President Obama’s Speech at University of Indonesia

President Obama’s Speech at University of Indonesia:

“… May our two nations work together, with faith and determination …”

Jakarta, November 10, 2010

 

 

Thank you for this wonderful welcome. Thank you to the people of Jakarta. And thank you to the people of Indonesia.I am so glad that I made it to Indonesia, and that Michelle was able to join me. We had a couple of false starts this year, but I was determined to visit a country that has meant so much to me. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly quick visit, but I look forward to coming back a year from now, when Indonesia hosts the East Asia Summit.

 

Before I go any further, I want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with all of those Indonesians affected by the recent tsunami and volcanic eruptions – particularly those who have lost loved ones, and those who have been displaced. As always, the United States stands with Indonesia in responding to this natural disaster, and we are pleased to be able to help as needed. As neighbors help neighbors and families take in the displaced, I know that the strength and resilience of the Indonesian people will pull you through once more.

 

Let me begin with a simple statement: Indonesia is a part of me. I first came to this country when my mother married an Indonesian man named Lolo Soetoro. As a young boy, I was coming to a different world. But the people of Indonesia quickly made me feel at home.

 

Jakarta looked very different in those days. The city was filled with buildings that were no more than a few stories tall. The Hotel Indonesia was one of the few high rises, and there was just one brand new shopping center called Sarinah. Betchaks outnumbered automobiles in those days, and the highway quickly gave way to unpaved roads and kampongs.

 

We moved to Menteng Dalam, where we lived in a small house with a mango tree out front. I learned to love Indonesia while flying kites, running along paddy fields, catching dragonflies, and buying satay and baso from the street vendors. Most of all, I remember the people – the old men and women who welcomed us with smiles; the children who made a foreigner feel like a neighbor; and the teachers who helped me learn about the wider world.

 

Because Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands, hundreds of languages, and people from scores of regions and ethnic groups, my times here helped me appreciate the common humanity of all people. And while my stepfather, like most Indonesians, was raised a Muslim, he firmly believed that all religions were worthy of respect. In this way, he reflected the spirit of religious tolerance that is enshrined in Indonesia’s Constitution, and that remains one of this country’s defining and inspiring characteristics.

 

I stayed here for four years – a time that helped shape my childhood; a time that saw the birth of my wonderful sister, Maya; and a time that made such an impression on my mother that she kept returning to Indonesia over the next twenty years to live, work and travel – pursuing her passion of promoting opportunity in Indonesia’s villages, particularly for women and girls. For her entire life, my mother held this place and its people close to her heart.

 

So much has changed in the four decades since I boarded a plane to move back to Hawaii. If you asked me – or any of my schoolmates who knew me back then – I don’t think any of us could have anticipated that I would one day come back to Jakarta as President of the United States. And few could have anticipated the remarkable story of Indonesia over these last four decades.

 

The Jakarta that I once knew has grown to a teeming city of nearly ten million, with skyscrapers that dwarf the Hotel Indonesia, and thriving centers of culture and commerce. While my Indonesian friends and I used to run in fields with water buffalo and goats, a new generation of Indonesians is among the most wired in the world – connected through cell phones and social networks. And while Indonesia as a young nation focused inward, a growing Indonesia now plays a key role in the Asia Pacific and the global economy.

 

This change extends to politics. When my step-father was a boy, he watched his own father and older brother leave home to fight and die in the struggle for Indonesian independence. I’m happy to be here on Heroes Day to honor the memory of so many Indonesians who have sacrificed on behalf of this great country.

 

When I moved to Jakarta, it was 1967, a time that followed great suffering and conflict in parts of this country. Even though my step-father had served in the Army, the violence and killing during that time of political upheaval was largely unknown to me because it was unspoken by my Indonesian family and friends. In my household, like so many others across Indonesia, it was an invisible presence. Indonesians had their independence, but fear was not far away.

 

In the years since then, Indonesia has charted its own course through an extraordinary democratic transformation – from the rule of an iron fist to the rule of the people. In recent years, the world has watched with hope and admiration, as Indonesians embraced the peaceful transfer of power and the direct election of leaders. And just as your democracy is symbolized by your elected President and legislature, your democracy is sustained and fortified by its checks and balances: a dynamic civil society; political parties and unions; a vibrant media and engaged citizens who have ensured that – in Indonesia – there will be no turning back.

 

But even as this land of my youth has changed in so many ways, those things that I learned to love about Indonesia – that spirit of tolerance that is written into your Constitution; symbolized in your mosques and churches and temples; and embodied in your people – still lives on. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika – unity in diversity. This is the foundation of Indonesia’s example to the world, and this is why Indonesia will play such an important role in the 21st century.

 

So today, I return to Indonesia as a friend, but also as a President who seeks a deep and enduring partnership between our two countries. Because as vast and diverse countries; as neighbors on either side of the Pacific; and above all as democracies – the United States and Indonesia are bound together by shared interests and shared values.

 

Yesterday, President Yudhoyono and I announced a new, Comprehensive Partnership between the United States and Indonesia. We are increasing ties between our governments in many different areas, and – just as importantly – we are increasing ties among our people. This is a partnership of equals, grounded in mutual interests and mutual respect.

 

With the rest of my time today, I’d like to talk about why the story I just told – the story of Indonesia since the days when I lived here – is so important to the United States, and to the world. I will focus on three areas that are closely related, and fundamental to human progress – development, democracy, and religion.

 

First, the friendship between the United States and Indonesia can advance our mutual interest in development.

When I moved to Indonesia, it would have been hard to imagine a future in which the prosperity of families in Chicago and Jakarta would be connected. But our economies are now global, and Indonesians have experienced both the promise and perils of globalization: from the shock of the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s to the millions lifted out of poverty. What that means – and what we learned in the recent economic crisis – is that we have a stake in each other’s success.

 

America has a stake in an Indonesia that is growing, with prosperity that is broadly shared among the Indonesian people – because a rising middle class here means new markets for our goods, just as America is a market for yours. And so we are investing more in Indonesia, our exports have grown by nearly 50 percent, and we are opening doors for Americans and Indonesians to do business with one another.

 

America has a stake in an Indonesia that plays its rightful role in shaping the global economy. Gone are the days when seven or eight countries could come together to determine the direction of global markets. That is why the G-20 is now the center of international economic cooperation, so that emerging economies like Indonesia have a greater voice and bear greater responsibility. And through its leadership of the G-20’s anti-corruption group, Indonesia should lead on the world stage and by example in embracing transparency and accountability.

 

America has a stake in an Indonesia that pursues sustainable development, because the way we grow will determine the quality of our lives and the health of our planet. That is why we are developing clean energy technologies that can power industry and preserve Indonesia’s precious natural resources – and America welcomes your country’s strong leadership in the global effort to combat climate change.

 

Above all, America has a stake in the success of the Indonesian people. Underneath the headlines of the day, we must build bridges between our peoples, because our future security and prosperity is shared. That is exactly what we are doing – by increased collaboration among our scientists and researchers, and by working together to foster entrepreneurship. And I am especially pleased that we have committed to double the number of American and Indonesian students studying in our respective countries – we want more Indonesian students in our schools, and more American students to come study in this country, so that we can forge new ties that last well into this young century.

 

These are the issues that really matter in our daily lives. Development, after all, is not simply about growth rates and numbers on a balance sheet. It’s about whether a child can learn the skills they need to make it in a changing world. It’s about whether a good idea is allowed to grow into a business, and not be suffocated by corruption. It’s about whether those forces that have transformed the Jakarta that I once knew -technology and trade and the flow of people and goods – translate into a better life for human beings, a life marked by dignity and opportunity.

 

This kind of development is inseparable from the role of democracy.

 

Today, we sometimes hear that democracy stands in the way of economic progress. This is not a new argument. Particularly in times of change and economic uncertainty, some will say that it is easier to take a shortcut to development by trading away the rights of human beings for the power of the state. But that is not what I saw on my trip to India, and that is not what I see in Indonesia. Your achievements demonstrate that democracy and development reinforce one another.

 

Like any democracy, you have known setbacks along the way. America is no different. Our own Constitution spoke of the effort to forge a “more perfect union,” and that is a journey we have travelled ever since, enduring Civil War and struggles to extend rights to all of our citizens. But it is precisely this effort that has allowed us to become stronger and more prosperous, while also becoming a more just and free society.

 

Like other countries that emerged from colonial rule in the last century, Indonesia struggled and sacrificed for the right to determine your destiny. That is what Heroes Day is all about – an Indonesia that belongs to Indonesians. But you also ultimately decided that freedom cannot mean replacing the strong hand of a colonizer with a strongman of your own.

 

Of course, democracy is messy. Not everyone likes the results of every election. You go through ups and downs. But the journey is worthwhile, and it goes beyond casting a ballot. It takes strong institutions to check the concentration of power. It takes open markets that allow individuals to thrive. It takes a free press and an independent justice system to root out abuse and excess, and to insist upon accountability. It takes open society and active citizens to reject inequality and injustice.

 

These are the forces that will propel Indonesia forward. And it will require a refusal to tolerate the corruption that stands in the way of opportunity; a commitment to transparency that gives every Indonesian a stake in their government; and a belief that the freedom that Indonesians have fought for is what holds this great nation together.

