An Open Letter to Barack Obama

Dear Sir

My name is Jim Murray. I am a writer, I live in Toronto, Ontario.

I’m writing to you today on a matter that concerns us all, and is probably the most serious problem the human race has had to deal with in quite a long time. This, of course, is the rise of the global jihadist movement that is currently taking centre stage in pretty every medium known to us.

First, let me point out that, though I am a Canadian, I am in my 60s and have seen that, though we are different countries, we are bound by a large number of similarities, not the least of which is our love of freedom.

Over the years, I have seen your country fight wars all around the world, defending democracy from the threat of naziism, communism, fascism and every other ism you can name. America has always been considered the greatest country in the world by many and the obligation to keep on proving that greatness has always been very strong.

But somewhere along the line America’s purpose became altered. I am of course referring to the   events of the past two decades. Here America was not defending anybody from anything. But instead using its might and power to essentially control a number of oil producing countries and keep itself well supplied, since America is, in fact, the highest per capita consumer of oil and oil based products.

What you are seeing today, is a large scale and highly organized retaliation, thinly masked as a radical fundamentalist Islamic movement that employs terrorist tactics as its main weaponry. Since the events of 9/11, your government has declared a war on terrorism. But I would respectfully point out that it really is no such thing.

What these Islamic fundamentalists are doing, in my opinion at least is rising up against the  economic imperialism that powerful countries like, the US, France, Russia and England have been subjecting them to.

I know you understand this, being both a liberal and extremely well informed. I also know that you understand that the events of the past decade or more have set the major powers and these fundamentalist groups on a downward spiral of conflict that is becoming more and more a threat to larger and larger numbers of innocent people.

The situation we are living right now will only get worse. Because these people, whom powerful countries have oppressed for so long, have finally figured out an effective way to fight back. That is not to say they will win, but there will be countless lives lost as the cost of remaining in a state of war with these people. Innocent lives. Young lives. The lives of people who are, right now, considered to be ‘collateral damage’ by the people you have running your war machine.

We are not collateral damage. We are all potential victims in the endless cycle of economic imperialism that now threatens the entire world.

The question is how do you stop it. I have thought about this a lot. And the only logical conclusion I can come to is that you (meaning the world’s most powerful countries), end it.

Quit the war. Cease the bombing. Pull out the spies. Give these people what they want, which is, in essence, nothing more than what we all want. To live free and to determine their own future.

These Arab cultures are difficult to understand. Any culture that is not our own is difficult to understand. But there is no one all-encompassing set of cultural rules on this planet. There are only people who all deserve the right to live by whatever standard their culture sets for them.

I not a big fan of the customs and laws of these cultures. I find a lot of it barbaric and primitive But that really doesn’t matter. It’s not my culture…it’s theirs.

If you remove the economic imperialism and threat of war to maintain that state in countries that are not your own, you remove the reason for retaliation. It’s really that simple.

I know that sounds terribly idealistic. But the alternative, a) Doesn’t really seem to be producing the results you were hoping for and b) Is nothing more than an endless downward spiral that will bankrupt your economy and create a world wide depression.

I know you know all this, and probably stay up late thinking about it. I think you have done some pretty amazing things with the odds stacked against you for the past 6 years. Bringing an end to the so called War On Terror, however you choose to do this, would be, you have to admit, one hell of a legacy.

Your Canadian friend, Jim


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