|What infuriates people
... is that many American politicians can walk outside in broad daylight and say
By Ali Khalili
April 24, 2002
Mr. Hodges, thank you for your response, "Misreading
U.S. intentions". I am hardly the one to continue on arguing over these
matters. Nevertheless, I felt the need to further clarify a few of my points, which
somehow seemed to have either been mistaken or taken differently than I wanted them
I will begin with my rant on Iran. In regards to Iran, I was not asking that America
should build a democracy there. I was merely asking that it would have been real
nice if it would not have removed its only democratic government ever and support
My statement and your eventual derivations of it are completely different. And in
regards to that opportunity being our "only" chance as a nation, it definitely
has been our best chance ever. A person of the caliber of Mossadegh or Mandela or
Gandhi do not show up every day in the political arena of a nation.
In addition, Mossadegh's fall gave rise to all the radicals, both Marxist-Leninists
and Islamic zealots, who promoted their ideologies and brought about the revolution
of 1979. With the unfolding of the Iranian revolution, which like all other revolutions
ended with a massacre of many of its true children and the onslaught of intellectual
and liberal politicians and the exodus of millions of more empowered Iranians, a
chance for a truly free Iran has gradually become a pipe dream.
As an additional side note, in regards to Germany and
Japan being occupied during World War II, let me also mention that Iran was also
occupied during that time, and its monarch was banished. So, I suppose occupation
did not necessarily have anything to do with the policies implemented in various
On Palestine, my argument and that of many is not that suicide bombing is great or
acceptable. I would be the first to say that a better leadership may have given Palestinians
far better opportunities. However, where I have an issue is that American politicians
and media in their unanimous support for Israel and under the massive pro-Israeli
lobby, rarely mention anything about the history of the conflict.
Most Americans have no clue and think that Palestinians just have a natural knack
to blow themselves up. I have the misfortune of watching American newscasts from
time to time and the level of bias is truly sad and maddening.
But to clarify this situation and to show you where I and many of people who are
like-minded come from, I would like to take you through a scenario with me.
Let's assume for a moment that tomorrow morning is the end of America's glory days.
The new superpower is China. Like so many before them, they forget every lesson of
history and invade countries left and right and center and along the path colonize
the U.S. and Canada. After a while, they decide to leave the region and having learnt
from the Brits, they decide to leave a mess behind to ensure future frictions and
So, they break up the region, much like the Brits did before they left Middle East.
Canada is divided into three countries, the west, the east and Quebec. USA is left
untouched, but the Chinese decide that California, Arizona, Texas and even Florida
must go to Mexico. They say that most of these used to belong to Mexico anyway and
thus, Mexico has a right to them (a claim which is probably more fair than the claims
around which the state of Israel was built).
The Mexicans roll in and start taking over all the good parts. If you are not of
Mexican heritage, you are now a second class citizen or you must leave all together.
So, thousands of non-Mexicans depart for what's left of the U.S. The Americans who
are clearly offended, launch a war, but are quickly defeated by an army equipped
by superior Chinese weaponry and support. As a result of the loss, the Mexicans take
over the rest of the land as well.
Soon, the Mexicans begin a project to ensure the complete annihilation of the population
in what was once known as America. Of course, being smart, they don't send the Americans
to gas chambers. Instead, Mexican settlements take over the nicest neighborhoods
of every city. Homes are bulldozed and people are kicked out. Mexicans say that the
holy book found in the ashes of Aztec ruins says it is their right to live here.
Of course, radicalism rises. Every day, the radical elements of your movement remind
you of the glory days, when Mexico was a pushover and China was desperate for U.S.
businesses in order to survive. As the resistance grows, the Chinese come in and
make a few halfhearted attempts to give you a little piece of your land, all along
making it look like they are doing you a huge favor.
During the negotiations, the Mexicans say that the refugees have no right of return,
and that the former residents of California or Texas or Florida, can't come back.
In the meantime, while these negotiations go on, settlements continue and in fact,
double in size. Checkpoints continue. Discriminations continue. And the hopeless
life in refugee camps continue as well.
You sign agreements, but soon you realize that the radical elements within the Mexicans
are not ready to give up. Every once in a while, there are uprisings, but they are
put down and the Chinese insist that there should be no violence on the American
side. But as the process drags on, you realize that you are hitting a dead end.
Eventually, the radical elements within your movement, having witnessed the degradation
of their great nation, take over the movement and start a campaign of violence with
whatever means they have as they feel it is the only solution. And then, the Chinese
half a world away go on TV, day in and day out, condemning American terrorists for
their actions while they refer to the same general who massacred your compatriots
as a "man of peace".
And the story goes on...
That was fiction, but it is also very real for an entire people called Palestinians.
What infuriates people is that many American politicians can walk outside in broad
daylight and say it's night; that many American politicians instead of addressing
the root causes of a problem, constantly blame the symptoms. What infuriates people,
is that America has supported one of the biggest cases of apartheid and discrimination
in an unusually blind way, while constantly waving the flag of freedom and peace.
What infuriates people is that America utilizes its powerful media to -- more often
than not -- in the same way that dictatorial regimes like Iran or Iraq do. What
infuriates people, is that American politicians all of a sudden become dumb and lose
all common sense. They all echo the same old beat while the whole world views the
incidents very differently. What infuriates people is that an American president
states that these problems have existed for centuries whereas everyone knows that
Muslims and Jews rarely or maybe never had a significant clash until the creation
of state of Israel and the ensuing problems that Palestinians had to suffer from.
What infuriates people is that it took 50 years for an American president to even
mention Palestinian statehood while recognizing Israel's right to everything and
supporting it with billions of dollars every year. And really, who could believe
such words when American presidents can lie to the world about smaller matters such
as their sexual activities and get a way with it. America's foreign policy misadventures
includes Iran, Chile, Palestine, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Panama, Grenada,
Cuba, El Salvador and much more. Even in the last few days and in the case of Venezuela,
we witnessed how well Washington honors and defends its agreements and commitments
such as the "Democracy Clause" which it had only signed a year ago in Quebec
City during the Summit of Americas.
My friend, I oppose suicide bombings or the killing
of civilians. I too feel that it is a futile attempt. In fact, I feel that fighting
as a whole is futile, whether it's in the form of massive bombings and organized
massacres which Americans seem to rarely condemn or the ways which the more oppressed
people tend to resort to at times. I personally believe that no ideology or philosophy
or piece of land is worth killing over. But I also understand why a group of repressed
and humiliated people deprived of its basic rights can feel frustrated and hopeless,
just like I understand the frustration of Black Americans in the '60s and the frustrations
of so many other disposed and disenchanted people around the world.
And what I ask you, is to help their cause, by also speaking about all the injustices
that they have endured and not beating on a few clichés and buzz words that
people can associate with without ever using their brain cells. What I ask, is that
if one has the courage of condemning Palestinian tactics on a web site that is probably
more pro-Palestinian, then they should also have the courage to speak out about far
bigger crimes that have happened to Palestinians in a more pro-Israeli site.
Living in denial or sweeping things under the carpet can only go on for so long.
Sooner or later the truth must be spoken or there will never be peace.