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It is the first time that a large part of the fight for hearts and minds of people around the globe has been conducted by the emails so many of us have been receiving, and then passing on.
Many will have read the email from the Afghan-American Tamim Ansary, who made strong arguments against an all-out retributive attack.
"We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age," he wrote. "Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs."
This was countered shortly afterwards by the diatribe of a furious but unnamed American who, in far less reasoned verse, essentially made the case that the Islamic extremists were going to experience the beautiful savagery of Americans with riotous rage.
Another email contained an article by John Pilger, in which he forcefully asserted that the Americans were reaping what they sowed - that before you could even begin to talk about the tragedy of 6,000 people killed in New York, you had to look to the "million civilians, half of them children, [who] have died in Iraq since [the Gulf War] as a result of a medieval embargo imposed by the United States and Britain ..."
"Far from being the terrorists of the world, the Islamic peoples have been its victims - principally the victims of US fundamentalism, whose power, in all its forms, military, strategic and economic, is the greatest source of terrorism on earth."
Strong stuff - for mine, way too strong - but the article as a whole at least helped to explain to me just how it was possible for a group to amass so much hate that they thought flying hijacked planes into buildings would help even the score.
But if on this side of the growing divide such communications are circulating, going after hearts and minds, so, too, is it likely that "heart'n'minds" emails will be going around in places like Syria and Iraq. The obvious barrier to communications going between the two camps is language, but if any Arabic-Australians could oblige with the translations, I think I speak for many over here when I say ...
Hello. We are sorry. We are desperately sorry that the world has now moved to the point where it is on the edge of an abyss from which there can be no return. We accept that such hate as drove the planes into the World Trade Centre towers can only have come from incredible suffering, and we are desperately sorry for that suffering, even if we are yet to come to grips with its specific cause.
Despite all the rhetoric, the vast mass of us do not see this in simple terms of a fight between "good" and "evil" - even though we can never accept that the specific attack on New York was anything other than total evil.
What we most want to say is that the true enemies of us all are the extremists. We have any number of extremists on this side who would like nothing better than to turn your countries into parking lots. You have, apparently, many extremists among you who want to continue New York-style attacks and worse.
In response, the combined mass of all of us moderates must say, clearly and with great force: "NO. This is not the way." We look to you of moderate Islam to assert your collective will against those who, it seems, have so desecrated the holy word of the Koran in this way.
You may look to us to put our combined democratic will to try to change the policies which have caused so much suffering and hate.
Let us, both sides, look to our children. Whatever mistakes have been made by our generation - and there have clearly been many - let us at least acknowledge that their generation has made none at all. Let us both at least try to hand onto our children a world where peace is possible.
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