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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  October 16, 2011 9:30am-11:00am EDT

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it will be very, very difficult for new openings for new candidates whether or not those candidates are women. and so part of it has to do with political parties willingness to persuade state memories of congress, see the dems of congress to step down, willing to support women challenging incumbents within their own parties, willing to recruit women for office. right now the so-called big money people on the republican side are trying to recruit governor christie from new jersey to enter the presidential nomination race on the republican side which he so far at least, still has refused to do. but there are women that might be recruited. there are some very good enough governors on the republican side who might be recruited. so at this point my argument is it's not the problem of women. it's the problem of parties, and specifically the republican party. women are not represent within the democratic party by a two to one, three to one margin everywhere over republicans. >> thank you. >> you're welcome.
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>> and now on the tee, amitabh pal looks at the history of nonviolence and muslim societies around the world. and argues that while violent acts by muslims get covered widely in the media, nonviolent movements exist everywhere and these are just as much recognition. this is about an hour and 20 minutes. >> hi. i like to welcome you all to rainbow, we are a cooperatively owned and managed bookstore. we've been around for over 20 years now, and we're located on, just off of state street so please come by. it is my great pleasure today to introduce amitabh pal. he is managing editor at "the progressive" magazine and coeditor of progressive media
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project. he has interviewed several eminent personalities for the magazine, including jimmy carter, mikhail gorbachev and the dalai lama. and today, he will be discussing his recent book, "'islam' means peace: understanding the muslim principle of nonviolence today." so without further ado, amitabh pal. [applause] >> thanks, and i like to start off with something that happened just today. and this is something -- what we will be speaking about. marc anthony stroman was executed by the state of texas. how does that pertain to what i'll be talking about? he actually in the aftermath of september 11, he went around looking for arabs to kill.
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managed instead to kill somebody from india, somebody from pakistan, and greatly wounded another immigrant. he described it in your times what happened to him. there were 38 palace in my face. i couldn't open my eyes or talk. i couldn't even eat or drink anything. my face was swollen. my face was horrible. i couldn't believe it was happening. i prayed, please god, please give my face back. he was discharged the day after being treated he was told he did not have health insurance. over the next several months he slept on peoples couches and had to rely on decisions and medication including painkillers and eyedrops. how does all this pertain to the theme of my book, drinking? believe it or not, he was in the forefront of trying to get
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mr. stroman clemency from the death penalty. when asked why, he said i was raised by teachers but they raise me with good morals and strong faith. they taught me to put yourself in others' shoes. even if they hurt you, don't take revenge. it will bring something good to you in them. might islamic faith teaches me this, too. someone said this is an act of war and a lot of merits want to do, but he had the courage to do it. i decide that forgiveness was not enough, that what he did was out of ignorance. i decided i had to do something to save the person's life. unfortunately, his efforts were in vain anyway, and he was put to death by the state of texas. but not completely in vain. he was a valid white supremacist who took pride for a long time
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in what he did. in the end, his actions and trying to get him clemency completely changed his mind. and he said, in the free world i was free but is locked in a prison inside myself because of the hate i carried in my heart there this is really touched my heart what he did. and heart of many others were want to especially for the last 10 years all we have heard about is how evil the islamic faith can be. he's a survivor of my hate. is deep islamic belief gave him the strength to forgive the unforgivable. that should be an example for us all. here i go back to the title of my book, which is derived from a quotation by mahatma ghandi many decades ago.
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you can see mahatma ghandi is back in the 1920s, 30s, they're operating on the same principle. quite remarkable. i couldn't hope for a better example. guide he says, my reading of the quran has convinced me that the faces of islam is not violence but is unadulterated peace. which is exactly the same rentable that others were operating on also. it's quite remarkable that he took the step of trying to get his possible killer that some people want so badly, clemency. this is quite a remarkable moment to be talking about what i'm talking about, because just two months away, we're just two
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months away from the killing of osama bin laden. hopefully it's not the ending of al qaeda, debilitating of al qaeda, they have a new leader. but i would hope that his passing at age is literal and symbolic. at the same time that such an exciting time to be in because 2011 has been an incredibly momentous year for the exact opposite of the philosophy that osama bin laden was espousing. and that is nonviolence. if i speaking with you even late last year about pacifism, i would have to slay myself. perhaps some of you would remember the green movement in iran two years ago. that did get some coverage, not as much as it should have been at least some coverage. but no other example in my book,
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breaking for many decent instances, pakistan 2007, 2008,. [inaudible] longest-serving dictator in asia was overthrown. back a few years ago the balkans, further back. none of these alone in the west. now when i speak with people and tell them about march, peaceful protests in the muslim world, i get blank looks because last month have been fully moment is. i think it may be the most momentous year in modern arab history. and one of the most perhaps in global history, at least since world war ii. december 2008, 1 man, i will talk about him, lift himself as
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an act of protest. that set off a remarkable chain of events where it was almost i'm touched by protest from morocco all the way to the border of pakistan, iran. so the arab world, not iran, almost all of these countries have taken that protesting. into countries, managed to get success, tunisia and egypt. in other countries i know it's still in flux but i advise people not to be impatient. let's wait. i'm confident in a couple of other countries, bahrain, for example, that there will be positive change. it's still six-eight months. removed, it took martin luther
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king a decade. i think in this day and age we have very limited attention spans and we should give people more time. it's only been a year. so the theme of my book is, you know, islam and nonviolence. i caution people and tell them, what about al qaeda, what about the taliban? taliban? i'm not saying it's an absence of violence is in islam. what i'm saying is that it isn't the same time a slant of nonviolence, a standard pacifism that can be seized upon, that can be used by people interested in engaging in march, peaceful protests. and a half. back in the 1940s, 1930s, again in the 1970s, again in the 1980s and 1990s.