 

That is the message of the Indonesians who have advanced this democratic story – from those who fought in the Battle of Surabaya 55 years ago today; to the students who marched peacefully for democracy in the 1990s, to leaders who have embraced the peaceful transition of power in this young century. Because ultimately, it will be the rights of citizens that will stitch together this remarkable Nusantara that stretches from Sabang to Merauke – an insistence that every child born in this country should be treated equally, whether they come from Java or Aceh; Bali or Papua.

 

That effort extends to the example that Indonesia sets abroad. Indonesia took the initiative to establish the Bali Democracy Forum, an open forum for countries to share their experiences and best practices in fostering democracy. Indonesia has also been at the forefront of pushing for more attention to human rights within ASEAN. The nations of Southeast Asia must have the right to determine their own destiny, and the United States will strongly support that right. But the people of Southeast Asia must have the right to determine their own destiny as well. That is why we condemned elections in Burma that were neither free nor fair. That is why we are supporting your vibrant civil society in working with counterparts across this region. Because there is no reason why respect for human rights should stop at the border of any country.

 

Hand in hand, that is what development and democracy are about – the notion that certain values are universal. Prosperity without freedom is just another form of poverty. Because there are aspirations that human beings share – the liberty of knowing that your leader is accountable to you, and that you won’t be locked up for disagreeing with them; the opportunity to get an education and to work with dignity; the freedom to practice your faith without fear or restriction.

 

Religion is the final topic that I want to address today, and – like democracy and development – it is fundamental to the Indonesian story.

 

Like the other Asian nations that I am visiting on this trip, Indonesia is steeped in spirituality – a place where people worship God in many different ways. Along with this rich diversity, it is also home to the world’s largest Muslim population – a truth that I came to know as a boy when I heard the call to prayer across Jakarta.

 

Just as individuals are not defined solely by their faith, Indonesia is defined by more than its Muslim population. But we also know that relations between the United States and Muslim communities have frayed over many years. As President, I have made it a priority to begin to repair these relations. As a part of that effort, I went to Cairo last June, and called for a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world – one that creates a path for us to move beyond our differences.

 

I said then, and I will repeat now, that no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust. But I believed then, and I believe today, that we have a choice. We can choose to be defined by our differences, and give in to a future of suspicion and mistrust. Or we can choose to do the hard work of forging common ground, and commit ourselves to the steady pursuit of progress. And I can promise you – no matter what setbacks may come, the United States is committed to human progress. That is who we are. That is what we have done. That is what we will do.

 

We know well the issues that have caused tensions for many years – issues that I addressed in Cairo. In the 17 months that have passed we have made some progress, but much more work remains to be done.

 

Innocent civilians in America, Indonesia, and across the world are still targeted by violent extremists. I have made it clear that America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam. Instead, all of us must defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion – certainly not a great, world religion like Islam. But those who want to build must not cede ground to terrorists who seek to destroy. This is not a task for America alone. Indeed, here in Indonesia, you have made progress in rooting out terrorists and combating violent extremism.

 

In Afghanistan, we continue to work with a coalition of nations to build the capacity of the Afghan government to secure its future. Our shared interest is in building peace in a war-torn land – a peace that provides no safe-haven for violent extremists, and that provides hope for the Afghan people.

 

Meanwhile, we have made progress on one of our core commitments – our effort to end the war in Iraq. 100,000 American troops have left Iraq. Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their security. And we will continue to support Iraq as it forms an inclusive government and we bring all of our troops home.

 

In the Middle East, we have faced false starts and setbacks, but we have been persistent in our pursuit of peace. Israelis and Palestinians restarted direct talks, but enormous obstacles remain. There should be no illusions that peace and security will come easy. But let there be no doubt: we will spare no effort in working for the outcome that is just, and that is in the interest of all the parties involved: two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

 

The stakes are high in resolving these issues, and the others I have spoken about today. For our world has grown smaller and while those forces that connect us have unleashed opportunity, they also empower those who seek to derail progress. One bomb in a marketplace can obliterate the bustle of daily commerce. One whispered rumor can obscure the truth, and set off violence between communities that once lived in peace. In an age of rapid change and colliding cultures, what we share as human beings can be lost.

 

But I believe that the history of both America and Indonesia gives us hope. It’s a story written into our national mottos. E pluribus unum – out of many, one. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika – unity in diversity. We are two nations, which have travelled different paths. Yet our nations show that hundreds of millions who hold different beliefs can be united in freedom under one flag. And we are now building on that shared humanity – through the young people who will study in each other’s schools; through the entrepreneurs forging ties that can lead to prosperity; and through our embrace of fundamental democratic values and human aspirations..

 

Earlier today, I visited the Istiqlal mosque – a place of worship that was still under construction when I lived in Jakarta. I admired its soaring minaret, imposing dome, and welcoming space. But its name and history also speak to what makes Indonesia great. Istiqlal means independence, and its construction was in part a testament to the nation’s struggle for freedom. Moreover, this house of worship for many thousands of Muslims was designed by a Christian architect.

 

Such is Indonesia’s spirit. Such is the message of Indonesia’s inclusive philosophy, Pancasila. Across an archipelago that contains some of God’s most beautiful creations, islands rising above an ocean named for peace, people choose to worship God as they please. Islam flourishes, but so do other faiths. Development is strengthened by an emerging democracy. Ancient traditions endure, even as a rising power is on the move.

 

That is not to say that Indonesia is without imperfections. No country is. But here can be found the ability to bridge divides of race and region and religion – that ability to see yourself in all individuals. As a child of a different race coming from a distant country, I found this spirit in the greeting that I received upon moving here: Selamat Datang. As a Christian visiting a mosque on this visit, I found it in the words of a leader who was asked about my visit and said, “Muslims are also allowed in churches. We are all God’s followers.”

 

That spark of the divine lies within each of us. We cannot give in to doubt or cynicism or despair. The stories of Indonesia and America tell us that history is on the side of human progress; that unity is more powerful than division; and that the people of this world can live together in peace. May our two nations work together, with faith and determination, to share these truths with all mankind.

Advertisements

6 Steps to Enjoying Your True Wealth by Bo Sanchez

How to Be More Emotionally Present to Your Family No Matter How Busy You Are
 
6 Steps to Enjoying Your True Wealth
By Bo Sanchez
     We  were going to Hong Kong that day. I was going to preach for three days but had two extra days to be with my family. Picture us at the airport:  My  wife  carrying  our  baby in her arms, my eldest son bouncing about  like  a rabbit and announcing to the whole world, “I’m going to Hong Kong  Disneyland!”  And  the  poor  skinny  father? Straining to push eight massive  bags  on  a wobbly cart with a stubborn right wheel. (I’ve noticed that these deranged carts supernaturally end up with me wherever I go.)

     That was when we heard the crying.

     Correction.  Not  crying.  But  spine-chilling,  lung-busting screaming.  Two kids were holding onto their mother. They were separated by four-foot  tall  steel  bars. But to those distraught children, those steel bars  represented two years of being without their mother – the contract of a domestic helper in Hong Kong.

     Four small arms clutching, grabbing, not letting go.
    
     The  whole  world  heard  their pleading scream, “Mommy, please don’t go! Please don’t go!” I’ll never forget the mother’s pained, tortured face  –  as  though  a  knife  was  ripping through her body. My wife cried openly. I wept inside and held onto my kids more closely.

      That was two days ago. Yesterday, the story continued…

      Those Small Arms Continue to Reach Out Yesterday was Sunday.

      And I walked around Central.

      If you don’t know Hong Kong, Central is where thousands upon thousands of Filipina Domestic Helpers congregate. They sit on sidewalks. They sit on overpasses. They sit by storefronts.

       I walked passed one woman who was reading a handwritten letter.

       The handwriting was obviously a child’s penmanship.

       I walked passed another listening to a little cassette player – not to listen to music – but to a voice of a kid telling stories.

       But  what  broke  my heart was the news given to me by Shirley, the  head  of  one  organization  that  tries  to  help  them get financial education.  I  was  shocked  by  what she said. “Brother Bo, out of our 700 members who are married, 80% is already separated from their husbands.”

       Families aren’t designed for prolonged separation.

       They’re not just made for that.

       We’re supposed to spend time together.

              6 Steps to Spending More Time with Your Family No Matter How Busy You Are

      “Bo, why are you telling me this? I’m not in Hong Kong. I’m living with my family under one roof.”

        Listen. Yes, you’re not in Hong Kong.

        But if you don’t have time for your family – and your heart is not focused on them – you might as well be in another country.

        You could be physically present – but are you emotionally present as well?

        Let me share with you six important steps you could take to become more emotionally present with them…
Step #1: Be Close.

     I’m still in Hong Kong as I write this piece.

     It’s  five in the morning as I type this article in bed. And my little family is literally around me because we’re all sleeping on one bed. Yes, we’ve become one mass jumble of intertwined humanity – our limbs, legs and  arms  crisscrossing  each  other.  And that’s when I realize – gosh, I don’t know how blessed I am.

     Why?

     Here I am with my family. I feel their skin. I smell their scents. We’re so close, I feel their breath.

     And yet I’m surrounded by 148,000 domestic helpers here in Hong Kong that have been away from their families for months, for years, for decades.

