Of Angels and Demons
by Jeff Siddiqui
I recently received a link to a YouTube video of Rachel Corrie in 5th grade, giving a speech in which she shared her vision to help the world be a better place. I was very impressed because while we all desire world peace in our childhood, it is seldom that we manage to retain the vision and act on it in our adulthood. This remarkable girl spoke with clarity and confidence and with the sincerity of one who soul speaks out.
Still, being cautious of forward an hoax, I asked Rachel’s mother, Cindy, if this was actually correct and this is the response I received:
Yes, this is Rachel’s 5th grade speech at a press conference on world hunger at the State Capitol—conducted by her Olympia school and fifth grade classmates. They studied world hunger and Rachel wrote her own speech—and clearly internalized it. Though she had it written on cards, she didn’t rely on them. I was present that day. It was covered on Seattle TV stations, too, which was part of the purpose—to bring attention to world hunger. We are not sure how this has gotten to U-Tube. It’s a home video that has circulated a lot since Rachel was killed. We often closed with it in our talks—and it was used as a closing for the play My Name is Rachel Corrie, too.
Let me know if you have other questions.
Rachel grew up with her vision for peace and justice and her path eventually took her to the Israeli-Occupied Territories where she was killed by an Israeli in a bulldozer.
I am sure Rachel had no idea this is how she would die, she was standing for justice, protecting a Palestinian’s home from being bulldozed and quite probably thought that while Israelis have no compunctions about snuffing out a Palestinian life, they would not wantonly kill a foreigner…an American at that; she realized too late, that she was wrong.
Israelis first tried to demonize her and then resorted to blaming her for being a fool and being used by “terrorists”. Thankfully, for the most part, the world does not accept the Israeli line any more than they accept the Israeli slogan, “A people without a land for a land without people”...yeah, now pull the other one!
We live in a world where demons seek to label their perceived enemies, as demons and where a world full of gullible spectators, would rather swallow propaganda lines thrown to them, than exercise their brains to seek what is obvious. Part of this gullibility is because we tend to identify with “our side” so much that any questioning of “our side” is looked upon as betrayal by ourselves AND by our friends and who wants to be so far alienated from our comfort zone?
The blind supporters of Israel (a group that includes Jews, right-wing Christians and opportunistic politicians…plus a huge number of gullible but sincere people), have placed a scenario on the table that insists upon total, blind support for Israel and simultaneously against Islam, Arabs and Muslims; any deviation form this party line and you stand condemned of being “anti-Semitic”...a label that strikes terror in the feeble hearts of many.
So the hate-Islam campaign grows and it grows. It spreads from Israel and like a forest fire that links one burning area with an other to create a vast wildfire, the hate-Islam campaign grows and connects and grows and connects as it begins to strangle Muslim identity in a very deliberate manner.
People are encouraged to show their hate against Islam and Muslims. At first, the label is given a prefix (“Radical”, “Fundamental” or “Violent” Islam) to make it more palatable for the possibly squeamish, but after a period of exposure in which the senses become numb, the prefix is dispensed with and the hate-Islam groups rally around a straightforward platform of hating Islam and Muslims (unless they renounce/“reinvent” their faith) and making it an existential “War!”...“we must destroy them before they destroy us!”
As the enthusiasms grow, people get more and more inventive in their persecution of Muslims; ANY act of violence or even imagined violence, is immediately pounced upon to “prove” the violent, murderous nature of Islam and Muslims.
Muslims, being the fallible humans that they are readily provide more than sufficient violent examples that “prove” the hate-Islam arguments and to gullible are persuaded to join or at least to acquiesce by their silence. On the other hand, the many other situations of incredible violence, but perpetrated by non-Muslims, is ignored every time it shows its face.
Bigotry has now become the litmus test for career-enhancement, whether political, military or law-enforcement. It starts with their early training and through their continuing education…small wonder we find ample displays of hate and suspicion towards Islam and Muslims among our politicians and our uniformed “protectors”!
Thus, in the aftermath of the failed airline bombing over Chicago, we are shown a retired general who insists that the only way to stave off the expected terrorist attack on another airline (within 30-120 days, he claims), is to strip-search ALL Muslims who are between 18 years and 28 years of age. How, I wonder, will they discover the Muslim whose name is Jeremy Hunt, who is White and has light hair and light eyes?
Why not take a page form history and require Muslims to sew a golden Crescent on their sleeves, or re-issue identity cards for all Muslims with a crescent on the cards/passports?
Republicans, whose party has nailed its “patriotism” colors to the hate-Islam mast, are insisting that ALL Guantanamo Bay prisoners be tried by the infamous US “Military Tribunals”. Politicians do not seem to understand that demanding “military tribunals” for Guantanamo prisoners speaks volumes against our own, much revered institutions. Trying them in military courts pre-supposes the guilt of all prisoners in Gitmo (some politicians have even advocated permanent imprisonment without trial), it says that our civilian courts, which are constitutionally the governing justice body of the nation, are insufficient AND the kangaroo courts we call “military courts”, that are specifically tailored to find every prisoner guilty, are what we really need in this country of ours.
So much for confidence in “our Judeo-Christian way of life”.
The tidal wave of “Hope” that helped bring Obama to victory, is dashed on the rocks of expediency, as our nation metes out tougher and tougher sanctions against Muslims within and outside America while shutting both eyes and ears to the atrocities of our “friends”. We have increased the arbitrary bombing of Muslims in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in Somalia…and lookout Iran, we ARE looking at you. Our assassination teams of SEALS and other “elite” squads, freely move around killing more and more people (“guilt or innocence be damned!) in the name of defending our “way of life” and we continue to pour billions of dollars into the pockets of war criminals and terrorist groups who agree to do our bidding and kill their own. The public face of torture has disappeared, but the “classified”, “Enhanced interrogation” continues at the hands of our surrogates and our secret services abroad.
The title of Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope” appears to have taken on a new, twisted, ironic, meaning.
Perhaps we are to blame for expecting too much after the worst eight years this nation has seen in memory…
The crimes against humanity that Israel is perpetrating against Palestinians in Gaza, supported by the US house-slave, Egypt, are beyond human comprehension, but the only reaction we have in this country is to send both Israel and Egypt, more money and more weapons. Meanwhile, the Egyptians continue to kill and torture their own people as America demands ever more of the same and Israel take measures of greater and greater extreme against Arabs and Muslims and the US continues to support “Israel’s right to defend itself”; the “right” by which Israel slaughters Arabs with impunity and now it is being learnt that the Israeli military is training attack dogs to attack anyone who says “Allah Akbar”.
It is a tragic statement that American foreign policy and American civil rights have gone bankrupt and yet, we are too arrogant to realize this and to re-think our guns-and-drones policies towards the Muslim world; we have never seen as many new enemies in the history of the United States, as we have cultivated against ourselves in the past nine years, but we STILL cling to the desperate belief that THEY are the demons and WE are the angels.
Pass some more mushrooms please…