EDITORIAL


"Dialogue with words not with bombs"

A LETTER TO UNCLE SAM


By Prof. Talaat I. Farag & Essam Farag


Dear Uncle Sam,

"In an era filled with conflicts, the world needs you not as a Superpower but as a Superdad. You have always wanted to be a beacon to all nations since you possess the space, the human genome project, Disneyland, pioneers in research centers, drug industries, music and art, media, museums, etc. The world admires you as the land of the brave, home of the free and a place with limitless opportunities. However, you have to be cautious as the world may stop admiring the good things about you if you abandon the rule of law and order."

After the terrorist tragedies in New York on September 11th and in Riyadh and Casablanca in May, 2003 which claimed thousands of civilian lives, there is a need for a better understanding of our diversity and ethno-cultural differences. We have to break our silence if we need to break the "clash of civilizations". We have to ask ourselves what went wrong? And how we can manage? In this letter, we report what we believe a new syndrome, to be named New World Disorder Syndrome (NWDS) which leads to global chaos and demonstrate means by which this syndrome can be managed. 

As peace activists, we invite all those who are looking for a better life for our children and grandchildren to join the new campaign, "EDUCATORS WITHOUT BORDERS" and contribute your views on how to save the world from this new syndrome..

The Clash of Civilizations

In 1998, Prof. Samuel P. Huntington, a political scientist at Harvard University and former foreign policy aide to President Clinton wrote his famous book entitled, "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order". The thesis of this provocative book is the increasing threat of violence arising from renewed conflicts between countries and cultures that base their traditions on religious faith and dogma. This argument moves past the notion of ethnicity to examine the growing influence of a handful of major cultures--Western, Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, Islamic, Japanese, Chinese, Hindu, and African--in current struggles across the globe. He argues that policymakers should be mindful of this development when they interfere in other nations' affairs Such arguments as well as the apparent rise of conflicts and violence in the world today, some people have become very pessimistic of the future

 

Will the world end in the 21st century?

Some of the pessimistic studies from Japan, Jerusalem and Canada discussed the end of the world to occur in this 21st century. Here are three of these studies.

 


There is no doubt that the many conflicts today between and within different ethno-cultural groups and religions led to the rise of these pessimistic predictions of the end of the world in this century. Recent global events have been framed as a clash of civilizations between the Muslim World and the West.


The New World Disorder Syndrome (NWDS)

It seems that there the world is faced with different new disease entities. Herein we portray  four characters with what we believe can be called the "New World Disorder Syndrome" (NWDS). This new entity is characterized by megalomania, a sense of pseudo-prophecy, psychopathy, hostility, misinterpretations and miscalculations, visual and hearing impairments.  This syndrome can be seen in leaders such as Idi Amin of Uganda, Bokassa of the Central African Republic, Suharto of Indonesia, Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay, Jorge Serrano of Guatemala, Raul Cedras of Haiti and Batista of Cuba, among others.  Here we portray four characters which represent NWDS from different ethno-cultural backgrounds and religions are:

  
       RAEL AND THE RAELIANSDr. Brigitte Boisselier and spiritual leader Rael

Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, a 46-year old Chemist who never did any biology or cloning is a bishop of the Raelian group. She is convinced that when space aliens come back to Earth, sometime before 2035, she will be there as a hostess, showing them around the planet and getting them settled in a new embassy, the preferred location of which is Jerusalem. 

On Boxing Day 2002, the 46-year old poster girl for human cloning, held a news conference in Florida to announce that Clonaid, a company created by a UFO cult known as the Raelians, had produced the first cloned human baby. Dr. Boisselier entered the room wearing heavy pink lip gloss, copper hair, black nails and a tight dark shirt with the Raelian silver medallion (combing the star of David and a snowflake - symbolizing infinite time and space) around her neck. In her announcement, she said, "I am creating life, but I don't want anyone to think I am playing God." Clonaid, was founded by the Raelians shortly after a sheep nicknamed "Dolly" was cloned in Scotland in 1997. It calls itself the world's first human cloning company and is based in Las Vegas. The Raelians believe that space creatures chose Mr. Claude Vorilhon, a one-time French journalist and auto racer as their leader, who advocates nude meditation, free love and eternal life through cloning. He called himself Rael, and claims he was twice abducted by aliens who have olive skin, long dark hair, and almond-shaped eyes. He is convinced that science is a new religion and that these aliens are the creators of the human race in their laboratories using genetic engineering techniques by cloning themselves, and have kept in touch through messengers including Buddha, Moses and Jesus! Rael himself claims he was conceived December 25, 1945, by a French mother and an alien. However, Prof. Alain Bouchard, from Laval University, said that Rael's father is believed to have been a Jewish refugee who was hidden by Rael's mother in France during the Second World War. Today, both Rael and his mother believe that his father was an alien. "His Holiness' Rael had written a book in 2001 entitled, "YES! Human Cloning"! He promised to open cloning clinics on every continent to help people replicate themselves. 

