Thursday, August 17, 2006

Moderate Arabs ask: "Where are the moderate Americans?"

The Arabist, a moderate Egyptian, poses this as the core issue with moderate Arabs. They see an American foreign policy that appears to be "bomb'em all and let God sort'em out", that is an uncritical rubber stamp for the actions of one particular group of criminals while ignoring why another group of criminals gets popular support, and they wonder: Where are the moderate Americans? When is there going to be an America that supports moderates in the Middle East, rather than repressive dictatorships or religious extremists?

Unfortunately, I have a rather sad answer for him. The majority of Americans would gladly kill him with no more thought than squashing a cockroach. Because he, or anybody else who is "not American", simply is not human to them.

Unfortunately, the stereotypes that most of the world holds about the majority of Americans being loud, ignorant and violent are true. When I tell my co-workers that, here in one of the few places in the United States that are not like that, they look at me in disbelief. But I have lived all over the United states and found that the majority of Americans have a simple moral equation: Americans = people, foreigners = not people. American newspapers even have a rule that one American is worth 1,000 foreigners when deciding whether to put a story on the front page or not. If there is a train crash in Nigeria that kills 500 people, it gets no mention at all in the American press unless at least one American (i.e. real person) gets killed. 1,000 Nigerians, well, then it might get mentioned. Or might not. They’re just dirty wogs, untermenschen, unseemly mud people, after all.

When I tell my co-workers (who are mostly foreign-born) that the majority of Americans outside of this enclave of sanity we live in would happily kill them if their leaders told them to do so, with no more thought than killing a cockroach, they say “No way!”. After all, they walk around and they see a sane society. Unfortunately, said sane society does not extend more than a few blocks away from the major cities. Outside that… well, you have a few sane people, but the rest are, by any definition of sanity, totally insane. They pray to Jesus before breaking bread, then talk about how “we should kill all those Arabs because they hate us all.” Nevermind that Jesus never spoke of killing anybody… it doesn’t matter. They see no difference between the killing of some darky overseas, and killing of the wild animals that they love to hunt and slaughter. Both are just animals, as far as they’re concerned.

People ask me, “if the majority of Americans are like that, why do you stay in America?” I answer that I was born here. But the more I see of the country that I was born in, the more I wonder if that’s a sufficient answer.

-- Badtux the Disappointed Penguin


  1. It is true Bad Tux. Living where I do I get to see the ugly and ignorant Americans on a Daily basis.

  2. Yeah, Dawg, I graduated from USL (we may have seen each other in Red Lerilles from time to time) so I know exactly what you mean.

    I still think Deano's Pizza is the best pizza ever, anywhere, tho. Love that "Cajun Executioner"...


  3. Well, where else can we go? I guess that I just have to stick it out in a country that I'm ashamed of.

  4. I have served this country for 25 years, and I'm extremely ashamed of what this country has become. Thoughts of becoming an expat occur everyday.

  5. I've looked at other places, but it can be complex and expensive moving. And some countries won't you stay there long term.

    I contend that our ancestors should have stayed where they were and made those places better instead of coming to America and fucking it up. But what do I know.

    All I know is that were ever I am I want there to be peace and lack of greed. And a part of me is everywere, so there you go.

  6. BT, since the country was built on the subjugation of people of color (red people = Native American massacres, brown people = massacres by the Spanish and English conquistadores, black people = slavery, yellow people = coolies who built the railroads), I don't possibly see how you can expect otherwise. How can we possibly turn our backs on that glorious heritage?


  7. But the more I see of the country that I was born in, the more I wonder if that’s a sufficient answer.

    More and more lately, yep, more and more.

  8. I would disagree with your premise that Americans care about Americans.

    Many Americans only care about the "right" Americans (pun intended.) As we've seen from the somewhat disturbing outrage over the deaths of 2,600(+) GIs in a war for nothing, if you happen to have been born on the wrong side of the tracks you are "them" and not as valuable as "us."

  9. apocryphal story from the 30's (when the greatest generation still didn't know what they were facing): there was a headline in the Toronto (Ontario) Star: Floods in China; No Canadians killed.

    We laugh at it here now because it was explicit, not because we agree with what it meant.

  10. Katrina was a good example of the differences in the "people" of America.

    People seem to have forgotten the tsunami, just a blip in our radar. If we had lost as many Americans as the Europeans lost, it might have mattered.

    Especially if there had been a major movie star involved.

    Or maybe a tv show, Survivor: Tsunami Edition!

  11. Yeah, well, you may be right, BT. I'm still saddled with this idea that enough of us will do the right thing when it matters most to keep the damn ship afloat -- the 2004 presidential election notwithstanding -- so I dunno.

    But if you are right, then perhaps these more-Christian-than-thou types ought to open their Good Books and read Proverbs 11.29:

    "Those who trouble their households will inherit wind."

    IMNSHO: Annihalating people for the "crime" of practicing Islam while brown qualifies as troubling one's own household. In the words of Ward Churchill: "You want your children to be safe? Stop killing other people's babies -- or looking the other way while they die"...

  12. I just finished Morris Berman's Dark Ages America. He documents why the country's decline is irreversible.


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