Sunday, January 11, 2009

What hope is there?

History has proven that silence is the greatest propagator of injustice in the world. Over the past eleven days as Israeli bombs rain down on Gaza, I have thought much about this silence and waited in vain for that tremendous outcry of dissent one would expect to hear from the world in response to such an aggression. I have anguished in my helplessness and so I do the only thing I am capable of doing. I break my silence. I break my silence so that I will never have to tell my son that I did not speak out against what I believe to be one of the greatest violations of human rights which has been going on now for 60 long years.

Unfortunately to take issue with the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is most always in America oversimplified to be a form of anti-Semitism or in the least, a defending of the terrorism that Israelis face in the region. I could not more honestly and sincerely express that my firm rejection of Zionist nationalism is NOT in any way a grievance towards the Jewish people. Furthermore I wholeheartedly believe that like every human being, as a birthright, they deserve to exist and live out their lives in peace. But peace cannot exist where there is injustice and the political movement of Zionism to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine where Arab families had been living for generations, has given rise to one of the greatest injustices committed in the 20th century. This injustice enacted by the forced expulsion and murder of innocents has left millions of Palestinians destitute, permanently exiled, most living in refugee camps in a state of indigence and hopelessness. With over 4 million refugees registered with the UN and an estimated 2 million more unregistered, all of which are excluded from any Israeli peace efforts, Palestinians are one of the largest displaced people in the world.

The question that has plagued me for so many years is how can the Jewish people let this happen? How can a people who survived the atrocities of the holocaust subject anyone to the same degradation, depravation and dehumanization that was inflicted upon them? How could a people who lost 6 million in the holocaust justify their right to exist by destroying 6 million innocent lives? If the answer is that Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorism then it is hard to comprehend how systematic acts of murder and aggression will do little but birth a new generation of irreversible radical idealism which will continue to manifest in various form of violence against the Israeli people. .

Terrorism is defined as "the use of violence and threats to intimidate for political purposes". Does the slaughter of innocent Palestinian children, women and men not constitute a form of terrorism? How does the killing of over four hundred Palestinians in one week justify the deaths of eleven Israelis by Hamas rockets over the past eight years? When did an Israeli life become more precious than a Palestinian life? Is it not a huge double standard for the US government to demonize Iran for transporting weapons to Iraq when it is US made bombs and guns that are killing innocent children and women in Gaza? The answer is clear as we have seen in the Bush administration’s illegal invasion and decimation of Iraq, that the mightier often feel their crimes are justified so as long as they believe in the righteousness of their cause. And it is this sense of self-righteousness that has given way to the depraved indifference we see for innocent lives, threatening the most basic moral codes of human existence.

As illusive as peace may seem at this time given the rancor of sixty year old wounds on both sides, for many of us who believe in the significance of justice in the resolution of this conflict, a major step towards reconciliation and eventually peace would be for Israel to withdraw form the Palestinian territories it has been unlawfully occupying since 1967 and to abide by international law and dismantle the hundreds of illegal settlements it built and continues to build in these undisputed areas. The Palestinians like the Israelis deserve to live in security, with dignity and more importantly with hope. Without hope, without a reason to live, it would be difficult for any human being to engender a value for life, and if there is no value for life, it is easy to succumb to nihilistic delusions and imperil the lives of innocents on the path to self- destruction.

What hope is there for us as a race if we do not see the interconnectedness of our fate? What hope is there for us as a race if we do not speak up for those whose voices have been silenced? What hope is there for us as a race if we identify ourselves more with our culture and our religion than with our humanity? What hope is there…

Azam Ali

My love, admiration and immeasurable respect for Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of non-violent struggle against imperialism, is no secret. Gandhi had great sympathy for the persecution of the Jews, yet he was always politically and religiously against imposing a Jewish national home on the Palestinians. In an article published in the Harijan in 1938 he expressed his views very clearly on this issue and I find it to be some of the most profound words ever expressed on this subject.

