There is no need to repeat the truism that both the East and West possess forces that have interests in maintaining a certain level of antagonistic tension between the two sides. Some western statesmen with a Kipling mentality found Samuel Huntington’s theory about the «Clash of Civilizations» very much to their liking. Those radicals of the Orient who fight for justice clutching weapons in hand also liked Huntington.
Especially after Sept. 11, when they seemed to find confirmation of their idol’s prediction, and when one Western political leader (politician?) even openly declared the superiority of «Western over Oriental civilization.»
I don’t think that his declaration really offended anyone, since it was seemed forced/stilted and lumpen), and many people understood it in just the way it deserved to be received. But it was disturbing that it reflected the very mood of the majority of common people of the West. Perhaps Huntington really is right and we really stand at the threshold of a global war of civilizations?
I am an incorrigible optimist, but even I became disturbed by this question. I once took as the epigraph for my book the words of Andre Malraux, which predicted that the 21st Century would be one of high morality and spirituality. But the events that unfolded in the world after Sept. 11 forced me to remove that epigraph from the Turkish translation of my book. It seemed Malraux had made a mistake. Instead, Huntington seemed to have won the competition of oracles. Now, though, I see that things are not so bad after all.
They talk about the globalization of terrorism, globalization of the struggle against terrorism, globalization of whatever. OK, that’s fine. Why, then, in this world where we are all doomed to globalize, is there not a globalization of mutual understanding among peoples and races? Is there not a globalization through a rapprochement of cultures and religions? Why can’t there be a globalization of the struggle against tyranny, oppression, and injustice in the Orient and the West?
In the West they consider that Western civilization is the best of all civilizations, and in the East they think that the best in Western civilization was borrowed from the East. The Orient considers that democracy cannot serve as the justification of man’s existence on earth, while the West is convinced that all of the Orient’s misfortunes are rooted in the Shariah, which forbids the individual’s free choice.
Meanwhile, the Orient does not hold to the Shariah to the degree that Allah commands; nor does the West observe the rules of democracy as demanded by democratic principles. If the two sides were honest with each other, they would have long ago admitted that neither of them is at all the way it wishes to appear in the other’s eyes. If they really wanted peace with each
other, they would long ago have «discovered» an amazing similarity between democracy and the Shariah. They would have delightfully discovered a similarity between the Declaration of Human Rights and the rights of the individual in Islam. They would have seen that at the foundation of democracy is nothing other than Christianity, i.e., the Shariah itself, only slightly distorted by the prejudices of scribes who came later.
On the initiative of the American NGO «Common Ground,» a group of intellectuals began to seek ways of non-violent resolution of the conflicts in the Middle East….
When I think about the so-called «Islamic terrorists,» I recall the words of one of the Prophet Mohammad’s Sahabs (disciples). As is known, after the Prophet’s death, arguments broke out over the Caliphate throne between Ali and Muaviya, both of whom were disciples of the Prophet. Someone came to another one of the sahabs who refused to take part in this argument and called on him to join the «jihad» of one side. And in this situation each side called the other a «criminal.» So the sahab responded, «I will not join your side or the other because my sword has no eyes capable of determining who in this war is a ‘criminal,’ and who is not; I am afraid to kill an innocent person before Allah.»
So here you have that very Shariah that the West fears, and which the»Islamic terrorists» cite to their advantage or ignore. So I’m afraid that there is little Shariah remaining in the Orient. If there were, would they be crying out about the «need to reestablish the Shariah?» If there were, war, poverty, and hunger would not keep befalling the people of the Orient. There is no justice in the Orient, and where there is no justice the Shariah cannot exist. Violence reigns in the Orient, and there is no role
for the Shariah where violence reigns.
In the Orient, bread is stolen from orphans, neighbors rob one another, and innocent people are killed; all of this is evidence that the Shariah has abandoned the Orient. It flees far away from your sins (and mine) in order to be further away from the evil deeds of our dictators who declare that they are the shadows of Allah on the earth, but govern the state with the methods of Satan. The Shariah cannot exist where the state encourages bribe-taking, graft, perjury, prostitution, drug addiction, violence and murder of the innocent.
In turn, the West must also look in both directions, so that its highly praised democracy does not run far away. From the duplicity of a policy of»developed» powers, from double standards and brutality, to the weak in order to appease «national interests,» and from the passion to be the richest, the very first, the greatest…
It’s necessary to stop creating enemies in order to blame the enemy for all one’s misfortunes, and always to see oneself as the victim.
After all, your enemy also sees himself as the victim. So who is right? It’s possible to simplify this very complex life. One can live as a human being.
Do you know how I make my life a bit easier in exile? With maxims that I made up for myself. For example, when I begin to rebel against my fate, I crush my rebellion with the help of a thought like this: «Evil against you will end only when you cease entirely to resemble the villain who is committing evil against you.»
This really is true: Destroy all the destructive qualities of your enemy inside you, and you will make yourself secure from that evil.
«Turkish Daily News»
26. 12. 2002