September 18, 2012
The Message of the Middle East
By John Perkins
The tragic events sweeping the Middle East, including the murder of the U.S. Ambassador and other embassy personnel in Libya, have left many wondering how people can exhibit such anger against a nation that helped free them from murderous dictators.
On the one hand, we hear accusations that Muslims do not respect women, human rights, and other religions, and that violence is part of Middle Eastern cultures. On the other hand, we hear that U.S. and European policies, dating back for more than a century, have been exploitive and imperialistic, have supported brutal dictators, and created a web of discontent. Both sides draw on the sacred texts – the Quran and Bible – to justify their contentions.
The sad truth is that human history is riddled with violence and that individuals, cultures, and nations have become accustomed to solving differences by picking up weapons and attacking others, rather than by understanding that the only lasting solutions lie in cooperation and compassion.
A movie produced by an individual with suspect motives was used to justify an attack that resulted in the death of a U.S. diplomat who dedicated his life to building bridges between cultures. At the same time that the White House condemned violence in the streets of Benghazi, it also authorized drones that kill innocent civilians in Afghanistan. These two seemingly unrelated actions carry a shared message: violence has become endemic and it is totally and completely ineffectual as a method for settling differences.
Like all crises, the tragic events of the Middle East offer opportunities. They spur us to commit ourselves to finding new solutions. If we want to honor the life of Ambassador Chris Stevens, protest a film that dishonors the Prophet Muhammad, end the senseless killings in Afghanistan, and create a world future generations will want to inherit, now is the time to convince ourselves and our leaders – regardless of cultural or religious leanings – that we all live on a tiny and fragile space station. This one has no shuttles. We simply must come together. The only solution is one that embraces compassion, cooperation and peace.
I travel to Washington D.C. this next week to speak at three very different venues on this very subject. If you live in that area, I hope you will join me. Wherever you live and however you see yourself, please commit to taking some action every single day to helping create a world that future generations of all species around the planet will want to inherit.
NOTE: John Perkins has 3 upcoming events in Washington DC:
- · Sept 27, 2012, 7PM-Talk – NATIONAL PRESS CLUB
- · Sept 29, 2012, 3PM-Talk – GREEN FESTIVAL
- · Oct 1, 2012, 7PM-Talk – IRANIAN CULTURAL ASSOCIATION
(For more information see www.johnperkins.org – SCHEDULE)
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