" My sympathy does not blind me to the requirements for justice. Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any code of conduct. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews as their national home. "

" And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart. There are hundreds of ways of reasoning with the Arabs, if they will only discard the British bayonet. As it is, they are co-sharers with the British in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to them. According to the canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds. Let the Jews who claim to be the chosen race prove their title by choosing the way of non-violence for vindicating their position on earth." – Mahatma Gandhi (Published in The Harijan November 1938)


Blogger tagryn said...

Hi Azam,
I think it is the latest incarnation of how we as a species often allow ourselves to be ruled by anger and fear, rather than love and trust. I think that a number of very smart people have put together numerous plans to "solve" the problems in the Middle East, but until both sides are ready to overcome their basic fear and hate of the other, such rational approaches will make limited headway.

Perhaps there's an evolution at work in humanity, and we're living somewhere in the flow. Certainly I think humanity in general has progressed from even where we were a century ago, but at the same time I often feel that Hobbes had the right of it, that Homo homini lupus ("man is a wolf to man") is still the rule more than the exception.

We can but hope and do what we can. Hope, after all, was what was left to humanity in the fable of Pandora's box after all else had been let loose on the world. Peace.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salam Man Adib Hastam Music hay shoma be roohe man power mide ye jooriaye man va shoma ghablan baham tanasokh dashtim . man dar zamine Astral Project Active hastam.
lotfan ba man dar tamas bashid
my email address

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You have placed my own thoughts regarding this heart-breaking situation into words far more poignant and poetic than I ever could.

Thank you.


11:34 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Thank you for taking the time to share your insightful thoughts with us, Azam.

I grew up in a conservative Christian home and was brainwashed to believe that I had to bless Israel, or I would be cursed.

As you're probably well aware, Genesis 12:1-3 is often cited to justify this stance:

1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Considering that Jews and Palestinians allegedly came from Abram(Abraham), one might wonder if the blessing above would include the Palestinians as well. However, I'm sure other scripture would negate this idea. Regardless, here's a quote I found: "I have no doubt that the Lord will bless you and your family for doing so, because He promised this in Genesis 12:1-3." It came from here:

Based on your post, it seems to me you desire others not to hold onto their religious beliefs as tightly as they do; I think that's really the heart of the issue. This all seems to come down to religious beliefs: America's blind support for the Jews, the Jew's desire to have to live there and nowhere else, etc.

The problem is that there ARE far too many that are blinded by their FAITH. They forget that it is just that: faith; not fact, nor backed up through observable means. You are sane and fairly wise, much of humanity is not and will not.

Personally, my journey has taken me towards non-theism and a skepticism in general. I look to the sciences to help me understand our existence and find it far, far more satisfying. The future can potentially be very bright, indeed, if the bad doesn't overshadow the good.

PS: I really want to buy the Roseland album. Not sure if it will ever be (re)-released, but maybe you can tell Tyler to get with the program. :) All I have now is something I bought that's 160kbs/s, and I'm doubtful either of you got any of the $.

My heart hurts for the sorrow you felt and continue to feel over the illegal invasion.

Best wishes, and I hope Iman is doing well and has brought joy to your life.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

I wrote my last post when I was tired and in somewhat of a hurry; I noticed some obvious grammatical errors and other areas of improvement, but alas, I cannot change it now. :)

10:30 AM  
Blogger dubkarma said...

For now, I just wanted to welcome you, prospectively, to Canada. Montreal is a great city—though cold in the winter! I feel honoured that you and Loga and Iman have chosen to live in my country. Like all countries, we have many problems, but, also, we must be doing something right!

Thank you for filling my life and others' with so much beautiful, brilliant and intelligent music.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous s.h.nikyar said...

hi dear azam,
i am so happy to meet you here.
i think your sound is so flaxible with this paradox ( delicate and powerfull),
exactly is a tissue of velvet and silk.
i am a persian poet and some of my poems are in my old blog

pls see my blog.
pls see my blogs and left your comments.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Shasta said...


