A World Citizen’s Viewpoint

25 Apr

(English version of original Swedish publication): USA behöver stöd, inte fördomanden Österbotteningen Tidning: Lördag 13 oktober 2001

As a Black French/American, living as Permanent Resident in Finland, I have been amazed over the past few weeks, at the hatred I have encountered against one of my homelands, America. War is not pretty. Murder is not pretty, whether it be in Afghanistan, New York, or Finland. The remarks I have heard have somewhat taken me aback frankly, because instead of my Finnish friends and associates saying how appalled they were at what took place on the 11th September, they immediately start to condemn America, bringing up mistakes the country has made over the past half century or so, speak of how: “they think they’re so big and powerful, and they are going to show the world whose boss”…etc…which I don’t really think that is the general attitude of most Americans. It is not a matter of showing who’s boss, but it is a matter of justice, whether it be in that country, or here in Finland, when it comes to national security and defense.

I doubt seriously, if the same thing happened in Finland, and thousands of lives were lost, that President Tarja Halonen, would just say: “Oh well, these things happen in life”… and go off to the Presidential retreat, without being a bit more than “concerned”. It is so easy to point the finger and sit back in our easy chairs at home, and speak negatively about those in other lands, that stand for democracy, just as we do here in Finland and in many other countries throughout the world. Those innocent people that lost their lives on that horrendous day, were flesh and blood like you and I. And my heart bled for their loved ones, that somehow have to go on, just as my heart bleeds for all people, in whatever land, that go through such tragedy.

Nobody likes war. But throughout history, man has had to make a stand and defend liberty and justice at all costs. No one wants to see innocent people die, women, children, people that have had nothing to do with the ignorance of radicals, fundamentalist extremists such as Bin Laden and his “followers”. But the fact is, is that this unfortunately happens in war. Good and innocent people do die.

Here in Finland, your very own have given their lives, in wars, because they would not allow others to come in and take what belonged to them, to ravage and kill and burn and devastate without a response. And because of courageous men and women, who fought, today in this land, we can, for the past 70 years, live in peace.

But as in the first article I wrote about this tragic situation: “In The Blink Of An Eye”, that is absolutely how, in a moment, the peace that we often take for granted, the security we are now so accustomed to, can change. No country is immune to what has been going on. The world is ever changing, sometimes in the worst imaginable ways…

Would not we, in Finland, want Nato, the UN, and others who believe in freedom, democracy, come to our aid? Even with the European Union totally behind the U.S. and it’s other allies, people are very upset. We all are upset when it comes to war…Should we think that Nato or the UN is so misguided that they would chose to support a country without having sound basis in which to do so?

Several associates here immediately mention all about the good things of the Islamic religion… and I of all people do not knock one’s faith, though I am a very professed Christian, I respect others’ personal beliefs. What I am trying to say, is that as much as so many want to say that America is against Muslims and Islamic beliefs, I honestly, as one that has lived there, and educated there, do not believe that this strategic response to the 11th September, has anything to do with religion, and everything to do with the obliteration of sheer evil.

Have we, as a compassionate people, forgotten that there were Finns, britts, French,Danes, Germans, Swedes, Russians.. and.many other nationalities, killed, by that thoughtless attack on that day? I believe that if the same thing happened in this country, that every Finn would want surely some kind of retaliation, counterattack, justice… Finding the right words in such a situation, is not easy…

Believe me, I am all for having in-depth discussions, for they can be beneficial to all people and often work. Sometimes we can walk away from them with hope for a better tomorrow. That usually happens when people are not selfish or narrow-minded. There are some, that sadly, cannot be reasoned with.

People can and do say all they want, negatively often, about Bush or other political leaders in the States. As much as I respect Tarja Halonen, I am sure that she has her political and personal blemishes as we all do. But I do believe she is doing her best to uphold the laws of this land of which I feel very much a party of, and stands in defense of her country, as a citizen as well as President. So she is due our support, our respect, our prayers. She is more effective with her people behind her, than against her. And likewise, we in the free world, should stand behind our leaders, no matter what country they represent.

Again I say, it is easy to point the finger at politicians and forget that they are just people like you and I, and need our support, in the good and bad days, and most of all, need our prayers. Which of us would want to carry such a heavy responsibility on our shoulders? Do we not realize that they are spending many sleepless nights dealing with national and international situations that determine whether we live in peace?

What if it was your family member on one of those flights, that called you to say: “I love you and goodbye” and then a second later is gone into eternity, with no remains even to be found, so you could at least have a proper burial? Could you actually say then, honestly: “Well, we should sit around the conference table and continue discussions of these matters with radicals, extremists, fundamentalists who continue to half a deaf ear?”

Haven’t leaders already spent years and much of our tax money doing just that with radical parties, people that have put their own agenda ahead of what is right? What has it profited the world in this matter? It is evident, for decades, that politicians, all over the globe have tried to “discuss” terrorism with these individuals, and look at the results. I am not saying either that we should stop talking… But you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.

I have several Muslim associates here in Finland. They’ve been very kind to me, as we have been to one another, and there has been none of this hate for each other, because of our personal faith, or where we come from. But war is an awful thing, that can tear even the closest of friends, even families, apart.

