Nigerian Lives Matter.

By Jerry Alatalo

mountain3Alphabet Why are the world’s leaders and corporate media remaining silent about the brutal massacre of 1,000 unarmed Nigerians by the Nigerian Army on December 12? One must put some effort into answering the question because that question is perhaps much more important than people might initially assess. Global terrorism in this horrific instance shows a very disturbing evolutionary step from covertly sponsored Daesh/ISIS to blatant state-sponsored terror in the form of the Nigerian military and/or government.

Serious men and women – including highly respected academics/Ph.D.s the world over – have invested large amounts of time on researching into terror events such as 9/11, ISIS’ rise, the 7/7 bombing, Charlie Hebdo, Paris, the Boston bombing, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, etc. and raised hard-to-ignore questions which point to the possibility that one or more of them are so-called “false flags”, or staged politically motivated events.

In the case of the December 12 event in Zaria, Nigeria, where nobody doubts 1,000 or more men, women and children perished from gunfire wounds inflicted by the Nigerian forces, everyone agrees the massacre was all-too-real. While the false flag events received the serious, impassioned attention of world leaders, and citizens everywhere through high levels of reporting by corporate media, the all-too-real state-sponsored massacre in Nigeria has become completely ignored by those same world leaders and media outlets.

Could this ignorance have for explanation that Nigerian people haven’t reached the needed level up on the hierarchy of victims of terror attained by people in France, New York, London, etc. have, therefore Nigerians are somehow invisible and outside the vision of political leaders and media? Upon consideration, this could be one factor which helps explain the deafening silence.

Yet, when one considers the extreme magnitude, loss of life and rarity of the Nigerian atrocity, as well as recognizing the nation’s great oil, natural gas and mineral wealth, there seems much more than a hierarchical victims of terror explanation for the silence. Equally disturbing are the circumstances surrounding the aftermath of the massacre. Here in the United States a person who becomes arrested like Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky has been has, at the very least, the right to make one phone call to family or legal counsel.

Nobody concerned about the health and well-being of Sheikh Zakzaky has been able to see or talk to him since December 12. The same applies to those concerned about others taken into custody at the same time, and this after hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have daily walked the streets of Nigeria’s cities demanding he be freed. Similar protests demanding Sheikh Zakzaky’s freedom have occurred around the Earth.

What produces the greatest level of sadness, frustration and righteous indignation over this truly horrific atrocity in Nigeria is the state of affairs existent in today’s civilization, where so few seem to perceive the profound moral deficits revealed in the international non-response. By remaining silent about the Nigeria massacre, in a sense world leaders and media add to the already inflicted, immense harm which occurred during the atrocity itself.

They fail morally by refusing to loudly and absolutely condemn such obvious, unjust and historic state-sponsored terror, actions certainly meeting the criteria of the crime of mass-murder; they fail as well by intentionally refusing the opportunity to explain to their respective constituents, audiences and humanity the real causes of the atrocity, and in the process diminish the chances for such a horror to recur in that region of Africa, or elsewhere on Earth.

Such failure – such refusal to take right action – by world leaders and the media to respond in a moral/spiritual manner commensurate with what could be described as a massively important event and series of ongoing, disturbing circumstance is near criminal itself. It seems clear the Islamic Movement of Nigeria has committed no crime, and become respected because all along it has renounced violence and advocated peace, unity of religions and justice for all. So, for 1,000 or more of the organization’s followers to unjustly perish represents one of 2015’s most brutal war crimes.

World leaders, the media (both corporate and independent) and all peace-and-justice focused concerned people around the Earth cannot allow the perpetrators of the Nigerian massacre impunity for their criminal actions. All human beings are sacred.

Free Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky.

Nigerian lives matter.

(Thank you to Press TV News Videos)

River And His Father.

by Jerry Alatalo

aaa-33“River: The Life of Robert Lovelace” is a 25-minute documentary about Professor of Global Development Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston-Ontario Canada and political activist Robert Lovelace. There’s something wonderfully understated, refreshingly undramatic and non-intense about the film, so I thought it worthy and interesting for men and women who pass this way. Mr. Lovelace was born in Missouri to a white father and Indian mother.

