomes the priority. All the beautiful and sincere
relationships between people become tainted. We are a nation that is used to giving first priority to values
and ideals and not materialism. All this confusion is making pour our anger at the western
capitalist system, where religion and the state became separated. Religion became a private matter,
nobody should interfere with it. With the passing of time people realize that life without values is
unbearable. Religion is a beautiful value, that teaches us our boundaries that we shouldn’t
trespass. Religion prevents us from committing foolish acts that destroy our lives and maybe the lives of
others. We don’t steal, we don’t kill, we don’t oppress other people, no bribing, we don’t destroy
our family life with other relationships that are not innocent. That leads us to respect ourselves
and find the sacred things in our life that give us respect. Respectful people deserve to live
respectfully. Many people in western societies are returning to religion. I don’t know how high is
their percentage? Or how much influence they have? Maybe their percentage is small the their ability
to influence the decision making is limited. Because governments over there don’t make decisions
from a religious point of view. Had they been religious they would have not resorted to wars
against other nations. In reality the reasons for the war were purely economical. To find new markets
and find new sources of wealth and to revive a falling economy. And here comes the role of the
individual. Should he stay quiet and complacent with his government, since he will benefit from all
these efforts, for himself and his children’s future, even if it destroys the lives of others? I
return again to Ben Laden and the theory of destroying Al Qaeda. We find nations that are happy and
applauding their governments, voting for those that most hostile and most willing to declare war. To
benefit their own nations and to revive their own life, even when it is at the expense of other
nations. These other nations all have the right to live and see the light. I don’t believe in
violence as a way to resolve problems. I think it is a failed way. I don’t believe in the theory of the
clash of civilizations. I believe in opening civilizations one to another and living in peace with
one another.
The Arabic proverb says, the people are the enemies of that which they are ignorant of. This
ignorance in the relationship between us and the west, makes us hate each other, we believe all the
accusations made against the other party. It is a defense mechanism to protect our believes, people
do that when their understanding of the world is limited. If I don’t understand the other, then it
is easy for me to take an extreme stance against that person. I might justify his killing or his
destruction because I don’t think that he deserves to live like I do. Because I hold values that I
believe in and I am distrustful of other values. Why give him a chance? He is nothing...let him go
to hell. Isn’t that the truth of the way the west looks at Muslims? And the way Muslims look at
the west? Each side thinks that they are right, and the other side is odd, the other wants to
interfere with my life, I won’t give him the chance, let him go to hell. When I was little, even as a
young woman, I used to hear that the west has no values, their families are broken, their
relationships are rotten, they have aids, perverts, fallen women and drunken men. When I stared to meet
western people, especially after this last war, I met many western smart, well mannered and shy
people. Both men and women. I found that they are people just like us. They have families and values,
who distorted their image in our minds like that? And then I ask myself, how do they see us? Maybe
they see us as an ignorant and stupid bunch? Maybe they think we all ride camels… terrorists like
Ben Laden…we don’t understand anything except violence. The cultures need to open up one to
another, so that we could see properly from all angles. I remember a Quranic verse, I remember this open
everyday when I read my email from all over the world,”We created you different nations and tribes
so that you would know one another, The most righteous are those that fear god the most.”, that
means the most just, the most close to god without a nationalistic identity. There are no special
privileges with god. I feel like there is some kind of a mistake in the way we see each other. This
mistake was caused by the barrier between us. Barriers of language and culture. We must on both
sides attempt to destroy these barriers and create a closeness and understanding between both
sides. So that the next generations can live in a beautiful world surrounded with peace. A world that
is better than the one our generation lived in, useless wars and destruction.

[translation by]

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