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Middle East

Angry because
People of the Middle East furious at dualistic U.S. policies

By Ramtin
August 13, 2003
The Iranian

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 regimes 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, uneducated and 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 most pressing 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 Israeli 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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By Ramtin



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