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and now, of course, the dream movement, and tunisia, egypt and other countries in the arab world. >> what's happening in the arab world is change people's minds about islam, but, unfortunately, not enough. that's the reason why i think if i may be a bit less humble, that the book is needed. a recent statistic, the one that distressed me the most, marc march 2007 after tunisia and egypt started, a poll asked americans what they think of american muslims, nearly 28% said that americans are empathetic to al qaeda. i can is a distressing number. you can argue that american muslims, they may be fundamentalists. but to say that, three out of 10
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americans think that american muslims are sympathetic to possibly the worst terrorist organization in the world is something that is quite apologizing. and i think that needs to be challenged and reputed. and the sad thing is that this is based on complete ignorance. and the evidence, a recent 2010 september survey finds that only half of americans know that the koran is the holy book of muslim. now, that is quite a standing that you would form an opinion in the absence of this central, sort of knowledge. there's nothing more central to islam than the koran. and do not know that and yet have strong opinions about muslims is quite disturbing to me. also, less astounding given the
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lack of lack of information people have in this country, but one-third of, only one-third knew that indonesia is the most populous muslim country. now, there is a problem there. what happens is, and this is i think a reason about islam, that americans generally feel that islam is middle eastern islam, and middle eastern islam is saudi islam. not knowing that muslims are just between one-fourth and one-fifth of the total. that the largest concentration of muslims are in south asia, pakistan, india, bangladesh. so i think there is a problem there. so i would like to start with the sources of islam, then give a bit of history of islam.
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and then we will go on from there quickly to actual instances, because what i think is important, otherwise we can keep on quoting encountered quoting from the koran, we can keep on hiding and counter citing from history what matters is the practice of a certain religion. and i say so, and i'm not making any comparisons, in practice today islam was much more forgiving than the texas governor perry. really. the state of texas executed stroman, and wouldn't forgive him despite the pleas of one of the victims. so i would like to start with the solstice -- source of the koran, and the main source of course is the holy book of the
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koran. the koran, the holy book of islam, and we can keep on as i said citing, citing from the koran. but there's enough in there as you see in this, which can be easily seized upon and used by anyone who wishes to follow the path of nonviolence, reconciliation. the most famous book in the koran did with religion is the one from the bottom. there is no compassion in the name of religion. several other quotes like this in the koran, for example, fight in the way of god. but do not begin hostilities. god does not like the aggressor.
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and there is god forbid you to fight those who fight not your faith, and to do not guide you. up to be just in time for them, for god is just. so, you know, there are passages i came across in the koran itself that sort of enjoying people to be nice, be kind. and, of course, includes christians and jews, and also they believe in the old testament. so that is this interfaith notion in islam. muslims follow it in their daily practice. depends on individual to individual. there is a renowned comparative religious follower, karen armstrong. i love the quote she has.
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its vision is included the effectiveness the politically rightly guided religions and praises all the great prophets of the past. she isn't ex-nun. i would all recommend you look at her stuff. just incredible stuff. there's a lot of mercy and forebears are qualities that are so commonly mentioned in the koran or for example, mankind is something else that is common thing. the koran again and again asks the prophet muhammad not to exert pressure in the name of religion. it urges muslims not to refuse any proposal for peace. one can go on and on basically. read my book, i cite instances again and again. and as the scholars, karen
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armstrong, american professor who deals with this notion that a lot of people have. much more peaceful. and. [inaudible] all of these basically point out that the koran can be interpreted into a very peaceful, very good way. from their we go to the prophet muhammed. now you're prophet muhammed is very unique. because unlike jesus, more like i guess the hindu demagogues, he was a fighter and a religious leader at the same time.
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so here, you know, that leads to a certain construction in the minds of westerners that he was much more belligerent than jesus or buddha. but if you examine his life, a lot of scholars have pointed out a number of very salient things. number one, 413 long years, or 13 years ago i was quite a young man. a long span of time. in 30 long years he was in mecca. they were humiliations inflicted upon him, and his followers. and that entire span of time he refused to fight back. and the wonderful quotation from that period, he sort of asking god to, you know, to give him strength and to forgive his
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tormentors. for 30 long years he was in mecca. than after 13 years or so there was this one central act, and that is a nonviolent act which is he left with his followers. one of the most holiday packs. then it gets complicated. once he was in medina he did raise an army and defend himself. now, however scholars point out that his actions were defensive, for example, karen armstrong, there is an indian scholar. he said it's clear in every case
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of nonviolent, and the prophet muhammed did not approve of aggression because the koran had warned the faithful that god does not appease. violence forced upon him, but in return, when he returns to mecca, he forgave them. and generally he signed a number of peace treaties. he was very adept at bringing about peace to the various tribes on the saudi peninsula. so what i figure is exception. the sunni muslims think of him as a central figure of peace and love. so we basically now turn to the koran and the prophet muhammad.
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wonderful book out, he says that scholars have long ago in islam basher in the image of islam -- i think that problem became the west came into conflict with islam, europe, of course, in a way it hasn't with any other world religion. and because of that, islam came up, and if you look at the actual history of islam, it's quite different. and for example, even in south asia there's a misconception
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that islam was played by the swarm. not so. in bangladesh, over there -- [inaudible] the big concentration is in pakistan of course. again, spreading islam there. [inaudible] let's go to indonesia. africa, it was mainly merchants. now over there it was trickier. i must admit. they did conquer a large portion of the middle east, in a
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remarkable span of time. there is no denying that. however, scholars point out that those defeated were already completely decayed. it was byzantine empire and the persian empire. these were the main ones defeated. atrophy, it was very easy to defeat them. this may sound totally weird, but in egypt, for example, many of the bishops actually collaborate with the invaders against their own, they were so dissatisfied. so there was that going on also. most important, and i think this is something that should really be pointed out, it took a couple of centuries for these places to become muslim. it was a long, slow process. it wasn't, you have to convert
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-- convert, otherwise you die. in fact, a lot of these, because of snobbish notion about being the way they were, did not care for converting the hindu population. so for example, richard deaton said, this is what helped take the prophet of conversion, they shared animal sacrifice, and ritual slaughter with jews, shared circumcision with jews and christians. covered their heads during worship like jews. there month-long fast like many other groups. they practice, and individual prayer resemble that of christians. all this help make the convergence so much smoother. and actually it took two centuries or three centuries for these to become muslim. from the eighth, ninth, 10th.
