Thursday, December 25, 2008

Reconciliation or Give Me Liberty

Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West

Author: Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October 2007, after eight years of exile, hopeful that she could be a catalyst for change. Upon a tumultuous reception, she survived a suicide-bomb attack that killed nearly two hundred of her countrymen. But she continued to forge ahead, with more courage and conviction than ever, since she knew that time was running out--for the future of her nation, and for her life.

In Reconciliation, Bhutto recounts in gripping detail her final months in Pakistan and offers a bold new agenda for how to stem the tide of Islamic radicalism and to rediscover the values of tolerance and justice that lie at the heart of her religion. With extremist Islam on the rise throughout the world, the peaceful, pluralistic message of Islam has been exploited and manipulated by fanatics. Bhutto persuasively argues that America and Britain are fueling this turn toward radicalization by supporting groups that serve only short-term interests. She believed that by enabling dictators, the West was actually contributing to the frustration and extremism that lead to terrorism. With her experience governing Pakistan and living and studying in the West, Benazir Bhutto was versed in the complexities of the conflict from both sides. She was a renaissance woman who offered a way out.

In this riveting and deeply insightful book, Bhutto explores the complicated history between the Middle East and the West. She traces the roots of international terrorism across the world, including American support for Pakistani general Zia-ul-Haq, who destroyed political parties, eliminated an independent judiciary, marginalized NGOs, suspended the protection of human rights, and aligned Pakistani intelligence agencies with the most radical elements of the Afghan mujahideen. She speaks out not just to the West, but to the Muslims across the globe who are at a crossroads between the past and the future, between education and ignorance, between peace and terrorism, and between dictatorship and democracy. Democracy and Islam are not incompatible, and the clash between Islam and the West is not inevitable. Bhutto presents an image of modern Islam that defies the negative caricatures often seen in the West. After reading this book, it will become even clearer what the world has lost by her assassination.

The Washington Post - Pamela Constable

Her book argues that Islam is not incompatible with democracy, but that its credo of tolerance and freedom has been hijacked by purveyors of terror. The real "clash of civilizations" lies within Islam, she asserted, and the West should seek to bolster its moderate center as the best means of countering the radical extremes. A poised public figure given to flowery speeches and cagey ambiguity, Bhutto wrote the book with uncharacteristic bluntness, suggesting an awareness that both she and her country had little time left. Pointing fingers and naming names—especially those of several chiefs of Pakistan's powerful intelligence service—she blamed a combination of autocratic rulers, manipulative religious leaders and meddling Western governments for sabotaging democracy's chances in Pakistan and other parts of the Muslim world, and for pushing Islam in ever more radical directions.

The New York Times - Fareed Zakaria

Written while she was preparing to re-enter political life, it is a book of enormous intelligence, courage and clarity. It contains the best-written and most persuasive modern interpretation of Islam I have read…Washington should arrange to have the portions of the book about Islam republished as a separate volume and translated into several languages. It would do more to win the battle of ideas within Islam than anything an American president could ever say.

Interesting book:

Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries

Author: Naomi Wolf

As the practice of democracy becomes a lost art, Americans are increasingly desperate for a restored nation. Many have a general sense that the "system" is in disorder — if not on the road to functional collapse. But though it is easy to identify our political problems, the solutions are not always as clear. In Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries, bestselling author Naomi Wolf illustrates the breathtaking changes that can take place when ordinary citizens engage in the democratic system the way the founders intended and tells how to use that system, right now, to change your life, your community, and ultimately, the nation.

The Washington Post - Suki Casanave

Give Me Liberty is essentially an act of optimism…Wolf's goal is to educate a wave of "democracy commandos": Learn how to write a news release and how to be safe as you protest. Get tips on how to speak in public, how to raise funds and how government works. In short, use this book to study up, and you'll be ready to start your own movement. Which is precisely what Wolf hopes readers will do.

Table of Contents:


What is "America" ? Not a Country, a State of Mind

Introduction 3

Freedom Is Intended as a Challenge 13

Fake Patriotism 23

Fake Democracy 33


Core Values

Principle One: We Are Required to Speak Freely 91

Principle Two: We Have a Duty to Rebel Continually Against Injustice and Oppression 105

Principle Three: Ordinary People Are Supposed to Run Things 125

Principle Four: Americans Cherish the Rule of Law 141

Principle Five: America Establishes No God 157

Principle Six: Americans Deliberate with Their Neighbors; We Disagree Without Violence 173

Principle Seven: Liberty is Universal: America Cannot Maintain an Oppressive Empire 189

A New American Revolution 209


America: The User's Guide

I. Driving Change 215

"Democracy Commandos" [Curtis Ellis] 215

Additional Resources 218

II. Speech 219

How to Petition 219

Additional Resources 220

How to Play Hardball Once You Have Petitioned 220

Become the Media Yourself 221

How to Write a Press Release [Lisa Witter] 222

Create the Debate Yourself 226

Help Frame the News Coverage 228

How to Leak to an Investigative Reporter 229

How to Pitch a Feature Piece 231

Radio 232

TV 233

Additional Resources 235

Produce New Media 235

How to Create a Blog [Elizabeth Curtis] 236

Additional Resources 240

How to Create a Web Video [Will Coghlan] 241

Additional Resources 243

III. Protest 245

How to Drive a Boycott 245

AdditionalResources 246

How to Take to the Streets [Marjorie Cohn] 247

Staging a Protest 251

Additional Resources 252

How to be Safe as You Protest 252

Arrest 253

The Permit System [Heidi Boghosian] 256

How to Speak in Any Public Context 260

IV. Deliberate, Community-Build,and Organize 265

How to Start a Political Movement 265

Direct-Action Activism [Trevor "Oyate"] 265

Starting Your Own Political Movement [Raymond D. Powell] 267

Organize a Town Hall Meeting 271

How to Run a Meeting [Wende Jager-Hyman] 273

Deliberate with Your Neighbors [Mary Jacksteit] 277

Additional Resources 281

Become the Leaders of America 283

How to Start a Nonprofit Organization 283

Additional Resources 285

How to Fund-raise [Stephanie Berger] 286

Additional Resources 291

V. Rule of Law: Create or Change Laws Yourself 293

Initiatives and Referenda 293

Additional Resources 295

Make Every Vote Count [Mark Crispin Miller] 296

Additional Resources 299

Organize a National Hearing [Annette Warren Dickerson] 300

Expose Government Secrecy: A Guide to Getting Government Files [Lauren Melodia] 303

Additional Resources 312

VI . Dismantle an Oppressive Empire: Remake U.S. Foreign Policy 313

How to Promote Democracy Overseas through Investment [Diane Keefe] 313

Additional Resources 315

VI . Understand How Your System Works 317

Overview [Curtis Ellis] 317

What is the Electoral College? [Wende Jager-Hyman] 321

User's Guide to the Constitution and Bill of Rights

[Steven C. Bennett] 326

Additional Resources 343

VI . Wish List for the Fu ture 344

Direct Democracy 344

Voting [Curtis Ellis] 344

A Twelve-Step Program to Save U.S. Democracy [Mark Crispin Miller] 345

Additional Wish List Items 347

Notes 351

Bibliography 371

Acknowledgments 375

About the Author 377

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