|Fadlullah, In a letter addressed to US President Barack Obama: The subsequent exclusion policies have aroused anti-American sentiments; We support that change that is accompanied by corresponding actions|
His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, addressed a letter to the new American President Barack Obama at the beginning of his tenure. The following is the text of the letter:
Dear Mr. President, the esteemed head of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama,
It appears clear to the entire world that the United States has reached a position that enabled it to control much of the world's politics and economy and security, thanks to many factors, namely the US ability to benefit from and utilize the experiences of other nations, which has promoted the American society due to cultural diversity and pluralism. The election of an Afro-American person to the presidency represents one of the cultural values that characterize the American society, and these values are destined to influence change in the broad parameters of US policies.
The slogan of change – which is the title of the new tenure – reflects a philosophy for mankind in life. This philosophy deems criticism and self-change as a sustainable and continuous movement, and thus, a stagnant, durable, and unchangeable state of mankind will limit our growth, while the entire world around us is progressing in thoughts and means.
Therefore, we believe that change cannot be partial or selective, as it must embrace all the aspects of human activity, whether be it individual or collective, and whether made by groups, parties, states, or nations. Change must also be a movement that addresses the deep roots of any issue, not only the surface, even in terms of the underlying philosophies of human thought that had existed at a particular time.
In this regard, we stress that each and every human invention is deemed as an absolute truth for its creator, and is thus based on the specificity of his culture. This means that human life should be governed by dialogue, namely in the march of mankind to seek truth.
In this letter, we would like to addresses a number of significant issues:
The world economy has undoubtedly suffered a major setback which raises the need to review the global economic system, not only in terms of its means, but also its rules, premises, and philosophies. We believe that one of the major factors that lead to the collapse of an economy is the absence of moral restraints, which turns the market into a monster devouring everyone, even those who have produced it. Also – the market becomes uncontrollable, even by those who laid down its regulations.
When signs of a global economic crisis had loomed in the horizons, we repeatedly called for probing the rich elements of Islam, in terms of the harmony between economy and values and the balance between the individual andthe social. This can establish a serious global dialogue – based on scientific and critical efforts – to serve as a firm bridge for global cooperation and for narrowing down the differences between the East and the West and between Islam and positivism.
The United States of America has ignited ruinous wars in the Islamic world, and destabilized it with internal feuds. We are not going to address - at the moment – the reasons, nor will we tackle the elements of the Islamic and Arab impotency that paved the way [for these feuds and wars], but we would rather like to address the immoral and uncivilized aspects that governed the US approach for a number of critical and sensitive issues in the world. This necessitates a radical change, not a superficial one:
A-The war on Afghanistan was staged in reaction to the September 11 attacks which were condemned by the entire world, and we were at the forefront, because these attacks are inconsistent with our Islamic values. The Holy Quran mentioned a moral and civilized value of justice, on the basis that every human being bears the responsibilities of his actions, not those of others. God Almighty said in his Holy Quran: "…No soul earns [evil] but against itself, and no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another…"(06:164)
The perpetrators of the September 11 attacks are specific people or sides, while the flames of the war spread into many places, proving to many people that these events were only a pretext in order to stage a war, the purpose of which is to achieve strategic interests for the United States, through previously shaped plans to control the resources of the Muslim world, in a prelude to gain more cards in the US conflict with many sides and axes.
The following question arises in this context: Should we allow such a law to exist? In other words, is it justified for those assaulted by a person or a side to declare a war on all the members of the doer's family, or the entire society to which this side belongs? The principles of law – which you know very well [addressing Obama] – maintain that the criminal alone should be punished for his crime, not any of his relatives who are not partners to the crime. If this were not the case , why don't you justify – and we surely do not justify – for those assaulted by your army and oppressed by your policies – to kidnap and kill whoever belongs to your state? Isn’t this the same logic you act upon? As we present these facts, we aim at pointing out the nature of the crisis and problem that emanates tragedies, war, and destruction for mankind, particularly when the values of justice become absent, and are replaced by revengeful intentions akin to the tribal system back in the backward ages.
