SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 67: Looking Between The Lines

Several weeks ago I reported on two people I met at a local Laundromat: The Colonel and Antoinette.

If you remember, I spent hours with them and it was quite an experience. But there was one encounter that evening which has haunted me since that evening, and rightfully so: it is a deep story and one that deserves it time to tell.

To get us going, here is an excerpt from that evening’s blog post, my interview with The Colonel.

“The last lesson in military respect comes as we conclude our evening. A man walks up, taking a pause from his laundry duties. “Are you a veteran?” he directs at The Colonel. “Vietnam” is the reply.

The man goes on to state his service, and even though he did not see front line, he shares, “I was scared shitless.” The Lieutenant Colonel immediately reaches out his hand, and over a firm handshake, says, “Welcome home!” They both well up, but quickly hide their emotion.”

That man who walked up – we spoke for a short time. He is a brave man with a message to share, but time is too short to interview. We exchange cards and commit to meeting at a later date. That later date is today and here are words written to me by George, the man of whom we are speaking.

His words are sharp and poignant. With his permission, I am sharing them as they are written to me.

I have the greatest respect for all who voice their opinion, and remind you, my readers, that the messages stated in my posts are that of each individual 365 friend I meet. I do have my opinions, however, to be true to 365, its point-of-view remains neutral; its aim is not to endorse or debate any political, religious, spiritual or metaphysical agendas. 365 is a community of people and to allow for its relevance I welcome all perspectives.

I meet with George in his home. He is welcoming and engaging. A generous host, he offers me tea and we sit for an hour of deep conversation. He expresses more than I can write and his points are bold and clear. I know there is no way I can articulate his message, so I ask him if he would be willing to email me a short paragraph or two of what he would like me to post. Here are George’s words:

George’s words of Wisdom:

“No human being has the moral right to gamble with the fate of other human beings.”

Where he sees himself ten years from now:

“Despite the talks of gloomy future, and there are lots of depressing events to support that view, I believe our future is a lot brighter than supposed. I have been fortunate to be able to read between the lines as the events unfold right before our eyes.  There is an incredible change coming, a change that is spearheaded by the youth of all Islamic nations.  The smart young boys and girl with the use of cell phones, Facebook, twitter, and often sacrificing their own lives in what they strongly believe.

Although they cry for democracy and freedom, in reality, they are showing their contempt for their religion. Islam, a religion that has awakened the young Muslims to realities they never probed before and caused them to take a critical look at a religion that their spirit has never digested. They are asking for transparency, accountability in government and an end to the oppressive Islamic leaders with their radical fundamental ideology, their cagy and perilous philosophy. The philosophy that has caused irreparable injury not just to the Muslims, but also to the universal rules and laws on which civilized and successful societies are based. The tradition, the religion, that in order for them to live a normal life among the people of the world, they must live outside of that tradition, and that absolute Arab Islam.

Richard, I am an Iranian American, a U.S. veteran. I was born in Iran and grew up as a Shiite Muslim.  As a Shiite I have read most if not all Shiite doctrine page-by-page and have read Koran and done all my daily duty. I grew up with and understand the mentality of today’s Shiite elite.”

George leaves us with this thought:

“I believe it is time for the world’s Muslims to do some soul searching and for Islam to look into the mirror. And I am holding up that mirror to Islam.”

To read more of George’s mission, here is his website: