[SPAM] Clinton speach on US-Islamic Relations

this blog entry is political and quotes a speach on U.S.-Islamic relations. Please discontinue reading if you don’t want to real about politics or our world. Thank you for your indulgence.

This speach, given by Bill Clinton to the U.S-Islamic World Forum on January 12th, 2004, in Doha Qatar (.pdf), was to me a great, balanced, optimistic and insightful take of the state of things. Here are some snippets:

The defining feature of the modern world is not terror, nor is it trade nor technology,
although terror, trade, and technology are manifestations of the defining feature of the
modern world, which is its interdependence–a word I far prefer to “globalization,” the
more common word, because for most people globalization has a largely economic
meaning. “Interdependence” is a broader word. It simply means we cannot escape each
other. And our relationships go far beyond economics.

The main point I would like to make about the interdependent world that applies to the
relationships between the United States and the Islamic world is that the interdependence
we enjoy has been of great benefit to some of us, but it is unequal, unstable, and
unsustainable.

…half the people in the world today are living on less than $2 a day, a billion people living on less than $1 a day, a sobering thought here in this country [Qatar] that will soon have the highest per capita income in the world.

…this year, 10 million children will die of completely preventable childhood diseases.
One in four of all the people who perish on Earth this year from all causes will die of
AIDS–100 percent preventable–where there is medicine that turns it from a death sentence
to a chronic illness; TB, malaria–treatable with medicine; and infections related to diarrhea, most of them are little children who never got a single clean glass of water in their lives. They, too, are part of interdependence.

The report revealed that under 2 percent of the Arab population has access to the Internet; that only one in 20 university students in the Arab world study science; that with 5 percent of the world’s population, you publish only a little over 1 percent of the world’s books. This is good news. Why? Because all these things are something you can easily do something about.

A couple of years ago, we had a poll where …[the] University of Maryland [asked]: …How much do you think your country spends on foreign aid? The biggest number, 15 percent. [H]ow much should your country spend on
foreign aid? Only 3 to 5 percent. I agreed with them. The problem is America spends less than 1 percent of our budget on foreign aid, the smallest of any wealthy country in the world, and my fellow citizens don’t know it.

Why does the Koran say, “Allah put different people on the Earth not that they might
despise one another but that they might come to know one another and love one another”?
Why does the Torah say, “He who turns aside a stranger might as well turn aside from the
most high God”? Why does the Christian Bible say, “Love your neighbor as yourself”?
This is the crux of this whole thing.

Now, you know I’m a Christian. The most important Christian theologian was St. Paul,
who wrote an interesting commentary on paradise. And since Muslims believe in paradise, I
think I will give you the commentary, and the conclusion of the commentary about what
our values should be.

St. Paul was talking about life today and life in paradise, and this is what he said: “For now, I see through a glass darkly, but then, face to face. Now I know in part, but then, I shall know even as I am known, by God,” parenthesis. “And now abideth faith, hope, and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.”

How in the world could love be greater than faith? Because I see through a glass darkly and I know in part. Oh, I know we’ve got all the television in the world. We’ve got instantaneous communications. We’ve got science. We’ve sequenced the human genome. And we’ve got all these smart politicians. I’m telling you, in the end it all comes down to that. As long as you’re prepared to admit you don’t have the whole truth and somebody else might know something you need to know, we’re going to do just fine. We just need to work at it.

Thank you very much.

Those are just some of the paragraphs that jumped out at me. I’d recommend reading the whole thing. I enjoyed it. (Disclaimer: I usually enjoy reading speaches)