B-The United States waged a war on Iraq based on a deception as to weapons of mass destruction, and the United Nations Organization had opposed the American monopoly of the war decision at the time. This war placed Iraq and the entire region in the midst of a fire, the flames of which have reached your hands too. The question is: What are the restraints that must govern international policies so as to prevent another lie from spreading new tragedies worldwide, the ramifications of which might be uncontrollable this time? And who gives the right for any state, regardless of its magnitude, to appoint itself as a policeman for this world, and as a judge and executioner at the same time? Doesn't this require from your country to change the way it deals with international law and paralyzes the function of the international organizations?
C- The size of support and cover-up provided by your country for the Zionist entity has become known. This entity was established on the land whose people were uprooted by the power of iron and fire. The subsequent American policies have contributed to the loss of the Palestinian cause, despite the ratification of many Security Council resolutions. The last heinous episode took place in Gaza and was among the most atrocious crimes throughout history.
The following question arises: To what extent will the US policy change, and thus give an open eye for what is happening in Palestine, even regarding the concessions which the Arabs and Palestinians have made, only under the American pressures that took many faces and colors? Is it possible to see any American pressures applied on Israel to abide by the international law that it has overlooked throughout its entire history? There is also another question, particularly after your recent speech in which you announced the appointment of international envoys to the Arab and Muslim region: Will Israel continue to be the driving force behind the American policy towards our region, or will the United States hammer out its own policy instead? We truly understand the size of pressures applied by various groups inside your country on your policy. But we know – as you too do – that there is only one face of justice, one that is subjected to objective criteria as to the right possessed by any side, regardless of its social or political or economic size. Imam Ali [a.s] said: "A weak person is strong in my eyes until I get his right paid to him, and a strong person is weak in my eyes until I take the right from him." God said in his Holy Quran: "…When you speak, then be just though it be against a relative" [06: 152].
D- The subsequent American policies have undermined the willpower of the Arab and Muslim people, through empowering and protecting unjust dictatorships that sought to fulfill the American interests, despite the willpower of the people. For instance, during the first Gulf war, your army had empowered the former Iraqi regime to curb the Iraqi public Intifada…
Therefore, anyone raising the slogan of change must think thoroughly and make courageous and honorable decisions in standing up for what is right.
It has perhaps become clear to you, more than ever, that the exclusion policy practiced by your subsequent administrations has aroused anti-American sentiments. This brings us to the historical inevitability that whoever oppresses and unjustly treats other nations - by excluding them and accusing them of countless charges, is actually establishing a prison for himself. This has appeared clear when your subsequent administrations hurled terrorism charges at everyone whose interests contradicted with your state ; to the extent of accusing the entire world of terrorism. Therefore, you must conduct a revision, through identifying the values that govern your policies. We assume that we only need to implement justice, so as to avoid slipping into the war of terminologies imposed by the nature of the conflict directed by this or that state in the framework of its interests. Otherwise, is it conceivable that a term that is instrumental in defining a state's policies lacks a clear definition and clear-cut standards?
The problem mankind suffers from has started since the beginning of time, and pertains to the arrogance that justifies people's alienation from righteousness and surpass of justice and tendency towards hegemony, domination, predation, and exclusion. Here arises a key question: Does your promised change aims at getting rid of the mentality that governs the policies of many superpowers, namely your country?
We are not expecting the new administration in the United States to carry out unfeasible change, but he who pledges to pursue a track that differs from the previous one, must be honest with himself and with the people. His words must be translated into actions, because after all, history will measure every person's success or failure with the yardstick of his actions not words.
Finally, our hands – as Arabs and Muslims – remained extended over many decades; to the extent that many accused us of political naivety, because we kept hurling flowers at our executioners and murderers. We believe that the world will not prosper and flourish unless all nations and peoples cooperate on the basis of goodness, righteousness, and justice. But we are advocates of change, and our hand will remain extended for all those who call for the change that is accompanied with actions, not words, on the basis of righteousness, goodness, justice, and peace that rests on all these values.