I let my imagination run
wild the other night, and wondered the impossible: What if I
were YOU! What would I have done if I possessed your immense
wealth, and inherited your blind hatred for America and
I imagined that I went to a
country called Afghanistan. A country torn apart and
ravaged by foreign invasions and internal tribal wars. A
mountainous land of beautiful and courageous people, living in
destitute and in dire need of help. I imagined that I
offered my entire wealth and my time to bring this country and
its beautiful people back on its feet.
First and foremost, I
created schools for all Afghani children to have access to free
education. I hired teachers from abroad to come and create
the foundation and infrastructure of a first class academic
system for all Afghani youth. I created sport centers, so
they could train and develop their bodies as well as their
minds. I allowed them to taste and experience loving and
being loved in this world and let them take a rain-check on the
seventy virgins of the hereafter!
I created medical centers
in every corner, so they could have easy access to medical
treatment. I invited all volunteers in the medical field
to come and spend some time in these centers and offer their
expertise. I hired experts from abroad to come and
modernize their industrial and agricultural sectors and made it
a self-sufficient and even exporting country.
When all this was
accomplished, when I made Afghanistan a "paradise", I
invited all the members of the $500,000,000 club in the world to
come and visit Afghanistan. I showed them that compassion,
creativity, and determination makes everything possible.
Then I encouraged all those guests to go around the world and
adopt a country of their choice and do the same there, until
poverty and ignorance and deprivation had vanished from the face
of our great planet.
I imagined that I was given
the Nobel Prize for my work, and my face was on the cover of
TIME magazine as "The man of the century." But I
imagined that the greatest satisfaction I felt was the fact that
I had helped to eradicate the real sources and reasons of war
and enmity. And most important, I had shown America what I
was all about.
I opened my eyes and
realized, in horror, that it was THAT! Just a brief interlude
and escape for a tired mind and a chagrined spirit. Yes,
Mr. Bin Laden. You chose the "other" route, and
if you forgive my presumptuousness, the wrong path. Not
only did you not help the cause of the underdog and the
"victims" of this world, but managed to add to the
misery and suffering of our planet. More orphans, more
grieving parents, more poverty and homelessness, more suspicion
and anger and hatred. I hear some people call you
"evil-genius" these days. Forgive me if I fail
to see the genius! I live here in America, and all I see is that
you have made this nation more resolute, more united and more
compassionate and giving than ever before.
But you see, you have
failed not because you are facing a super-power or a military
might. Rather because of the unholy and unforgivable
premise of your reasoning and argument. I am not a great
student of history, but it seems to me that hate, deception, and
revenge are always temporary. That love, truthfulness, and
forgiveness are much more powerful and eternal.
The forces of darkness will
always find a pretext to justify their sinister actions. I
am sure you would have found another pretext, another reason and
another justifying means were it not the "Soviets "or
Why would some rather fight
than make peace, or hate instead of love or seek vengeance
instead of forgiveness? I do not have the answer.
But I do know this much: My grand father, bless his soul, was a
devout Muslim. He was clean shaven of course and wore a
suite and a tie. But I remember that every dawn, I would
wake up with his beautiful voice singing tearfully to his
creator. The crying was not sad or depressing, but joyful
and elevating. His words with his creator were one of
absolute love and devotion. Though he seeked constant
forgiveness for all from his almighty, I never sensed fear or
desperation or frustration in his words or his voice.
There was always a serenity, a beautiful smile and an aura of
divinity about him. I wished he was still around.
With his strong faith, his fantastic prose and great knowledge,
he would have made a much more powerful argument that I have
tried to make in this letter.