We’re next

Dear Setareh,

My name is Dave and I'm writing you because of a recent article you wrote for Iranian.com (”
Today, I am a Palestinian“). I'm sure that mine will not be the only response to your letter. I feel compelled to write you because I agree with your sentiments nearly universally.

I am a sixth-generation American (roots back to Ireland, Scotland, and Norway), white-skinned with fair hair and eyes (just to give you a quick idea of what I look like and my ancestry), which means that I am generally not thought, in most assumptions, to be pro-Palestinian. And with what I'm about to write, I'm sure some misguided and unaware souls will think that I am anti-American.

However, I am very much pro-Palestine/Palestinian and I love America; I just am not always happy with her. I'm always proud to be an American, just not always proud to be associated with some of my fellow citizens or elected officials.

I live in Seoul, Korea, though my American home is Los Angeles. I've lived abroad for nearly four years, the reasons for which are complicated and lengthy, but not the least of which are my feelings toward the American government and its foreign policy leanings, particularly in dealing with the Israeli/Palestinian issue.

I've long been distrustful of the American media and government. It saddens me that so many Americans, including friends and family, are so trusting of, gullible about, and susceptible to the brainwashing monstrosity that is the US government propaganda machine.

It saddens me that a country founded specifically to be a magnet for immigrants from around the world searching for a better life or looking to escape some kind of persecution continues its longstanding practice of frequently persecuting others not in the 'elite' or 'ruling class' and not abiding by the principles upon which we were founded.

One of the things about Americans, not to offer simplifications as much as to offer a perspective, is that they are as narcissistic and isolated from the rest of the world as any citizens in the history of civilization. They don't understand what goes on in the world other than what they are told by the American media or the American government. And when they have some sort of grasp of a bit of it, they can't just offer sympathy or compassion for the sake of it; no, there's almost always an agenda or a string attached.

Americans are masters at taking a situation unrelated to them and instead of supporting it for the sake of it, they, as if it were like putty in their hands, mold it into something that benefits or enwealthens them.

I recently was on vacation and spent the better part of it — six weeks, to be exact — in the States. It was my first time in the States since the attacks of last September (which, by the way, I don't think were committed by those whom we've been told committed those crimes) and I looked forward to observing the country as I traveled and visited friends and family.

Recently, while I was in Los Angeles, I attended a rally at the Federal Building in Westwood. It was a rally/demonstration/protest regarding Israel's occupation of Palestine and the U.S.'s blatant support for it. Of course, I've been to numerous rallies over the years and have learned what to expect from them, but, still, I was saddened at the amount of people who were there under the pretext of showing support for the Palestinians, though in reality they were there to espouse their own causes.

It takes away the luster on the legitimate protests against the Zionists who are occupying and persecuting the Palestine and her would-be citizens. It lessens the severity of the situation and the urgency of the protests. I know many people who are very ignorant of what's happening there. Later, while I was in San Diego visiting my dad, we had an interesting conversation about some things.

One of the things we talked about was hypocrisy, especially in relation to the current situation involving the Bush administration's 'war on terrorism' (a misnomer, if ever there were one; 'widening the Empire' would be a more accurate label) and Palestine/Israel, and more. I think we were talking about the differences in the points of view of America's standing in the world.

I made the point to him that I don't consider those Palestinians fighting the war against Israel should be labeled 'terrorists'; I'd also argue that perhaps people such as bin Laden shouldn't be called as such, either. I was being critical to American media's blatant hypocrisy, selective or revisionist history, and language bending.

The thought that occurred to me that afternoon occurs to me right now: when we fought the War of Independence, the struggle that freed us from the bonds of England and allowed us to stand unaided, we were outnumbered in overall militiamen by about three to one. What this meant, other than the staggering odds' against our winning, was that we were going to have to resort to unconventional warfare and war tactics.

One of the tactics to which we resorted was a strike-and-hide sort of maneuver known as guerrilla warfare. This involved covert maneuvering, hidden strikes, disguised weapons, and attacks on armed practitioners of the Queen's military and those colonists sympathetic to the Crown (or, in other parlance, attacks on military and civilian personnel). If one were to read that last sentence, that is, sans parentheses, a reasonably intelligent person could see that I in no uncertain or stretched terms could be referring to 'terrorism'.

One of the things that drives me most crazy about my country's government (and, indeed, probably about any other government in the world, if truth be known) is its out-and-out condescension and hypocrisy. As I travel and live more in this world, and as I get to know people from other cultures and lands, in their own skin, not in mine, it becomes my feeling more and more that people would know how to govern themselves if given the chance and not treated as if they were mentally retarded.

I know there would be many arguments against this, but hold on. How could the situations of so many of this world's countries be any worse if there were less government and more personal sovereignty? I don't hold that people are as stupid as the governments have allowed them to become or as they believe they've become. I also don't think it's necessary for governments to lie and make their own truths so much.

Of course, I know it's not necessary and that I'm being idealistic, but it's the way it is because of the megalomania of so many of the elite over the idea of possessing as much wealth, power, and property as can possibly be amassed. I can honestly say that I cannot understand people who think like this. This shows how evolution can go wrongly, maniacally, and dangerously out of control. Where is the love? Where is the compassion? Where's the coexisting with one's neighbors?

Where's the live and let live, love and let love? Where's the open-mindedness? Where's the sharing, the grass-smoking, the letting go of the mind? Where's the thought that more laws AREN'T a good thing? Where's the tolerance? Some of these same questions were questions that were asked by the very colonists, some of whom became our country's Founding Fathers, who rebelled against the world's then-Empire.

Nowadays, we're the Empire, we're the ones harassing, amassing, and crevassing the world's meek. We're the one against whom others often rightly rebel. We're the next Empire that's going to suffer an outrageous fall. America has had, almost from day one, a history of oppressing others, that which it was that we sought to escape. Hypocrisy, albeit in a different manner than how it lives and breathes in our current democracy, has had a long history of dining at our country's buffet, too.

Most of the other ills that so seriously plague us today were begotten later, in the mid-19th century, though they've been fertilized, watered, and cultivated to a sharp edge over the past century, to be sure.

I feel very strongly about all of these things, Setareh, and what I say next might shock you and other readers of this, but if I knew the language and didn't look so, so, American, I'd sell all I had and head to Palestine to take up arms against the oppressors in support for their cause.

As it is, since I look how I look and can only speak English and a smattering of French, Spanish, and Korean, I don't think I'd get too far or be too welcome in Palestine since I wouldn't be able to communicate very well my deep-seated emotions on this. As it is, I have taken other subtle, but effective, ways in protesting (let's just say it's related to the 'taxation without representation' issue back in the 1700s).

Now, as I read your ”
Thoreauly wrong“, I, for one, consider myself lucky to have read your writing over the past few months. I always look forward to reading what you have to say. I am with you and agree with you, for though I am not Palestinian, I sometimes consider my point of view of the conflict to be that of a Palestinian.

Best wishes and good luck,


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