(Don't take me too seriously here; I'm only half joking)
"Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration.
They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous.
Of the good that they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for God knoweth well those that do right.
Those who reject Faith,- neither their possessions nor their (numerous) progeny will avail them aught against God: They will be companions of the Fire,- dwelling therein (for ever)."
Al 'Imran 113 – 117
The Glorious Qur'an
This term – "People of the Book", is a recurrent theme, it would seem, throughout the Qur'an. I'd remembered it from my experience in speaking with Mohammad and T.Q. all those years ago at a local mosque in Garden Grove and had myself encountered it, if only in passing, as I had begun reading the book some years back before I'd reasoned that I'd be best off reading the Old and New Testaments first (the third book of the Qur'an being as far as I'd made it). A foundation in societal development, if you will; to understand written history in how it impacted the world, that is to say—chronologically, seemed the only viable course of study. However, the experience and the conversations stuck with me and there were many things I had remembered about my brief wade in Islam, among them: the Shahada (Lā ilaha illal-Lāh, Muhammadun rasūlula-Lāh ("There is no God, but God. Mohammad is the prophet of God"), the justification for a woman's "modesty", the proclamation of Mohammad's saying, "Seek knowledge from cradle to grave" (which I still follow devoutly) on a gigantic banner hanging over the Commons; and most notably, the earnest assertion (from three sources including Dr. Siddiqi) that Christians and Jews are "People of the Book". Not heathens, but rather Islamic brethren who had yet found the true path. They are to be respected and protected certain rights under the Sharia (Islamic Law). All others are enemies of Allah.
The common ancestry of the Abrahamic religions has often baffled me for fleeting, pensive moments; however, the congruency between their fervent assertions and constant bickering to that of the same between my brother and I, has often justified in my mind as just being the conflict that kinship fosters. Blood has been spilled, I recant: much blood has been spilled in the name of either brother (like Kane and Able, if you will; though perhaps cousin is a more fitting correlation) and angry words have been shouted, threatened and echoed throughout the world, throughout time; however, I have seen these as merely the tense episodes of siblings or cousins, and am personally more apt to seeing the similarities: ancestral, moral and religious, that bind the three cultures together all the way back (as they would have it) to the creation of all things. After all, each succeeding religion devoutly follows the core tenants of the one preceding it and, at their core structure, splinter merely from the word 'prophet' (upon which you'll find further divisions within each family, i.e. Catholic/Protestant…, Shi'a/Sunni…, Hasidim/Messianic/Jews for Jesus…).
To reiterate: tensions have merely been blown out of proportion when we talk about the Christian denominational, or Muslim denominational conflicts; or the greater disparities of the cousin conflict of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. After all, they're all "People of the Book", which is why I am always so piqued by their warring over their disparities, as opposed to focusing on their similarities in moral integrity and family structure (not to mention common lineage)… besides, ultimately aren't heathens the true opposition to all three of these groups? The godless, the polytheistic (assuming Christianity is monotheistic, as it professes itself to be) and the materialistic…? The Hindu, Buddhist, Laoist, Taoist, Maoist, Tribal and Atheist…? The ones who core is not centered on the acceptance of there be only one true God: the Alpha and the Omega, or Allah--the Supreme? From what I am to understand, this is the true enemy of all three of these religions and these are the dissenting beliefs that El/Jehovah/Allah demonize and claim to be the tenants of Satan and of wicked men. These are the ones with no common ancestry, no linear belief and often practicing of ritual deemed perverse or evil by all three of the Abrahamic scriptures. This is where my curiosity piques.
Russia dispelled state religion, did well to snuff out the Orthodox Church and greatly marginalize all forms of religious practice in each of its Republics. It stopped short of eradicating every evident existence of religious practice within its borders; persecuted it harshly, but did not utterly destroy it to nothingness. China has a core basis of Hans, practicing spirituality pertaining to the three Asian –ist religions (Buddhist, Lao- and Tao-) all succumbing to the ever-dictating Maoist principles of fascist socialism (which they care to call Communism), or what I like to call: ruling by iron-clad, air-tight government repression and distortion of facts, histories and media. Machiavells!