Since their announcements last December, there has been no further information about the cloned babies! It seems Clonaid is trying to take advantage of desperate infertile couples. Until DNA tests are performed in a controlled and unbiased fashion to "Eve" and four other alleged cloned babies. Many scientists believe that Clonaid's claim is nothing more than a hoax, cocktail of pseudo-science, quackery, and seems more like a bad science-fiction movie with good public relations to select the time of the message and the messenger. Dr. Rudolf Iaenich, a leading research cloning expert mentioned, "These Raelian people are really poison [to cloning research]." Dr. John Roder from the department of medical genetics at the University of Toronto mentioned, "It is extremely unlikely and verging on the impossible that they have cloned someone." Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said "You can't have any credibility unless  you produce the baby, the mother and DNA test results."

Interestingly, Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe the Director of the Cardiff Center for Astrobiology published recently in the Lancet (24 May 2003) a letter entitled, "SARS FROM OUTER SPACE? In it she raises an alternative theory to the origin of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from outer space. They comment on the unusual nature of major epidemics such as the plague of Athens and the 'flu epidemic of 1917-19 where infection rates and deaths are not easily explained by epidemiological modeling!!


   
     ELIZABETH SMART'S ABDUCTORS

Brian David Mitchell, 49, and his wife, Wanda Barzee, 57, who have said they kidnapped Elizabeth Smart, a 15-year old girl, after receiving divine commands to build a polygamist family with seven young wives. The abduction gripped the nation's attention in June 2002 when Smart was taken from her bedroom in the middle of the night at knifepoint, and again 9 months later when she was found, in good health, while walking down the street in a Salt Lake suburb with both her captors. The victim had several opportunities to get away, but apparently developed a psychological bond to her captors, said Salt Lake City Police Chief Rick Dinse. Mitchell is a polygamist, alcoholic, drug addict and devout Mormon who was excommunicated from his church. He dressed in white and claimed to be a prophet for the homeless. His 27-page manifesto, "The Book of Immanuel David Isaiah", referring to himself as Minister of the Lord! His wife is known for caring of dolls as if they were her children, and sneaking into hospitals to bless newborns. Mitchell changed his name to Immanuel and considered himself a natural healer. The return of the 15-year old Elizabeth to her family was considered specifically by her father as a miracle. Her father said after her reunion with her family that widespread attention should be given to more cases of missing children using a publicity alert system, named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old and slain in Texas in 1996. A month after her return, she appeared smiling among her father and President Bush in the White House as he signed new child-safety measures into law.


         SADDAM HUSSEIN

On April 9, 2003 everyone seemed surprised to see that Baghdad, the capital of the ancient Mesopotamian civilization, had fallen to American forces very quickly. It was astonishing to see the Iraqi people coming out in Fardous Square to destroy Saddam Hussein's statutes and pictures after he had ruled Iraq for 24 years claiming to have received 100% of votes with 100% voter turnout!

The world cannot forget the three ugly Iraqi wars. In 1980, Saddam Hussein declared war on Iran leading to a clash between the Persian and Arab civilizations and between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims, leading to the loss of thousands of lives over an 8-year period. In 1990, he invaded Kuwait with the dream of forming a greater Iraq which led to the 1991 Gulf War that was waged to liberate Kuwait. However, despite the Iraqi military surrender and pullback, he celebrated the war as a victory for his country and named it, Om al-Ma'arik  - "The Mother of All Wars," filling the country with his portraits and statues as a war hero! He had shown growing signs of ego-mania, naming streets, towns, schools and hospitals after himself and he admired both Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin's characters, and Bin Laden's ideology!

