Leader’s 2015 letter to Western youth a light in age of darkness
On the 2nd anniversary of the second letter to the youth of the West of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, an American political analyst describing Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei as a “man of spiritual wisdom”, noted that his letter of late November 2015 “shows a path upon which people can walk toward the light” in a world filled with darkness.
Adam Garrie, an expert in Russia, Eurasia, West Asia and US history, said Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei understands the dynamics of world politics and has a clear vision that the youth of all societies will grow to be the future leaders of a nation’s political and religious institutions, as well as in all other areas.
Now we have an interview with Garrie, who is also Managing Editor of The Duran.
Q: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s second letter to the youth in the West was released on November 29, 2015, following Paris terrorist attacks claimed by the Daesh Takfiri group. How much do you think the letter has been successful to help the world distinguish between the true Islam and the Takfiri ideology? Why did the Leader choose to directly address the Western youth once again in form of a letter?
Garrie: A man of spiritual wisdom who also understands the dynamics of world politics such as Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, clearly knows that the youth of all societies will grow to be the future leaders of a nation’s political and religious institutions, as well as in all other areas. For example, imagine a young man in a Sunni Arab country. On the one hand, such a person could be bombarded by the hate-filled propaganda of Takfiri media outlets from places like Saudi Arabia. But if he heard the words of a peace-loving leader and a representative of the humane, warm, comforting and inspiring message of Islam, this could change the course of such a young person’s life. Here, I am not drawing a distinction between Sunni and Shiite—Arab or Iranian, because the message of the Prophet of Islam is universal. One could be a Christian or anything else and still find solace in such a message.
Hence, it is only natural that Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei should want to reach out to the youth in Europe as well and for the same reasons. As to its effectiveness, I know that many people who would otherwise have gravitated to the hateful un-Islamic messages of western mainstream media, have thought twice and realized that they have comrades, friends and distant neighbors in places like Iran, Syria, Palestine and beyond who want to live in peace, prosperity and good health, just as they do.
Unfortunately, many more people in the western world remain completely unaware of this reality because of the distorted message of mainstream media and the failure to teach world history in most European schools.
In societies like those in Europe, where finding an obscene magazine is easier than finding either a Holy Quran or Holy Bible, words of wisdom often are pushed to the periphery by that which seduces people into a life of shame, which itself often leads to the path of hatred and then to violence. However, the lesson in this is not to give up but to push forward positive messages even further so that eventually more people, especially the young, can realize that peace may one day be possible.
Q: Military campaigns targeting the Muslim world over recent years, which have taken countless lives, are another example of the West’s contradictory logic. Besides human losses, the invaded countries have lost their economic and industrial infrastructure, their drive towards growth and development has been halted or slowed down, and in some cases, turned back tens of years. Nonetheless, they are rudely asked not to consider themselves as oppressed. How can a country be reduced to ruins and its city and village be reduced to ashes and then (its people) be told not to consider themselves as oppressed! Instead of inviting (people) not to understand or forget about tragedies, isn’t honest apology better? The pain endured during these years by the Muslim world due to the hypocrisy and insincerity of the aggressors is no less than material damage. It seems that US President Donald Trump is seeking to raise Islamophobia and provoke violence against Muslims as he recently retweeted anti-Muslim videos. What’s your take on this?
Garrie: The biggest terrorists in the world are the western governments who send weapons to be fired upon innocent civilians. Over the last 40 years, Muslims have been disproportionally attacked and killed on the orders of western governments and their terrorist proxies. A river of blood now flows from the Euphrates to the Maghreb and most of this blood is the blood of innocent Muslims. Beyond this, one can also look to the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir where western governments have done effectively nothing to reduce tensions which they bear responsibility for, as the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir is directly related to colonial maps of the region.
In the case of Palestine, the war upon innocent people has gone on since the 1940s and continues to this day.
Many people in western societies try to pretend that somehow their government’s weapons are good weapons, when in reality all weapons fired aggressively are the tools of evil. People in the United States and Europe do not want to die in unnecessary wars or in terrorist atrocities, but the ability to realise that people in places like Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya etc., do not desire the same, is symptomatic of a totalitarian corporate media system that hides the truth from its own citizens.
Trump’s re-tweeting of anti-Muslim propaganda is a symptom of this rather than a cause. Donald Trump’s career in property and branding was all about money and now that he is in politics, he’s realized that media outlets sell their own brands in the west by spreading lies about Islam and Muslims. He has attached himself to a disgraceful trend of profiteering and branding by spreading lies. This is symptomatic of a society where money is valued more than truth and hysteria is considered more normal than reason.
Q: As long as double standards dominate the Western policy, and as long as terrorism is divided in the eyes of its powerful supporters into good and bad categories, and as long as interests of governments are given precedence over human and moral values, the roots of terrorism should not be sought anywhere else. Unfortunately, these roots have also penetrated deeply the cultural policies of the West through consecutive years, and have led to a soft and silent onslaught. Ayatollah Khamenei stated in the letter. How much do you think the letter helped the youth to know more about the US’s hate-mongering against Muslims?
Garrie: Because of the clarity and sincerity of the message, anyone who reads it will have received a valuable education in the reality of how a terrorism and inhumane foreign policy among western governments goes hand-in-hand with misinformation campaigns and an imperialist ‘divide and rule’ mentality. On the one hand, the US seeks to demonize innocent Muslims in the countries it bombs, while showing with affection, the regime of Saudi Arabia whose leaders call themselves Muslim, but behave in ways which are objectively contrary to the teachings of Islam. Only God can judge who is a real Muslim and who is a fraud, but as worldly observers, it is clear to see that when pro-western regimes like that of Saudi Arabia fund Takfiri terrorist groups, they are acting in the same duplicitous manner as their western patrons. This is obvious to anyone exposed to the full picture of geo-political relations.
Q: Ayatollah Khamenei also noted that terrorism and the effects of it are a common worry or a common pain that the Muslim world shares with the rest specifically the West. How can the world use this capacity to condemn terrorism, particularly Israel’s state terrorism?
Garrie: Whether one is a Muslim, Christian or anything else, we are all humans. But the human mind has the capacity to reduce human behavior to that which is below that of a beast. When a Palestinian girl is killed in cold blood for the “crime” of walking to school, when entire families are woken in the middle of the night by soldiers with machine guns and thrown out of their home, when the land of a father is stolen from his son; these are all actions which blight the entire human condition.
While there are two sides to every story, there are not two sides to every action. The actions of the Zionist regime are wrong by any objective standard. But if one listens to western media, they either obscure the crimes of the Israeli regime or otherwise justify that which cannot be sanely justified.
Palestinians are not asking for vengeance; they are not asking for blood. They are asking for water, for shelter, for peace and for freedom. Those who disagree with these simple demands have lost touch not only with God but with their own humanity. I believe that if more people in the West actually knew what is happening in Palestine, they would sympathize with the plight of the Palestinian people. This is why the message of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei is so important. In a world filled with much darkness, his statement shows a path upon which people can walk toward the light and such a message is universally important.