I understand that the Mercury “reserves the right to edit” any letters that are sent in for publication. No one could disgree that cutting a few words (or sentences) may sometimes be necessary.
However, considering that my published letter “Politics, not faith, is spur to terrorism” (Mailbox, December 2) centred upon the misinterpretation of the written word, I was concerned that your decision to remove a few words from my concluding sentence served to substantially alter my argument.
My letter had pointed out how the CIA, with the backing of Saudi elites, had supported the rise of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s. I then wrote:
“A central political player in enabling the well-funded growth of a radical Islamic ideology in Afghanistan was Pakistan’s military regime – led by the infamous and reactionary General Zia-ul-Haq.”
But because the (edited) letter omited the final ten words of the preceding sentence, it appeared that I was blaming Pakistan as a whole for supporting the rise of radical Islam in Afghanistan.
The complete opposite was my intent. It was the undemocratic military regime that was at fault, not the people of Pakistan.
I had emphasized this critical difference in the following sentence, that was unfortunately excised from the published letter, which added:
“Tragically in 1977 this brutal General had, with the blessings of US imperialism and support of other Western-funded religious parties like Jamati Islami, acted to overthrow the elected government of the Pakistan People’s Party and immediately impose martial law.”
Letter emailed to the Leicester Mercury mailbox on January 2. Published on January 6 as “My meaning was changed.”