     And for those who’ve separated – forever.

     Let me say it again: We don’t know how blessed we are.

     We complain that our families are nutty. But we don’t understand how blessed we are to have them close enough to experience their nuttiness. We complain about our petty quarrels, our cold wars, our dysfunctionality.

      But whose family isn’t dysfunctional?

      I’ve  talked  to  some  people here in Hong Kong who would give anything  to  be  with  their  families  again  –  even for just one day of nuttiness.  The first step is to be more emotionally present to your family is to actually be physically present to them. Be close!

      You  need  to know how precious your family is – and treat them that  way.  You need to see them as your true wealth – that nothing is more precious than your relationships.
Step #2: Be Deliberate.

     Because you need to protect this treasure or they get stolen from you.  No matter how busy I am, I schedule a weekly romantic date with my spouse.
     Yes, I actually write it down in my appointment book and treat it like a meeting with the President of the Philippines. These weekly nights are blocked off for the entire year. Nothing can touch it, except some dire emergency.

     Why?  Because if my marriage fails, everything else stands to fail as well: My  ministry,  my businesses, my soul… So it is an emergency that I bring her out every week.

     I also schedule a weekly date with my kids.

      I believe parents need to do these one-on-one dates with each of their kids. Unless of course you’ve got 18 children and may need to bring them out by two’s or three’s.

     Sometimes my son and I just walk around the village and talk.

     It doesn’t have to be big. But swapping stories and opening our hearts to one another on a consistent basis is already very big to them. It means they matter to you – that you value them – and you’ll see their self-esteem grow.
Step #3: Be Expressive.

     I tell my wife “I love you” seven times a day.

     I hug my kids countless of times a day.

     At  night,  I  tell  my kids, “I’m so proud you’re my son. I’m so proud I’m your  Daddy.  You’re  a  genius.  You’re a loving boy. You’re an incredibly gifted young man…”

     This is true. I have met 40-year olds who long to hear these words from their parents – “I’m proud of you,” and feel an empty space – like a gaping wound in their souls because their parents have never told them this.

     Don’t do that to your kids.

     And before I forget: Praise your kids seven times a day.

     And praise your spouse seven times a day.

     I’m not kidding. It will revolutionize your marriage.

     If I say, “Criticize your spouse seven times a day,” I bet you’d say, “Kaunti naman. I do that already.” But that’s the problem. We don’t realize that when we criticize our spouses, we actually destroy our marriage bit by bit – not just our spouses.

     But when you praise and honor your spouse – you build up your marriage.

     It can be very simple stuff:
        Ang sarap ng luto mo ngayon, Hon.
        I thank God He gave you to me.
        You’re so hardworking.
        I love it when I see you play with the kids.
        You know how to make me happy.
        Ganda mo ngayon.

     Keep on doing this and you’ll see changes in your life and your marriage you thought were not possible.

     Let me say it again: Praise your spouse – and your children – seven times a day.

  Step #4: Be Deep.

      Your weekly dates shouldn’t just be watching movies, eating out and going home.

      Talk deep.

      Talk about your feelings.

      Enter into each other’s worlds. Dive into each other’s dreams, hurts, desires, worries, hopes and burdens.

       When you open yourself up to your spouse or your child, there are more chances for the other person to open up to you.

Step #5: Be Simple

     Yesterday afternoon, I preached to 700 people in Hong Kong.

      I usually give my talks for 45 minutes. That’s been my trademark. But yesterday, I gave a solid two-hour talk. Vein-popping, heart-pounding, passion-driven talk – because I had a burden in my heart.

      Because I preached on Financial Literacy.

      I challenged them, “Raise your financial I.Q.!”

      I  scolded  them, “When you left the Philippines, you told your kids,  ‘Anak, two years of separation lang ‘to. After two years, Mommy will have  saved enough and will go home and we’ll be together again.’ But after two  years,  you  go  home and you haven’t saved. Because you repainted the house.  Because there’s a new TV set in the living room and a new gas range in the kitchen. Because the kids have new designer rubber shoes.

      I taught them how to live simply and ruthlessly save 20% of their income.

      Because unless they do this, they will be forever trapped in Hong Kong.

      Look at your life.

      Are you living simply?

      Are you saving 20% of your income?

Step #6: Be Financially Intelligent

     I also taught them where to invest.

     I told them, “It’s not enough to just save. You need to know where to put your money. Because savings accounts at 1% and time deposits at 5% won’t do. Inflation – which is at 7% – will simply eat them up.”

     So I taught them about mutual funds and other investment vehicles, including the ability to sell something and get into business.

     Here’s the truth: The more you know about money, the less time you need to make money. So the more time you have for your family.

     Actually, a time should come when you don’t need to make money. Instead, you let money make money. And that requires financial intelligence.

     Read. Attend seminars. Look for mentors.

     Go Home.

     After giving my talk, I took a deep breath and told my audience in Hong Kong, “When you follow these principles and have saved enough – please go home. Please go home to your children.”

     I made a lot of people cry that day.

     I’m telling you the same thing.

     Oh yes, you may be living with your family in one house, but it’s possible that your heart is so far away from your spouse and kids – and they are far away from you as well.

      You need to let your heart go home.
 
      Go home my friend.
      Your heart belongs there.

Professor Kishore Mahbubani about Indonesia

Kamis, 31 Juli 2008

Lecture By Professor Kishore Mahbubani

Presidential Lecture, in State Palace

LECTURE BY PROFESSOR KISHORE MAHBUBANI,
DEAN OF THE LEE KUAN YEW SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY
AT THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE

AT THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE,
JAKARTA. 31st JULY 2OO8

Mr President
Distinguished Ministers
Excellencies
Ladies & Gentlemen

I am truly humbled by this request to address such a distinguished
audience. lt is an especially great honor because I come from one of the
smallest states in the world, Singapore. I didn’t realize how small
Singapore was unti lmy wife and I went on holiday on the island Samosir
in Indonesia. It is located in side a lake on the top of a volcanic
mountain, called Lake Toba. But this small island is about the size of
Singapore.

However, growing up in Singapore as a member of a minority group, I came
to realize that I had a special advantage in connecting with all corners
of Asia. My family were Hindu Sindhis. As a young child, I learn to
write Sindhi whichh as the same script as the Arabic script. I also soon
discovered that my name `Mahbubani`came from the Arabic word, Mehboob,
which means beloved. Hence, when I travelt o West Asia, I feel at home.
Similarly, when I traveli n Southh Asia, both in India and Pakistan, I f
eel at home as I can understand Hindi and Urdu. Indeed, I do all my
writing only by listening to the famous Hindi movie singer, Mohamad
Rafi. Equally significantly, through my Chinese friends in Singapore, I
have also developed a sensitivity to East Asia. My Indian origins also
enable me to connect with the Buddhist strains of the Chinese, Japanese
and Korean societies. As an ethnic Indian, I also remember what Presiden
Sukarno said: “ln the veins of every one of my people flows the blood of
Indian ancestors and the culture that we possess is steeped through with
Indian influences.” And of course, I grew up in South East Asia and
learnt Bahasa Melayu as a child.

It is this background whichh as emboldened me to write about the biggest
story we are going to see unfolding in the world: the relurn of Asia.
From the year 1 to the year 1820, the two largest economies were China
and India. Many other parts of Asia, including the legendary Sri Vijaya
and Majapahit empires, thrived together with China
and India. The last 200 years of Western domination of world history
have been a historical aberration, an aberation which is coming to an
end. Hence, Goldman Sachs predicts that by 2050, the four largest
economies will be China, India, USA and Japan. Indonesia will also rank
among the world’s largest economies then. The recent World Bank Growth
Commission Repot reported that 13 economies had grown by an average of
7% over 25 years. This list of super-performers also included Indonesia.

I have no doubts that Indonesia will be part of this great
transformation of Asia. Indeed, Indonesia has already played a heroic
role in the transformation of Asia. lt has successfully made one of the
most difficult transitions any society has to make: the transition to
full democracy. This is a remarkable story which has not been fully
understood by the world.

To describe how remarkable this transformation is, let me tell you what
I actually said when I spoke at a forum organized by Asia Society in San
Francisco on 2l February 2008. One of my fellow panelists was Larry
Diamond, the world-famous expert on democracy. This is what I told them.
The world’s beacon of freedom and democracy
is the United States of America. But in the last seven years, America
has been walking backwards in this area. If someone had told me ten
years a go that the first modern developed society to reintroduce
torture would be America. I would have said “Impossible” . But the
impossible has happen. Ms Irene Khan, the Head of Amnesty International,
has described Guantanamos as “a Gulag of our times”. She is right. In
addition, in a story that has not been fully told, America, the bastion
of civil liberties, has also been quietly retreating in this area. Many
of my American friends are also shocked but they say to me “Kishore, you
must understand, We were massively attacked on 9/11″. It is true that
America was attacked. But the fact that the beacon of freedom and
democracy could retreat in many areas of human rights after one attack
showed how fragile America’s commitment is to some key human rights
principles.

