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A different war
Attacks on Middle Easterners in America

October 17, 2001
The Iranian

I am declaring war on all terrorists. My war will be a bit different than that of GW's, but it will be war nonetheless. Let me start by a brief preface and then a short story.

What happened on September 11 is just totally unacceptable. Not to minimize the impact of questionable U.S. policies -- full support of state terrorism by Israeli government, for example -- killing innocent men and women, destroying cities and devastating a country, just because of their nationality is just plain wrong.

We all condemn that and have no sympathy for hose who commit them. Besides, there are very rare occasions in history where violence has ever managed to accomplish anything positive, and this will undoubtedly be no different. Most terrorists also know this, but they have other goals. Which brings me to my story;

Few nights ago, I went out to buy a slice of pizza. I had spent most of the day watching the horrific scenes coming from New York on multiple networks. I was sad, angry, confused and shocked. It was about midnight and I was hungry. Going out to eat and getting some fresh air seemed like the perfect momentary escape I needed. This place about four blocks from my apartment makes great pizza and it's open 24 hours.

I didn't feel like walking, so I drove there. I live in a large urban center in Southern California and this was yet another beautiful night. It took a few minutes to get there and I could see a small crowd of people standing at the pizza place's window, waiting to pick up their orders.

I parked almost right in front of the place and as I started to get out of my car, I heard a couple of people getting out of the truck parked behind me. I guess they had watched me squeezing my little car into the small spot in front of their large pick-up. All I remember next is these two angry, screaming big guys coming towards me. I honestly can not even recall their exact words, but remember sections like "your people killed our people" and "go back to where you came from" and a few other niceties like that.

I am not a small person but I had two large blonde towers within inches of my face, blocking everything in my view and with my back against my car. I could not speak a single word. Whether it was shock or just not knowing how to answer ignorance, I was completely speechless. Part of me also knew the worst was yet to come, so I was trying to protect myself and look for an opening to run. Thankfully, it didn't come to that.

Their yelling attracted a group of people hanging inside and around the pizza joint and more than a few of them were not as quiet as I was. Within a minute or so, they pulled me away, escorted those guys back into their trucks (they took off shouting something and showing their middle fingers at me). The restaurant manager bought me a slice and somebody else bought a soda. I sat quietly, a bit shaken, ate my pizza and left amidst their sympathetic words.

The next three days were a mess. I was still in shock. Maybe even scared. I noticed myself checking out the occupants of cars around me and even looking back to see who was behind. I was timid and unsure, both in my demeanor and my speech.

But today I have declared war and all has changed.

The terrorists who crashed hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the ones that intended to hurt me because of it are not that different. They are both ignorant. They use force to make their point. Both lack reason but are obsessed with violence. They thrive on intimidation and insecurity of the innocent and both are bullies. I declare war on these bullies as well as the other kind.

The guy who shot and killed a turbaned Sikh a few days ago, kept screaming he will stand for America as he was arrested. A friend had all his tires slashed because of his Middle Eastern looks. He is Italian. Two teenagers got beat up pretty bad, because one is Afghani. This may not be the end of it. More of us will be targeted by these other terrorists. We will hear comments, get shouted at and even be harmed. "Their people" are upset at "our people" and we may have to pay for it.

So, let's all go to war against terrorists. We won't resort to violence as those cowards do, but let's not let them intimidate us either. Let's not be scared. Hold our heads up and be proud. We are as much part of this society as they are. They don't set the standards for us and they certainly don't judge us based on our heritage, color or religion.

We WILL triumph over these terrorists. Guaranteed.

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