Category Archives: Iraq

Why I’m Against War: A Military-Veteran Speaks

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Author’s-Note:

Abdullah Colon, whom I met online, has welcomed me as a Brother. With us united by our Islāmic-Faith, we’ve gotten the chance to learn more about each other. I’ve had the great opportunity to have him educate me as per his Military-Experience as a Muslim, which he’s also graciously allowed me to interview him based on it.

GB: How long have you been a Muslim: are you a Muslim-Revert, or Born-Muslim?

AC: I am a Muslim-Revert; I became a Muslim when I was 17 back in February of 2000 in El Paso, Texas.

GB: How long have you served in the Military, which National-Military, which Armed-Forces Branch?

AC: I was in the Military from September 2001 to September 2006. I was in the United States Marine Corps.

GB: Have you ever seen Live/Active Combat, and if so, how has that made an impact on your practice of Islām?

AC: I was involved in Combat Operations during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. My Unit earned a Combat Action Ribbon. It has impacted my practice of Islam in the past. After being in combat, I came home and began to rely upon Islam as a way of dealing with my PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Some days were better than others. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, other days I isolated myself in the Mosque.

GB: How has Military-Life shaped your Worldview of Peoples whom are Native to the Places where Military-Conflicts take place?

AC: I think that Military life has made me sympathetic to indigenous people’s rebellions and their insurgencies. I saw death and destruction first hand, up close and personal. I saw what we did and I understand why people wanted to attack us.

GB: What has been the Pros & Cons of the Military-Experience?

AC: Pros and Cons of Military life are many. Let me start with the cons: I suffer from anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I see the world through jaded lenses. I have a very pessimistic outlook. What I witnessed and have done weighs on my soul deeply. As for the pros, well I think being pushed past my mental and physical limits was a good thing. Other than that I didn’t learn much that would be of any use in a civilian environment.

GB: When did you make the Decision to become Active in the Veterans against War Movement?

AC: It was in 2013 that I decided to join Iraq Veterans against the War. It was after having a discussion with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali that really made me realize that I needed to get involved in an active way against American Imperialism.

GB: How has War generally influenced your Perception of Life & Death, or has it at all?

AC: War has influenced my perception of life and death in a big way. I feel like death can seize us at any moment. Death is real and always near!

GB: Are there any regrets. Is which have, in terms of being in the Military?

AC: I think that I have many regrets, but at the same time I owe my intestinal fortitude, ability to run toward a threat to my training and experience in the Marines.

GB: As both a Muslim & a Minority, who’s literally placed their life on the line via Military-Service for the United States: what’s your Views regarding the Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant Policies being promoted by the Trump-Administration?

AC: My views on the anti Muslims and anti immigration policies are that they all come from the same satanic source of white supremacy. This is why white passing Latinos (Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio for example) can support the policies being pushed by the Trump administration and those of us with brown/indigenous features will hit up the front lines against white supremacy.

GB: How are you able to cope with knowing that you’re the Member of 2-Demographics within the United States which are constantly targeted by Bias & Bigotry?

As for dealing with being part of of two demographics of folks that are being assaulted in Trump’s America-The way I deal with it is through Islam: prayer and good deeds, being a good person based upon what Islam teaches helps my mind & soul attain ease. Also, training myself by: lifting weights, martial arts, boxing, etc. & just keeping the body strong just in case I have to get down. Keeping the company of good people and making alliances with folks that care about the struggle.

GB: What would ultimately be your Advice for any Muslim who’s either currently serving in the US-Military or has aspirations of joining the Ranks of the US-Military?

AC: For Muslims who are currently serving, I say get out! Do whatever it takes to get out of the military.  For those that want to join, I say don’t do it.

GB: Speak more in detail, regarding the Iraq Veterans Against The War: its purpose & objectives, goals, etc. Also, tell me about the Advocacy for bringing Deported-Veterans back to the United States.

AC: For more information regarding the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against The War) go to: http://www.ivaw.org/mission-values-and-vision

As for the advocacy regarding veterans who have been deported, we are in solidarity with them. Many of those veterans are members of veterans for peace. Our organization IVAW arose from VFP (Veterans For Peace). Many of our members are both VFP and IVAW members. Many of us work with the campaign to bring the deported veterans back to the United States.

GB: What can People like me, as well as others who will read this & get a glimpse of your Story: how can we help People like you in your Struggles coming from a Military-Life & reverting to a Civilian-Life once again?

AC: I think the best thing is Community-Support. Having a community to transition to-Being in the military and being in prison are similar. Veterans are able to transition into prison life with ease. You go from one governmental institution to another. I’m speaking from experience. So having a muslim community to come back to is amazing. I was basically homeless when I came out of the Marines. It was living in a broken down RV in a ‘friends’ backyard. It was a Muslim brother (Afro-American) that took me into his home…fed me and took care of me, even when I was sick, like I was just like a member of his family: a recovering Alcoholic who credits Islam to saving his life.