He went to Canada at age 21 to avoid going to fight in the Vietnam War, which he perceived as colonial military actions by the United States government against the people of Vietnam – that the war was essentially going to involve the same horrific actions as those resulting in the genocide of American Indians.

After living in Canada and joining the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation tribe, Robert Lovelace along with others successfully fought for preservation of the ancient indigenous practice of harvesting wild rice after the government turned over those rights to a private company; he went to prison for 100-days in a successful protest against uranium exploration and mining on Native lands, and was part of a group of activists who organized a flotilla of boats traveling to Gaza advocating for an independent state of Palestine.

The short film is neat in that during half of the film Robert Lovelace shares the screen with his teenage son River who decided to base a school project, about someone the student knows personally, on his father. So besides telling Mr. Lovelace’s interesting life story and journey, viewers also see a father-teaching-son example which provides profound wisdom during the final moments of the film.

Mr. Lovelace supports what he calls “re-indigenization” or adoption of a philosophical, spiritual outlook that cares for and respects all people and the Earth’s environment. After reading the Quran and finding it made sense intellectually Mr. Lovelace converted to Islam.

I was pleasantly surprised, thankful and impressed after viewing the film, thought it was (for 25-minutes) perfect, and am happy to share this excellent documentary with all who pass this way.

(Thank you to Press TV Documentaries at YouTube)

Sunday Message From Syria.

by Jerry Alatalo

aaa-32After recently listening to an interview of Grand Mufti of Syria Dr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun by Father Dave Smith, the Syrian leader’s words were moving, so the interview became the focus of this post.  In Islam the Grand Mufti is the highest official of religious law, so Dr. Hassoun is one of Syria’s most prominent religious leaders. Father Dave is known as the “boxing priest” for his years of entering the ring as a since-youth boxing enthusiast, surprising people by being an atypical Catholic priest who punches others for sport. Both men have been involved in working for an end to the war in Syria begun in 2011 – ongoing, and recently entering the fifth year.

The war has resulted in over 200,000 men, women and children perishing, widespread destruction of towns and cities, millions of refugees leaving Syria to surrounding countries or internally displaced, and what observers unanimously agree is the world’s largest and most difficult humanitarian disaster. The long war in Syria for this writer has been the most heart-breaking issue of all to post on in over two years in this space. While Father Dave Smith, Grand Mufti Hassoun, numerous religious/spiritual leaders from around the world, United Nations officials, peace activists and others have worked to end the war in Syria, one wonders seriously – at this point where the violence and harm has seemed to gone on longer than forever – how those men and women maintain their sanity.

In addition, especially when referring to the men and women religious leaders who’ve worked to end the war, one wonders how they hold on to their faith. Because, for the Syrian people, the war in Syria has been as brutal, gruesome and destructive – physically and psychologically – as it gets. Father Dave’s interview of the Grand Mufti was originally posted over at ingaza.wordpress.com, the blog of peace activist Eva Bartlett, who has worked with Father Dave Smith in Syria. She has spent considerable time in recent years living and traveling in Palestine and Syria reporting on events, so for those interested in first-hand, informed and accurate narratives about the region please visit her blog.

Human beings have something in common that came with each of us as we entered this world at birth, and that is the ability to have compassion or feeling sorrow and sympathy upon becoming aware of others’ hurt and suffering. However one perceives of God, pray the trials and suffering of Syrians – of all people in the Middle East – soon come to an end.

The meeting between Father Dave Smith and Syrian Grand Mufti Dr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun was the first between the two, and their talk centers on the Grand Mufti’s personal spiritual perceptions, not specifics of  the war in Syria. The reason for sharing the words of the Grand Mufti is the hope that somehow his perceptions can become transferred/delivered to leaders and decision-makers with the capacity to influence events on the ground in Syria, and that the message he conveys profoundly moves those leaders to take right action and hasten the end of the war.

