(originally written in 2012)
by Michael Douglas Carlin
Reading is the foundation that makes all things possible in any peaceful society.
by Michael Douglas Carlin
I admit that I am a nut. Somehow, I have come to believe in world peace.
Now as we enter the holiday season I am more convinced that peace is just around the corner. I have written before that, because I ride a motorcycle on the streets of Los Angeles, I see how the lines are drafted that allow me to ride in relative safety through dense traffic to get from starting point to ending point.
In 2007, I wrote A Prescription for Peace, that details the philosophy of a group of Knights, who give their time and resources to help those in need. This philosophy is what I believe will lead to world peace. Not everyone has received the book well. About two years ago, I received a telephone call from a relative asking me to remove the book from Amazon. He said that I was embarrassing him with his peers in the U.S. Army. He has served for over seven years now and seen two tours of combat duty in Iraq when it was at its worst. I have tremendous respect for him, and I probed deeper to know the source of his embarrassment.
He was promoted to Psychological Operations, and the word "peace" causes many in the military to roll their eyes. Having a relative who writes about world peace is simply something that is not understood in his group. I didn't take offense at the request but started asking questions. "Isn't it your job in Psychological Operations to market a kinder, gentler version of Islam to the Middle East?"
He didn't take that well. "We are warriors, not peacemakers, was his reply. I backed up a bit."
"Isn't Psychological Operations a branch of the military that attempts to influence without using bullets?" He agreed. "Aren't you using marketing methods to achieve that influence?" He agreed. "Isn't a kinder gentler version of Islam simply a matter of achieving the right message and getting it out in the Middle East?"
"Well, yes." He got it. I asked him what that message was, and he said he really didn't know. But I knew he was thinking about it.
About three months ago, he sent me a paper that he did for a marketing class in college. It was about marketing the right message in Afghanistan. There was a void in Afghanistan, because we had not found the right message. Our success there could turn on a dime with the right message, but we have, so far, been unable to discover what that message should be. But, one thing we know is that victory is simply a successful marketing campaign away.
About three weeks ago, he called to tell me that he had discovered the message. I listened with great curiosity. "Read the Koran." From the moment the words escaped his lips, I knew that he had discovered the marketing campaign that would change the world and bring peace to the Middle East. I thought about the Dark Ages of Christianity and the similarity to Islam. Of the six hundred million Muslims in the world, how many have "Read the Koran"? How many of the "would be" suicide bombers have "Read the Koran"?
Just as the Gutenberg Bible transformed Christianity into a democratic society, the Koran will allow people all over the world to become educated and read for themselves. "Read the Koran" isn't just the message for the Middle East; it is a message for the world. By all of us reading the Koran, we can gain an understanding of different cultures of different people. We can better understand our religions. We can receive an education that will provide us with the skills to cope better with what has become a complex global society. We will find a message of peace.
Literacy is one of the building blocks of democracy. Literacy is imperative if democracy is going to survive and thrive in the Middle East. Education improves lives. "Read the Koran" is education. Laws have meaning only if people can read and write. "Read the Koran" leads to law-abiding societies. "Read the Koran" is the message that many don't want the world to hear. "Read the Koran" is our path to peace. "Read the Bible" has led us to democracy. Read the classics leads us to discussions that elevate all of us. To touch every life on the planet, the message can be shortened to read. Reading has made such a difference in my life. Joining a faith-based movement and reading scripture led me to become educated in philosophy, and that transformed me. Reading is one of the keys to peace.
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