Well…you’ve most definitely given an insightful Interview, regarding this Chapter of your Life-Journey. My hope for you is that Allah constantly/consistently bring you closer to a space & place of Inner-Peace.

Gareth Bryant/2017

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The Rwanda-Syndrome:

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Author’s-Note:

Allah says in The Qur’ān, “And, don’t allow your Hatred, against any People, prevent you from behaving justly.”.(Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.8, V.5)

Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that Allah said, “Oh, My Servants!!! Verily, I’ve made Oppressed Forbidden even upon Myself, as well as between you. So, do not oppress one another.”.(an-Nawawī)

In light of so many Events around our Planet, detailing the constant & consistent Oppression of People, whom are Desperate to be heard, to be listened to, to be helped-Sadly, much like the Carnage which took place during the infamous Rwanda-Conflict, in 1994, C.E., there’s seems to be absolutely zero Change, in terms of how the International-Community chooses to respond to Conflicts which yield levels of Destruction which can’t be defined in any ways other than: Inhumane, Genocidal, etc. And, you’d think that the World would’ve learned from the Errors of Rwanda, as the Nations of our World just stood by and made us watch in agony while they did nothing, as nearly a Million Human-Beings, along with countless other Thousands were: tortured, maimed, raped, murdered, starved-out all in the name of Power & Domination over the Other.(For more Information concerning International-Genocide: http://www.genocidewatch.com)

Ever since the 1990’s, C.E.: there’ve several Nations which have become war-torn, in which untold Millions of Human-Beings have become the subject of Theft, Rape, Murder, etc. With these blatant acts of Genocide being witness before our very eyes, we’ve stayed glued to our Social-Media tools of Communication & Observance, (TV, the News, the Internet, YouTube, etc.) to remain “Aware” of what’s happening. However, unfortunately, that’s largely all we’ve done as a Society is just sit-back and watch, as Multitudes of People just like us: Humans perpetually suffer unjustly. It’s almost as though we’ve become so used to Carnage, that it’s now just another form of Entertainment.

Also, it seems as though the “International-Community” conveniently waits for Conflicts to get at their worsts, before anything substantial is actually done, in order to significantly dispel Oppression around the World. For example: for those of us old enough to remember, the Conflict in Rwanda from beginning to ending was nothing short of the many things which were imposed upon Human-Beings during the Reign of the 3rd-Reich during the WWII-Era (1939-1945, C.E.). The World said “Never Again”, pertaining to the World’s-Nations sitting on the Sidelines as the International “Bullies of da Block” push People around. But, the World hasn’t kept its Word, to maintain Justice for Oppressed-Peoples around the Globe.

Just like what occurred within Rwanda, there’ve been a string of International-Conflicts, either caused by Religious, Ethnic strife between Peoples of the same Nation or imposed upon them by Bullies whom profess to be the Defenders of Freedom…Justice…Equality.

Let’s take a look at some examples of the Rwanda-Syndrome:

 

  1. Somalia

 

  1. Afghanistan

 

  1. Iraq

 

  1. Syria

 

  1. Libya

 

  1. Mali

 

  1. Sudan

 

  1. Nigeria

 

  1. Central African Republic

 

  1. Burma/Myanmar

 

  1. Palestine/Israel

 

  1. Yemen

 

For Decades, Nations such as these have been torn apart by Conflict, both internally amongst themselves, as well as the Conflicts being catalyzed, arguably even promoted via Western-Colonization, Western-Influence, etc. Whatever the Reason doesn’t really matter. What matters is the fact that these listed Nations have been struck with Conflicts which have completely either broken-down their entire Societies or has left Millions Dead, Maimed, Raped, Displaced/Homeless, Starving, Diseased, and yet there’s been little to nothing done to concretely put an end to the Oppression the Innocents of these Countries are forced to face. Which comes back to my Point, regarding us being self-victimized by the Rwanda-Syndrome: as a Globally-Connected Society, one would think/assume that there’d greater Efforts by the International-Community to resolve such Conflicts. But, this is clearly yet to be seen.

My Question is this though: how many more People have to actually succumb to these types of Atrocities, before we actually get it, that these are Human-Beings who don’t deserve to be treated like this?!!!

