This is an open letter to the American people regarding Adam Yahiye Gadahn, and his recent addition to the terrorist threat list by the FBI. Unlike most of the documents on this site, it is a plea for "walking around in the other guy's shoes."
I never met Y.A. Gadahn face-to-face, but I knew him through his contributions to my radio show. When I last spoke to him, back in the 1990s, he created several fliers for the show, and helped out with numerous music programming suggestions. I remember him as a passionate, courteous, intelligent kid excited about life, but somewhat cowed by its unnecessary human-induced dark side, thus prone to listening to lots of quality death metal.
Call it compassion, or call it empathy, but a lot of kids like Y.A. Gadahn resonated with me in spirit. They came from dark homes where overworked parents (if they were lucky - often a single parent) drove long hours to labor in the bowels of the city-machine, and came home with no energy for their kids. Brainless, authoritarian public schools. Neurotic adults who couldn't explain why all of this was important. An increasingly-restrictive republic whose electorate seemed uninformed as to the actual issues. A natural world being consumed and turned into strip malls at an alarming rate.
I think this future is what alarms a lot of us, patriotic Americans and al-Qaeda radicals alike. The idea that maybe we're speeding toward something we can't control, that we can't undo. The thought that as our obsession with money and power reaches new heights, we'll forget nature, and will also forget there's another way outside our dark thorny path of righteousness.
I don't believe al-Qaeda is evil, and I don't believe George Bush is illegal. I definitely don't believe A.Y. Gadahn is "evil," or even ill-intentioned. I think he's a sincere guy like any number of others you may have grown up next door to, worked a cube over from, spent time guffawing with at a baseball game. I knew him as a normal kid, with normal desires and normal fears, including a growing dread of what "modern life" has become.
Because of this, today, I ask for your compassion, and for your consideration of a singular thought: it could be there are no "good guys" and "bad guys" here, but that we, as a society have lost our way and need to re-invent our values. Where we once had a goal in overcoming nature, we now have no goals except those in society itself... money, power, look-at-me social importance.
More than any tangible political goals, I think it's the goal of al-Qaeda and other dissident groups (including ANUS, the GNAA, and Abrupt) to resist that coming darkness. It might not yet have stamped its consequences onto our foreheads, but it's like that day in school when your teacher is delayed in conference and you and your friends spend the first twenty minutes of class raising hell: this can't end well. Ultimately, there will be a piper to pay.
Your oceans are choked with plastic. Your air, awash in chemicals. Your cities wastelands of crime and look-a-like plastic storefronts. Your children, alienated and lonely in dysfunctional families, broken social relationships, and prisonlike schools.
Before you ride another normal guy into the ground so he can be worked over by military intelligence, I ask you this: consider an option.
Do it for A.Y. Gadahn, or do it for whatever ideals you hold dearest, or do it for yourself, but do it. Resist. With reason, passion and the knowledge that it doesn't have to be this way.
Spinoza Ray Prozak
CNN dossier on Adam Yahiye Gadahn
FBI dossier on Adam Yahiye Gadahn
A small rant about death metal: death metal was music that went farther than any before it in rejecting society in its whole and claiming that "only death is real," pointing out that no matter how much plastic you buy or paper that says you're important, death triumphs in the end; so maybe there should be a value to life outside the tangible? The subtlety of the genre was lost on most, but for kids of every ethnicity worldwide, it was a way of telling their elders that values needed reshaping. Unlike the directionless rage of punk or early heavy metal, death metal had clear ideas about how this world should be reshaped. It was against collectivism, industry and morality, and thorugh its thunderous, centerless, seemingly chaotic sound it suggested a world to explore outside the boundaries defined for us by our machines and moral traditions.
"So how do you know if you, a loved one, or someone who reports to you is suffering from [job-related] burnout? Here are the early-warning signs.
1. chronic fatigue - exhaustion, tiredness, a sense of being physically run down
2. anger at those making demands
3. self-criticism for putting up with the demands
4. cynicism, negativity, and irritability
5. a sense of being besieged
6. exploding easily at seemingly inconsequential things
7. frequent headaches and gastrointestinal disturbances
8. weight loss or gain
9. sleeplessness and depression
10. shortness of breath
12. feelings of helplessness
13. increased degree of risk taking"
A small reminder about why our society is slowly making us neurotic and dysfunctional from Microsoft: Your Job Burnout Professionals.
Note to Feds: I have no idea where he is, and have had no contact with the man for nearly a decade. Further, I have no idea where to find him, or what he has been doing in this time. Not only that, but I don't know anyone else who knows him, or ever saw a picture of him until you posted yours. Also, at the time he knew me I was opposed to all religion, including Islam, so he never mentioned a word of this. In summary, all that I know about Y.A. Gadahn is included in this article.