Interestingly, before this year's war with Iraq, his regime continued to mention that his country had 6 million soldiers ready for combat. Saddam Hussein challenged George W. Bush to a debate in an interview he had with Dan Rather of CBS. The Iraqi vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan, argued that "Bush wants to attack the whole Iraq, the army and the infrastructure, If such a call is genuine, then let the American president and a selected group with him face a selected group of us and we choose a neutral land and let U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan be a supervisor. A president against a president and vice president against a vice president, and a duel takes place, if they are serious, And in this way we are saving the American and Iraqi people." Since Saddam Hussein misinterpreted the seriousness of the situation, he failed to recognize that suggesting such an unrealistic dualistic challenge with George Bush is basically an invitation to war. He was convinced that Om el-Kanabil (the mother of all bombs) cannot touch an inch in Baghdad, Om el-Modon (the mother of all cities). He also failed to interpret that when the Iraqi generals in military uniforms used to kiss his hands to greet him on TV, this meant that they feared him but would never fight for him. He believed he is like Sallahedin but his actions harmed not only his people and his country but also his Muslim neighbors and all the Arab World, since it let to the presence of foreign of armies in the region.


        BIN LADENISM AND ISAAC ASIMOV

When the September 11th tragedy occurred, killing thousands of innocent men and women in New York, we never imagined that such an event can be masterminded by Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda group. However, shortly thereafter, Al-Jazeera TV broadcast tapes of him congratulating the suicide attackers for their heroism, declaring a global war between Muslims and the West.

It is well-known that millions of Muslim families are today settled happily in different Western countries. For example, in a recent statistical study done by the Canadian Census (2001) showed that Muslims in Canada outnumber the Jewish population. Those who claimed to be of Muslim faith increased by 128.9% to 579,640 in the decade beginning in 1991, making Islam Canada's fastest growing religion. The number of Jews also increased during that period but only by 3.7% to 329,995. Muslims make up 2% of the total Canadian population, while Jews represented 1.1%.

The question that arises is who inspired Bin Laden? Some mentioned that he was inspired by the Jewish Russian novelist Isaac Asimov's classical science-fiction novel Foundation. The Arabic word qaida--ordinarily meaning "base" or "foundation"--is also used for "groundwork" and "basis." A letter to the most important British science-fiction magazine, Interzone, pointed out that the German title on capital, Grundrisse, can also be translated as "base" or "foundation"! Is it plausible that al-Qaida's founders may have borrowed some rhetoric from the Foundation book series and possibly from other science fiction material. As Nick Mamatas argued in an article on sci-fi fans in Gadfly magazine, "even the terror of September 11th had science fictional overtones: it was both an attack on New York from a tin-plated overlord with delusions of grandeur and a single cataclysmic event that seemingly changed everything, forever."  It is well known that science fiction has often featured "evil empires" against which are set utopian ideas whose survival must be fought for against the odds by a small but resourceful band of men. Such empires often turn out to be amazingly fragile when faced by intelligent idealists. Intelligent idealists who are also psychopaths might find comfort in a fictional role model. The case that science fiction, and in particular Asimov, could have had an effect on Bin Laden is strengthened by their better documented effects on other psychopathic personalities. One can't blame Asimov for fuelling the swollen fantasies of the murderous. It is the last thing this committed pacifist ("violence is the last refuge of the incompetent") would have wanted.

Using something like game-theory, Asimov's main fictional character, Hari Seldon,  worked on exactly such principles, taking into account, across time, the dynamic between intergalactic mega trends and local reactions to them. Seldon is a scientist and prophet sets up his Foundation in a remote corner of the galaxy, hoping to build a new civilization from the ruins of the old. The Empire attacks the Foundation with all its military arsenal and tries to crush it. Seldon uses a religion (based on scientific illusionism) to further his aims. These are tracked by the novel and its sequels across a vast tract of time. Eldon, like Bin Laden, transmits videotaped messages for his followers, recorded in advance. There is also some similarity in geopolitical strategy. Seldon's vision seems oddly like the way Bin Laden has conceived his campaign. "Psycho-history" is the statistical treatment of the actions of large populations across epochal periods --the science of mobs as Asimov calls it. "Hari Seldon plotted the social and economic trends of the time, sighted along curves and foresaw the continuing and accelerating fall of civilization." So did Bin Laden use Foundation as a kind of imaginative sounding-board for the creation of al-Qaida? There is no doubt that the September 11 attacks further tarnished the image of Arabs and Muslims in the world.

Der Voron, author of the book Starcraft recently sent The Ambassadors Magazine an article entitled, "Are Osama Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and Saddam Hussein CIA’s protégés or agents?" If you are interested in this article, he can be reached at der-voron@linkeseite.zzn.com.


How to "BREAK" the "Clash of Civilizations"?

