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The Empire Vs. Just One LifeDr. Jay R. Crook Salem-News.com
New song 'Just one life' carries a strong message through the voice of a small child.
(TUCSON) - Some of our readers may remember the Lili Tomlin television character Ernestine, the telephone operator. In those days, the telephone company was a near monopoly, so whenever she had a complaint from a caller, she would famously snort and reply, “We don’t care: we don’t have to. We’re the telephone company!”
Fast forward to the doctrine of American exceptionalism, which appears to be the guiding principle of the American Empire. International law does not apply to us or our minions; we are “excepted” from it. How many of our alleged war criminals have ever been hauled before an international court? Just those from Africa and the third world seem to make the grade. Why? Because we, and by extension our allies, are exceptions to the rule of nations imposed upon lesser parties. If Ernestine were to reply to complaints about the carnage wreaked by our military might and our exploitive policies, she would probably return, “We don’t care; we don’t have to count the bodies. We’re the American Empire!”
Yes, the American Empire is immune from prosecution for torture and other misbehaviors such as the slaughter of innocents, the indifference to “collateral damage,” the destruction of the environment, and the targeted assassinations of “suspected” terrorists. By definition, anyone who actively opposes the imperial ambitions of America and its favored allies is a terrorist or perhaps just a suspected terrorist. It doesn’t matter. They all deserve extermination if their goals oppose our imperial strategy for world domination. If innocent folk get in the way of our drones or operatives, well, they should have known better than to be in the neighborhood.
It is an ironic footnote to our history that the architecture of our capital city (Washington, D.C., for those who do not know) presaged our imperial ambitions two centuries ago: the Capitol building itself is based on Roman models. Has anyone in Washington ever read the history of the Roman Empire? Check out the last chapters.
I recently read two very informative and at the same time frightening books about the history and machinations of the oligarchy that really controls the American Empire: William Blum’s “Rogue State” (2000) and Noam Chomsky’s “Failed States” (2006). They have slightly different foci, but together they paint a harrowing picture of the activities and priorities of the American Empire and its tentacles throughout the world, especially in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia—and the doctrine of exceptionalism.
The tragic toll in the ruined and destroyed human lives of those that circumstance has put in the way of the imperial juggernaut is not neglected; the enormity of the arrogance and indifference of the imperial protagonist to misery it wreaks glares forth on every page of the books. They are not casual reading; the books may cause the reader to re-examine all of the assumptions of his high school history classes and impart information of which the reader might prefer to remain ignorant. Though I have always been cynical about the posturings and declarations of politicians, I must confess I was stunned by what I read in those books. Machiavelli must be chuckling.
This brings us to the painful context of “Just One Life.” The song is at once a critique, a lament, and a brave statement about the slaughter of the innocents and the indifference of our rulers to their suffering and pain. Be it in Burma, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, or elsewhere—so many lives are being snuffed out as a result of the imperial ambitions of America and her allies to control the peoples and resources of the world. There is a pertinent verse in the Quran about such killings: “Whoever slays an [innocent] human being, it is as though he had slain all of mankind” On the other hand, “whoever saves the life of a human being, it is as though he had saved the life of all mankind.” (Q. 5:32)
Those who participated in the making of “Just One life “ are to be congratulated for reminding us of the painful tragedy and waste in the premature death of any innocent, child or adult, male or female, regardless of language, race, color, or creed. It reminds us that we should remember and meditate upon Donne’s oft-repeated lines: “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
—Jay R. Crook, Ph.D.
What expresses life better than the confident voice of one small child? One life is all it takes to emotionally overwhelm a human being. The birth of a son or daughter, the loss of a parent, sibling, child or friend... a single life coming or going is what we most often face and are so tragically or happily moved by. I've seen this time and time again and while we memorialize events such as the Holocaust or the Rwandan or Cambodian Genocides, we still are most impacted by the birth or loss of that one life.
This is a concept Jennifer Fierberg knows, as a tireless advocate for truth in Rwanda. Through eyewitnesses, she has shown the world the real face of Rwanda's president, former U.S.-backed rebel leader Paul Kagame; a man falsely credited by the west for ending a tragic Genocide that he in fact started through an act of terrorism, that left three African continent presidents dead. I enjoy Jennifer's presence in this video, she well deserves all of the credit in the world for what she does.
Jamal and Agron Belica know that Jennifer has pushed small mountains of lies out of the way so that truth could shine through undeniably, and also that the responsibility for fighting the world's worst offenders of humanity lies in the hands of journalists and it always has. We who are armed with pens wage combat with those who possess the deadliest of weapons. We seek them out. We fight from protected positions as they do. We show up where they least expect us. Truly, the importance of brave writing on behalf of suffering and politically disadvantaged people can never be overstressed.
I often explain that from my perspective, knowledge becomes not a gift but a curse. It is very hard to spend each day reporting death, communicating acts of barbarity, needless hostility, and general inhumanity; massacres, starvation, disease, violations of all sorts, without being able to find the answers. Yet this team does just that, through the writings of so many excellent reporters and through an even larger support team and network that provides information for articles and promotes them once published. Once again my hat is off to Dr. Crook, Selamin, Jamal, Benjamin and Agron Belica, Siraj Davis, Ken O'Keefe, Gilad Atzmon, Jo McColl, Wanda Duncan and Jennifer Fierberg for inspiring and taking part in this exciting musical project.
