Thursday, August 30, 2007

The usual suspects

There you go again, a woman traveling from Californian to Chicago yesterday, Wednesday, August 29 went to the flight crew and reported suspicious Arab-looking men who were “possibly speaking Arabic” after she boarded the plane heading to Chicago. The woman was reported to have told the crew that there were 4 to 7 men possibly speaking Arabic who acted in an “ odd behavior”

Later on, the woman wanted to get off the plane causing the plane to go back to the terminal and was delayed until the next day.
It was not known what constitute an odd behavior in the woman’s mind!

It turned out that the Arabic men were Iraqis who according the Associated Press were contracted by private company to train US marines, possibly, my guess, on Arabic language, cultural sensitivities and the significance of special Shia rituals in Iraq.

The most “ Odd” thing about this story was how in the world did that woman know that the men were speaking Arabic? It was a lucky guess of course because obviously the woman does not know or understand Arabic. The men could have been speaking Mongolian, Hebrew, Armenian, Bulgarian or Persian or even Martian language. But maybe, and I am speculating here, the moustaches gave them away as being Arabs!

The truth and the significance of story and countless others like it, is that the woman acted with a racist disposition when it comes to Arabs and Arab Americans or anyone who looks like an Arab.

Popular culture and Hollywood feed Americans a relentless and shamless daily diet of anti-Arab racism and hatred in shows and movies that portray Arabs as always villains and terrorists.

The TV show, 24,for example is a fantastical stupid show that the very reason of its existence is to portray Arabs and Muslims as the evil ones, the villains and the terrorists. Always. Hollywood role here is being the fountainhead that provide the racists, and the criminals with mental ammunition to perhaps go ahead and harm an innocent Arab American or a Muslim American whose only guilt is his ethnicity or religious belief. Hollywood is guilty of manufacturing deception and planting a culture of fear, racism, and hatred in the minds of millions of will-meaning Americans.

With that said,only the Arab money,however, is welcomed in America, as the gulf Arab countries are ready to pump over 20 billion dollars worth of worthless military hardware into the American economy thus putting and keeping millions of Americans at their jobs. Other than that, An Arab who comes to America, according to Arab press reports, would feel un-welcomed, disrespected, looked down upon, and often times treated with the most undignified fashion.

So when ordinary Americans get suspicious about something at an airport or a train terminal, they immediately look for the usual suspect, an Arab or someone who looks like him.

It would be very stupid to think that terrorist syndicates would send an advance surveillance team to any American city wearing fluffy white robes, sporting colorful turbans with a peacock feather coming out of the middle of it, and having nametags that reads “ Sheik Mombasa Bin Babil”

Anti-Arab stereotyping and racism, however, might prove to be lethal and an Achilles heel for which the real terrorists whose skin might lack enough pigmentation to look pleasing to any racist person in which case would cause him to pass as “Whitey” himself. And imagine a new wave of terrorists who have blonde hair and green eyes who then would be able to conduct surveillance, plant bombs without raising an eyebrow from ordinary people who are looking at an innocent man who happened to go the bathroom (odd behavior) or talking to his wife Fatima or his cousin Ali Baba (another odd behavior) or, God-forbid, speaking Arabic (the oddest behavior of all at any giving airport)

I bet if Barak Obama was not famous enough or running for national office, he would be taken off the plane for an odd or suspicious behavior such as reading a newspaper or going to the bathroom or for the oddest behavior of all; having a dark skin!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Restore Iraqi nationalism

Published in Providence Journal, Monday,8-27-08

U.S. must restore Iraqi nationalism
01:00 AM EDT on Monday, August 27, 2007



FORRMER NEW YORK Times Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Hedges wrote on Aug. 12 that “the war in Iraq is about to get worse . . . much worse,” especially after the Democrats washed their hands of responsibility to end this war. As Mr. Hedges put it, this war “will sputter and stagger forward until the mission collapses.”
One of the most conspicuous things about this war is that it has brought the words of Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis into full realization when he said in a 1991 essay entitled “Mideast states, pawns no longer in imperial games” that:

“It may turn out that the civil war that destroyed Lebanon was a pilot project for the whole region, and that with very few exceptions states will disintegrate into chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes and regions.”

