Tariq NelsonPosted Feb 13, 2008 •Permalink • Printer-Friendly Version
Obama’s Secret Alliance
by Tariq Nelson
A friend of mine that does not live in this area called me and told me about the grief he was receiving from some Palestinians in his area about supporting Obama. Apparently, they are saying that Obama is secretly in league with the Jews. It is all part of another secret plot to destroy them and they had a secret letter to support their claim that they were passing around. I usually dismiss this kind of thing from them because that particular community is known for nutty conspiracy theories (some of which have involved me) however, it seems that other attacks - albeit not as nutty - have begun to circulate in more mainstream Muslim circles.
The big problem seems to be that Obama is not pure on the “issue of Palestine” - the one and only issue on the planet for some of these groups. Throw out everything about health care, taxes, jobs, the economy and a litany of other issues…the only issue is Palestine. That is the ultimate litmus test and there is no reciprocal support on other issues. And (at its most extreme) if one is not pure, then we can make up a conspiracy against you to vilify you.
A friend of mine wrote this email in response to the attacks on Obama’s position. I couldn’t agree more:
If Arab-Americans are serious about building coalitions with Blackamericans then Palestine can’t be the sole issue of agreement or litmus test. In order for there to be an effective relationship, there must be reciprocity as it relates to supporting concerns which are perceived to effect only one of either of the parties. Remi’s critique lacks historical perspective, therefore it is unlikely to be constructive or fruitful. To say that “Obama is not a humanitarian” is a gross misstatement of fact that totally neglects the political history of Arab-Americans and Blackamericans.
The fact of the matter is that there is a large portion of Blackamericans who view Arabs as worst than Jews when it comes to Blackamerican causes. When Blackamericans were fighting for civil rights, many of the same rights that are now being taken advantage of today by Arab-Americans, Jews were on the front line marching and in a few cases dying with Blackamericans, as Arab-Americans taking advantage of their “white pass” looked away from this humanitarian crisis. Look at Dearborn which for decades was one of if not the most racist city towards Blackamericans yet was and still maybe the city with the largest percentage of Arabs in the country yet where was the humanitarian out cry against Hubbard and his successors.
No one wants to admit what I have highlighted above, but this is true. Ironically, in the town where the Palestinians are spreading the conspiracy, they are also WELL KNOWN to be the source of alcohol, food stamp fraud and all types of other corruption. Not to mention extremely racist. But that is taboo to mention right?
When Amadou “Ahmed” Diallo a devout Muslim was murdered by being shot at least 19 times from 41 shots from the NYPD, the voice of humanitarian out cry from “Arab-Americans” was mute, yet a year later many Blackamericans express great outrage and spoke out loudly rightfully so, against the IDF when they murdered the young Palestinian martyr, Muhammad Jamal al-Durrah.
When Blackamericans complained about “driving while Black” harassment, most Arabs and Muslims in general took the position that people shouldn’t mind being stopped if they are not doing anything wrong, yet now after 9/11 since the Arab “white pass” has been revoked and “flying while Arab/Muslim” has become an issue everyone is expected to see and speak out against this clear injustice.
I like a few other professional Blackamerican Muslims foolishly brought into the notion of supporting George Bush because we went along with the idea that we as Muslims (not as Blackamericans) we had commonality with Bush on the “moral issues” (setting aside the issue of voting for a “non-Muslim”) and perhaps we would get some benefit via the faith-based initiatives, totally ignoring the economic harm that he would inflict on the inner cities. A number of well heeled immigrant Muslims in Michigan even gave considerable sums to Bush and the republicans, now look at the result. As it has been stated we already knew Bush didn’t care about Black people now it seems he doesn’t have much love for Arabs and Muslims either.
Today there are Blackamerican Imams who still face constant harassment and scrutiny because of their open and vocal support of the humanitarian causes of both Bosnia and Palestine in the 1990s. Yet, when these same Imams turn to address humanitarian social issues in the Blackamerican community they are accused by “some” of asabiyya.
I could go on and on, but if Palestine is to be the litmus test as to whether a Blackamerican is a humanitarian, what is the litmus test for Arab-Americans? By Remi’s assessment are these coalitions he’s proposing going to be enduring or only until Arab-Americans get their “white passes” back? This is not rhetorical I really would like to know.
Islam was once the fastest growing religion in America largely as a result of Blackamericans, who viewed Islam as a vehicle for social justice and to be honest, as a vehicle for a dignified identity. In recent years the pace of reversion to has slowed, as is Islam is being lesser and lesser viewed as a vehicle of social justice for Blackamericans. The poor example of many Arab-American business (whether Muslim or not) in the “hood” has lowered the status of Islam among Blackamericans, not to mention “I’m just Muslim” Blackamericans — which a whole other issue — who eschew any responsibility in assisting the Blackamerican community, yet have no problem going “all out” for Palestine.
I suggest a good starting point in this proposed coalition between Blackamericans and Arab-Americans, is that Arab-Americans to speak out via their institutions against the humanitarian issue of exploitative business practices of Arab-American owned groceries, gas stations and party stores, which prey on the poor and in some cases contribute to crime in the inner cities.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Because of the ideologization of this issue, it is seen as nationalism - especially for a Blackamerican - to work in the local community, but not to work for Palestine. This is what makes us angry.
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