This letter was written by the writer in response to an
article in Newsweek on Bosnia: "So Much for the Vaunted `Safe' Areas" (24 July
In Mario Puzo's novel, "The Godfather", the law-abiding
Amerigo Bonasera, who had always believed in America, decides to avenge his
daughter when the sly judge in a New York criminal court virtually lets two
young ruffians -- one of them the son of a very powerful politician -- go free.
Both of them had brutally assaulted his daughter. He then turns to his
uncomprehending wife to announce his decision to her. `They have made fools of
us. We must go to Don Corleone for Justice'.
That's the point. When a society deliberately denies
justice to its people, they go to Don Corleone for it.
When the international community condone persecution of a
people, at least some of them are bound to go beyond `rejoicing in being
persecuted'. They will rejoice in revenge. When a man's parents are killed for
no good reason, when his children are massacred, when his daughter and his
sister are raped right in front of his eyes, even the most learned of scholars
will fail in saving him from falling prey to the bait of the terrorist
justifying his terrorism as jihad (even though terrorism and jihad are two
diametrically opposed terms).
In your article, you have not mentioned one other brutal
lesson of Bosnia -- a lesson that the Muslims of Bosnia and of Chechnya and
perhaps of the rest of the world are beginning to learn: that there's a price to
be paid for hiring American guns and that the price is not the blood of
thousands of innocent civilians. It's oil of rich, fat sheikhs. The Americans
must continue to teach the Muslim world this lesson, for nothing unites a people
more than the realization that they have a common enemy. Continued apathy of the
U.S. towards Bosnia and Chechnya and the impotence of the U.N. might give the
Muslim world -- from Morocco to Indonesia -- just that.
By the way, there's a question I should like to ask you
regarding your cover story (Why America Dropped the bomb?): Why is an Islamist
who blows up a building full of innocent civilians in the U.S. called a
terrorist? I'll tell you why: because he's not an American. History is often
written by the victor, not by the vanquished. Otherwise, if one comes to think
of it, even the Islamist might have reasons. Perhaps, he wants to kill a few
people because he thinks that's indispensable to save many more of his own. His
greatest fault, therefore, is that he's not a world leader or in a position to
force the world to accept what he wants. Otherwise, he too might have been able
to blow up 150,000 civilians in a single instant with just two bombs for some
noble objective that the world would never understand. How very Christian! Even
Jesus Christ (Blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) couldn't have thought of
a more peaceful way of ending the war.
There's one last thing I should like to say (even though
I'm certain that you won't publish this `epistle', for when the downfall of a
nation begins, it turns blind to its faults). The Roman Empire ruled the world
for about fourteen hundred years. Its decline took about three hundred years.
The U.S. has not yet seen three hundred years as a world leader. The Romans had
superiority over other nations in arms and in organization. Better `technology',
better `management' -- in modern terminology. Even towards the end of their
empire, nothing changed much. They remained superior in these areas. But what
did change was values. People change, events change, but the principles of
history do not. The rise and fall of nations depends on certain values. The U.S.
too was founded on the basis of certain values among which freedom and equality
of man for a more just and compassionate world were of prime importance to its
founding fathers. If the U.S. has lost the courage to live up to these values,
then its days as the world leader are numbered, for these values were the creed
to which America had pledged its life, its fortune and its sacred honour.