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rather than just say what would have happened if you are taught, you know, it happened the way a lot of people think it happened. so it was established afterwards wasn't the ottoman empire. hear the french philosopher saying the ottoman empire let a man lived to his conscience. and. [inaudible] and ottoman empire was remarkably insolvent. until the very end. and, of course, the slaughter of the armenians at the end. that was much more of an expression of social nationalism. happen at the very end of the terrible, terrible episode. but that did not negate these
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proceedings with degrees, which is mostly christian. engine, even in other places the notion was not -- [inaudible] and as i said and a lot of these theses, instead of the political swamp, islam was spread, and the muslims are really interesting. in the west, imagination begin these are cut off as extremist islam, or as some far out tv called. -- a far out heat the cold. >> been the main figure again is the prophet muhammed. exemplifying love and peace. they are very much in islam.
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in fact, in islam this is tricky. normally people don't identify themselves as sunni muslim. however, sunni practices are so prevalent, go to any place in any niche you. you have for example, where hindus and muslims go all the time to offer prayer. these are two really, to saints a woman no less who basically had circumcision. and the idea of peace as i say is rooted, which is all mankind.
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not all muslims, but all mankind. it is something that they have peace for ever. unit, the notion of love is so expensive that according to some, you know, the heart has five, six chambers, each chamber as representing something. there's this really complex notion of the heart which is very, very interesting actually. that happened militants that have been written about but generally the record of two people in southeast asia has been remarkably positive. he who is not my friend may god be his friend. he who causes me distress, may his joy increase. he who places thoughts in my past with malice in his heart, may every flower that blooms in the garden of his life.
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[inaudible] his tomb is in new delhi. and it still one of the most biggest shrines in india. >> that was just a minor cold with no roads or emperors. something that can be negated by these two. .. the
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>> that there hasn't been an emperor this remarkable. in the end, he try today fashion a religion which he thought would combine the best elements of all religions. didn't outlive him, but it was quite an incredible venture that he undertook. unfortunately, the story doesn't quite end as well. but incredible scholar. heavily influenced by sufiism, had sufi teachers. wrote poetry, wrote incredible book which is the confluence of two oceans. the two oceans being islam and hinduism. unfortunately, i think, you know, this that day and age it
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was perhaps not entirely a good thing for a prince to be that scholarly, and he was so emotional that his brother took advantage and, basically, defeated him and killed him. so he was eldest son, should have been the rightful emperor, wasn't. but the efforts that he undertook on the behalf of pluralism, they're still remembered in south asia. his sister and daughter were also sufi. he was the only one in the kingdom who could answer him back and not pay for it with her life. so those are two remarkable examples from asian history which show us the influence of sufiism in south asia, but on rulers generally.
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several sufi sayings are still incredibly revered in south asia. one of them is so revered by hindu muslims, my mother has been a number of times toss a shrine. i'll come to it a bit later. slightly different background, so i'll deal with him later. if you desire a union with god, make peace with all. sayal ha to muslim -- allah toes muslims. so this notion of tolerance was just remarkable. the sufi saints made highly significant contributions to the development of india's legacy of
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civilization through the message of love, compassion, tolerance, kindness and service to mankind. by building bridges on the harmony between hindus and muslims and among various ethnic groups. this is, i just got this photograph from a great pub ri case -- publication dealing with south asia. the region of kashmir or, sadly s better known -- is better known today for the insurgency going on in the indian portion of kashmir. islam was spread by sufi saints. it was so remarkably pluralistic the main vein is known as -- [inaudible] among hindus, the same person. arishi is the word for saint, and these are the people who spread islam in kashmir.
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amazingly remarkable, we belong to the same parents. why the difference that hindus and muslims together worship god? we came to the world like partners, we should share our joys and sorrows together. this is not a festival in honor of -- [inaudible] but another kashmiri state. that annual city, and also the spring and kashmir is offering prayer there. and to date sufiism still has residence there. sufiism is true islam. sufiism is the part of love. for militant islamists, love is a hated world n. the place of love for all, which the sufis have taught, they insist we should hate all those who disagree with us. sufiism still has elements, some of the militant groups have try
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today post a -- we come to another muslim sect, and here i'm selfing into controversial territory -- delving into controversial territory. the reason i would like to deal with them is that they gave the most pacifist interpretation to the koran of any muslims possible. why are they controversial that we should go the pacifist path, there is no need for violence at all. the reason they said this, he said that he was the second coming of christ. and that has made him very controversial among other muslims. however, in india, in indonesia, in bangladesh they are still recognized as muslims.
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in pakistan they're not. in the outer world they do not exist that i could find in my research in large enough communities to be visible, but they do exist in south asia, southeast asia. they claim to be in the millions, it's hard to know. they have a presence here in the u.s. historically among african-americans and among current day immigrants. there are places of worship, and as i said, you know, they are the most aboundly pacifist sect possible. the reason that they become controversial is that, as i said, he declared himself to be the second coming of christ which made them heretical in the eyes of a lot of muslims. but i have dealt with them in a couple of pages because i think it's important for people to know about them whether or not you agree or disagree with their doctrine.
