And They Ask, “Why Do They Hate Us?”
By Arwa Mahmoud
Staff writer – IslamOnline
05/01/04 -- As an Arab Muslim, watching and hearing news on what went on in Palestine and Iraq had gotten to a nauseating point with me. There had been too much repetition, too much unintelligent jargon, and too much vulgarity for even devout Middle East addict to take. My and many others’ intelligence gets insulted everyday with not much done about it. God forbid I should forget that those who insult are the “mighty” ones with the black suits and the fancy ties, the ones with their sophisticated toys, ready to knock the hell out of anyone who misbehaves.
It’s been a pattern, and an intentional one at that. They strike, kill, enrage, and walk out clean. Our faces turn red; we scream; they turn blue. We walk down the streets holding signs and throwing tomatoes. We let it all out. Our faces grow back their yellow, and they stay that way. Colorful, isn’t it?
Alarmingly, each crime committed against my people is beginning to act like a vaccine booster, as if we were slowly adapting to humiliation. Proud men getting their faces rubbed in sand is the order of the day. At some point it was a Palestinian child’s bloody face into the pavement under an Israeli boot, so rubbing an adult face in sand with an American boot is not that bad after all!
We’re looking at a policy that aims at producing non-reaction. Acquired helplessness. And they see it as the first step to a loving friendship. They’re torturing, raping and bombing their way to our hearts. And since we’re dogs, we’d continue to drool to them for attention, for love. This is their utopian vision of us. This is how they’ve chosen to run things with the people of a thousands-of-years-old civilization.
But as humiliated and helpless as many of us have come to feel, silent rage is spreading among us like a dangerous plague. No, they haven’t won any “dog’s” heart. They’ve only kept the hearts and minds of Arab rulers who gladly prostitute their countries for cash and prestige.
As this outrageous set of atrocities piles up with time, it awakens the proud human in any decent Muslim. They empower the will to act more assertively, to speak louder, and to make a change. And we’re more than a billion. We come from different parts of the world, and we live under differing conditions. Our education ranges from a PhD to nothing. But if a few of us get hurt, we all ache. And our reactions then vary, and range from speaking and writing to suicide bombing.
I believe this pile just got heaviest with me. When I saw pictures of my brothers in Iraq stripped naked I literally felt my blood boiling in a way it hasn’t for a very long time. I found myself writing for the first time in four years.
There isn’t much I can write that hasn’t already been written by many others or spoken by many more. But since there appears to be a massive state of ignorance on the policy making level, allow me to use some basic teaching techniques usually applied on Alzheimer patients: repetition.
Invade a country and treat its people like sheep and you’ll be loathed for generations. The Israelis still suffer from that mistake; the infamous “a land without people to people without land” dogma, which is translated in each Israeli policy, continues to cost many Israeli lives 56 years on. And they haven’t learned.
And Iraqis are not Red Indians. In the 21st century everyone can see what you think you’re doing in the dark. There are many around the world who feel the plight of the Iraqis as you rip at their culture, not hundreds of years later.
Finally, add more oppression to the oppressed, take away the little they have left and they will turn violent. This is a basic equation. Politics 101.
“Objectivity” tells me that those pictures I saw reflected the acts of a deranged few, and that those few will receive their well-deserved punishment at the hands of their commanders. But much to the displeasure of the American administration, I am a rational being, and I come from the Middle East. Some of the old commanders and politicians who took charge throughout the turbulent history of this part of the world had pasts not dissimilar to the present of the sick minds they recruit today. And that lady posing next to the prisoners is part of the package. We’ve seen this only too many times. Ask any Arab ex-prisoner who fought a war with Israel.
And now, with a smiling face, I’m expected to give reassuring answers to angry patriotic Americans echoing the blond heads that popped on television right after 9/11: “Why do they hate us?” A question the media has managed to scare every American with. And many have internalized and believed it.
One thing: Get your honorable liberators out of our land. As each day passes you convince more and more people to really hate you this time, and fight to the very last drop of their boiling blood.
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