By contrast, the second country to be attacked after 9/1 1was Indonesia.
lt took place one year later on 12 October 2002 in Bali. Despite this,
Indonesia did not retreat. Indeed, even though Indonesia had gone
through a wrenching financial crisis in 1998 and 1999 which caused the
economy to shrink significaitly, and even though it had experienced a
lot of social and political turmoil as a result of this financial
crisis, Indonesia went steadily a head in its advance toward democracy.
Remarkably, less than 10 years after this huge financial crisis, Freedom
House declared in a global survey entitled ‘Freedom In the World” in
2005 that Indonesia’s status has moved from “partly free” to “free”
during President SBY`s term of office. President SBY deserves alot of
credit for this remarkable success. This is why two eminents cholars,
Andrew MacItyre and Douglas Ramage, have said that President SBY “is the
most capable, focused and internalionalist of the post-Soeharto
presidents” and that “his record of leadership is unlikely to be beaten
over the next decade or so”. America may also move forward again
together with Indonesia when it elects a president whose father was also
an lndonesian.

By the way, when I finished describing how A merica had gone backwards
and Indonesia had gone forward in freedom and democracy, I expected
Larry Diamond to disagree with me. Instead, he agreed with me.

To fully understand how remarkable Indonesia’s transformation has been,
imagine the members of the Chinese politburo having a discussion on how
China should make the eventual transition to democracy. I have no doubt
that they are aware that they will have to make this transition. They
also know how difficult this will be and that
even though China’s percapita GDP is higher than Indonesia’s. China is
not yet ready to make this leap into democracy. The Chinese leaders must
be amazed that lndonesia made this successful leap in a period of great
economic snd political uncertainty.

The big tragedy here is that Indonesia`s remarkable story has not fully
spread to the world. This is because the international media`s dominated
by the Western media, which cannot imagine that Asia can do better than
the West in many areas. This is why I chose to write my book on “The New
Asian Hemispherea” at this point in time: to provide a non-Western
perspective on the great transformation of Asia. Something remarkable is
happening in Asia, but the world does not really understand what is
happening. Indeed, many Asians are also not aware of how remarkable the
great Asian story is.

The best way to understand how remarkable Asia’s story is, is to compare
it with the story of Latin America. We all know that the first continent
to modernize was Europe. The second continent to modernize was North
America. The third continent that was supposed to modernize was Latin
America.

Why Latin America? At the beginning of the 20’century, Latin America was
seen as the land of promise for many reasons. Firstly, most of the Latin
American elites had come from Europe. They spoke European languages.
Hence, they were fully expected to replicate Europe’s success in Latin
America. Indeed, an American writer, David Gallagher (reviewing a book
by Michae Reid), described Latin America in that period as follows:

/Between 1850 and 1930, many Latin America countries had a very
successful run. Their economies were relatively open, exports thrived,
and in some countries, democracies looked like consolidating
successfully. By 1910, a century after independence, Argentina was, on
a per-capita income basis, one of the half dozen richest countries in the
world. Immigrants flocked there from all over Europe. Chile was also
thriving. German immigrant had colonized large tracts of the south and
Valparaiso was one of the world’s most prosperous ports”./

We know that the Germans, Spanish and ltalians have created very
successful economies in Europe. So why did these immigrants fail in
Latin America?

The failure of Latin America to develope despite these massive advantage
as hundred years ago is one big story. But there is another even more
amazing story of Latin A merica’s economic failure in the last 25 years.
The reason why this story is amazing is that many Latin American
economies adopted the right and not the wrong economic policies in this
period. Despite this, they failed. Please let me quote a few
distinguished authors who make this point.

Mark Weisbrot and David Rosnick, two American economists, wrote: ” Among
policy-makers and economists in the United States it has been widely
assume that the economic policy changes which began to be implemented in
Latin Americain the early 1980s would eventually bear fruit, and lead to
strong economic growth. A quarter century later, this has not yet
happened. lndeed, these two authors wrote that from the period 1980 to
1999, when Latin America implemented the right economic policies, the
result was that “this is the worst 20-year growth performancfe or more
than a century, even including the years of the Great Depression”.

Let me add that Latin America’s record of economic failure despite
Implementing the correct economic policies is also documented by Danny
Leipziger, a senior World Bank official, and Ricardo Hausmann, a Harvard
Professor. Their papers are cited in footnotes in my text
.
Now, let me come to the remarkable part of the Asian story. One major
Asian country also began to implement the correct economic policies
around the same time as Latin America. And it did so under very
unpromising circumstances. It had experienced 30 years of failed
centrally-planned communist economics. l.t also had a disastrous
experience with both the Great Leap Forward (1958-1960) and the Cultural
Revolution (1966-1976). Any observer watching both Latin America and
China implementing the right economic policies in the 1980s would have
confidently predicted that Latin America would succeed and that China
would fail.

Instead the exact opposite happened. China took off in an explosive way.
Ricardo Hausmann said “whichever way you measure it the events in China
are really remarkable. Chinese out put per worker grew annually at 7.8%
and is 2.8% faster than the second country”. In the same period, the per
capita growth in Latin America grew by 0.5% annually from 1980 to 1999
and actuallyf ell to 0.2% in the five years from1 999 to 2004.

What is the big lesson we should learn from this dramatic contrast
between the experiences of Latin America and China despite the fact that
both implemented the right economic policies? The big lesson is that
economic development is not a result of economic policies a lone. This
is indeed the biggest mistake made b y the Washington consensus: in
leading people to believe that only economic policies lead to economic
growth. Social and political policies play an equally important role.
However, when economic development fails, economists are reluctant to
speculate or assess which social and political policies may have
contributed to economic failures.

The big difference between China and Latin America is the nature of the
Social contract between the governing elites and the population they
governed. When Deng Xiaoping took over the leadership of China, his only
goal was to strengthen China. He knew that the only way to do that was
to unleash the energies of the Chinese. hina’s big advantage was that it
had removed the feudal classes and the feudal mentality with the
communist revolution. Hence, Deng Xiaoping carried out his policies with
the goal of helping all the people of china, and not just a small elite
or feudal group.

By contrast, the main disadvantage of many Latin American societies is
that they continue to have either feudal elites or a feudal mentality.
The ruling classes are more interested in preserving their special
privileges, not in helping the masses of the population. By focusing on
the interests of the ruling elites, not the interests of the population
as whole, the Latin American societies have not been able t o succeed.

In my book, I speak of the seven pillars of Western wisdom that several
Asian societies have begun to implement. These seven pillars explain the
success of Asian societies. One of them is ‘meritocracy’ . The simplest
way of understanding the virtues of meritocracy is to ask this question:
why is Brazil a soccer superpower and an economic middle power? The
answer is that when it looks for soccer talent, it searches for it in
all sectors of the population, from the upper classes to the slums. A
boy from the slums is not discriminated against if he has soccer talent.
But in the economic field, Brazil looks for talent in a far smaller base
of the population, primarily the upper and middle classes.

Asia always had the world’s largest pool of brain power. But it also had
the world’s largest pool of unused brain power. The s imple reason why
Asia is taking off now is that the unused brain power is finally being
used. In my book, I look at the case of India, whichh as had the caste
system for thousands of years. For thousands of years, birth was
destiny. lf you were born untouchable (people below the lowest caste),
you lived untouchable and you died untouchable. To day, as a result of
several reform movements, India is changing. I describe the case of a
young man who was born untouchable, went to school as an untouchable and
sat separately in class and at mealtimes. However he did well in school,
got scholarships, went to Columbia University in New York to get a PhD
in economics. Today, he is the Chief Economist of the Reserve Bank of
lndia. His namei s Narendra J dhav.

China and India a resucceeding and taking off because they are finally
finding the right means of igniting the hundreds of millions of brains
that they always had. After China and India, the third largest pool of
brain poweirs in the ASEAN region, where w e have over 5 00 million
people. The success of ASEAN will be determined by whether we follow
China and India’s pattern and unleash the brain power of the masses or
whether we follow the Latin American path of nurturing the interests of
the elite classes.

Which way will the ASEAN countries go? The honest answer is that the
answeris not clear. One of the most telling comparisons I often take is
between South Korea and the Philippines. In the 1950s, the Philippines
was perceived to be one of the most promising economies in the world. It
had everything going for it: an educated elite, the strong support of
America. By contrast, South Korea was seen to be a basket case,
especially after it had suffered the ravages of the Korean War from
1950-1953. One important fact that I only recentlyl earned is how much
of South Korea was ravaged. Indeed, it almost lost the war. The South
Korean capital, Seoul, had fallen within days and within weeks, the
defending UN forces had been driven to the Southern tip of the Korean
peninsula.

Hence, in 1960, the GDP of the Philippine was US $6.9 billion while that
of South Korea was US$1.5 b illion. The GDP of Philippine was almost
five times larger.

By 2007, the respective figures were 144 billion US dollar and
969.billion US dollar. The South Korean GDP had become almost seven
times larger. What happened? Why did the Philippines fail to keep pace
with the growth of South Korea? The politically in correct answer is
that Philippines society has retained most of the feudal mentality that
continue to bedevil Latin American societies. By contrast, South Korea
managed to remove most trac es of its feudal mentality.

To understand the South Korean story, I would like to strongly
recommened to you a book by the distinguished Harvard Professor,
Professo Erzra Vogel, entitled /The Four Little Dragons: The Spread of
Industrializatiton East Asia. / He did a study to find oout why the
success oh Japan (which he also wrote about in his famous book “Japan is
Number One”), the next few Asian societies succeed were the four Asian
tigers: South Korea, Taiwan, Hongkong, and Singapore. Since these four
societies were very different, the wanted to find out whether there were
any common elements that explained their success.