- Tim King
As a practicing Muslim, I only want peace, not war. I do not want my children and the children of others to have to give their lives to fulfill the ambitions of others. Every life is important and should not be wasted. God bless the peacemaker and let us live in peace. I am proud that my grandsons Jamal and Benjamin were part of the production team for the new song “Just One Life.” Alhamdulillah!
Love rap or not, this heartfelt video will pull at your heartstrings and leave its impact upon you, long after you have finished viewing it. It is that strong and powerful! The music, the catchy chorus, the voices telling their stories, and the chilling photos,
The world needs to care about saving “Just One Life” as much as it cares about who will win the next “American Idol” or Super Bowl football game. America especially needs to watch this video for truth, instead of watching the nightly news where truth is often the first casualty! What if that “Just One Life” happens to be one of your own kin, or you yourself? Would it then make a difference?
We are all ONE in this world and with the help of this music video and its message, let us pray that we can finally start acting as though we are interconnected and value every human being, regardless of what part of the world he lives, the color of his skin, the language he speaks, or his religious beliefs. All of humanity is of one flesh and each of us is equally deserving of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The sound of a child’s voice will spur the instant reaction of most any adult. That sound could be a laugh, a cry, a whimper, or a shout. Children understand far more than they are often given credit for
The work of advocates and human rights activists is not done for personal gain or glory, nor is it done for the money. The lyrics of the song explain it perfectly and explain why any of us does this kind of work, “All I wanna do is save one life, just one life.”
It takes much courage to speak out in the face of genocidal governments, mass killings, and the many humanitarian crises around the world, but if no one speaks up, then we are all guilty of these crimes. Millions dead in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have largely been killed in silence and with the financial backing of the international community. Silent genocides are occurring throughout the world and unless people stand up and say “No More,” then they will continue; the victims are often children.
Thank you, Jamal Belica, Ben Jammin, and Agron Belica for this wonderful song! May it be heard and re-played around the world!
Yet another Wake up Call to the world in Jamal Belica’s latest revolutionary song.. Just one life, featuring Ben Jammin (5 years old) and father Agron Belica who are speaking out against oppression and injustice while representing the youth of the world. The children are the future of this world and by educating them we have hope and promise against the tyranny and oppression that exists today creating a world that is for humanity peace justice and freedom.
The words "All I wanna do is save one life" reminds us that to save one life is to also save all of humanity. It forces us as human beings in a world that is plighted with evil destruction and death brought about by those who control the power to stand up not for ourselves, but for the children and for all those around the world that suffer daily under inhumane acts and oppressions, and that the struggle is with us all! Through the art form of music Aldin Entertainment Music Group is able to reach out and provide another way of being the voice for the voiceless. It is another song with power, passion, and objective that truly inspires.
The world we live in does not focus on the real issues and situations that are happening world over and the majority of people are unaware and deluded and coerced by the mainstream media which either hides the facts or distorts them to falsehoods. All I want to do is save one life shows us the reality that is left out of the picture and depicts the youth rising up above it all.
We Say No More...to all All oppressions and injustices upon mankind that are prevailing in current times. This song reminds me "We declare our rights on this Earth to be human beings to be respected and to be given the rights of human beings" - Malcolm X . We stand up for the children and for future hope against all this destruction, death and oppression that are brought on the world by the few that hold the power. The song is hardhitting but beautifully poignant and it is time to reach for your pulse if it does not effect you in anyway! Just beautiful!!! Agron Belica and his lovely children JB and Ben! TJP! Truth Justice and Peace
Carpe Diem is the terse yet accurate response to another brilliant production by Aldin Entertainment while introducing an exceptional addition, Ben Jamming, whose voice poignantly breaches our conscience to compel us to understand an important dictum in Islam found in the Quran 5:32 - “If anyone slays a person, it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” This message is one of uncompromising truth and a light for a better future under the lyrical brilliance of Aldin Entertainment.
"This is incredible!" - was the reaction Gilad Atzmon, renowned jazz saxophonist, writer, activist and author of The Wandering Who?, had for Just One Life.
Dr. Jay R. Crook spent his formative years in the New York metropolitan area, where a chance acquaintance awakened his interest in Islamic culture and civilization, and he soon embraced Islam. After military service and saving some money, he ventured to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to study and ultimately, spent most of his working life in the Middle East, especially in Iran and Saudi Arabia.
He received his Ph.D. in 1978 in the Doctoral Program of Persian Literature for Foreigners at Tehran University. His doctoral thesis was A Comparison of the Quranic Stories of Surabadi With the Bible. Subsequent to leaving Iran in 1980, he worked as an English teacher in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia before retiring in 1997. He now resides in Arizona and has translated several books from Persian into English, including Kashifi’s The Royal Book of Spiritual Chivalry and Ghazzali’s The Alchemy of Happiness.
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