Above we made a presentation of the pessimistic outlooks for the future and demagogic characters with NWDS, who are physically distant from the people's voices, pains, hunger and screams while still claiming to be pseudo-prophets for those same people. They can be seen as strange messengers with strange messages! However, we believe there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is the job of every peace-loving person to help break the path towards the "clash of civilizations." Herein we present four positive attitudes that symbolize optimism for the future.

 
        A letter from distinguished Arab writers


Thirty-one prominent Arab writers and activists signed an open letter published in several major Arab newspapers calling for Saddam Hussein's resignation in order to avert a war in February. The signatories, who included the distinguished Palestinian writer Prof. Edward W. Said, described Saddam's rule as a nightmare for Iraq and the Arab World. These writers are not American puppets but are sincere and concerned Arab citizens who wanted to protect the Iraqi people and the region from war. Unfortunately, their demands were not heard!

A Hero named Amin from Yemen

Poetry has special influence in Yemen and can adapt itself to any political, economic or social issue.  is a 29-year old Yemeni officer named Amin al-Mashrigi founded of the Yemeni Poets Society, and he mainly recites anti-terrorism poems. " From Our experience, we have seen how poetry has solved problems that laws have not solved," said al-Mashrigi. The poetry campaign is part of an ambitious government plan to defeat terrorism by changing the mindset of an entire country and to create a cultural dialogue with the people to convince them that Islam that prohibits terrorism because it is a religion of love and peace and that Jihad is used only in self defense, not to attack non-Muslims. His anti-terrorism poetry has just recently been compiled into a book. The Yemeni Poet's Society is attempting to prove the old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword. The Society's founder, Amin al-Mashrigi, is using poetry to persuade fellow Yemenis that Islam prohibits terrorism. Some sample lines from a poem which won a recent contest held by the Society: "Allah has ordered severe punishment for bandits and kidnappers/No one is allowed to carry loads of explosives/By what religion is such a vicious crime allowed?" 

Kidnapping foreigners is both a crime and a shame
That stirs only revulsion
You who spend your life in doing the disgraceful
Sabotage and terror stop right there
You are loathed and enjoy neither love nor respect
You killed even fish in their seas!
Your deeds were for no good
They brought only loss and bad luck
You have neither freed Gaza nor comforted Al-Quds (Jerusalem)
Your deed was the gate of all evils


             An Angel named Mohammed from Iraq

 The story of the 32-years-old Iraqi lawyer named Mohammed Odeh Al Rehaief, who risked his life to help American POW Jessica Lynch escape a hospital in Nasiriya after seeing a guard slapping here on the face. He repeatedly returned to the hospital to gather information for the rescue mission. His wife worked as a nurse in the hospital and helped him in the plan. Lynch had not eaten for days and due to injuries, doctors plan on amputating one of her legs. Mohammed mentioned, "A person is a human being regardless of their nationality." Lynch's father described the Iraqi man as an angel on NBC's Today show, "I am truly grateful for what he has done." Al Rehaief, his wife, and five-year-old daughter were granted asylum to the USA in a meeting last Friday at the Arlington, Virginia asylum office under order by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Officials said he was given work papers and everything he needs to allow him and his family to stay in the United States indefinitely. He may also petition to bring in other family members. Mohammed is claimed to be writing a book about his experience, "Rescue in Nasiriya", which will be published by HarperCollins in October. Al-Rehaief was honored by the Delaware Bar Association, which gave him an award for reflecting the best quality of lawyers--helping defenseless people being treated unfairly.

    
            A Saudi journalist named Jamal Khashoggi


The editor of the leading Saudi Arabic daily Al-Watan, Jamal Khashoggi published a cartoon in his newspaper depicting a suicide bomber festooned with fatwas (religious edicts issued by Muslim clerics) instead of bombs. His message was to portray that both the suicide bomber who targets civilians (seniors, women and children) and those religious clerics who release the fatwas validating such actions are terrorists.

    

 

            An American Hero named Sanjay

A telegenic 33-years-old Atlanta neurosurgeon named Dr. Sanjay Gupta traveled with the medical unit in southern Iraq known as the "Devil Docs" (navy doctors who work in a mobile operating room near the frontlines). He helped perform emergency operations to wounded Iraqi and American soldiers. While reporting on a U.S. Navy medical team in Iraq on Thursday, the CNN medical correspondent unexpectedly became part of the story when asked to perform emergency surgery. "Medically and morally, I thought it was absolutely the right thing to do," Gupta said. The world was very impressed that he operated on wounded Iraqis that needed urgent surgical care during the heat of battle.