One common element he found was the following: “concern for the overall
social order led officials to be sensitive to problems of inequality
early in the process of industrialization and to make efforts to spread
income opportunities to all parts of society”. What is remarkable here
is that, even though none of these four societies were Socialist and
even thought he governments of South Korea under Park Chung Hee, Taiwan
under Jiang Jing Guo, Hong Kong under British coionil rule were seen as
right-wing and not left-wing, all these governments focused on making
sure that the fruits and opportunities of development were shared
between all classes, from the top to the bottom, unlike the Latin
American societies, where the bottom never experienced the fruits of
economic growth. In 2007, the Gini coefficient for Brazil was close to
0.6 while that of South Korea and Taiwan w as barely over 0.3.

It is vital to emphasize here that Japan, China, India and the four
tigers did not invent the principle of meritocracy (which I describe as
the principle of looking for talent in all sectors of society).
Essentially, these Asian societies copied the best practices of the
Western developed societies, especially America, which remains the most
meritocratic society in the world. Two of the beste xamples of the
fruits of American meritocracy are the two speakers who preceded me in
this Presidential Lecture series: Shaukat Aziz and Bill Gates. Shaukat
Aziz arrived in America with no educationin any Western university. He
was educated entirely in Pakistani educational institutions. But through
sheer merit he rose to the highest levels of Citibank, part of the group
of seven that ran the bank. Bill Gates went to Harvard but dropped out.
Despite that he ended up as the richest man in the world by creating a
completely new industry.

In my lecture to day, I have only emphasized the virtues of meritocracy,
which is only one of the seven pillars of Western wisdom that I discuss
in my book. Let me briefly mention the other six but as I do so you will
find that they are all linked to the virtue of meritocracy.

The first pillar is free market economics. Free market economics does
not just enhance economic productivity through incentives for good
performance. Free market economic as l so leads to the continuous
creation of new elites and removal of old elites. Indeed one little
known fact is that the best description of the virtues of capitalism is
provided by Karl Marx. His essays explain well how capitalism destroys
feudal elites. The f eudal Latin American elites failed in their
economic reforms because they refuse to give up the “rent” income that
they could extract from their privileged positions. “Rent” income
distorts free markets. One quick way to promote economic growth is to
destroy “rent” income.

The second pillar is science and technology. An enormous shift is taking
place in Asia. The late Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Richard Smalley has
predicted that by 2OlO, 9% of all PhD holding scientists and engineers
will be living in Asia. The third pillar is meritocracy, which I have
spoken about. The fourth pillar is pragmatism. The best definition of
pragmatism is given by Deng Xiaoping when he said it did not matter
whether a cat is black or white; if it catches mice, it is a good cat.
He used this simple saying to explain to the Chinese people why China
had to switch from centrally planned economics to free market economics.

But Deng Xiaoping was not the first pragmatist in Asia. T he first
pragmatist were the Meiji reformers. After watching the total
colonization of India by the British in1 850s and the humiliation of
China in the Opium War of 1839-1842, the Japanese knew that they too
would be colonized or humiliated if they did not change. So the Japanese
Meiji reformers went out and copied the best practices of the West.

The big untold story of Asia is how so many Asians have successfully
copied this Japanese practice of adapting from the best. Earlier I had
praised the South Korean success in development. One little known secret
about the South Korean success is that South Koreans initiated their
success by copying the Japanese. The reason why this secret is so little
known is because the South Koreans get very angry if you suggest that
they had copied from the Japanese. I discovered this when I wrote an
essay in lime magazine mentioning this fact. The response was a flood of
angry emails from South Koreans denouncing me. Given this strong
Korean-Japanese rivalry, I thought it was a brilliant decision by Dr.
Mahathir to award the contract to build one tower each of the Petronas
Towers to rival Korean and Japanese teams. The result was spectacularly
successful.

The fifth pillar is the culture of peace. The remarkable thing about
East A sia is that even though the biggest wars since World War ll were
fought in East Asia (the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the
Sino-Vietnames War), the guns have been largely silent in our region
since 1980. The sixth pillar is the rule of law. No modern economyc an
function without an impartial and fair rule of law. Foreign investors
need this. So does international trade. This is why China is now
producing more new well traine djudges than any other country. But
China’s case also illustrates the enofmous difficulty of fully
implementing rule of law. Traditionally, most Asian societies have had
rule by law, but not rule of law. Hence, the emperor issues edicts but
is not bound by his edicts. China has a modern society but while in
theory the CCP members are subject to the same rule of law as ordinary
members, in practice they are often not. This is unlike America where
even the President and Senators can be indicted or impeached.

Fortunately, many Chinese CCP members are honest. lf they are not,
China’s economy could not have grown so fast. However, in the long run,
neither China nor any other Asian society can just rely on honesty. We
need to adopt the Western system of rule of law, not rule by law, if we
are to succeed. Andrew Mclntyre and Douglas Ramage have also said that
President SBY “has taken more of a leadership role than his predecessors
in the counter-corruption drive. His official approval and encouragement
have created something of a virtuous circle of reinforcement and
political probity.” This is one of the reasons why the rule of law is
needed: to prevent and eradicate corruption.

The seventh and final pillar is education but it is in some ways the
most important one. Without education -and I mean primary, secondary and
tertiary education- no society can succeed. One reason why China and
India are among the most successful Asian societies is that they have
the largest number of students studying in American universities. In
2006-2007, China had 68,000 students studying in the US and lndia had
83,000 students.

In conclusion, please let me summarize the implications of what I have
said for the future of ASEAN societies, including Indonesia and
Singapore. I would like to conclude with three specific prescriptions to
promote national development:

(l) The first prescription is to develop a win-win /social contract/
between the governing elites and the masses. This is why Japan, China,
India and the four tigers succeeded. Th e absence of such a social
contract is also why the Latin American societies are not succeeding. In
many Latin American societies, the elites want to cling on to their
“rent’ income to ensure that their privileged positions are not
challenged. Hence, no Shaukat Aziz or Bill Gates can emerge or succeed
in such a feudal setting.

The main point to emphasize here is that it is in the interest of the
ruling elites to also introduce meritocracy in the new social contract.
When hundreds of millions of new brains enter the market place, the
economy becomes bigger and the society more socially and politically
stable. When people at the bottom believe that their societies offer
opportunities for them to progress, you also get less crime. When I was
in Latin America, I was explicitly warned that I should stay far away
from the slums. But when I was in Mumbai, India earlier this month, my
youngest son and l wen on a guided tour through the biggest slum in the
city, the Dahravi slum. lt felt safe. People were busy working. The
children were studying in schools. And if the social contract works, the
people will be out of the slums in one lifetime.

(ll) The second prescription is to develop the belief that we can
succeed. As a child, I grew up in Singapore when it was under British
colonial rule. One of the most pernicious effects of colonial rule was
that our minds were colonized.

Hence we were led to believe that the Europeans were naturally superior
to the Asians. This mental belief in the supremacy of the Europeans
carried on long after political independence.

Today, we have a remarkable reversal. The most optimistic young people
in the world are young Indians. While many of them are still poor, they
are confident that their tomorrow will be better than their today. By
contrast, when I travel to Europe, many of the young people are not
confident that their tomorrow will be better than their today.

About a year ago, the International Herald Tribune correspondent in
Mumbai, Mr Anand Giridharadas, called me. He asked me whether there was
too much hype in India. I said that it was always better to have hype
than no hype. Just imagine how differently we would view the future of
Latin America and Africa, if we could generate the same hype in Latin
America and Africa as we have in India today. Hype is a sign of hope.

We should develop the same kind of hype in ASEAN. To do this, we have to
believe that we can succeed.

(III) The third prescription is to focus on the youth. Let me explain
why. There is an Arab proverb which says that he who speaks about the
future lies, even when he tells the truth. The proverb is right. We
cannot predict the future. But there is at least one respect in which we
can make confident predictions about the future: if we can measure the
amount of snow that has fallen in the Himalayas in any winter, we can
predict the future flood levels in the river Ganges because the snow
that has fallen will determine the future flood levels in six months.

In Asia, we see the demographic snow on the ground in the form of our
youth in our countries. If we can educate our youth and prepare them for
a very different world of tomorrow, we have good prospects of creating a
good future. But if we fail to educate our youth, we are guaranteeing
that there will be no improvement in our standard of living. Hence, if
we want a great future, we have to invest in our youth: education,
education, education. Here, Indonesia already has some success stories
worth mentioning. While only 76% of children complete primary school in
India, 91% complete it in Indonesia, even though India spends 7.2% of
its GNP on primary education, while Indonesia spends only 3.2%. In
short, Indonesia has laid some good foundations in this area.

Therefore, in conclusion, the three prescriptions are Social Contract,
Belief and Youth. Please remember these three prescriptions through the
acronym, SBY.

Thank you.

———— ——— ——— ——— ——-
/* Professor Kishore Mahbubani is Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of
Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He has recently
published/ The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Power to
the East.

A Letter of John Powell to his student, the theology of faith

Father John Powell, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago, writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy:

Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith.

    That was the day I first saw Tommy.  My eyes and my mind both blinked.  He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders.  It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long.  I guess it was just coming into fashion then.  I know in my mind that it isn’t what’s on your head but what’s in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped.  I immediately filed Tommy under ‘S’ for strange… Very strange.

    Tommy turned out to be the ‘atheist in residence’ in my Theology of Faith course.  He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God.  We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.

        When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a cynical tone, ‘Do you think I’ll ever find God?’

     I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. ‘No!’ I said very emphatically.

     ‘Why not,’ he responded, ‘I thought that was the product you were pushing.’

 

     I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out, ‘Tommy!  I don’t think you’ll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!’  He shrugged a little and left my class and my life.

 

    I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line — He will find you!  At least I thought it was clever

 

     Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was duly grateful.

 

     Then a sad report came.  I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer.  Before I could search him out, he came to see me.  When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy.  But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe.  ‘Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often; I hear you are sick,’ I blurted out.

 

     ‘Oh, yes, very sick.  I have cancer in both lungs.  It’s a matter of weeks.’

    ‘Can you talk about it, Tom?’ I asked.

    ‘Sure, what would you like to know?’ he replied

    ‘What’s it like to be only twenty-four and dying?

    ‘Well, it could be worse.

    ‘Like what?

    ‘Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real biggies in life..

 

    I began to look through my mental file cabinet under ‘S’ where I had filed Tommy as strange.  (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification, God sends back into my life to educate me.)

 

    ‘But what I really came to see you about,’ Tom said, ‘is something you said to me on the last day of class.’  (He remembered!)  He continued, ‘I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, ‘No!’ which surprised me   Then you said, ‘But He will find you.’  I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time.

 

    (My clever line.  He thought about that a lot!)

 

    ‘But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, that’s when I got serious about locating God..  And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven.  But God did not come out.  In fact, nothing happened.  Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success?  You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying.  And then you quit

 

    ‘Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit.  I decided that I didn’t really care about God, about an after life, or anything like that.  I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable.  I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving.  But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.”

    ‘So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad.  He was reading the newspaper when I approached him.  ‘Dad.

    ‘Yes, what?’ he asked without lowering the newspaper.

    ‘Dad, I would like to talk with you.’

    ‘Well, talk.

    ‘I mean . It’s really important.’

    The newspaper came down three slow inches. ‘What is it?’

 

    ‘Dad, I love you, I just wanted you to know that.’  Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him.  ‘The newspaper fluttered to the floor.  Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before.  He cried and he hugged me.  We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning.  It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me.’

 

    ‘It was easier with my mother and little brother.  They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other.  We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years.

 

  ‘I was only sorry about one thing — that I had waited so long.  Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

 

    ‘Then, one day I turned around and God was there.  He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with Him.  I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, ‘C’mon, jump through.  C’mon, I’ll give you three days, three weeks.”

 

    ‘Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own hour.  But the important thing is that He was there.  He found me!  You were right.  He found me even after I stopped looking for Him.’

 

    ‘Tommy,’ I practically gasped, ‘I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize.  To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make Him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love.  You know, the Apostle John said that.  He said: ‘God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.’  Tom, could I ask you a favor?  You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain.  But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now.  Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me?  If I told them the same thing it wouldn’t be half as effective as if you were to tell it.

    ‘Oooh.. I was ready for you, but I don’t know if I’m ready for your class.’

    ‘Tom, think about it.  If and when you are ready, give me a call.’

    In a few days Tom called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me.  So we scheduled a date.

    However, he never made it.  He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class.  Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed.  He made the great step from faith into vision.  He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.

    Before he died, we talked one last time.

    ‘I’m not going to make it to your class,’ he said.

    ‘I know, Tom.’

    ‘Will you tell them for me?  Will you … tell the whole world for me?’

    I will, Tom.  I’ll tell them.  I’ll do my best.’

    So, to all of you who have been kind enough to read this simple story about God’s love, thank you for listening.  And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven — I told them, Tommy, as best I could.

   If this story means anything to you, please pass it on to a friend or two.  It is a true story and is not enhanced for publicity purposes.

    With thanks, Rev. John Powell, Professor, Loyola University, Chicago

 “The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you” (Zep. 3: 17)

  

Herman & Laura

1737 Linneman Rd.

Cincinnati, OH 45238

Powerful Tips for A Better Life

These are really very powerful. Implement whatever you can.

 

1.        Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

 2.        Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

 3.        Buy a DVR.  Tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

 4.        When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, ‘My purpose is to __________ today.’

 5.        Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

 6.        Play more games and read more books than you did in 2007.

 7.        Make time to practice meditation, yoga or stretching, and prayer. They provide us with daily fue  for our busy lives.

 8.        Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.

 9.        Dream more while you are awake.

 10.   Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured from plants.

 11.   Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

 12.   Try to make at least three people smile each day.

 13.   Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.

 14.   Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

 15.   Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

 16.   Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

 17.   Try & pay an honest compliment to someone you wouldn’t normally.

 18.   Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

 

19.   Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

 20.   Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

 21.   You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

 22.   Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.

 23.   Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

 24.   No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

 25.   Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’

 26.   Forgive everyone for everything.

 27.   What other people think of you is none of your business.

 28.   However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

 29.   Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will.  Stay in touch.

 30.   Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

 31.   Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

 32.   The best is yet to come.

 33.   No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

 34.   Do the right thing!

 35.   Call your family often.

 36.   Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for _____. Today I accomplished ______.

 37.   Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

 

38.   Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don’t want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life, so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

 

      May your troubles be less,

      May your blessings be more,

      May nothing but happiness come through your door! –

Truth links directory for those seeking more information.

I hope this site will helpfull for anyone to seek truth information. I got it from mailinglist worldcitizen.

Truth links directory for those seeking more information.

http://www.truthzon etv.com
http://www.trueworl dhistory. in fo
http://www.infowars .com
http://www.prisonpl anet.com
http://www.davidick e.com
http://www.whatreal lyhappened. com
http://www.think- aboutit.com
http://www.jordanma xwell.com
http://www.jimmarrs .com
http://www.conspira cyarchive. c om
http://www.lewrockw ell.com
http://www.truthnew s.us
http://www.markdice .com
http://www.jackbloo d.com
http://www.thetruth seeker.co. u k
http://www.prisonpl anet.tv
http://www.infowars .net
http://www.wanttokn ow.info
http://www.conspira cycity.com
http://www.surfingt heapocalyps e.com
http://main. anomalicresearch .c om
http://www.conspira cyworld.com
http://www.illumina ti-news.com
http://www.threewor ldwars.com
http://www.truthpoo l.com
http://dedroidify. blogspot. com
http://www.cuttingt hroughthema trix.com

9-11/London Bombings Truth Movemement:

http://www.911truth .org
http://www.911wekno w.com
http://www.julyseve nth.co.uk
http://www.london77 truth.com
http://www.martiall aw911.info
http://www.wearecha nge.org
http://www.calgary9 11truth.org
http://www.tedgunde rson.com
http://www.911forum .org.uk

Political:

http://www.ronpaulw arroom.com
http://www.canadian actionparty ca
http://www.ronpaul2 008.com
http://www.gravel20 08.us
http://www.canadian s.org
http://www.restoret herepublic. com
http://www.apfn. org
http://www.arnoldex posed.com
http://www.american revolution. com
http://www.larouche pac.com
http://www.rebelsag ainstglobal enslavement. com
http://www.stopthen orthamerica nunion.com
http://www.tinyrevo lution.com
http://www.theameri cancause. or g
http://www.jbs. org
http://www.bcrevolu tion.ca

Secret Societies:

http://www.pehi. eu
http://www.benjamin fulford.com /indexEnglish. html
http://www.projectc amelot.org
http://thefreemanpe rspective. b logspot.com
http://www.crematio nofcare.com

UFOs/Aliens:

http://www.disclosu reproject. o rg
http://www.daniken. com
http://www.sitchin. com
http://www.ufocaseb ook.com
http://www.legendar ytimes.com
http://www.marsanom alyresearch .com
http://www.lunarano malies.com
http://aliencases. conforums. co m
http://www.serpo. org
http://www.ufos- aliens.co. uk
http://www.thewatch erfiles.com

Child Abuse/Mind Control:

http://www.johnnygo sch.com
http://www.franklin case.org
http://www.mindcont rolforums. c om
http://www.trance- formation. co m

Medical/Science:

http://www.whattheb leep.com
http://www.boydgrav es.com
http://www.cancertu tor.com
http://www.whale. to
http://www.wethepeo plewillnotb echipped.com
http://www.educate- yourself. or g
http://www.nealadam s.com/nmu. h tml

The Illuminati/Globaliz ation:

http://www.jonesrep ort.com
http://www.globalre search.ca
http://www.zeitgeis tmovie.com
http://www.freedomt ofascism. co m
http://www.iamthewi tness.com
http://www.bilderbe rg.org
http://www.freemaso nrywatch. or g
http://www.truecons piracies. co m
http://www.roguegov ernment.com
http://www.theforbi ddenknowled ge.com
http://100777. com
http://www.nwotruth .com

News/Radio:

http://www.rense. com
http://www.hourofth etime.com
http://www.noworlds ystem.com
http://www.american freepress. n et
http://www.guerrill anews.com
http://www.blacklis tednews.com
http://www.projectc ensored.org
http://www.fromthew ilderness. c om
http://www.thought- criminal. or g

