Smolker Letter No. 9 “Unspeakable Horror Leads to Unspeakable Questions Prompted by Current Conditions in Syria” (Sept. 23, 2012)
Smolker Letter No. 9, by Gary S. Smolker
“Unspeakable Horror Leads to Unspeakable Questions Prompted by Current Conditions in Syria”
(Posted September 23, 2012 Revised September 28, 2012)
The ruthless terror unleashed by Assad for the purpose of making cowards of all men has not stopped some men from speaking out against the moral disintegration that is part and parcel of what is going on in Syria today.
However, in an attempt to protect themselves, their families and loved ones from reprisal they feel tthey must take certain precautions such as not reporting to the world what is happening. This prevents other people wishing to fully discuss the subject and to have open discussion of what is happening from doing so.
The naked monstrosity of what is currently going on in Syria under the direction of Assad (with the help of his ally Iran) transcends all Western moral categories.
Dictator Assad’s actions raise the following questions:
Are people who are too terrorized to report and discuss what is going on in Syria helping or facilitating what Dictator Assad is doing?
What is a person’s moral obligation to resist evid things that are going on while living in a dictatorship?
What are the legitimate legal powers of a dictator?
Has Dictator Assad broken a “law” whose maintenance we regard as essential for the integrity of our common humanity?
Under whose yardsticks and concepts should Assad’s conduct be judged?
Under what moral concepts should people who refuse to resist what Assad is doing and/or refuse to accurate report what Assad is doing be judged?
Why are Iran, China and Russia backing Assad?
What can human judgment achieve and what is it that human judgment cannot achieve?
The main article on the front page of the New York Times today (Sunday, September 23, 2012) bears the title: “Egyptian Leader Mohamed Morsi Spells Out Terms for U. S. – Arab Ties.”
In that article President Mohamed Morsi is quoted as saying:
- It is up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world and to revitalize the alliance with Egypt.
- The United States must respect the Arab world’s history and culture, even when it conflicts with Western values.
- “If you want to judge the performance of the Egyptian people by the standards of German or Chinese or American culture, there there is no room for judgment.”
- “When the Egyptians decide something, probably it is not appropriate for the U. S.
- “When the Americans decide something, this, of course, is not appropriate for Egypt.”
- “Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not hatred, of the peoples of the region” by backing dictatorial governments over popular opposition and supporting Israel over the Palestinians.”
- “We are behaving according to the Egyptian people’s choice and will, nothing else.”
- Arabs and Americans have “a shared objective, each to live free in their own land, according to their customs and values, in a fair and democratic fashion.”
In the same issue of the Sunday New York Times is another article with the following heading: “Pakistani Minister Offers Bounty Over Anti-Islam Video.”
Below is a direct quote from that article.
Islamabad, Pakistan – A Pakistani cabinet minister offered a $100,000 reward on Saturday for the death of the person behind the anti-Islam video made in the United States that has rolled Muslims around the world, even suggesting that Taliban and Al Qaeda militants could carry out the killing.
Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, the federal railways minister, said at a news conference in the northwestern city of Peshawar that he would personally finance a bounty aimed at the maker of a crude, low-budget video that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.
Mr. Bilour acknowledged that incitement to murder was illegal, but said he was ‘ready to be hanged in the name of the Prophet Muhammad.’ And he invited the Taliban and Al Qaeda to be ‘partners in this noble deed,’ according to news reports.
Aside, President Morsi earned a doctorate in materials science at the University of Southern California in the early 1980s.