37*125'N x 74*926'E – China: approximately 10 miles from the borders of Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan; and within 200 miles of the Kyrgyzstani and Indian borders. Desolate as it may be, this direction is within 100 miles of multiple Chinese villages and towns and my only question is: if there is no CIA presence in the Western Chinese border region… why, is there no presence here? Am I giving away some well-guarded, State secret… I should surely hope not; however, it would seem, as an American, that many of our rifts and conflicts that we're currently engaged in seem to bog us down, strengthen China's protectionist policies and embolden our Islamic Jihadist foe in the region. In short: we get weaker and our enemies get stronger.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The is an axiom to warfare that I do not feel we're explicitly exploiting enough, I would say, and one that imposes the sort of advantages that were unattainable in our past meddling with regional revolutionary arms, because frankly, we chose a side. The Iranians over the Iraqis and then Saddam over the Ayatollah, the Afghanis over the Russians and our explicit support of the Israelis over Pan-Arabia have all fallen by the wayside and we have been weakened, threatened and exposed as a result of our unilateral support for one side of each of these conflicts, even if it was unilateral support for either side at different times. So what of the axial-application to a powderkeg, so long overdue that it has increased, in folds, its explosive capabilities; though executed by ghosting our pressures and disguising them behind very plausible uprisings? Tibet, anyone? How about Kashmir…? Or how about the fact that Iran is thinly removed from this border region and wholly saturated in the ideology that a conflict between Pan-Islam and "heathen" China would pose?? Or how about the fact that China, as we know them to react, would never allow such dissent to rise in their nation!? How about using our enemies' (if that's indeed what they are) weaknesses against them:
Fundamentalist Islam – passionate, unwaveringly missionary ideologues hell-bent on the conversion or death of all non-Muslims
The Republic of China – a cold, calculated government who has a history of repressing uprisings by even their own native Hans with brute force and with little regard for human life, little lone minorities such as religious zealots who would pose a serious threat to the State's non-religious, pan-Chinese principles and goals
Pakistan – the world's most prevalent jihadist state
India – there has been conflict in Kashmir and Tibet for centuries, given India's very liberal religious acceptance, yet deeply-rooted polytheistic roots, which can't seem to find acceptance in either of its two major neighbors
China/Pakistan/India – standing armies, readied militias and "the bomb"
"Light a match!"
And now enter the Uighur, a Turkic-Muslim nation historically residing in Western China. The match?
It's still far too early to know what kind of spark, if any, the current Uighur rebellion will have inside China and moreover, the world as we know it; however, it is difficult to deny that with over 150 reportedly dead and another 800-plus injured, that the Uighur have made an impact on the region. The Chinese government, citing damage to over 400 combined vehicles and shops, has expectedly taken to their totalitarian tactics to muffle the murmurs of a wider rebellion; not only physically with shields and batons, but also technologically, again utilizing the Chinese damage control playbook to its unchanging execution of jamming mobile phone service and practically eliminating web usage throughout the region.
This is not uncommon, as any knowledgeable world citizen knows, as these are the very attacks on free press and peaceful assembly rights that the Chinese have repeatedly enacted from the Tiananmen Square Massacre to the long-standing, intermittent peaks of Tibetan protest, as they've encountered over the past twenty-some-odd years and surely well before. Yet I have not yet heard the outcry of the world just the same as has always been the case in the overbearing, shutdown of Buddhist resistance and infact, have heard very little at all, whether it be in the news or on social networking sites, whom always seem to have the first word and many loquacious ones to follow about any attack on peaceful assembly. Perhaps, I admit, it may be because the reports are fairly preliminary and the just amount of information has yet to surface for people to be keenly aware of the situation; however, I'm more inclined to think that it's because this is not a situation, nor a people we are familiar with and unlike the historically placid nature of Buddhist monks, the certain labels Muslims have garnered for themselves in society (Western media, particularly) have eroded at public sympathy even when it's a peaceful sect of an ultimately peaceful religion.
Iran has been an anomaly, in part due to the fact that Iran is, in itself an anomaly. A strong-willed, highly-intelligent and well-educated populace as a whole, with foundational strength in information gathering and a historic bent toward Western culture that neither emulates, nor role models any other nation in the world. It is wholly its own and has a history that is uniquely tied to Western culture, despite its progress-disadvantaged geographic location in the world. Children have listened to the rhetoric for a generation now and about the great uprising and overthrow of "The Great Satan", and now hear from their cousins in the American Diaspora and wonder just what exactly was gained. Furthermore, they have the revolutionary spirit in them and seem adamant to establish an identity of their own, separate from not only the rest of the world (however, in line with democratic principles), but from their societal elders as well. It should be no surprise that young Iranians have taken to the streets as they have, much because pockets of the nation lives in secret as Christians; but more so because Iranian history, or Persian lore, is loaded with epic, mythical heroes fighting for the glory of Iran, yet remain a culture so suffused with Zoroastrianism and Sikhism that Islam has difficulty monopolizing the identity of the Iranian people. In truth, anything short of Persian or Iranian does.
