The problem is fear | AspenTimes.com

The problem is fear

Dear Editor:Along with over 400 other residents of the valley area, I am a member of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition, but by no means its founder or leader.The RFPC was formed three years ago by people with diverse views and interests, who believe the responsibility of American citizens to hold our government accountable for its policies and actions is the essence of democracy. The group’s agenda is to expose and oppose government policies that lead to terrorism, war and other acts of violence and oppression. The main focus has been on the U.S. government, but occasionally we expose injustices by others such as Israel or China (we recently hosted a public appearance of the Gaden Shartse monks who are exiled from Tibet). The RFPC presents perspectives that Americans don’t get from mainstream media. Those who blindly follow our leaders, believing everything they tell us, and denying any U.S. culpability, will invariably disagree with the RFPC’s willingness to explore other views.That said, I don’t generally write as a RFPC spokesperson, and my outlook on Israel is not shared by all of its members.The problem we are facing regarding terrorism is not just hatred, but fear. What we fear, we hate and try to destroy. Palestinians and Israelis fear that each wants to eliminate the other and take the other’s land. This breeds hatred and violence.The fear of U.S. influence in Arab lands is a prime motivator for Muslim terrorists. We’ve been told outright by al Qaida, as well as world terrorism experts, that the 9/11 attacks were a response to the presence of U.S. troops in Muslim holy lands, U.S. backing of brutal leaders in Arab countries, and U.S. support of Israel, which has abused its entire Muslim population for decades.Those in the U.S. government who benefit politically and financially from the policies that anger Muslims, fabricate reasons for the attacks such as “they hate our freedom” because they fear that if the true motivation of the terrorists becomes known to the general public, we might demand accountability from our policy makers.My question to those letter writers who try to intimidate me into silence by engaging in verbal terrorism against me is; what are you afraid of? Surely you don’t think I’m single-handedly going to take down the state of Israel! Why are you willing to squelch public dialogue concerning the U.S. and Israel’s policies? Is it because you’re afraid your national or ethnic identity will be sullied? I urge you to engage in some serious self-examination to discover what fear motivates you to write letters so full of prejudice, vitriol and myth, and so devoid of compassion and documented fact.Yes, it’s hard to admit to wrongdoing on the part of our nation (or for Jews, the nation of Israel), but for the sake of people suffering as a direct result of U.S. (and Israeli) policy, let’s discuss the situation with humility and courage.Sue GrayCarbondale