Mainly, this was to be a reply to a comment made by Original_Jeff about the previous post. On second thought, I decided to post it here. First, I’m not considering any of my ideas an ultimate one. Sometimes, it is not nice to keep on criticizing without introducing an idea. What I’m trying to do in this blog is ‘Thinking Loudly’, introducing a perspective and, the most important thing, to learn something about the world.
A good point made by Original_Jeff, that’s
“some of the leaders of radical Islam and of al-Quaeda spent quite a bit of time in western countries”.
But one should question the number of these radicals compared to more than a billion Muslims in the world. Should all Muslims be viewed through a bunch of deafening radical Islamists or several criminals who committed one of the most aggravated crimes on 9/11? Would it be fair to view all Americans through what happened in Abu Ghraib or through an irritated soldier kicking Iraqi civilian cars or shooting at them?
Another point by Jeff says
“Almost all Americans have the belief “that if they only knew us better, then they would not hate us”—which is what you are suggesting.”
Yes, and I would counter back the belief. What we need is mutual understanding. It is essential, as an American president once said (I think JFK), since we share the same planet.
Having first-hand experience of oppression, I can say that terrorists work hard on impairing the social ties which is the same policy of Saddam. Broadening the concept leads to impairing the ties between different societies. It helps in sowing fear, mistrust, uncertainty, hatred, confusion…etc. These elements are the most suitable tools for terrorists and Saddamists to create the appropriate environment for their activities. So, suspicion and mistrust should be stirred up every where and every time.
To break this closed circle of continuous bilateral misunderstanding, something should be done. It is not necessarily what I’m suggesting; others may have brilliant ideas better than (the naïve of) mine.
Mtnyogi made good remarks, but a direct human experience is much more beneficial than seeing people on screens or chatting with them through internet or phone. Al-Hurra TV (sponsored by the US gov.) introduces a program called (Americans) which shows some aspects of the American people’s life. Still, the American individual looks ostentatious and has nothing in common with Iraqi or Arab individuals. An Arab proverb says “To truly know someone; travel with him/her” which means to live with him/her round-the-clock. So, it is either Iraqi tourists to visit the states (which is impossible because most of Iraqis live on the edge of poverty & tight US security regulations), or American tourists to visit Iraq (which is also impossible for the known circumstances).
As for writing a book, I don’t know how to do it since I have no idea about how books are written or published. And if I manage in doing so, I’m sure no one would read it. A book is the last thing an Iraqi thinks about because of low personal income which makes buying a book a matter of luxury. The new Iraqi generations were brought up in a society adores weapons not books. Even the most needed books are not easy to buy. The other day, a cousin of mine was telling me how a book of anatomy is expensive. It costs $49 which may give you an idea about the world of books in Iraq.
My (naïve) suggestion is built on the idea that although few Iraqis have the experience of traveling abroad, one can still listen to their repeated stories about the vast world filled with amazing people. Stories about how Jordan or UAE, whose peoples the Iraqis used to look at as inferiors, have made an enormous achievements are passed from mouth to mouth with a sense of criticism and comparison to the bad situation of Iraqis for more than a quarter century. So, I believe this “just a small group coming to the U.S.” as described by mtnyogi would have a greater influence on the Iraqis than a book or a TV station.
Finally, I am not suggesting that other ideas won’t be helpful, but I am trying to say let different peoples know each other. Don’t put barriers with media holes which don’t show the whole story.
One last word: Thanks to Noah & Louise for commenting.