Muslims Against Terrorism Rally
Freedom Plaza
Washington, DC
Saturday, May 14, 2005

We are gathered here as natives of the Middle East. We are faced with a crisis that defies definition and has forced us to come together in this plaza named after freedom. A culture of death, a culture of nihilism, a culture of intolerance has found fertile ground in our homelands. Its proliferation has blackened our names, our religions and our futures. Knowing what we know of our past, we can’t help but pity ourselves for our predicament.

Perhaps it is appropriate to say a few words about our fathers to measure the depth of our fall from grace. It is no new news to this audience that at one time our ancestors gave directions to the world. They were the first teachers, the first judges, and the first prophets of the western civilization. Today, the region that nursed these extraordinary minds has become the capital of beheadings. What is wrong with this picture? How did we fall into such an abyss? Is the world right to lump us all together as the “others” of the human family?

We are, together, Afghans, Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Copts, Jews, Kurds, North Africans, Persians, and Turks. Mine is a Kurdish voice muzzled in the Middle East, and not honored in the rest of the world. Why this enmity towards the Kurds? What is it that we have to do to get on the path of our fathers to make our children proud of their parents? Is there something we could do here in our adopted country, as it now has lodged itself in our lands with its army, navy and air force?

I want to start with us, the children of the Middle East, and move on to our adopted country and its citizens some of whom have graced us here with their presence this afternoon. In the land of two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, there is a DVD that is selling like hot cakes among the Kurds and the Shiites. In it, Uday Hussein, the diabolical son of the diabolical father, is feeding his pet lion with parts of a human body.

I have not seen the DVD, but I would not be surprised at all, if it was discovered that the prey was a hapless Kurd or possibly a Shiite. The surprising part of this cruelest of all cruel deeds, and I sigh here with a heavy heart, is not, in my mind at least, the act itself, but the nonchalance of the rest of the world who, rightly I hasten to add, decry the abuses of Abu Ghraib and Guantanomo, but maintain an absolute silence or indifference towards the plight of victims like the Kurds.

What are we to make of these well meaning people who can’t be bothered with pet lions devouring human parts, but do not shy away from declaring themselves the lovers of humanity? What is wrong with their passion that could tear Lynndie England apart, but can’t be moved when it comes to the suffering of people who were gassed by Saddam Hussein?

That is a crisis facing the citizens of the globe, as nihilism is a challenge that is confronting us in the Middle East. At the root of both lies our shallow understanding of the world as well as each other. An abundance of hubris has contributed mightily to the deepening of these crises. As we speak, Baghdad has become the center of gravity for the disciples of enforced ignorance who equate death with eternal happiness. Unless we change course wisely and quickly, the blood of our loved ones will flow like water.

The challenge facing America as well as us is not to buckle under the threat of car bombers, but to outmaneuver their drivers by throwing monkey wrenches into their recruitment efforts. One way to accomplish this goal is to announce the eventual withdrawal of American troops from the region. The plans to build fourteen military bases should be scrapped right after. If the citizens of these shores wish to support the democratic and secular voices in the region, they can do so from their homes on the left side of the Atlantic. Nothing else will bring relief to a land on fire. We will all be losers if we persist on the present course.

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