In relation to the Syrian conflict, the most relevant statement the Grand Mufti made during the interview may have been: “Those who are killing in the name of God do not know God”.

In a sense, one could describe this post as a message in a bottle urging peace in Syria and the Middle East.

After Father Dave asks the Grand Mufti where he was from and his “boxing record”, he learned that he’s from the Syrian city of Aleppo and that volleyball and swimming, not boxing, were two sports he participated in during high school. The priest then found out that the Grand Mufti had just turned 66 years-old, and Father Dave paid him a compliment: “you still look very fit”.

Interpreter for (His Grace) Grand Nufti Dr. Hassoun:

“He actually believe(s) in the power of love, and hatred is something that his Grace does not know or believe in, even for his enemies – he prays for them”.

Father Dave: How would you describe your work?

“His Grace believes that he is a messenger, and he does not ask the community or society a reward for it. His only question or request would be from God almighty, that God would be happy with the work of his Grace. His brother and sisters are actually not only those who are residing in Aleppo, it is the 7 billion others who reside on Earth”.

“They are two different kinds: the first is actually believers, and his Grace would always pray for the good and success of those believers, and happiness for them. (The) others are patients who did not find the way yet. So, for his Grace we always treat those in a similar way to a doctor in the hospital when he has a patient. For those who do not like his Grace, nor God, he is one of his Grace’s patients. So it is the duty of his Grace to give him medicine, and sympathize with him. Because God is actually the one who will judge that person, not his Grace”.

“For that reason his Grace will not believe that there are many religions – there is only one religion, and in this religion there are only two words: sacredness of God and dignity of human beings. The 7 billion human beings on this Earth are creations of God, whether they are believers or non-believers. But at the end of the day, it is God almighty that created all of them. So, it’s his Grace’s duty to serve them and look after them. In the mosque, in the church, or in the hospital, it is the duty of his Grace to look after them”.

“And God on the judgment day would be the one to ask whether they had become believers or non-believers. If his Grace would have access to the devil, he would basically preach that devil to be a believer. But whether the devil would actually decide to stay as it is…”

Father Dave asks if he is talking about Islam, or a particular form of religion.

“His Grace believes that actually there are different religions. Abraham has one, Moses has one, Jesus has one, Muhammad has one – but they all have one God. So the belief inside a human being is one. You can say that God almighty has (visualized?) in Jesus Christ, or you can tell me that God almighty is actually Jesus Christ, or Jesus Christ is the son of the almighty. This is your perception of God. His Grace’s perception of God is that we are the unity, you have God almighty as one, who does not basically have other forms”.

“It is actually the light and the spirit of God that basically fall on and has been transmitted to messengers like Abraham, like Moses, like Jesus, like Muhammad (PBUH). Well, this is actually God’s wish to be transmitted in this format. The beautiful thing about those five messengers is that we’ve been asked to believe in all of them, and none of them has said “do not believe in others”. The reason why his Grace loves Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is because it’s the commandment of Prophet Muhammad to say to all Muslims “You are not a Muslim or believer until you believe in all the messengers who came before me”. “

“It’s the commandment of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to believe in (the) Bible, and the Old Testament, and the virginity of Mary the Virgin. And that the spiritual great-grandfather for his Grace is Abraham, and that his cousins are Moses and Jesus. So we are all related to one family irrespective of which ways that lead to this family. The goal is the divinity of the God. And for that reason – his Grace said that yesterday when he received you – God does not exist in churches, in mosques, but God exists in the heart of all human beings”.

“When you love somebody you love because the power of God almighty is transmitted in the heartbeats of each human being. Without God’s power, you would not have the presence of that human being.  So, even that Jew is my brother, even if he was not nice to Jesus Christ, and did not beliieve in Jesus Christ, nor Prophet Muhammad. This means that he is a patient and it’s his Grace’s duty to treat him, and not to kill him. Those who are killing in the name of God do not know God”.

Father Dave: He is a beautiful man and an inspiration to us all. Thank you.