I thank you so much for writing your heart. As a young American woman, I grew up in a conservative Christian home. But I want to give you hope that not all those who ardently follow Jesus believe that the injustices committed against the Palestinians are in anyway condoned by the Scriptures - and some of us are trying very hard to change this terrible hardening of hearts.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Azam, you have expressed what I have been feeling for awhile now so much more eloquently than I every could have. I never truly believed that the only people who should be aloud to live in that area should be the Jewish people. It breaks my heart to see my country so adamantly supporting terrorism just because the Christian fanatics claim it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately so many of my fellow countrymen believe that the Palestinians are the only terrorists over there. For that I would like to apologize. There are terrorists of every nationality and religious background and it is a shame to see so many in my nation blind to this. It doesn't seem that hard to me to understand that any form of religious fanatic can be a terrorist. I hope that future generations will not be so blind to this fact, and I hope that one day there is a world with the justice for your people you so desire.

Peace be with you always.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous keyvan said...

این استخوان ِ صُلب
جا شد
تا باد در ستون ِ خلأ
میعان ِ مردگان ِ سماوات برپا شد
فرق ِ دونیم ِ اعظم
توسن که زیر و بم را
خون کامه
دیداری از مس و گچ کُنَد
جوار ِ بروجی
وآن ماه بشکفد
ژن پاره در مدار ِ مُقَرنَس
رود ِ لگن پراش


به یادتون که شبها رو با شکافت حنجره تون در عدم سپری می کنیم

کاش همچنان که دوست نزدیک ما هستی در جان، دوست نزدیکتون بودیم تا چیزها می گفتیم .

بی مرگ و در پناه ِ پنهان باشی ؛

با احترام ِ بی زمان ؛


11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My respect and admiration for you has increased ten fold.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Eclectic said...

Ghandi advised German Jews to commit suicide. During World War II, Gandhi penned an open letter to the British people, urging them to surrender to the Nazis. Later, when the extent of the holocaust was known, he criticized Jews who had tried to escape or fight for their lives as they did in Warsaw and Treblinka. “The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife,” he said. “They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.”

3:53 PM  
Blogger . said...

Azam i love your music. I love your voice…

1:50 PM  
Blogger Maximiliano said...

Beatiful Azam, please read the book "Hostages to Khomeini" in order to KNOW, who controls Iran, which are the same that controls U.S.A. the Jesuit Order.

For more information do not doubt to contact with me. God will pay.

10:02 AM  
Blogger ecosomatic said...

Thank you for your heartfelt words. Like never before we need to demonstrate our solidarity with the people of Iran, and our respect for all that Persian culture has and continues to give to the world.

Azam, composer Ben Sargent and I would like to connect with you re: an artistic/cultural project whose time is NOW. This project demonstrates the connectedness and united origins of Eastern/Mideastern and Western music via the influence of the Dastgah, going all the way back to the Middle Ages, revealing new insights in the life of a medieval visionary that it seems you very much respect. This is an opera that we essentially wrote with you in mind and it is designed to open minds and hearts to our connectedness as a human family.

Please feel free to contact me via Facebook if you'd like to know more.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good music, too bad you are an ignorant neo nazi.. Iran, as a nation supported Hitler ,as well as those Islamist conquerors who took control of the Jewish land through bloody wars. The irony of it all is that a foolish woman like Azam Ali will call the Arabs natives, when in fact the Jews built all the holy sites and have been the only race to inhabit Jerusalem uninhibited for 4000 years. It is like saying that Iran belongs to only Shia people and that all non-Shia should be thrown out because they are stealing the land from those who conquered it long ago. The Shias themselves are bloodthirsty and ruthless who murdered all other religions and cultures dwelling in their land who refused to convert to Shia. The Ba'hai religion is now centered in Haifa Israel, as those Israelis you hate give refuge to non-Muslims. If the Palestinians took control, they would slaughter all the Ba'hai just as your Shia brothers did!

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a picture of the founder of the modern state of Palestine and head of the PLO , Mufti Amin Al Husseini,_Amin_al_Husseini_und_Adolf_Hitler.jpg

9:33 PM  

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