Gareth Bryant/2017

Britain’s Break From The EU:

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Much to many People’s surprise, including Former Prime Minister, David Cameron, who resigned as a result of a referendum in the United Kingdom to retire from the European Union-This decision has caused a domino-effect/tidal-wave like phenomenal financial & political scare all across Europe, as well as the rest of the World. What’s even more surprising is the fact that the People of Great Britain have been vocal about both still wanting to stay in the EU as well as agreeing to leave the EU. Though the vote itself was relatively very close, much like the NBA-Finals score in which the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to upset the former defending-champions the Golden State Warriors: it’s plain to see that Cameron himself wasn’t in favor of the split between Britain & the EU, and for this reason, he’s decided to bow-out of his position as the UK’s PM. This as well has absolutely tantamount effects within Great Britain itself, because the helm of the government needs to be replaced quick-fast and a hurry.

What’s most crucial, I think, pertaining to this is how the EU will be weakened economically, as well as politically. This news about the UK dumping the EU like a frustrated Boyfriend dumping his Prom-Date who’s had a crush on him since Freshman-Year, has placed the World-Market at a stand-still: no one really knows how long-lasting this event will have a foothold on the World-Economy. This is especially important for the United States, who’s largest trading-partner just ironically happens to be (yeah…you’ve guessed it Folks) none other than the EU. The economic aftermath of such a move on part of the UK will be talked about definitely for the rest of 2016, and may even be the top discussion for years to come. This kind of reminds of when studying about how England separated itself from the Catholic-Church, to form the Anglican Church of England, during the reign of Henry VIII. This was primarily done to ensure religio-spiritual, religio-political autonomy, as opposed to being subservient to the edicts & dictates of the Papacy. This seemingly is History repeating itself, particularly because most of those who were actually in favor of staying with the EU were People from Scotland & Northern Ireland, whom ironically are also historically very Catholic, while most English People are predominantly Protestant.

One of the other major issues at play, aside from all the financial ramifications is how Europe will share the responsibilities of hosting Refugees from various war-torn parts of the World, especially from their former colonial-possessions. But, also it seems as though the UK wants no part in accepting more Refugee type Immigrants coming to their shores, which has been a hot-button issue for a long time, as is still a hot-button issues for Americans here in the US. We’ll just have to wait and see how World will respond, if they can respond to this recent break of Britain from the EU.

Gareth Bryant/2016

 

Gareth Bryant’s Reasons why ISIS is a Myth:

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Now, after watching this video, from C-Span, a very reputable media outlet, dating back to 1990, I was compelled to seriously examine the reasons as to why ISIS, the so-called “Islamic-State” is another from among so many past/present Phantom-Enemies which the United States & her crony-allies have invented. So, the following are just some of many conclusions that I’ve come to as to why ISIS is a Mythology:

1. The first time that ISIS is largely publicized is in 2014. However, as of recently, the Media now states that ISIS has existed ever since the beginning of the Iraq-War, which started in 2003. My question is why has the Public only being told about ISIS now, if it had existed all this time? The information mentioned in the above video makes that fairly clear.

2. In order for any entity to be given the credibility & acknowledgement of being an Islamic-State, there’s several things which have to take place:

a. Those claiming to be leaders of an Islamic-State have to be Muslims & the identities of those claiming legitimacy to the position of being heads of an Islamic-State have to be well-known to the Public.

b. They have to be Muslims who are respected among their peers & the general body of Muslims everywhere.

c. They have to be given Bay`ah/Allegiance: all Muslims have to acknowledge the legitimacy of those claiming to be the heads of an Islamic-State, which has not happened & will not happen, because the actions of ISIS are inherently antithetical to Islamic-Teachings.

d. They have to possess independent territories, as opposed to what’s happening in the Middle-East, People claiming to be the leaders of the Muslim-World embattled in a country/countries which have been militarily-occupied by Non-Muslims, and/or Muslims who don’t accept their legitimacy in the first place.

3. ISIS, the name itself, is an acronym, and acronyms don’t even exist in the Arabic-Language. the Members of ISIS largely don’t speak English, so how is it that they got the idea to name their Islamic-State with a linguistic concept that doesn’t even exist in the language which they speak? This acronym was placed upon them by Western-Media.

4. ISIS is the actual name of an Ancient-Egyptian pagan-goddess. So, why would any Islamic-State name itself after a pagan god/goddess, when Paganism (a form of Shirk: ascribing false-qualities to Allah) is completely antithetical to Islamic-Teachings?

5. John McCain stated publicly that they’ve sat at the table with Members of ISIS. Now, as a Member of Congress, more specifically the House of the Senate, the largest lawmaking body in the United States, who gave McCain any authority to sit at the table with a so-called terrorist-group, knowing the official-policy of the US is to not sit at the table with Terrorists? How was he able to leave Syria/Iraq safely/with his life? He’s a well-known figure in the World, this Person almost became a US-President, so he’s known: why wasn’t he taken as a hostage, or taken for ransom?  All of these questions have yet to be answered.

Gareth Bryant/2015