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now, my south asian friends ask this question, this is only open to people not from south asia. how many people of these four can you recognize? my south asian friends, even they may or may not be able to recognize one. but can anyone recognize any of the four? so the first one is from pakistan. currently resides in queens. teaches at queens college. i had the pleasure to actually interview him last year. completely his music, his philosophy, his life completely impacted and imbued with sufiism. quotes from sufi sayings all the time, and his music and lyrics are heavily inspired by them. incredible person, has tried to
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build bridges between india and pakistan, islam and the west again and again. and i have a piece on him which is available online in the magazine. really interesting person. divides his time now between pakistan and the u.s. huge follow anything the, in south asia and among the diaspora. says why sufiism attracts me is that it is a search for knowledge, thinking of who you are. knowing yourself and through knowing yourself, knowing god. when you really see with the heart and connect with god, love for humanity comes automatically. kahn is the one on the bottom and, again, another person sufiism had a huge impact on him and his life and his music. the person above him, can anyone recognize? again, no one from south asia.
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yes. >> [inaudible] >> yes, from south india, rah man. best known in the west for "slumdog." converted to islam himself. father was of hindu background, and again, somebody who is really drawn to sufiism. he says in sufiism there's no distinction between hindu and muslim. they just look straight into your heart, see your love for the sufi saints and the light of the prophets. love can transcend all these issues. west and east, muslim and nonmuslim or whatever else divides us. the gentleman in the african dress is in, the ul, another giant of global music from senegal, again, somebody who's heavily influenced by sufiism, has done an album called "egypt" which won a grammy. and, again, says islam for me is
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a religion of peace and tolerance, and i'd like people to understand my life's work better, my music and especially what islam means to me. which is why he did that album. incredible person, you should listen to his stuff too. absolutely amazing. so so sufiism still can be seen by these incredible and incredibly musicians from south asia and from africa. still has amazing resonance. i'll get quickly into, and i don't want to sort of give short shrift to this aspect of islam, and something i had to deal with and i deal with which is jihad. now, what is jihad? jihad is, actually, not war, it is not murder. it is the, the literal translation is "struggle." and struggle, the great struggle is within yourself. jihad, the lesser struggle is a struggle to defend islam. as shown in my book, you can get into the details.
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even for the defense of islam, there are really clear rules delineated, and you can't, for example, attack by stealth. you can't attack civilians. needless to say, the conduct of al-qaeda and the taliban have been completely in contradiction to all these rules laid down. whether jihad is a defensive or an offensive, um, doctrine is something, of course, that's debatable. but i come down on the side of, as do a lot of muslim scholars, that's meant to be a defensive doctrine at the very best to be becamed in the defense of islam as a last resort with clear rules laid down. and as another scholar say about jihad and says about terrorism, she says that it is difficult to
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find support for the use of irregular or terrorist tactics in the islamic condition. both are condemned under islam's general reticence concerning rev revolution. you can find all this in the book. i want to move on to some examples, but there's a chapter in my book because i really thought that had to be dealt with, because that's the aspect of islam that comes up often enough, if not very often, about the discourse of islam in the west. we move on to realized examples. can anyone, again not from south asia, but identify the people in this photograph? there is nehru.
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there is pateyu sitting in that rickshaw, and there is the tall man with the long nose, a long weak-like nose, walking alongside him. perhaps no one knows who he is, which is the tragedy. now here, people know the other person, i'm sure, you don't have to be from south asia. just a remarkable photo. one can almost see an aura around the other man. it's just an amazing picture. he's so much at peace with himself. who is he, though? kahn. and amazing picture ask be amazing -- and amazing man and amazing movement. comes out of a fairy tale. the same region which gave birth to a movement of 100,000 pashtuns who were dedicated to nonviolence, religious tolerance, gender rights and social equity. just an amazing, amazing example
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that things are not made up. it wasn't. and the second thing was that he took all his i inspiration from islam. and scholars have said that if gandhi was the most successful practitioner of nonviolence, kahn outdid him at the social level. you know, it was remarkable for a number of reasons. the british cracked down on the pashtuns in a way they never did on gandhi's followers in the rest of india for a couple reasons. number one, it was easy because there was hardly any media in those frontier regions. number two, they were so full of their own stereotypes, they never could believe that the bash tunes could go into nonviolence. so they killed them en masse. i mean, it is just absolutely remarkable the amount of violence they did upon them. 900 people killed -- 300 people killed in a single day, for example. people just being gunned down.
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pashtuns lifting up the bodies and coming to the front lines again, not fighting back, not engaging in violence. just remarkable examples. and kahn said that, i cite a chapter from the koran to show the great emphasis that islam has laid on peace. i also show to somebody he was having a debate with because of the forbearance and self-restraint than for the fierceness. the reply rendered him speechless, the person he was debating with. even after the prophet's exodus to medina, his opponents did not leave him in peace, this is kahn. finish he tried hard to avoid a clash, but in vain. only when he was attacked that he took up arms in self-defense. in islam that man is considered to be worthy of the highest praise who leads a good life and does not return a blow on evil
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for evil m if a man is slapped in the face and forgives the injury, he is generous. he is a great and good man worthy of the highest praise. remarkable person, remarkable life, remarkable example. why is he not at all known in the west? be a number of reasons. unlike gandhi, he left behind very little this terms of his writingings, just one autobiography he dictated. another is he was a pashtun nationalist. a nonviolet pashtun nationalist, but one nonetheless. came into conflict with the pakistani government, had to go to jail again. spent 15 years in jail under the british and 15 years in jail under the pakistani government. so as a result in pakistan he's been erased from history. in india he's been belittled. his nickname is the frontier gandhi, and the idea is that he
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took his inspiration from the move hat ma. not so. -- mo hat ma. he himself says from the prophet muhammad. there's nothing surprising to follow the creed of nonviolence. the prophet all the time when he was in mecca, and a member of his group, the servant of god, told an interviewer we do not follow nonviolence because gandhi told us. we followed it because in islam our prophet said that violation does not solve
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>> of nonviolence, pluralism, religious harmony payment became end -- became india's first education minister and today he's revered in india as a major figure in the indian independence movement.
