اجتنب مصاحبة الكذاب فإن اضطررت إليه فلا تُصَدِّقْهُ

Avoid the company of a liar. And if you can’t avoid him, don’t believe him.

أخوك من صَدَقك لا من صدّقك

A brother is one who’s honest with you, not one who believes you.

إصلاح الموجود خير من انتظار المفقود

Mending what you have is better than expecting what you don’t have.

(Arabic proverbs)

 

Eid Mubarak to you – my enemy, my friend!

This may seem like a strange time to write to you. You are watching horrid videos: dead bodies of young children, parading on your screen in every gory detail. Heartbreaking! They tell you I deliberately did that. They want you to believe I have set my weapon’s sights on their tiny body and murdered them. They want you to believe I’m a bloodthirsty animal; or worse – a devil. I am neither. They want you to hate me – and you do.

This may seem like the worst time to write to you. But when is it a good time? Hate, if you wish; but listen. My heart weeps. As God is my witness, I don’t want your children to die; I just want mine to live.

Detail of Arab art from Alhambra (11th century)

Detail of Arab art from Alhambra (11th century)

A thousand years ago, your people – the Arabs – were arguably the world’s most advanced. From the splendour of their culture, your ancestors were looking down at primitive Europeans: unwashed, uncouth, scratching off lice-bitten skin in darkness, cold and fear. Your scientists were pitting their minds against algebraic formulae; your explorers were charting the lands and the skies; your physicians were succouring the body and trying to calm the soul. Poets were weaving sweet feelings into mellifluous sonnets; architects were building palaces both sumptuous and delicate in their ethereal beauty; skilled dancers and musicians were delighting ears, eyes and souls. Your women were among the freest, most powerful in the world; your philosophers – the most open-minded; your theologians – the most liberal.

Squalor in Egypt (21st century)

Squalor in Egypt (21st century)

And today? Today the Arab world is a place people fear; a place people want to escape from. Those who once looked down on Europe now beg for a European visa; those who once sang the freedom of the desert are now among the most unfree. Incredible richness bursts from under your feet, yet poverty humiliates you; there’s shameful levels of illiteracy among those who once brought the world numbers and algebra.

What happened to you, my brother Ahmed? No it’s not The Jew’s fault that you are so oppressed, poor and dejected; it’s not the White Man’s fault, either. Yes, I know your lands were under White Man’s boots – and I know you resented it. But they were there just for a few short decades – and what is that peoples as old as yours and mine? They’ve been in India for centuries!

No, it’s not somebody else’s fault, Ahmed, much as it torments your soul to admit it; it’s your own leaders – Sultans, Emirs, Kings and Presidents; it’s not the infidels, it’s Muslim Turks and Arabs who have been doing THIS to you, for centuries now. They got rich, while your children are starving; they demand respect when you are shamed; they can do whatever they please, while you bow your head to their harsh commands.

Beheading in Syria (21st century)

Beheading in Syria (21st century)

Worst of all, they whipped out hatred from your humiliated soul; they sent you to visit horrendous, appalling violence upon innocent others. And what has hatred given you, my brother, other than a bad name? Is it the Jews’ fault that in the old Bilad al-Sham, in the Heart of Levant, Arab is killing Arab by the thousand, in horrible, unspeakable, inhuman ways? Haven’t they killed, in just one year, more, many more Arabs than the Jews did in a century? Was it the White Man that enthroned over you murderous clowns like Gaddafi, Assad and Saddam?

They tell you you should hate the Jew because he ‘occupies’ your land. But doesn’t the Qur’an say The Almighty gave it to them?

And We said after Pharaoh to the Children of Israel, “Dwell in the land, and when there comes the promise of the Hereafter, We will bring you forth in [one] gathering.”
[Surat Al-‘Isrā’, 17:104]

Did God change His mind?? How are they ‘occupying’ the land God gave them?

They tell you you must take it ‘back’, because it once was yours. It sure was; but so was Spain – are you supposed to take that ‘back’, too?

And what is that tiny, tiny land to you, anyway? One can fit the Jewish State 644 times in the lands of the Arabs. 644!

They tell you Islam is the answer. But is THIS Islam?? They look back, rather than ahead; and they see just darkness and beheadings – their eyes can’t take in the poetry and light.

Who made them Kings and Presidents over you, anyway? And who put these ranting clerics between you and your God? Does God speak to the wicked and the hypocrites?

They are lying to you, my brother; they are throwing sand in your eyes; they are shamelessly playing you for a fool. They channel your righteous anger towards some alien scapegoat – to keep it from crashing over their own heads like stormy sea upon a nutshell.

My brother Ahmed, wake up from your long slumber. Break your shackles; kick the thrones from under their fat, insensitive arses; claim your God-given rights – I long to share my freedom with you. Come, let us make sulha; there is so much I can teach you; there is so much I want to learn from you. I want your children to be free like mine. I want my land, small as it is; yours are vast. What are we fighting for??

Wake up, my brother Ahmed.