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Tarek Mehanna: A Selection of Timely Quotes

Some quotations to reflect on.


These are some quotations selected from various books I have with me in my cell that I feel to be relevant to my trial in one way or another.

-Tariq Mehanna

12th of Safar 1433/5th of January 2012


“I believe that it is a crime for anyone to teach a person who is being brutalized to continue to accept that brutality without doing something to defend himself.” –Malcolm X (‘By Any Means Necessary,’ p. 31)

“I don’t go along with anyone who wants to teach our people nonviolence until someone at the same time is teaching our enemy to be nonviolent.” –Malcolm X (p. 192)

“By violence, they only mean when a black man protects himself against the attacks of a white man. This is what they mean by violence. They don’t mean what you mean. Because they don’t even use the word violence until someone gives the impression that you’re the one about to explode. When it comes time for a black man to explode, they call it violence. But white people can be exploding against black people all day long, and it’s never called violence. I even have some of you come to me and ask me, am I for violence? I’m the victim of violence, and you’re the victim of violence. But you’ve been so victimized by it that you can’t recognize it for what it is today.”-Malcolm X (p. 211)


“I only had to return to the American Revolution and Tom Paine for a model…what Paine offered to his countrymen in the brilliant “Common Sense” was…an idea, faith in the justice of a higher power, and a religion of freedom and equality that was diametrically opposed to the British monarchy and its elitist class systems. What Muslims offered was similar: faith in a higher power and a belief that developed countries have no right to subjugate and exploit the rest of the world. Like colonial minutemen, Muslims were threatening to fight for their rights, and like the British of the 1770s, we classified such actions as terrorism. History appeared to be repeating itself.” -John Perkins (‘Confessions of an Economic Hitman,’ p.56)

“Terrorism, terrorism, terrorism. It has become a full stop, a punctuation mark, a phrase, a speech, a sermon, the be-all and end-all of everything that we must hate in order to ignore injustice an occupation and murder on a mass scale. Terror, terror, terror, terror. It is a sonata, a symphony, an orchestra tuned to every television and radio station and news agency report; the soap-opera of the Devil served up on prime time…Strike against Terror. Victory over Terror. War on Terror. Everlasting War on Terror. Rarely in history have soldiers, journalists, presidents, and kings aligned themselves in such thoughtless, unquestioning ranks.” –Robert Fisk (‘The Great War for Civilization’, p. 378)


“This western civilization, which is headed by America, has lost its values and appeal…freedom, human rights, and equality. It became a total mockery, and that became obvious when the US government interfered and banned the media from airing my words, which were only a few minutes long, because they felt that the truth started to appear to the American people: that we aren’t truly terrorists by their definition, but that we are the ones being violated in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Somalia, Kashmir, the Philippines, and everywhere. So they forgot everything they used to say about free speech, unbiased opinion, and all that. So, I say that freeom and rights in America have been sent to the chopping block with no return, unless they’re quickly reinstated. The U.S. government will take the American people, and the west in general, into a suffocating life and an unsustainable hell…” –Usamah bin Ladin, from an Oct. 21st, 2011 interview with al-Jazirah TV

“What does it profit a nation to conquer the whole world, but lose its soul in the process?” –Cornel West


“Law is politics by other means.” –David Kairys, legal scholar

“The judge is a monarch, and his courtroom is essentially a tyranny. One enters thinking it is a bastion of democracy, or a hall of justice, only to be sorely disappointed. The judge is in control of the evidence, the witnesses, the questions, and the interpretation of the law.” –Howard Zinn (‘Declarations of Independence,’ p. 135)

“Basically, the usual suspects bite the dust at the trial simply because the jurors perceive them as the usual suspects.” –Raw Law, p. 137

“I don’t profess to have a political, economic, or social solution to a problem as complicated as the one which our people face in the US…One of the reasons why I say it’s difficult to come up and say ‘this is a solution’ or ‘that is the solution’ is that a chicken cannot produce a duck egg, and it can’t produce a duck egg because the system itself was produced by a chicken egg and can only reproduce what produced it.” –Malcolm X (p. 145)


“Conditions change. The Muslim loses his power and is conquered. Yet, the awareness never leaves him that he is the most superior. So long as he remains a believer, he looks at his conqueror from a position of superiority. He remains certain that this is a temporary condition which will pass, and that faith will turn the tide from which there is no escape. Even if death happens to be apportioned for him, he will never bow his head.” –Sayyid Qutb (‘Milestones,’ p. 145)

“God’s wisdom underlies every decision and every condition. He administers the entire Universe, and He is informed of its beginning and its end, controlling its events and inter-relationships. He knows the wisdom, hidden from us behind the curtains of the Unseen – the wisdom which unfolds the long process of history in conjunction with His will. Sometimes, after generations and centuries, God unveils to us the wisdom of an event which wasn’t understood by those who witnessed it. They might have wondered: Why this? O Lord! Why did this happen? The question itself is due to ignorance from which the believer saves himself. He already knows that behind every decision there is wisdom. His breadth of concept and his foresight in space & time, in values & scales, raises him above this unbelief whose beginning is in such a question. He journeys on God’s ordained course with submission & contentment.” –Sayyid Qutb (p. 157)

“As I stood considering the walls of solid stone, two or three feet thick, the door of wood and iron, a foot thick, and the iron grating which strained the light, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up…I saw that if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsman, there was still a more difficult one to climb before they could get to be as free as I was. I did not for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar…They plainly did not know how to treat me, but behaved like persons who are underbred. In every threat and in every compliment, there was a blunder, for they thought that my chief desire was to stand on the other side of the stone wall. I could not help but smile to see how industriously they locked the door on my meditations…As they could not reach me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite, will abuse his dog. I saw the State was half-witted, that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons, and that it did not know its friends from its foes, and I lost all my remaining respect for it and pitied it.” –Henry David Thoreau (‘Civil Disobedience,’ p. 16)

“The State never intentionally confronts a man’s sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” –Henry David Thoreau (p. 17)

“I may be inside a physical prison, but I am 100% free of something that imprisons millions of hearts around the world: fear of the U.S. government.” -Me

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