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zakir hussein. religious pluralism, religious tolerance. not just an educationist, became a president of india. now, i must clarify here that the presidency in india is, has much less powers than the presidency in the united states. but still he did become the third president of india, ataped that post which shows the respect that he was held in by indians and is less well known today, but people still do remember him because he became the president. several other people who were with gandhi, another person who was a foot soldier, so to speak, in the indian independence movement. gandhi himself was influenced, believe it or not, by islam.
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he cited the prophet muhammad as a role model, he cited his attempts to build an ideal society as a role model, cited the martyrdom of hussein. and it's interesting, i found an iraqi parliament of government citing gandhi citing hussein. i don't know how they came to know about this, but remarkable story. from the 1930s and '40s, we come to the 1990s and much more recent examples. does anyone know who -- well, does anyone know about him at all? be the balkans, he was in albania, built a remarkable movement that lasted for almost a decade of parallel society of civil disobedience, mass civil
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disobedience, mass boycott of serb institutions. let me explain. kosovo, t so -- it's so complicated. kosovo wanted to be at least autonomous, if not independent. mill so slip, who many of you may know, cracked down very heavily. in response, the albanians built this remarkable parallel society of schools, colleges, hospitals. i mean, and very pluralistic. named, for example, one of the main institutions was named the mother teresa association. worked together with christians and defied milosevic for the better part of a decade. unfortunately, the west ignored him. also, unfortunately, he did not achieve the full potential of what the campaign should have been able to achieve.
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was too passive, was not active enough in reaching out and trying to convince his opponents. in the end it became stasis, and as a result the guerrilla movement sprang up, nato intervened, and today kosovo, partly because of hindu, is independent. it's recognized by a number of countries. but still it was needed at the time, and it spared kosovo the scale of bloodshed at least that other countries especially bosnia. here the figures, as bad as they were, were in the low thousands rather than tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands x. as even his opponents grumgingly give him the credit for, they said, look, he was the right person at the right time. of all the former leaders of former yugoslavia, it achieved a lot, it saved lives and kept us in our homes. so, you know, even here he
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achieved a lot. became a president of independent or semiindependent kosovo, died in 2006 and still is revered in kosovo as somebody who helped lead them to independence. this is an example that you all may know. two years ago ahmadinejad tried to steal an election, 2009, in response the green movement sprang up to protest, come out into the streets. remarkable movement, gained a lot of attention in the west. remarkable to us and for my book, also, because here was an example of islam being used both by the regime in a horribly depressive way and by these people in a libber story way. the green movement, green being the color of islam -- it's not a coincidence -- and to use islam in just an absolutely incredible way to resist autocracy of
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ahmadinejad. haven't yet, of course, become successful as you all may know, but still are keeping at it. i had a very pessimistic ending to my chapter, that it seemed to be done with. not at all, and we'll get to that in a bit. but taking inspiration from those that came back earlier this year, tens of thousands came out in the streets, showed that they still have life, they still are able to function. iraq had a small nonviolent resistance move to the u.s. occupation comprised of women's groups, labor groups, all these groups coming together, was able to persevere in spite of attacks from both sides, the u.s. forces as well as militants. you know, i cite these, you know, multiple instances in my book. the most remarkable example which is still ongoing, though, is in israel/palestine.
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this is the most recent of that, however, it started this 1990s. -- 1980s. uprising. and went on think the early '90. nearly completely a nonviolent movement. not a single us rah illly -- israeli soldier was killed in the first year of the uprising. a debate among scholar of nonviolence. is stone throwing violet? nonviolet? i mean, it's hard to know. so it's in that gray area. sadly, some violation done to people, palestinians collaborating or seemed to be collaborating with occupation forces. however, towards the israelis it was almost completely nonviolent. it shook israeli society in a way that the plo hadn't been
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able to before. islam, again here, was use inside a number of ways. islam was used to inspire people. they used a range of tactics from tax resistance, boycotts, hunger strikes, formed a number of committees. women were prominent, workers were prominent. in the end, the us israelis hado give in. it divided israeli so sharply, they were forced to come to the negotiating table. you all may remember in '9 t 3 that photo of clinton looking on and beaming while rabin and arafat are shaking hands was a direct result of the first one. and what happened was that courts did not fulfill their objective. palestine, as we all know, is
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still in a state of contention. the second inti tad da, unfortunately, was much more violet. and it involved a lot of bombing, suicide bombings. however, in this there has been a strand that has been remarkably nonviolent against the israeli/palestine separation barrier which has been purposely, if i may say so, to encroach on palestinian land again and again. as a result, in a number of places in palestine these movements have sprang up, and be they have been so remarkably nonviolent. again, some stone throwing, but so nonviolent than jimmy carter, desmond tootoo, they've all demonstrated with them and shown the support.
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they've had splash of success. some of the land has been given back. there's an oscar-winning documentary out which deals with the village of pew deuce. oscar wing, it's not oscar winning, oscar nominated last year. and a number of movements around palestine have been going on to date, and it's quite a remarkable saga over the last 20 years. again, not my friends from south asia, but can anyone else recognize either of these two? they're not as well known. but that's the current chief justice of pakistan. thatthat is esson, a lawyer in pakistan. why is it important? because they, just as remarkable achievement of overthrowing a
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long-ensconced dictator, the u.s.-backed musharraf, and coming out in the streets again. twiet they've managed to achieve -- so a couple of years ago in the mid 2000s musharraf, basically, decided to get rid of the prime minister. he was asking too many questions about too many issues, and musharraf thought that he would, in the end, go after him and his legitimacy. so, basically, he decided, you know, hey, you're out. and in response this remarkable lawyer's movement came up which went out in the streets in the face of immense oppression in a single day in karachi, 40 people were killed. what musharraf did was let his allies run roughshod, kill these people. there was a bomb blast, also, in another instance. there was a state of emergency
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declared, and in the end it proved to be too much for him. and, you know, through a chain of events musharraf had to leave. he's now in england, basically, enjoying comfortable exile. and a major part of this is the confluence of factors that led to his leaving office, but do not tell me that these guys department have a major role to -- didn't have a major role to play. and if he's now the chief justice of pakistan, the current president also hemmed and hawed about reinstating him because he was afraid that chauncey would go after him on corruption charges. they came out in the streets again two years ago and again forced him to back down x. as a result, as i said, lee currently the chief justice of pakistan. so here you have one of the large muslim countries in the world. remarkable, very recent case of people protests against a dictator. this is less known.
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maldives. i don't know how many of you know about the maldives. it's remarkably pretty. it's an ocean island nation. tourist destination. the person who ruled there, guya and i didn't want to have a picture of him, because my wife said i'd have to have a gallery of all these dictators. he's for 30 years longest ruling dictator in asia. and accepting, well, maybe even the middle east when he was there, i don't think there was anybody from the middle east who had ruled as long. ruled until 2008 until he was ousted by a large democratic movement in the country. using islam, using nonviolent protests, and as a result they have the first democratic government in their history.
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and they're new president is nashed. he came to power, and in a remarkable history -- let me read this to you. june, 1990. after 18 months in solitary confinement, a political prisoner was finally sentence today a jail of almost three and a half years. by the time the sentence was handed down, the damage caused by the regular torture he had endured had had become overwhelming. his backbone was damaged, he was suffering from internal bleeding. november 2008. standing before the chief justice of maldives. an activist ready to be sworn in as the president of maldives. i mean, incredible story really. and he's the president of maldives, very active on the global warming front. been president now for two, two and a half years. and nasheed after coming to
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power said islam teaches you there is no future if we hate. the 'em bittered and the vengeful cannot become agents of change. and when asked what he would do with the prison system, he said, don't forget, i was a prisoner myself. tortured. amnesty international's prisoner of the year and comes to power. just a remarkable story. maldives is quite a small country, among the smallest in south asia, but still -- and an overwhelmingly muslim nation and something i think deserves to be known in the west. >> [inaudible] >> you're right, absolutely. that's why he's in the forefront of the fight against global warming. we come then to where we are now which is, basically, the middle east. a remarkable, just a remarkable saga of what's been happening. as i said, two dictators,
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menally and hosni mubarak have been ousted in tunisia and egypt. the egyptian case has been well covered. the most important arab country, has a place in the western imagination perhaps because of the pyramids or whatever it is. but egypt really is something that has caught the public's eye and the united states also. perhaps not enough. but still, there has been some change in the discourse about the middle east. so two successful instances i would urge people not to be pessimistic. there have been all these stories about how fundamentalists are going to take over. t -- it's still something that's in the making, in the works, but i myself am quite optimistic. there are elections scheduled toed in both these countries.
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we should wait and watch. another muslim country about which they said the same negative things, indonesia, is now very much a democracy. the fundamentalists have not taken over. i know it's a different region of the world, of course, but the same thing was said about indonesia in '98. it's a flawed country, all democracies are not -- no democracy in the world is perfect, but well on it way to becoming a full-fledged democracy. i would urge people to have patience for egypt, for tunisia, and i'm optimistic about syria, bahrain and so many other countries that all of this is happening. i think many of them will change. there's not, almost not a single country that has been not affected. i mean, it's truly a remarkable, remarkable confluence of events since the end of 2008, start of 2011. for people who think that islam has no role in this, islam is such a -- so deeply rooted in
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people's consciousness. there's a good article in this publication which said, look, from social solidarity to suffering to forbearance to group activities, i mean, islam has an impact on people in these countries when they do any of these activities. it's there in the subconscious. and to say that because this thing, you know, we are not necessarily explicitly, they're not citing the koran or, you know, or islamic sources to say that there's an absence of muslim influence in such deeply muslim societies is, i think, sort of not recognized by what's happening out there. i'm very confident, very optimistic we'll see a completely changed middle east within a couple of years. you know? everybody is calling for democracy, t just been absolutely remarkable, i think, in the last six to eight months.
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and all of this started with one person. and sort of a contrast to what we have image of islams and muslims, suicide bombings inflicting the pain just upon themselves only. as an act of protest against the socioeconomic conditions he was in, and he could never have imagined the resonance he would have. i think if he had lived, he would have been absolutely amazed. an unemployed fruit and vegetable vendor in tunisia changed the middle east forever. regardless of what happens there in the months and years to come. there's a poem i'd like to end with. what is to give light?
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what is to give light must endure, burning a man once said. another man became the match stick that set a nation aflame. but fire and it appetite cannot be calculated like freedom. injustice and desperation make men combustible like dry wood. when words lose meaning and an entire people their voice so they can neither laugh nor scream, death and life begin to taste the same. from egypt to lebanon to yemen, light from a burning man prove catching and those with nothing to lose are offered bodies turning their hopes into a blazing dream. and i think, you know, really, it's just remarkable what one person did. of course, there was so many factors that are true, what's happening in the middle east. but i'm so happy that my book, as i say, has become so topical. and i'd like to sort of update this book and do it maybe in the
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paperback edition. but for background on what's been happening currently in the middle east and so many other instances, you know, this book is a primer for nonviolent societies in the middle east, and i would urge you all to take a look at my book. thank you so much. [applause] any, any questions? >> i think in my observation any religion if you take it too seriously, you're going to have problems and extremists. i think that's true with islam, christianity, judaism, hinduism, mormons. but, i mean, i think it's universal to all these religions that if you just follow them too literally and too seriously at the expense of everything else, that's where you're going to have the problem. >> yes. if i may cite my own religion,
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the holy book was actually as a discourse on battlefields. finish now, if you follow it literally, it actually is a call for war or justification for war. so what's happened is that gandhi and all these progressive sort of reformers reinterpreted it which is how a lot of indians, i think, today sort of follow it. not literally, but you can do it that way and sort of, you know, use it as a justification for war, so you're absolutely -- excuse me -- you're absolutely right that any religion taken too literally and followed too rim squidly can lead -- rigidly can lead to problems. absolutely. yes. >> i really appreciated your presentation tonight. >> oh, thank you. >> i must say that i'm not totally optimistic about some of the same things that you are. you mentioned sufiism a great deal. you did not mention wahhabiism which certainly has a great influence in egypt. and also you department mention the -- you didn't mention the
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word fatwa. and i've tried to read salman rushdie but couldn't get through it all. [laughter] >> yeah. wahhabi islam. no, you know, my book deals -- it's not a book on islam per se. no, but wahhabi islam, i agree. i've written in the past about the saudi way in islam which even i have problems with. and you're right, you know, being sort of just endowed with so much oil money, they've been able to thread that into islam and a number of countries in south asia and the middle east much to the detriment, in my honest opinion, of islam. in egypt deft it has a presence -- definitely it has a presence. how much of a population, how much of a hold i guess we'll know in the months and years to come when there are democratic elections and we come to know. fatwa is, basically, just an edict actually.
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and islam being, interestingly, democratic in that sense any mullah or sort of, you know, imam can issue a fatwa which is just an edict on anything. it can be on any social or political sort of aspect and doesn't necessarily have to deal with peace or violence whatsoever. it can be fairly trivial things too. so, but no, i'm not against the notion of fatwa in my book, thirdly with the notion of jihad. >> i think that every western religion seems to have problems between their progressive and their orthodox. >> yes. >> and in islam what do you think are the road blocks between those who practice an orthodox version of islam versus those who practice some of the more -- [inaudible] movements or the more progressive societies? >> well, as i mentioned in my previous answer, one is official
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backing of the more regressive sort of variance of islam. and certainly, the most obvious example would be, you know, wahhabi islam and the saudi backing of that. it's spreading to other countries. where does this come into conflict, for example, in indonesia, in other places. so that would be a major, major roadblock and obstacle, if not the major roadblock. not just saudi, but other countries too the discourse on islam being not necessarily conducive to a pacifist or a progressive interpretation of islam. >> the official acceptance or the official promotion -- >> promotion, acceptance or tolerance. absolutely, yeah. >> um, another translation i've heard for the word "islam" is submission. i don't know enough ant arabic to -- about arabic to know what the various implications or -- what is the exact translation of
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the word? >> and here i'm not an arabic speaker myself. but from what i've researched, islam the root word can mean submission, deliver ran, peace, the various varian yapts of that. so it's either submission to peace or peace through the submission to the will of god. you know, again, there are various interpretations, you know, and this is to single answer to that finish there is no single answer to that. i don't think scholars would completely agree on a single interpretation of what the word "islam "literally means. you can interpret it to happy peace as, say, gandhi did, or you can interpret it in a different way. yeah. >> um, i think of sufiism which is a lot of what you seem to be referring to as a very special part of the muslim tradition. and a verymy call one.
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mystical one. and i believe that from my study of different religions that the mystical branches of most religions are such as you describe sufiism; peace-loving, very heartful. and pretty universal and believe mostly the same certain things. um, and i know that this my own tradition -- in my own tradition that the mystic are a very small percentage of us. i'm wondering if you can take a guess at what percentage of muslims you think --? yeah. i try to answer that. so, okay, so formally very few. however, the practices of a lot of muslims are imbued and informed by sufi islam. in south asia and southeast asia, the balkans, turkey, you know, all these places sufiism has a large presence. not africa. i would say perhaps the single
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exception of the persian gulf region where i've not found it to have, you know, saudi arabia, uae, etc. therethis is a strong presence,d in a lot of practices such as these shrines, you know, believing in the these saints. so one would think and hope that with the saints the beliefs would also come into the idea notion of islam. for many muslims it does, but for many it doesn't. again, even among muslims it's seen as this almost groovy, hippiish type culture. [laughter] yeah. >> hello. i'm an american muslim. i was born in monroe, wisconsin, and came up in 1995. and, um, i can't help but be encouraged by people as yourself and what you're trying to do because being muslim for 16
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years prior to september 11th, i've always had a concern that something might happen because of some of the elements in the community, as many religious communities like the kkk among christians, the tam mill tigers in southeast asia, so that something might happen that might change the view of many more americans. and i'm very interested in the statistics that -- i've read your article in the wisconsin state journal and some of the views americans have about muslim americans. and i think that i just want to thank you again for your efforts and what you've done for the muslim community as -- [inaudible] i think more of us need to come together whether we're atheist or christian or hindu or whatever faith, whatever belief to try to -- i think we have to meet on common goals and try to, try to establish something, work towards goals we may not have
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come together on foundational beliefs or practices, but i think there are things that we can come together on. one of those things, i read a quote once about words make worlds. and one of the things that i read in a "usa today" article about general petraeus who's now director to have cia, he continued to use throughout his term the word "islamic terrorismment" no such thing as terrorist islamists, as you've pointed out, and i thought it was unfortunate that he continued to use that. and, um, one of the things that you used, the terms that you used was "fundamentalism." and i think that's kind of a tricky word when it comes to islam or any religion because somebody might look at me and say, wow, he's pretty strict or fundamental. and whereas radicals, i think,