Media:

http://www.ufovideo .net
http://www.vigilant guardian. co m
http://conspiracyce ntral.net: 6 969/index.html
http://www.documant is.com
http://www.truthzon etv.com

Legal/Judicial:

http://www.judicial watch.org
http://www.livefree now.org
http://showedthelaw .blogspot. c om

Military:

http://www.couraget oresist.org
http://www.powderbu rns.org
http://www.riflewar rior.com

Religious:

http://www.texemarr s.com
http://www.cuttinge dge.org
http://www.yourchri stianpresid ent.com
http://www.jewsagai nstzionism. com

Philosophy:

http://deoxy. org/mckenna. htm
http://www.alanwatt s.com
http://www.gurdjief f.org

Paranormal:

http://www.coasttoc oastam.com
http://www.crystali nks.com
http://www.theunexp lained.org
http://www.unexplai ned-mysteri es.com

Discussion Boards:

http://www.disinfo. com
http://www.abovetop secret.com
http://www.clubcons piracy.com

Christian Fundamentalism, the Global Crusade and Muslims

Christian Fundamentalism, the Global Crusade and Muslims

10-06-2008

By Yoginder Sikand

 

 

If Christian fundamentalists are to be believed, America’s invasion of Iraq and the consequent brutal slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians in that country are all part of a grand divine plan that will finally culminate in the ‘second coming’ of Jesus Christ.

Establishing an empire that will extend all over the globe, Christ will rule like a powerful monarch, saving those who believe in him and dispatching non-believers, all non-Christians and non-conformist Christians, to everlasting perdition in hell.

This is no childish nonsense for millions of Christian fundamentalists, who sincerely believe this to be predicted in the Bible.

Not surprisingly, American Christian fundamentalists are today among the most fanatic supporters of Bush’s global imperialist wars, in Iraq and elsewhere, which they see as in keeping with the divine mandate.

They are no eccentric or lunatic fringe elements, for today Christian fundamentalists exercise a powerful influence in American politics. Among them is George Bush himself, who insists that the American invasion of Iraq has been sanctioned by God, with whom he claims to be in personal communication.

While the Western press is awash with stories, real and exaggerated, about ‘Islamic fundamentalists’ , rarely is mention made about Christian fundamentalists, who, with their vast resources and close links with the current American administration, are a potentially more menacing threat than their Muslim counterparts.

According to newspaper reports more than a third of Americans are associated with one or the other Christian fundamentalist outfit, most of which are fiercely anti-communist, anti-Muslim and are passionate advocates of free-market capitalism, global American hegemony and the myth of the civilizing mission of white America. In recent years, these fundamentalist groups have been engaged in aggressive missionary work in other countries as well, including in the so-called ‘Third World’.

Fired by a passionate hatred for other religions, which they dismiss as ‘false’ and even ‘Satanic’, they are today among the most well-funded missionary groups in large parts of Asia and Africa.

Crusading for Christ, these fundamentalist groups are not simply out fishing for souls. Rather, for them Christianity is only part of the agenda, which also includes aggressively promoting American and Zionist interests. Today, these groups preach not only Christ but also Pax Americana and even American-led imperialist wars, which they bless as holy causes to usher in the final arrival of Jesus.

Texas-based author and preacher Michael Evans is one of the most notorious American Christian fundamentalist preachers today, a passionate advocate of war in the name of Christ.

In a recently published book, titled Beyond Iraq: The Next Move-Ancient Prophecy and Modern-Day Conspiracy Collide (Whitestone Books, Florida, 2003), he spells out a grand design for American global hegemony, blessed in the guise of a holy global war. Key players in this ‘divine’ plot include the CIA, the American government and army, and Israel, besides various Christian fundamentalist outfits.

The book is dedicated, among others, to what Evans describes as ‘two old friends’, Ehud Olmert, former Israeli Vice President, and the former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Equally revealingly, the book begins with a quotation which graces the lobby of the original headquarters of the CIA.

Evans is no petty crank who claims to be God-possessed, although his writings might seem to suggest that. The jacket of the book describes him as a ‘TIME magazine best-selling author’, who has appeared on the BBC and on American television channels and who has written for such papers as the Wall Street Journal and the Jerusalem Post.

He hobnobs with the highest of American and Israeli politicians and religious leaders, and is evidently taken very seriously in Christian fundamentalist circles. That Evans is also a passionate Bush-backer is amply evident in his clam that, ‘I know, from a first hand, personal interview with him that Bush is a man of faith who believes in the Bible’.

Evans is the founder of the ‘Jerusalem Prayer Team’, which, he says, he established after having been visited by God in a vision.

Among those who participated in the inauguration of his outfit were such names as Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, all notorious American Christian fundamentalist leaders, Governor Dick Perry and Representative Dick Armey, and Benjamin Netanyahu, former Israeli Prime Minister.

Thousands of others in America and elsewhere, so he claims, have joined his movement in the aftermath of 11 September, 2001. His ultimate aim, he writes, is to have one million ‘intercessors praying daily for the peace of Jesus and God’s protection for Israel’ so that ‘demonic powers will be defeated by holy angels in a battle that cannot be seen with the natural eye’.

A fierce Christian Zionist, Evans has close links with the Israeli establishment. The book’s jacket states that he received the ‘Ambassador Award’ from the government of Israel and relates that he has been ‘a confidante to most of Israel’s prime ministers and to both of Jerusalem’s mayors’. The jacket quotes Benjamin Netanyahu as praising Evans for having ‘consistently demonstrated the moral clarity that is necessary to defend Israel from the lies and distortions of its enemies’.

This is no empty boast: the book contains pictures of Evans with Menachem Begin endorsing his first book, ‘Israel: America’s Key To Survival’, praying with Shimon Peres, comforting Jewish victims of a bomb blast in Israel, launching the ‘Jerusalem Prayer Team’ along with Jerusalem’s mayor, pledging support to Israel before Yitzhak Shamir along with half a million signatures of fellow Christians, championing Israel’s cause at the royal palace in Madrid and keeping company with American soldiers in Lebanon and Somalia. *

Christianity, War and the ‘Defence’ of Israel

For Evans, and numerous other rabid Christian fundamentalist preachers of hate like him, one of the most crucial purposes of America’s invasion of Iraq is the ‘defence’ of Israel, which he regards as a solemn Christian duty. If till recently Jews were routinely reviled by the Church as ‘Christ-killers’ , and, accordingly, hounded by Christian authorities, many of today’s Christian fundamentalists, like Evans, are passionate advocates of the state of Israel. This does not, however, represent any shift in their fervent belief, intrinsic to mainstream Christianity, that non-Christians, Jews included, are destined for Hell. Rather, it is part of a wider conversion agenda.

Jesus, they believe, will return to the world to rule only once the Jews have ‘returned’ to Palestine and have rebuilt the temple of David that was destroyed almost two thousand years ago.

After this momentous event, many Jews will convert to Christianity and those who refuse to will be sent to hell.

Till then, Christian fundamentalists argue, the Jews and their state must be passionately defended from their ‘enemies’, who are invariably identified as Arabs and Muslims.

The ‘defence’ of Israel, a central point in the Christian fundamentalist agenda, is typically argued in racist terms. Israel, Christian fundamentalists believe, are God’s ‘chosen people’, and they quote the Bible as making this claim, suggesting, therefore, that non-Jewish peoples are somehow lesser beings.

Evans, too, makes this point and argues that according to the Bible ‘God will bless those who bless Israel’ and will ‘curse those who curse it’. ‘History records’, he says, ‘that God deals with nations in accordance with how those nations deal with Israel’. Hence, in the ‘defence’ of Israel, Christians, Evans argues, have no choice. If they are true to their faith, he says, they must join hands with America in its war for ‘defending’ Israel, and must ‘support Israel in every possible way’.

‘We must either choose Mount Zion [Jerusalem] and be among those who obey the voice of the Spirit of the Lord’, he writes, ‘or we will be left to the passions of our flesh, drinking the wine of her [Bablyon’s or Iraq’s] fornication’ .

The invasion of Iraq, and the broader American ‘war on terror’, is, Evans says, is akin to ‘divine light [.] proclaiming like a trumpet a spiritual battle of monumental proportions’ , pitting Babylon, the Biblical Iraq, the ‘spiritual centre of darkness’, against Jerusalem or contemporary Israel, the ‘spiritual centre of light’.

But so that this ‘divine light’ should spread beyond the confines of Babylon, Evans pleads for America to extend its war all over the globe, to every country that dares to challenge American supremacy and the state of Israel. This war, he says, should aim at the elimination of all ‘terrorists’ , defined as those who refuse to support Israeli and American interests. In this, the invasion and occupation of Iraq is of vital importance, Evans says, because it will ‘become a US base’ to destroy ‘terrorist’ networks elsewhere in the Middle East and eventually to usher in what he calls ‘the apocalyptic battle’ of Armageddon, ‘the final battles of the ages’ as allegedly ‘prophesied in Daniel, Jeremiah and Revelations’ , chapters of the Bible.