“His Grace wishes that you can transmit his best and warmest regards to all Australians whether they are Christian or Muslim clerics. Even to the Jewish Australians, even the Australians who are non-believers. They are all our brothers and sisters, and we hope that we can collaborate to renew this belief for those who want to believe, to take the hands for those who lost their way back to the right track. His Grace would tell you, them, and to himself – may God lead us to the right path. Amen”.

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(Thank you to Father Dave Smith at YouTube)

Iran Leader’s Message To European, North American Youth.

by Jerry Alatalo

aaa-32Alphabet In an effort to discourage and prevent the young men and women of Europe and North America from becoming involved with ISIS, al Qaeda and/or other terrorist groups falsely claiming adherence to the principles of Islam, Iran’s leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei wrote a letter directed to those young people.

In the letter he asks the young people (all people should read the Quran before forming any opinions about Islam) if they have ever read Islam’s sacred text the Quran, and suggests they do so before even thinking about joining any terrorist group. Some reading this may have read the text in the past and understand where Iran’s leader is coming from and why he felt it necessary to communicate with vulnerable young people.

Having read the Quran within the last few weeks, there is absolutely nothing in the writings which gives ISIS or other terrorist groups any Islamic justification for the heinous, barbaric crimes committed since the summer of 2014 in Iraq, or since 2011 in Syria. Let it be said in another way. For ISIS to assert that it follows the sacred teachings of the Quran and Muhammad would be the same thing as if it said it was following the teachings of the Bible and Jesus Christ. ISIS does not equate with Islam.

The Quran corresponds to every essential sacred text of all major Earth spiritual traditions, in that it teaches right, Godly conduct in all one’s affairs, and penalty to pay first here and in the afterlife for failure to live in such a manner. True devoted adherents of all the Earth’s spiritual traditions, be it Hindu, Islam, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Tao, Indigenous or any other could never in a million years condone murderous actions or inflicting great harm upon – especially – innocent human beings.

Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khamenei is doing the right thing in correcting the great – but absolutely false – misperception that ISIS has some relation whatsoever to true Islam. Perhaps the time has come for leaders from every spiritual tradition on Earth to join in strong unity and publish a letter similar to the letter Iran’s leader has directed to the European and North American young people.

Such an all-tradition message could not only be directed to young people tempted in their ignorance to join criminal organizations like ISIS, but toward adults around the world who are also ignorant of Islamic core spiritual teachings, who unwittingly increase dissemination of erroneous and dangerous concepts based on profound misperception. It is both disappointing and puzzling to know that such a joining of the Earth’s spiritual tradition leaders, and publication of their unified message of peace in correcting dangerous and ignorant views, has not yet occurred.

Because if there’s one thing humanity is in desperate need of now is wisdom, understanding and action from those called, and who claim themselves as, the makers of peace.

In recent news regarding the insane and misguided phenomenon called “Islamophobia”, many are familiar of since discredited reports from FOX News about so-called “no-go” zones/cities in Europe, in particular Paris, France and Birmingham, England. “Terrorism experts'” appeared on FOX News talking about imaginary Muslim-controlled “no-go” zones where even police officers dare not enter. Those reports have been completely discredited as false, FOX News has had to publicly apologize for them, and the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has gone so far as to threaten legal action against FOX for the harm done to her city Paris’ reputation.

In her own way Anne Hidalgo has decided to powerfully clear up misperceptions. Perhaps the mayor of Birmingham, England will follow Mayor Hidalgo’s fine example and take legal action against the media corporation whose report seems to meet the criteria of criminal libel against the people of that British city. Perhaps this will start a good trend of governments initiating lawsuits against media companies for instances of reporting false information.

Most of the time libel occurs against one person or a small group of people. When entire cities become the victim of libel by media companies millions of people become harmed, so when the first multi-billion dollar judgment for a Paris or Birmingham comes around there could well be just a few less false reports and a lot more fact-checking by the mainstream media.

What follows is a transcript of Ayatollah Khamenei’s letter followed by a video about it with comments from an Islamic leader in Michigan in America.

In the name of God, the Beneficent the Merciful.

