Posted by: ourvoicestogether | September 14, 2007

Not a John Doe Movement. 9/12 Voices Together!

An entry from our executive director, Marianne Scott:

On September 12, Yahoo News carried a fear-based piece by blogger Michelle Malkin entitled “John Doe in Post 9/11 America.” In addition to her regular routine of bashing the left, bashing civil liberties groups and bashing Muslims, she talks of a new movement, created she says “Earlier this year, (after) jihadist enablers attempted to intimidate citizen whistleblowers who said something about the suspicious behavior of six imams on a US Airways flight in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The legal battle to protect ordinary Americans from such lawsuits gave rise to the John Doe movement. Pro bono lawyers and GOP members of Congress stepped up to provide protection. And Americans across the country expressed solidarity with the airline passengers targeted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and its ilk.”

She goes on to extol the virtues of John Doe whistleblowers who she says are “9/12 people” not “9/10 people” and who are ever vigilant and watchful for their country.

These are not 9/12 people. On 9/11 and 9/12 people rushed in to help. On 9/11 and 9/12 there was an outpouring of generosity, of compassion, of volunteers. People didn’t ask what faith or what nationality the victims were before reaching in to pull them out of the rubble or sending donations to families. First responders didn’t check to see what color those in need were before stepping up to risk their lives. On 9/11 and 9/12 we came together. Most of us created unity.

9/12 Americans know that at no point in our history has our national security depended as much on our ability to be a respected and integral part of the world community nor has our nation’s credibility ever been so low around the globe. One of our national challenges is to restore America’s role as a trustworthy partner in achieving global security. A new counterterrorism paradigm—one that turns away from fear and toward informed, pragmatic actions that engage rather than disenfranchise communities worldwide—is critical to this effort. The time has come for a new, positive vision.

We must better distinguish between our enemies and our friends. 9/12 people know that being suspicious of Arab and Muslim neighbors, as Malkin would have us do, actually makes us less safe, not more. Extremists thrive when they can isolate people. 9/12 people know that by strengthening the sense of community in our nation and worldwide, by reaching out to people of different faiths and of different backgrounds, we can limit the pockets of isolation exploited by extremists.
9/12 Americans remember that this great nation is based on freedom of religion and we will not let terrorists tempt us to do less than exercise our inalienable right to protect Americans peacefully practicing their chosen faith. 9/12 people have the courage to stand up for what is right based on our values and are not ruled by their fears. 9/12 Americans protect the best of their country – our generosity, our compassion, our freedoms, our faith, and our civic mindedness.

9/12 people do not act out of fear. 9/12 people act to build a better, safer world for all.

9/12 people bring our voices together in friendship, not in suspicion. We are ordinary citizens. We aren’t John Does. We don’t hide behind anonymity. We each have a name. We each can make a difference.

My name is Marianne and I am standing up to bigotry and hatred. What is your name and what are you doing to make the world a safer, more compassionate place?

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Responses

  1. I agree with Marianne Scott absolutely. But the question is what have I done to make the world a safer, more compassionate place? At the very outset, let me acknowledge that I’ve never been into religion of any sort and kind. I’ve been a human rights attorney, nuclear non-proliferation activist and have struggled against religious fundamentalism in my past years.

    9/11 provided me with an opportunity to take a fresh look at the various religions of the world (believe it or not, I did take a ‘Comparative Religions’ course when I was a student of law back in the 90s!) and helped me place myself in a position to recognize and appreciate both sides of the great divide.

    What folks like Michelle Malkin are saying isn’t wrong whereas what the antagonists of the John Doe movement stand for also have a lot of substance in their contention.

    All my life I’ve had enormous respect for America, it’s ideals, it’s history and most importantly the guarantees of basic rights provided under the amazing Constitution drafted by the founding fathers.

    Living in the US, I have learnt to learn and comprehend faiths and come to a conclusion that when an effort is made to blend religion and politics, there is always a problem. Religion becomes a tool in the hands of the politicians to influence the minds of public-at-large.

    The powers that be in the US stayed from such a temptation for as long as I remember until that fateful day of September 11, 2001. Beyond that we have witnessed extreme elements from various sides coming out and condemning the Islamic faith with utter hatred and disgust. Amidst all this activity the element of rationality has somewhat taken the back seat.

    The consequence is that the US has, unfortunately, undergone a frightening transformation vis-à-vis tolerance, its commitment to human rights ( both internally and externally ) and an environment of doubt and suspicion has been created.

    My contribution to this scenario? I have to confess that despite the fact that although I am sensitive to events going around me and have a writing background ( I was a columnist ), I haven’t done as much as I would have liked to, given my own transition with respect to my commitments in life.

    However, I have tried to improve myself, in my own small way, not by affiliating with any one major faith but by discussing issues pertaining to this ‘new situation’ that we all are faced with, with ordinary folks from both sides of the divide on a regular basis.

    I have tried to convey to the antagonists that the US is a country, has its own interests and hence has to take certain steps to safeguard its territory and integrity as a sovereign nation. In order to survive and remain as the best possible country to live in on God’s planet, it has to be vigilant and alert to the changing needs of time.

    As far as the protagonists of the John Doe movement are concerned, I tell them that not all Muslim people, Arabs and the like, are the same. Just by having a Muslim name or Arab, Mediterranean facial features does not mean that one is related to Bin Laden or those nefarious individuals who carried out attacks on 9/11. The Muslims, historically, have contributed a great deal to the US in the intellectual and economic spheres of life and have been loyal to this country in more ways than one.

    My guess is that things would have been better had the neo-conservatives not wielded such an influence in Washington’s policymaking process. Also, talking about Islamic extremism is perhaps a ‘great topic of discussion’ that the Republicans in the White House have to distract the minds of the ordinary public from the greater issues of the days. It all seems Machiavellian but that’s what the truth is.

    I miss the Bill Clinton years. I miss the finesse and the tactfulness with which sensitive issues would be dealt with. I sincerely believe that had Clinton been in the White House at the time of and in the post-9/11 era, issues perhaps would have been significantly less and emphasis on negotiation and diplomacy would have been intense, in fact relentless.

    I wish and look forward to the day when the talk about non-violence and peace once again hits the headlines all over the world. I, for one, would love to be a part of such a widespread, global movement. Personally, I hate those who kill in the name of religion and consider them as devils amongst us. I fail to understand the logic or the relationship between killing, life and faith. All those suicide bombers that we read about day in and day out perhaps even do not deserve to be classified as human beings. May we all have the strength and the energy to eliminate such destructive souls.

    In the meantime, I’ll try harder to make the world a safer, more compassionate place.

  2. From Marek Zielinski:

    On the 19th of September 2005 we watched a program on Channel 4 titled ‘Peace One Day’. Afterwards while discussing the programme with my friends we had a good laugh… ‘Good for them, one day of peace. But what’s wrong with the remaining 365 days?’ Since then we have committed ourselves to spreading the invitation by the General Assembley 55/282 of International Day of Peace where in paragraph 3 we read: “…invites all member states, organizations of the United Nations system, regional and non-govermental organisations and individuals”… (like ourselves) …”to commemorate, in an appropriate manner, the international day of peace including through education and public awarness, and to cooperate with the united nations in establishing of the global ceasefire…”

    Our mission is to petition The United Nations to extend the existing Resolution adopted by General Assembly 55/282, International Day of Peace, for remaining 365 days…and intend to do it with the united single voice and active supporters involved in the process, until Global Peace Forever is established. In May 2007 our petition has been registered as Petition No:691/2007 in the Committee on Petitions in the European Parliament, Recently we posted our petition to Member States of the United Nations Organization, We continue dissemination, http://www.peace365.org

  3. From Phil Costa:

    I have become a United Nations Online Volunteer and later, a volunteer for NABUUR.com, to help the village of Mgbala Agwa in Nigeria respond to the AIDS crisis… I have learned that Africans CAN solve their own problems, and I have met many committed and passionate, articulate and intelligent people along the way!!! We are now trying to build a Voluntary Counseling and Confidential Testing center in the village… Visit the local representative and me at the village of Mgbala Agwa under Nigeria on http://www.NABUUR.com!!! Or better still, sign up and join!


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