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probably a radical person like the kkk or the tamil tigers or al-qaeda or some of the terrorist individuals or groups would probably be more appropriate. so i don't know what you think of that terminology and how it affects people and thinking. >> thanks for your compliment. you know, as i mention in my book, i went to college in the early part of my school in the capital of the largest state in india. naturally, our neighborhood was kind of a microcosm. we had hindu neighbors on one side, christian on the other and just across the park was a muslim landlord, and he used to send us all these nice dish, and so probably that did the trick. [laughter] so really just old-fashioned. you have to meet this guy, he's quite a character. if you know how the lords are, it'd be hard to get an image of
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him. so, no, you're right about termnology. -- terminology. in fact, for example, hindus say they can't be fundamentalists because there is no fundamentalism in hinduism. maybe i'm using the terms loosely. and i should be, perhaps, more careful. yes. >> are you aware there's a group somewhere, i attended a talk where a few limb i -- a muslim imam, christian priest and a jewish rabbi each spoke of their religions and invited question. >> yes, yes. i know quite a bit of the group. in fact, one of the people participating in that locally is phil haslinger, if i may say so,
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a friend of mine. he is halftime a journal i and halftime a pastor. and he's wonderful in all, in holding all these interfaith sort of initiatives and dialogues locally. so i'm quite aware. in fact, i think he wrote about this very recently in his column, in his religious affairs column. >> the united church of christ. >> i'm sorry. i stand corrected. >> yep. >> any other questions, or should we -- thank you all for coming. [applause] >> every weekend booktv offers 48 hours of programming focused on nonfiction authors and books. watch it here on c-span2. >> dr. starbuck, you have written a few books on archaeology. why is it important for people to learn history through archaeology? >> it's often said that history
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is written by the victors, and we read about such things as major battles, generals, military campaigns. history talks about those who won. it talks about the famous, it talk about the great events. archaeology, on the other hand, talks about ordinary people. we dig up the remains of soldiers on average days at their forts, at their military encampments. it's the real lives of real people that archaeology gets at. whereas history has traditionally been biased towards the famous people, the important people. well, to an archaeologist everyone is important. when i dig up military camps, i'm digging up the activities, the things that people were doing 360 days out of the year, not what they did on that one or two days they were fighting during the year. so archaeologists love to say it
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is everybody's story that we try to tell. >> and you've done, you talk about how you've done multiple kind of archaeology. how did you decide to transition to the military archaeology forged on battlefields? >> i was originally trained in central mexico. it's fun, it's exciting the o dig in other countries. but gradually i started digging to have calcites in d -- historical sites in america. i dug a gun factory many years ago. i've dug glass factories, i've dug mills. but somewhere along the way the national park service asked if i would start working on the share toag da georgia -- saratoga battlefield. i'd never worked on military sites before. i did know, though, that when you dig up early america people in general are drawn to certain types of things, and other things maybe they don't find quite as exciting. it was 1985 when i first started
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digging a battlefield, and i was amazed to find that everybody is fascinated by early military history. and it's not just memorizing facts and memorizing battle strategies. people want to actually go where the action was. they want to stand where the soldiers stood. they want to stand where the battle was going on. and they want to see and touch the things of the past. a musket ball, a gun flint, a bayonet. people want to physically connect with evidence, with traces from past wars, from past battles. the moment i started digging forts and battlefields, many more people started signing up to dig with me, magazine started requesting articles, television started wanting to do programs on military digs, books, everybody wanted books on digging up forts. i never realized that level of interest exists here in america
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for all the old military campaigns, all the old forts. and i suddenly realized i never planned to dig a fort in my life, but all of a sudden people cared. people wanted to visit. people wanted to connect with past soldiers. and for 25 years now i have dug up the remain of america's forts, battlefields and encampments trying to find out what soldiers' lives were really like. >> and there's a lot of interest, you've mentioned in america with people with forts and battlefields, and in the forward to your book it states that sometimes that compromises the material record. what does that mean? >> i'm afraid that battlefields are such famous popular sites that the moment a battle was over anytime in our past, local people would descend to pick up souvenirs. and in no time at all those musket balls, those bullets,
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those bayonets would be picked up and carried off. also if people lived nearby, if remains of a fort were starting to crumble, were starting to rot, the gary soften had left -- garrison had left local citizens, local townspeople would go there, grab anything they could walk off with whether it's bricks, old fireplaces, timbers and take them off and use them for their own houses. so military sites are compromised all the time by people wanting souvenirs and wanting things to recycle for their own use. so by the time the archaeologist arrives, only a fragment of what was once there at a military site. >> what are some of the things that you've found that you wouldn't -- people wouldn't expect that you would find at a fort or a battlefield, and what types of things can tell the most stories? >> i think what people expect us to find would be thing like the
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musket balls and gun flints, gun parts, and that's always interesting. i've seen lots of students get very excited at finding a musket ball. but i think the more unexpected things are usually the personal items, things that a soldier actually had op their body -- on their body; button, buckles, cuff links. anything of a perm -- of a personal nature, you suddenly see that button and realize a real person was wearing that, and you're connecting with that soldier from the past. i think among the unexpected things we find, though s the fancy things. i think we assume everything's sort of standard military issue, everybody's wearing the same thing, fighting with the same weapons. all of a sudden you find something nice, and one fort that comes to mind is fort orange. that's where the city of albany, new york, is today. fort orange was an early dutch
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fort, and you'd expect on the frontier in the 1600s everything would be simple and crude. well, they have found the fanciest glass vessels, glass bottles, glass bowls from holland. the nicest things way up there on the frontier. soldiers, people living in forts did not just have crude, simple, out-of-date garbage, if you will. they had nice things. they wanted to bring the best things from home, from the mother country, from europe with them to the frontier of america. when archaeologists find really nice things, we sort of smile to ourselves and say a, those officers, those soldiers, they did okay for themselves. >> and what are you digging now? is there an archaeological dig that you're working on right now or you're going to work on this fall? >> well, i'm doing two things right now. in the summertime i'm digging fort wi


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