To the Youth in Europe and North America,

The recent events in France and similar ones in some other Western countries have convinced me to directly talk to you about them. I am addressing you, [the youth], not because I overlook your parents, rather it is because the future of your nations and countries will be in your hands; and also I find that the sense of quest for truth is more vigorous and attentive in your hearts.

I don’t address your politicians and statesmen either in this writing because I believe that they have consciously separated the route of politics from the path of righteousness and truth.

I would like to talk to you about Islam, particularly the image that is presented to you as Islam. Many attempts have been made over the past two decades, almost since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, to place this great religion in the seat of a horrifying enemy. The provocation of a feeling of horror and hatred and its utilization has unfortunately a long record in the political history of the West.

Here, I don’t want to deal with the different phobias with which the Western nations have thus far been indoctrinated. A cursory review of recent critical studies of history would bring home to you the fact that the Western governments’ insincere and hypocritical treatment of other nations and cultures has been censured in new historiographies.

The histories of the United States and Europe are ashamed of slavery, embarrassed by the colonial period and chagrined at the oppression of people of color and non-Christians. Your researchers and historians are deeply ashamed of the bloodsheds wrought in the name of religion between the Catholics and Protestants or in the name of nationality and ethnicity during the First and Second World Wars. This approach is admirable.

By mentioning a fraction of this long list, I don’t want to reproach history; rather I would like you to ask your intellectuals as to why the public conscience in the West awakens and comes to its senses after a delay of several decades or centuries. Why should the revision of collective conscience apply to the distant past and not to the current problems? Why is it that attempts are made to prevent public awareness regarding an important issue such as the treatment of Islamic culture and thought?

You know well that humiliation and spreading hatred and illusionary fear of the “other” have been the common base of all those oppressive profiteers. Now, I would like you to ask yourself why the old policy of spreading “phobia” and hatred has targeted Islam and Muslims with an unprecedented intensity. Why does the power structure in the world want Islamic thought to be marginalized and remain latent? What concepts and values in Islam disturb the programs of the super powers and what interests are safeguarded in the shadow of distorting the image of Islam? Hence, my first request is: Study and research the incentives behind this widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam.

My second request is that in reaction to the flood of prejudgments and disinformation campaigns, try to gain a direct and firsthand knowledge of this religion. The right logic requires that you understand the nature and essence of what they are frightening you about and want you to keep away from.

I don’t insist that you accept my reading or any other reading of Islam. What I want to say is: Don’t allow this dynamic and effective reality in today’s world to be introduced to you through resentments and prejudices. Don’t allow them to hypocritically introduce their own recruited terrorists as representatives of Islam.

Receive knowledge of Islam from its primary and original sources. Gain information about Islam through the Qur’an and the life of its great Prophet. I would like to ask you whether you have directly read the Qur’an of the Muslims. Have you studied the teachings of the Prophet of Islam and his humane, ethical doctrines? Have you ever received the message of Islam from any sources other than the media?

Have you ever asked yourself how and on the basis of which values has Islam established the greatest scientific and intellectual civilization of the world and raised the most distinguished scientists and intellectuals throughout several centuries?

I would like you not to allow the derogatory and offensive image-buildings to create an emotional gulf between you and the reality, taking away the possibility of an impartial judgment from you. Today, the communication media have removed the geographical borders. Hence, don’t allow them to besiege you within fabricated and mental borders.

Although no one can individually fill the created gaps, each one of you can construct a bridge of thought and fairness over the gaps to illuminate yourself and your surrounding environment. While this preplanned challenge between Islam and you, the youth, is undesirable, it can raise new questions in your curious and inquiring minds. Attempts to find answers to these questions will provide you with an appropriate opportunity to discover new truths.

Therefore, don’t miss the opportunity to gain proper, correct and unbiased understanding of Islam so that hopefully, due to your sense of responsibility toward the truth, future generations would write the history of this current interaction between Islam and the West with a clearer conscience and lesser resentment.

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
21st Jan. 2015

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(Thank you to PressTV News Videos at YouTube)