Tasnim – A senior peace activist and journalist based in Virginia hailed Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei’s second letter to Western youth in 2015 and said it helped the people in the West to gain a better understanding of true Islam.
“I wish I could tell you in some quantifiable terms the effect the letter had in helping to create a bridge for people in the west, particularly young people, of greater understanding of Islam as well as Middle East cultures and attitudes in general,” Janice Kortkamp from Leesburg, Virginia, said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
Kortkamp became an independent, completely self-funded, journalist after “seeing Western media bias regarding Syria and how that bias was promoting war and destabilization in Syria and all the Levant”. She has researched the current crisis for over four years, putting in over 6,000 hours of study. She has visited Syria three times over the past year, spending three months traveling around the major population areas and the outskirts of Damascus, Homs, Latakia (including Kessab) and Aleppo. She has also gone to Germany, Lebanon, and Kuwait to meet with Syrian refugees and emigrants. Through friends and contacts in Syria as well as reports from genuine news sources around the world, she tracks the situation on the ground in Syria on an hourly basis.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: As you may know, on November 29, 2015, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei wrote a second letter to the young people of the West in a bid to acquaint them with true Islam and facts about those behind the formation of terrorist groups in the Middle East region that have committed heinous crimes under the name of Islam. The letter was released after terrorist attacks in Paris that year, which was claimed by the Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) Takfiri group. In your opinion, what effect has the letter had in helping the Western public opinion to differentiate between the true Islam and the Takfiri Islam?
Kortkamp: Let me first thank Tasnim News Agency for the opportunity to share my thoughts on the honorable letter of the esteemed leader and scholar, the Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. I wish I could tell you in some quantifiable terms the effect the letter had in helping to create a bridge for people in the west, particularly young people, of greater understanding of Islam as well as Middle East cultures and attitudes in general. The letter received some positive press from Western mainstream media outlets like BBC and the New York Times, slightly less positive from CNN, and no coverage at all I could find from Fox News.
I hear from Americans on a weekly basis who are waking up to many of the issues raised in Ayatollah Khamenei’s letter. Like me, many here had accepted narratives fed to us over decades but particularly intensely since 9/11. The narrative was consistent and constant: “Muslims are the enemy”; “Arabs are the enemy”; “Iran wants to kill us all”; “We must all be afraid”; and “War is the only answer to protect our families, our freedoms, and our way of life”. There was rarely any divergence from these main themes. All nuance was disregarded or hidden, even of such vast importance as the separation of true Islam from the Takfiris’ twisted, violent ideology.
Perhaps the best way to answer this question is personally. It was five years ago when I awoke from the intellectual coma that I had been in, a flag waving, “support our troops” brainwashed state. For some reason I started doing as the Ayatollah recommends in his letter, asking questions and seeking answers based on knowledge instead of programmed prejudice endlessly nurtured by media and government. I was shocked by the level of deception, hatred, violence, and even treason – including direct support of terrorist groups – of my government (several administrations) and the collusion of even the most respected news sources.
By November of 2015, the scales had already completely fallen from my eyes with a thud, and I read the Ayatollah’s excellent letter with great respect for its rational, informed, compassionate message – in other words – its wisdom. I shared it on social media as many others did. The fact that it spread far and wide on Facebook and other alternate platforms is indicative of a high level of support I believe.
Tasnim: In the second letter, Ayatollah Khamenei has pointed to a phenomenon named “silent violence”. What is the most important way to counter the threat, which has targeted domestic cultures and aims to impose Western culture on nations around the world?
Kortkamp: I am convinced the most effective way to counter the threat he is referring to is person-to-person and culture-to-culture direct contact. It is the one method I have seen that can break down the wall of Zionist lies quickly, for the western attitude is being manipulated to the point of control by Zionists. There are other factors of course particularly: western arrogance, greed, corruption, depravity and Saudi Arabia’s Islam-insulting violent extremism; but it has become obvious to many here in the West that Palestine was only the appetizer for the Zionists’ hunger. What “Israel” did to Palestine has become the model of their hoped-for “Greater Israel” project, a project that requires the muscle power of the West, which itself requires people in the West to mentally “sign-off” on it all, approving endless wars out of fear and ignorance. This has been achieved through propaganda combined with horrific and stunningly cunning, complex false-flags. The catastrophic wars against Iraq, Libya and Syria could all legitimately be described as false flags. Now millions of people are dead, tens of millions displaced from their homes, families and dreams shattered, infrastructures and economies devastated, and more terrorists and terrorism thriving where it hadn’t existed before. This carnage must end.
I commend Ayatollah Khamenei for his direct, open, personal communication to that most important group in the world today – the young generation. In my opinion it is exactly this kind of dialogue and discussion we need desperately. People in the West must get to know the people in the East we’ve been brainwashed into hating and fearing enough to want to destroy their countries. We need to hear from the thinkers, leaders, and regular folks. At the moment the “deep state” controlling western powers is wanting to fully destroy the deep civilizations of the Middle East and even to make their heritage disappear – they want to rewrite history itself. Of course they don’t understand the depth of strength, strategy and resiliency they find there which is why their plan has not been, and will not be, successful. And that is a very good thing for humanity.
Tasnim: In your opinion, how much has the Leader’s letter been successful in enlightening the public opinion about what is going on behind the scenes of the Western xenophobic policy that has been materialized today in the form of hatred against Islam and Muslims?
Kortkamp: I hope so. It is a wide gulf to bridge sadly and so few people have the attention span to read long messages no matter how important; but the video of the letter being read aloud was most helpful with this problem. I wish that every university would make it a part of their political science, history, religion and Middle East studies programs. The letter is a part of a movement of truth and common humanity that must gain more momentum and quickly. Too few people in the West realize that it is mostly Muslims dying from terrorism and mostly Muslims fighting against it; yet even so the cries for more war are growing stronger. I am sharing very openly in this interview because the situation is urgent. Even though I personally don’t think a full out war against Iran is going to happen, tensions are increasing and “Israel” just made its 101’st illegal attack against Syria. Their hatred for and desire to eradicate Hezbollah is absolute. The Western governments want to control Iran, to close the land-door between China and the Middle East. And the Saudis seem intent on the destruction of Shia Islam all together.
The stakes are so high. As Major General Soleimani stated in his letter to the Ayatollah regarding the great victory over ISIS strongholds in Syria, these powers desire Muslims to kill each other. I might even go a step further; I think they want us all killing each other.
The Ayatollah’s letter shows that there are leaders who see the threats clearly and also the way to counter them: truth, mutual respect, and open, honest communications are some critical ways. Is there enough momentum and strength behind this truth and compassion movement that calls for less hatred, fewer wars, more dialogue? I wish I knew.