People of the Middle East furious
at dualistic U.S. policies
August 13, 2003
Recently someone asked me why people in the Middle
East hold so much animosity against the United States and before
I could answer she blurted, “I think
they are just jealous of our lifestyle.” I did not react by lashing out
or even patronizing that person with a sarcastic giggle instead I gave a one
word answer, no!
The fact of the matter is that countries that make
up the Arab, Persian, Kurdish, and Turkish world are filled with
people who have been victimized
by the West’s colonialism, interference, and support for the tyrannical
regimes which currently rule.
Today if you tell the average Iranian, Syrian,
or Egyptian that you are an American they would quickly ask if you could
help them get a Green Card. The Middle East does not hate Americans,
it is furious
with the dualistic policies the American government has enacted towards peoples
of the region.
One question many Middle Easterners raise is how
America can stand up on the world stage and commit to the creation
of democracies and free
all over the world yet still support dictatorships in the region? Let’s
not forget our government provides billions of dollars a year to oppressive,
human rights violating regimes in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and, until
1990, Iraq. These countries have populations that are poor, desperate,
angry at the country which labels them terrorists while supporting the
brutal regimes which serve to keep them down.
When radicals such as Osama bin Laden
get their hands on these disenfranchised young Muslims they can create
an army of martyrs who fight for what they consider to be a “holy war.” This
is exactly where most Americans lose an understanding of why the people of
the Middle East feel antagonized by American foreign policy. Right now the
and sensitive issue in the minds of many Arabs and other Muslims is, Palestine-Israel.
Everyday the entire world watches video of U.S.-made
Israeli bulldozers destroying the homes of innocent civilians already
living in archaic refugee camps. These
images resonate and pull at the collective hearts of the Islamic world.
Israel which is directly supported by the United States has become
a symbol of the
malevolent Western intentions in the Middle East.
Contrary to popular
belief Israel is not
just resented by Muslims but also by Christians and Jews who are indigenous
to the region and feel that the Jewish state has simply become a Western
colony supported by the U.S.
For instance, President Bush last
year called current
President Ariel Sharon “a man of peace.” This statement
was made about a man who was found responsible for intentionally allowing
the massacre of thousands of unarmed Palestinian women and children
in southern Lebanon
in 1982. What does this say to the average person living in Cairo
or Tehran? Simply
put, America is only guided by its own interests even if it comes
at the cost of a thousand innocent Palestinians.
We as Americans
must understand that the
Middle East does not experience all the great values that this nation
possesses but rather it is victimized by the financial and political
interests of many
people in our government.
While in last summer I shared an extended
conversation with a cab driver who was driving me through the late
afternoon city traffic.
He wanted to know more about America, how he could get a Green Card,
whether the woman were as beautiful as the ones on MTV. Just as
he told me he loved
Americans I noticed the sticker on his windshield that read in Farsi “Death
to America.” I
asked him how he could display that sticker and love Americans at
the same time. He responded, “There is a difference between
the Americans and their government, I know that, everyone knows
that. But my Aunt was on a plane
that was shot down
by an American navy ship in the Persian Gulf in 1988, how I could
ever forget what they have done to me -- to the whole Middle
East. I just wonder sometimes, why they hate us so much.”
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