But Western China and the frontier of Asia is not Iran, is not as ingrained into the minds of the Western world and is not nearly as acculturated by broader societies of progressive thought. It's a marginally poor region of the world, ill-educated and so long under the territorial control of so many different sects of society: the Rus, Mongols, Persians, Ottomans, Soviets and Chinese; that it has become the depressed, forgotten land where their most significant connection to the outside world has come thru the heavily monitored channels of socialist, state media. We don't know much about them, if anything at all, and what they know of us is undeniably skewed in practically every way. That's why it's called, "The Frontier".
Though if time and globalization has taught us anything, it's that if there is knowledge to be gained, somebody will seek it out. That if there is information dissemination within the population at all, whispers of another way will indelibly be spoken; the establishment will be questioned, people will become anxious and the urge for freedom and justice will eventually seep in. Repression can only last as long as the people know only lies and in the case of the Uighur, glimmers of truth have crept in.
They say their revolution is for justice: to bring forth the guilty Hans who killed their Uighur brethren in a factory, though were let off easily. They say that it is because they are a repressed people, a minority that is looked upon unfavorably in contrast to "native" Chinese; which, again, is an issue of justice. Fundamental human rights—"truths", have taken root in the minds of the Uighur.
So much of this world so constantly stands on the brink and I don't think this sentiment is reserved only for doomsayers, nor Western China. It's difficult to deny the pockets of combustible hot air, as exacerbated by the Authoritative (our own nation included, often… sadly) and increased in magnitude by the fanaticism of ideologues of all classes and isms. The maxim of mankind is that we're both a destructive and resilient race; both passionate and calculated, and both bitter and pragmatic… for me, this makes the future always uncertain and I'm brave enough to believe that Aristotelian optimism and Eastern complementarity are not only complementary, but will generally prevail over Platoan, pessimistic duality. Again, I say "generally", which is plausible save our arrival at the ultimate conclusion of our existence as a race, which seems inevitable in that there can only be one true ending, because anything other is just a continuance.
With that being said, military and imperial strategy are Platoan at their core (or, perhaps more specifically, Machiavellian) and always seek to exploit any exposed weakness in their enemy. If the CIA is being run with any pragmatic direction what-so-ever, then the ability to control Eastern adversaries to Western dominance (or, continuation of our way of life, to justify it) should be so glaringly obvious that new born monkeys could devise a plan to secure our hegemony for decades, if not centuries to come.
Or to justify Plato, if we are to ultimately arrive at the only logical conclusion of our continued way of life and deconstruct our one human race into various "races" of phenotype or ideology for the pompous and wholly ignorant fight to Machiavellian survival: then we, as the Free Peoples, need to recognize that our enemies are crusading with an undaunted fortitude, and need to seize this opportunity to pit our rising adversaries against each other when core ideologies come into direct conflict in the form of ideological riots in repressive spheres.
(Or to justify Nihilist… what the hell does any of it matter anyway?)
However, I still believe in Aristotle, John Locke, the Framers and the voice of the Iranian People; I still feel that inevitability exists only for those who choose to lose faith in humanity and in the resilient, calculated and pragmatic aspects of our hearts, minds and souls. And should the world do battle for control of those hearts, minds and souls; well then I shall forever choose the side who allows me to be free, even if it ultimately means death, because that is cause worth dying for in my opinion.
Though if we are just moving along an inevitable path and Machiavells do wield the agendas and relations of this nation, in particular, then I have to wonder… what the hell are you guys doing? If this is, as you see it, the War for our way of life and, indeed, for our lives in total; then the Uighur have just laid at your feet a golden opportunity to retain our Western hegemony and if it too should fall by the wayside, then I call for the removal of Director Leon Panetta from his post, because agree with your tactics, philosophies and viewpoints, or not… you're failing miserably in your job.
"The People of the Book" are uprising against "heathens" and we shouldn't even have to be visible in the region to send this catawampus spinning top into complete disarray. To find the region we've found ourselves bogged down in now, and the foreseeable battleground of the future drowning in armed conflict, rebellion and repression. If the Chinese quiet their own native peoples with a heavy hand, then we can only imagine the intensity of their repression against Islamic mobs. If the Muslims hate us, who tend to be a God-fearing, Christian region of the world (at least in perception); then we can only imagine their fervent distaste for a godless, communist regime, in theory.
And you call yourselves an "Intelligence Agency".
Here's where history and the Qur'an can work for us. After all, "we've merely lost our way"; they are sinners to the core and by choice… where are all the Machiavells?