America, as Evans sees it, must be ready to sacrifice itself to protect Israel, because that, he says, is precisely what the Christian God wants. Hence, Palestinians resisting the illegal occupation of their land and all those who opposed to Israel and its imperialist and expansionist policies must be crushed with the might of American arms, he insists.

The Christian God does not brook any peace with such people, he argues. The Bible, he announces, says that those who fight against Israel, God’s supposedly chosen people and recipients of His ‘special blessing’, would be destroyed by God Himself. He quotes the Bible as declaring: ‘And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet. Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets. And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths’.

Given this supposed divine backing, Evans exhorts America to invade and subjugate all countries opposed to Israel, specifically naming Lebanon, Syria and Iran.

The ultimate agenda, he says, is to destroy these countries and establish what Zionists call Eretz or Greater Israel, extending to and including Iraq. This is because, Evans quotes the Bible as saying, God allegedly gave this vast stretch of land, from the Nile to the Euphrates, to Abraham and his son Isaac and his descendants, ancestors of the Jews, as a covenant and as their ‘everlasting possession’.

Echoing hardliner Zionists, Evans insists that there can be no peace with the Palestinians at any cost, because, he claims, the Christian God is opposed to this. If Israel and America are to faithfully abide by the Christian God’s will, he says, they must not let anything get in the way of the establishment of Eretz Israel. Thus, various peace proposals that involve any territorial concessions on the part of Israel are ruled out.

This is because, as Evans alleges, God has given the entire territory to the Jews till eternity.

Christianity and the New Anti-Muslim Crusade

As for the Arabs and Muslims more generally, Evans seems to suggest that the Christian God desires that they be humiliated, subjugated and crushed.

Thus, he quotes the Bible as saying that while God specially blessed Isaac and his descendants, the Jews, he had a different plan in mind for the Arabs, descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s other son.

Referring to Ishmael Evans quotes the Bible as saying, ‘He will be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man and every man’s hand against him’.

This racist stereotype, so deeply rooted in traditional Christian discourse about Muslims, is held by Evans to be what he calls ‘a fitting description of the Arab terrorist’ and, presumably, as justifying the annihilation of the Arab people, as well as other Muslims.

Evans goes so far in vilifying Arabs and Muslims as to call Muhammad a proto-terrorist, alleging that he had banished and killed Jews for not believing in him.

‘Terrorism’, he claims, is a logical consequence of Islam, and he argues that ‘Muhammad set a sordid example for his present-day disciples, the Qadafis, Khomeinis, Arafats and bin Ladens and Husseins of this world’. Claiming knowledge of the unseen, he even announces that Islam is ‘a malevolent manifestation of a religion conceived in the pit of hell’.

Evans thus equates Islam with the forces of the ‘Anti-Christ’ , against whom he appeals to Christians to marshal all the resources at their command. Ironically, while spewing hatred and calling for a global war, he presents Christianity as peace-loving, contrasting it with Islam, which he equates with ‘terrorism’.

‘Christianity differs from Islam as day differs from night’, he claims, completely unmindful of the sordid and blood-soaked history of the faith he claims to champion. In the same breath as he issues a general summons to Christians to wage war in the name of their faith he refers to the Bible as instructing Christians to ‘turn the other cheek’ when slapped, in order to argue that, unlike Christianity, Islam is an inherently vile religion, equating it with what he terms ‘the law of the bullet, militancy, treachery, terrorism and violence’.

Christianity, America and Oil

Christian fundamentalists are ardent advocates of free-market capitalism, having played a key role in America’s war against communism during the Cold War. Christ, capitalism and American supremacy go together, Evans believes, and so, while announcing that an American-spearheade d global war is precisely what Christ mandates, he approvingly quotes Isser Harel, founder of the Israeli secret services’ organization Mossad, who speaks of the ‘terror’ threat to America’s ‘freedom’, ‘capitalism’ and ‘power’, and exhorts America to take appropriate defence measures.

Evans goes so far as to advise the America to capture all the oil wealth in Arab lands in order to prevent ‘terrorists’ from using oil wealth to target Israel, home to God’s supposedly ‘special people’. A more ingenuous excuse to justify American greed could hardly be devised!

Since Muslims, especially the Arabs, are branded virtually as agents of the Devil, Evans argues that America, as self-appointed agent of Christ, should have no qualms about invading oil-rich Arab lands. This would, he says, break America’s dependence on Muslim countries for oil which.

If America seizes all Arab oil-fields, it would, he says, sharply reduce oil prices, forcing Muslim countries ‘to their knees’, giving them only two options: ‘cooperate with the war on terror or go bankrupt’.

At the same time as he exhorts America to invade and occupy all the countries, no matter what the human cost, Evans warns that it should not be serious about its rhetoric of exporting ‘democracy’ to the Middle East, for, he argues, it would lead to anti-American and anti-Israeli Islamists taking over.

Invasion of Iraq and the Ushering in of Global Christendom and Pax-Americana

Evans sees America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq as the unfolding of a divine plan for the world. It is not nothing less than what he calls a grand ‘spiritual battle’, between Christianity and Satanic forces and ‘demons’, as represented by Muslims and other non-Christians.

Accordingly, he fervently welcomes America’s invasion of Iraq and pleads that America should expand the theatre of war by invading various other, mostly Muslim, countries.

The murder and destruction that America has wrought in Iraq is nothing to grieve about, Evans seems to suggest. It is a price, he argues, that God is supposedly exacting from Muslims for having been ‘coerced’
by Satan to ‘loathe’ the Jews, ‘God’s Chosen People’.

It is also a divine punishment, he says, for Iraq having allegedly possessing ‘deadly chemical, biological or nuclear weapons’, echoing the bogus claim made by Bush, Blair and their henchmen which they used to justify their invasion of that country.

Weak-hearted Christians who might disagree are advised to all in line, for, Evans says, this is precisely what the Bible predicts and what God mandates. ‘I will raise against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country, for she has sinned against God’, the Jewish prophet Jeremiah is said to have announced, and Evans takes this as evidence of his claim that the American invasion of Iraq is demanded by God and that all America is doing is to faithfully follow God’s will.

Iraq, the Biblical Babylon, Evans insists, represents the forces of Satan, and hence deserves to be crushed by America, God’s agent, through invasion and war. ‘Babylon is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’ , he quotes the Bible as saying. ‘I will rise up against them [.] I will cut off from Babylon her name and survivors, her offspring and descendants [.] I will turn her into a place for owls and into swampland. I will sweep her with the broom of destruction’ , Evans quotes the Biblical God as having declared. He marshals other Biblical verses to press the argument about Iraq being allegedly inherently ‘evil’ and hence deserving harsh repression at American hands.

Eve and Adam are said to have committed the ‘first sin’ there; it was in Iraq that occult and astrology were invented; Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylon, conquered Israel and enslaved the Jews; the Babylonians built the Tower of Babel, thereby defying God by trying to reach heaven without His permission; and the Bible describes Babylon as the ‘seat’ of the Anti-Christ and the ‘Beast’, the ‘seat of Satan’s evil’, in contrast to Jerusalem, the ‘seat of God’s righteousness’ , against whom it is destined to be pitted in the final battle that will usher in Jesus’ ‘second coming’.

In all, then, Evan argues, America is simply acting as the Christian God’s handmaiden in wreaking destruction and death in Iraq.

Instead of being blamed or castigated for this, he argues, it should be praised.

This destruction is Biblically mandated, he repeats, for the Bible has announced that, ‘Babylon, the great, has fallen and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird [.] Therefore, her plague will come in one day-death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire [.]

Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down and shall not be found anymore’.

But this terrible destruction in Iraq is only the beginning of a bloody trail of events mandated by a supposedly blood-thirsty and vengeful God. According to Evans’ reading of the Bible, the American invasion of Iraq is what he calls ‘the dress-rehearsal’ for the grand global battle of Armageddon between the forces of Christ and Satan.

Prior to this battle, he quotes the Bible as saying, ‘demons and spirits’ bound up in the Euphrates in Iraq will be released, and, with an army of 200 million, will kill off a third of the world’s total inhabitants through nuclear war. This grand battle, Evans writes, is not far off.

Hence, he appeals to Christians to ‘put on the armour of God’ and ‘engage in spiritual battle’. Now, is the time, he says, to prepare for the impending return of Christ. Presumably, after Iraq is destroyed through the agency of the Americans, Christ will suddenly appear in Jerusalem and establish his global empire, ushering in the end of the world as we know it.

Horrendous as Evans’ views are, they do find a powerful echo in Christian fundamentalist circles today, more so given their growing influence in policy-making circles in the West, particularly in America.

If the world is to be saved from the Armageddon that Evans and his ilk are bent on calling down from the heavens it is imperative that Western imperialism and Christian fundamentalism be interrogated, challenged and opposed, particularly by sincere Christians themselves.


Sukhia Sab Sansar Khaye Aur Soye
Dukhia Das Kabir Jagey Aur Roye

The world is ‘happy’, eating and sleeping The forlorn Kabir Das is awake and weeping


Sukhia Sab Sansar Khaye Aur Soye
Dukhia Das Kabir Jagey Aur Roye

The world is ‘happy’, eating and sleeping The forlorn Kabir Das is awake and weeping


 

The Muslim News
http://www.muslimne ws.co.uk/ news/news. php?article= 14403