Saturday, January 03, 2009

I Was Proud To Be An American. Once.

For a moment, anyway. A brief sliver of time. Literally a blink of the eye. I was proud to be an American. Then. Americans voted for change. They cast their votes for a man most of us would never have expected to take office in our lifetime. The country got out there and made their voices heard.

But where are their voices now? Where are OUR voices now? I was proud to be an American. Then.

Now, once again, I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed of my fellow countrymen who speak so confidently on a topic about which they know so little. I'm ashamed of people who are only willing to listen to someone else's story if they look like we do or at least our neighbor. How sad is it that it would be more meaningful to many Americans to hear that there are 5000 Christians in Gaza without food, without water, without heat, without power. Yes, there are 5000 of my brothers and sisters in faith. But there are millions of humans. When all is said and done, people are people. I didn't give food for those 5000. I didn't give blankets and clothes for them. I gave those things for everyone in need. Just as the Bible tells me to.

Hear me, Americans, just as THE BIBLE tells me to.

It doesn't say, only help those who look like you and worship like you. I doesn't say only help those with good PR machines. It says whatever you have done to the least of them, you have done to Christ. I wonder, when the time comes, will you be proud of your hard-heartedness to the Palestinians? Will you be proud of loudly calling for Israel to "wipe out Hamas" and damn the civilians who happen to be in the way? I'm not proud today.

I'm ashamed of my government, both the old (which continues to act according to pattern) and the new (from which I expected better than silence). I'm ashamed of my fellow Americans who clearly saw the evil that was Apartheid in South Africa and refuse to accept and admit that the State of Israel is also practicing Apartheid.

But, I am proud of my fellow Americans here in Jordan. Where it's impossible not to know a Palestinian (would that those in the US would spend as much time getting to know a Palestinian family as a pro-Israeli Jewish family) and to understand what they lost when forced from their homes. Here in Jordan where we understand that, regardless of the tit-for-tat nature of this conflict and regardless of who poked whom first, the current situation in Gaza bears more resemblance to the ghettos of Warsaw and the holocaust than it does to a "humanitarian crisis". Here we Americans have been giving for Gaza, helping for Gaza, and praying for Gaza.

So, I was proud to be an American. Once.

11 Comments:

At 6:25 AM , Blogger Nicole said...

I put your link to this article on my facebook...so you know.

 
At 7:02 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Thanks... I'm considering sending it to some US papers you know Letter to the Editor kind of thing...

 
At 10:33 AM , Anonymous yER mothER said...

You should (send it to US papers). It was very well written and concise.

 
At 12:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think maybe you are a little out of touch. there have been peaceful but very large marches in my american city three out of the last five days, and most marchers are supporting palestine.

obama really can't undermine bush by speaking out one way or another because he's not in charge yet. management 101. one boss at a time, and bush is it for a couple more weeks.

that said, i really don't think american policy in the region will change radically because it is not that dependent upon who's in charge. because of checks and balances and the massive scale of government, the president doesn't always have as much power as some people think he has.

 
At 8:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon

Sick and tired of hearing the argument that the president doesn't have as much apower as....

If the president had enough power to screw up a whole nation and start a war against it and overthrow its leadership then I'm sure he has the power to pressure Israel to stop the crimes they are comitting.

 
At 11:17 PM , Blogger UmmFarouq said...

I wonder, sincerely, what the US thinks it will lose if it speaks out, for once? Why play the blame game? It's all about human decency; the Israeli lobby is alive and well and will not go anywhere. So why can't, just once, anyone from the State Dept. get their heads out of their rear ends and just speak??? It is something I cannot understand, ever. Even Sarkozy has spoken! And he's in a league with Bush, and always has been.

 
At 12:32 AM , Blogger Ali said...

No you should be proud because not all Americans support Israeli attrocities, check here the protests that are happening now across Amnerica

http://answer.pephost.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ANS_homepage

 
At 2:11 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Yer mother, thanks.

Anon #1 and Ali, I am not out of touch with the fact that some Americans are protesting. But most aren't. Honestly, most don't understand the issue and yet still feel qualified to carry a strong opinion on it (members of my family included). I am ashamed that Americans hold such a double standard as to decry Apartheid and remain silent on the Palestinian genocide. So, while I am not ashamed of all Americans, I'm also not proud to be American today.

Anon #2, totally agree. Enough catering to W and his cronies. We need someone with the moral fortitude to say THIS IS WRONG. Not, take sides, not throw support behind Israel, just say this is wrong stop it, both of you.

Umm Farouq, You and me both. How can anyone claiming to be Christian see pictures of young children lying in the morgue and not see this is wrong? It is time to speak...

 
At 2:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous #2, i'm sorry you are sick of the argument, but it is a valid one. bush didn't do those things on his own. he had the support of both houses of congress. he also got re-elected to a second term, and that took the vote of the people. no one in the justice department convinced him he might be violating international law when iraq was bombed. all branches of government were in on it, and that is just the ugly reality and why it would be foolish to think the next president can easily undo some of these poor, lousy choices.

 
At 2:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mama,

It is always disturbing to see fair-weather Americans. There's no doubt that people are hurting and the situation is bad (and it's your blog), but save the group shame, please.

Where was the outcry over non-Western intervention in Rwanda? Why should the US intervene in places we're not wanted? Remember the footage of groups of people getting all happy-clappy about the 9-11 attacks in the occupied territories? Remember the outcome of the intervention in Somalia where Islamic warlords attacked UN food convoys? There are not neat parallels, but all this "shame" and overgeneralizing because it's a pet issue? Have you officially gone native?

Have you forgotten that most people in the US are insular, largely not knowledgeable about international borders (much less affairs)? "would that those in the US would spend as much time getting to know a Palestinian family as a pro-Israeli Jewish family)" Are you kidding? How many Jewish or Palestinian families are there in Nebraska? Kansas, Alabama? The average American in the Midwest would consider it a novelty to even meet a someone not part of the big-three Protestant religious groups.

I would rather see US money being spent on Americans of all stripes getting help finding housing after having lost it in a recession than sending foreign nations weapons or aid. Again, I know there's suffering, but not it's not the US' fight. Intervention in this region has rarely ended well.

 
At 1:09 PM , Blogger Hani Obaid said...

Speaking of pride, did you hear about this:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKTRE50C20B20090113

Has W no shame whatsoever?

I couldn't believe the news as I read it.

 

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