Mr. Lewis was referring to the civil war that ravaged Lebanon in 1975-1991. Iraq today is a failed chaotic state of feuding sects and tribes and precisely what Mr. Lewis had in mind of what could happen widely in the Middle East.
Those who planned for this war in Iraq, long before Sept. 11, 2001, appear to have worked to fulfill Mr. Lewis’s prophecy. The results have been disastrous both for the region, for the U.S., and for international peace and security. The threat of terrorism against the United States, as well as other countries has increased, and Iraqis are doing far worse today than they ever did under Saddam Hussein.
The problem that bedevils Iraq today, and is seldom mentioned in the press, is that it is no longer an Arab country, in terms of its national identity, despite being a majority ethnic-Arab country of Muslims and Christians with a significant Kurdish minority population.

The war has let a segment of Iraqi Shias realize their long-held dream to convert Iraq from an Arab country into a Shia country — that is, a country with a narrow Shia identity that will essentially serve as an extension of Iran. It also let the Kurds slice off a piece of the country for themselves, thus converting the modern state of Iraq into a dysfunctional failed state that belongs more to the Middle Ages than to the 21st Century, exactly what Mr. Lewis foresaw in 1991.
Mr. Hedges was right when he labeled the notorious Iraqi politician and former CIA operative Ahmad Chalabi an “Iranian spy.” Similarly, no significant Iraqi Shia politician can make any major decision whether to run for office or join the government without consulting Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the Iranian ayatollah whose words are taken by Iraqi Shias to be almost as holy as God’s and whose priorities and agendas are more important to them than the state of Iraq itself.

Most Shias, Arabs or not, have greater loyalty to Iran and its ayatollahs than their own countries. We see evidence of this phenomenon in the writings of such Shia nationalists as Fuad Ajami and Vali Nasr. Both teach at respected American universities and are proponents of a separate Shia identity as the basis for Shia nationalism under global Iranian leadership. It is worth noting, however, that Shiaism is basically no more than a political party that acquired religious thought and an intellectual argument over the centuries.

The United States is in a lose-lose situation. If it withdraws now, Iraq will plunge into total inferno. If it remains, American soldiers will continue to die for ever-changing objectives. A beacon of hope could emerge, however, if the United States encourages Iraqi nationalism to be once more the identity of Iraq for Shia, Kurds, Sunnis and other Muslims, and Christians. Only then Iraqis will look beyond their narrow religious and ethnic identities, stop slaughtering each other and embrace each other as equal citizens of a modern state.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Youssif, the face of Iraq

Youssif is a small five years old Iraqi boy who was grabbed by terrorists, earlier this year, while playing outside his house, who then doused him with gas and set his little body on fire. “ I felt I was burning” said Youssif as he was talking to Arwa Damon CNN reporter in Iraq.

Youssif’s mother,Zainab, heard the cries and ran outside to see her son on fire. "His face was melting and his nose was pushed inside and then fainted” said the horrified mother.

The once playful outgoing boy has become withdrawn and traumatized because of his injuries

Youssif’s burnt face and the faces of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children exposed the collapse of an entire country from a stable secured country into a heap of rubble of what once was a proud nation called Iraq.

Good hearted decent Americans, individuals, organizations and hospitals came out in droves to help Youssif recover his once smiley face. CNN was overwhelmed by the out pouring support and offers to help, reported.

The Children’s Burn foundation in Californian has offered to treat Youssif, and pay for all expenses including all of the travel and accommodations for his family to come to the US for treatment.

Dr. Peter Grossman will donate his services for free to help Youssif
Thousands of other Iraqi children have suffered the gruesome punishment similar to Youssif. Many lost limps, eyes and most of the time their young lives. Those are the silent innocent victims of this dirty war.

While Iraqi grown ups; from criminal leaders to thieving politicians to crook Ayatollahs are busy looting, burning and destroying their own country at the expense of young Iraqi children. Youssif and children like him will have to continue to suffer in silence with their faces melted down or their limps cut off.

One of the most shameful things about this war is that many politicians and states have collaborated in destroying Iraq and its people, non is interested in helping the Iraqi citizens children and adults alike.

As for Youssif, he will now have another chance to show his innocent smile once more away from the Hell-zone.

But in the clutch of circumstance, in the sinking depths of man, and in the foggy thicket of war, we became a beast of nature and forgot our humanity.

Youssif's melted face descended upon us to ask us; what have we done to his beautiful face? But we have no answer to give him; we are too ashamed to even look him in the eye.