   
             Sunni and Shi'a Clerics Save Museum Artifacts

We were shocked to see the looters robbing thousands of priceless antiquities from Baghdad Art museum, which is one of the five world's most important museums like the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, British Museum in London, Louvre in Paris and Metropolitan in New York, containing the world's largest collection of Mesopotamian artifacts (over 100,000, including world renowned sculptures, bas reliefs, ancient texts and ceramics). The exhibits chronicle stone age settlements from half a million years ago, the rise and fall of civilizations such as Uruk, Sumeria, Babylon, Assyria, Persia and later Islamic empires up until the 1900s. Some of the stolen ancient texts described the adventures Gilgamesh, the figure in which Biblical Noah is based. Other texts revealed ancient Iraqi mathematical achievements by describing Pythagoras' Theorem (1500 years before Pythagoras even existed). For the world, this can be seen as a global cultural catastrophe. However, the recovery campaign of these artifacts was mainly done by the Iraqi Sunni and Shi'a clerics, who asked the looters to return what was part of Iraqi history. This has so far been very successful in reviving this exceptional museum.


Global Anti-War Campaign

We feel that political cartoons can better explain difficult situations. Here are two cartoons, the first by Toughan shows how the road to peace needs guidance and support from everyone. The second cartoon by Zohdi showing how Uncle Sam is trying to dwarf and dominate the UN, which runs counter to achieving peace through respect of our neighbors, diversity, multiculturalism and pluralism

We ask Uncle Sam to focus on supporting international development projects everywhere in order to help avoiding a war between the North and South or between the West and East. Cooperation is the key to better understanding each other's cultures, and is the potential for a peaceful future. Millions dream of seeing Uncle Sam as a true proponent of peace through the unlimited support of multinational peacekeeping teams in hot spots of the world. Global diplomacy can make a significant contribution to this achievable dream of world peace. This cannot be a reality until everyone genuinely understands difference in cultures and respect of their neighbors.

There is no doubt that there is a need for everyone to break their silence and to be opinionated standing with peace and anti-war campaigns. Before the war on Iraq, there was a major global anti-war campaign involving Nobel prize winners, different religious leaders, and millions of citizens with the dream of world peace in the 21st century and to avoid seeing victims of world conflicts, now more than ever before. We seem to be living in a human zoo and are acting in a cannibalistic fashion. We have to think how to deal with power games and to deal with political, religious and war lords. We have all seen what war can bring in casualties from World Wars I and II as well as the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

Old cartoon by Zohdi


WELCOME TO THE "EDUCATORS WITHOUT BORDERS"

Part of the objectives of The Ambassadors Magazine since its founding in 1998 has been to promote peace, dialogue and cooperation between different cultures and civilizations. In a world seemingly filled with conflicts, violence, war, and victims there is a need to develop a global campaign to promote peace through a project called, "EDUCATORS WITHOUT BORDERS". This forum for discussion on how to implement world peace and respect cultural diversity starts now. To commence this plan, a section in the Ambassadors Discussion Forum will be setup 24 hours a day 7 days a week called, "A Letter to Uncle Sam." The forum maintains that a continuous dialogue between different cultures and views is the best way to understand each other's views. Discussions with words are much better than discussions with bombs.

There is a need eliminate suspicious others and to discard our xenophobia, but rather respect diversity and global mosaicism and to know that the problems in the world today are all a result of a failure of communication. We have to share our wisdoms and ideas in order to establish a safer and healthier world. 

Our message to you Uncle Sam is that you have to know how to make people love you as a Superdad and not to fear you as a Superpower.

For those readers who are interested to join the campaign of EDUCATORS WITHOUT BORDERS, please send your comments to either the Ambassadors Discussion Forum or mail@ambassadors.net. Those interested to financially support this campaign, you can send to The Ambassadors Magazine (405-457 Edinburgh Rd. S., Guelph, Ontario, Canada - N1G 2Y5). 

A LETTER TO UNCLE SAM will be a permanent location for readers in the Ambassadors Discussion Forum to express their views on the issues presented here, and serves as a dialogue between people using words rather than weapons

Dr. Talaat I. Farag, MD, FRCP(E), FACP, FACMG, is a community geneticist and syndromologist. He is the founder of The Ambassadors Research Foundation in 1998. Email: drfarag@ambassadors.net

Essam Farag, BA Honors (Dalhousie) is a second year Master's student and graduate teacher's assistant of international development at the University of Guelph, Canada. Email: efarag@ambassadors.net