No one wins, but at the same time, no one is going to sit and just let evil overrun the world, or are we? We know that there are Muslims around the world, that were as horrified as we all were by this event in New York, and share the grief of all the families that lost loved ones I might add, that there were law abiding Americans. and Muslims from other countries also that were killed in that disaster…

Maybe we should take our eyes off of America and President Bush, and think simply about what has happened to innocent human beings and even moreso, what is happening in diverse places all around our world today. What has it profited, all this misery, pain, loss? Who is really dancing in the streets from the horror of all this, who in their right minds should I say? Shouldn’t the wrong doers be repremanded? Don’t you want your children to live in a world without worrying from one minute to the next if they board a bus, or stop in a place to eat, that their lives could be lost in an explosion or them being shot to death?

It is a frightful thing to watch the news and see the mobs, burning flags and images of world leaders; screaming, such hate in their eyes…Many of them ignorant to the truth, actually believing a lie, and choosing to believe that all this is about their faith, their religion? How easily can the truth be turned into a lie… with just the manipulation of a word or two…

Yes, there is a price to pay when we stand for what is good and right Liberty is a precious gift. Ok, to a terrorist, they are doing “good”. Anyone whose mind has been conditioned to such a way of thinking, of course will eventually believe this. But someone that knows right from wrong, somewhere, in the far corners of their minds, knows that murder is not right. It is not simply a matter of faith or religion, it is just common sense.

God will not allow evil, in any form to stand. And so we as a God-fearing nation, as a democratic, equality for all nation, here in Finland, or elsewhere, should stand on His promises for they only bring about good. We can sit and blame America and say: “Well finally they know what it feels like….” and then… in the blink of an eye, the same thing could happen to us…

Maybe this is a bad reference, but my mother used to tell me as a child, that there is a price to pay when I refused to do what was right. When I refused to obey my parents, when I wanted to have my own way, ignoring what is pure, good advice and honest. My parents first did their best to talk to me, in love, in patience. But when that failed sometimes, and I continued in wrong doing, then eventually, I got my “recompense.” And it hurt. It hurt my pride most of all… but I learned.

I did not understand, when my parents were disciplining me, they’d often say, “that it hurt them MORE than it hurt me….” But when I say the tears in their eyes from having to discipline me… Today, it is because of their patience, their advice, their counsel, that I have chosen to live and walk in the right way. It is a lot easier to just do what is right and avoid any kind of discipline.

Evil is evil and has to be dealt with. Many good men and women have lost their precious lives defending their country, their religion…. Freedom is not cheap.

We can all sit in our comfortable homes and point fingers at America, but who will stand for what is right? America is not perfect, nor is Finland, nor any country. We all have our flaws if we are honest. But no country or person deserves what has happened.

I am not just talking the horrific thing that happened in New York, but what has and is happening around the world. Peoples’ lives have been irrevocably damaged, loved one snatched away from loving parents, family members…

This has been going on in Israel, in Ireland and England, and around the world and almost nobody these days practically says a thing. But it happened in the land where many in Finland have left their own country to go, plant their family roots, and prosper, but for some reason, some people that say nothing in defense of Israel, is angry now with the States and it’s stand against evil?

I have followed, the latest events on CNN and the French channel TV Cinq. Today they showed Ben Laden, somewhere in Afghanistan, with his advisors, calmly sitting somewhere in a secluded mountainous region, continuing his threats to America and other countries, and thanking God for the destruction in the U.S.A… as TV 5 said: “He calmly drank his tea….”

These men are fundamentalists. What they are doing, has absolutely, according to Islam religious leaders, nothing to do with it’s beliefs. Yet there are people that follow Bin Laden’s teachings and support what they do: “In the name of God.” But the Word of God clearly states likewise, that He is not mocked.

The impressionable and well-spoken woman ambassador to Pakistan, was also recently on TV Cinq, and she said that all the leaders in the Islamic world, will convene in Pakistan soon, to discuss this problem, but assured the viewing audience, that what these terrorists, Bin Laden and others, are not doing this under any Islamic guidelines, but their own.

Not one of my colleagues has said a thing about these things? Even some have quoted me Bible scripture from the Book of Revelation, saying that this is why these things have happened on the 11th September. Who am I to argue with Scripture? I am not a prophet, but I am a pretty good listener and reader… and all I know is many of us in the world today appear to have forgotten the words: compassion, justice,liberty, prayer…

It goes without saying that once something of this nature takes place in the world, there will be years and years of repercussion, more wars, more attacks, more deaths, more sorrow. Man’s inhumanity to man.

I speak not as a French-American, but simply as a human being, that my desire is to simply see everyone, be in one accord. But likewise I know that this will most likely not happen today. I come from a persecuted people. It is amazing what heartless people can do. It is likewise amazing what an educated and loving mind can accomplish, working together with all races, cultures and tongues. People do perish because of ignorance…

The Bible calls us to pray for the leaders of our countries. Though I be born in the States, I have had the privilege to reside in several foreign countries in my life. So I tend to think of myself as a world citizen, at least for a while longer.

There is good and bad everywhere. I don’t have the answer to “how” the world should handle this situation with terrorists, with Bin Laden and such men and this evil, but I know that if we humble ourselves and pray, that God will help us.

Christian-Charles Milton de Plicque
Angel House International Association rf. Karleby Finland
October 2001

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