Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Guilty, If Innocent

I wrote a letter to the editors of Esquire magazine (a really great publication that I encourage people to read in general). It was inspired by this absolutely incredible, shocking, eye-opening, soul-shaking article written by their Tom Junod on John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban, aka Hamza.

If you have not read it, please read it here. You will be shaken by it as I was, and I encourage you to click and post a comment on their site. Here is what I wrote.

To: The Editor, Esquire
From: Imran Anwar

Sorry. Sorry. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Huh? What? Why?

I have been reading your magazine since I was a teen growing up in Pakistan in the late 70's, reading my late uncle's magazines. Over the years, I moved to America and remain a subscriber.

Loved the articles, loved the styles, loved many things about it. But it took something specific to get me to write.

Sorry it took me so long to write in response to an incredible, brilliant, shocking, eye-opening and soul-shaking article by Tom Junod in your July 2006 issue.

I tore it out, have made several people read it and still shudder to think how this man John Walker Lindh is being treated by our government.

As a Muslim American opposed to many US policies abroad but aghast at Taliban and Bin Laden type evil killers, even I had gotten caught up in the fever asking for John Walker Lindh's head, for being with "them" and against "us".

After I read Mr. Junod's article, I wonder how many years it will be before we can apologize to Mr. Lindh for how we silently let our government treat him.

Yes, people like me, and many others, write our blogs and do our podcasts, but nothing can come close to what respected publications like yours can do, and have done, to expose what we treat this prisoner as. He is not perfect, but nothing he actually DID could justify how America treats him and will for decades.

So, sorry I did not write earlier, and sorry, I am powerless to change the ways of my government, and thank you from a Muslim, thank you from a proud American and thank you from a devoted reader for having the courage, and, yes, decency, to write and publishd that article.



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