Am afraid I don't view this latter group with much empathy, for various reasons...and that includes the "left" amongst them too.
The mainstream Arab-Americans are really just a bunch of sell outs. Nothing to add here.
Those on the "left" are worse. This bunch is another mouthpiece for their administration and its overall "cultural" and political ethos. They speak the same language but try to infuse it with some colorings...but they make sure to keep the core, the kernel intact.
The best way to describe them is to think of the "anti-war" clowns but speaking or trying to speak Arabic.
Never mind their palaver about Palestine, Zionism, and the rest, this bunch is the worst...
They have adopted a few gurus on the left in the form of writers, academics...or been adopted by them, and they really believe they have got it all figured out.
Their stand on Arab issues is totally misinformed, since their "knowledge" (too big of a word for this arab american bunch)stems from the same one source. Their capacity for analysis and discernment is shallow to say the least and they have Zero strategic vision in Arab politics.
They can be writers, "thinkers", poets, journalists, activists, "academics", bloggers, whatever...they just seem to share that common denominator - that of an acute myopia.
That was most felt in the case of Iraq and has stubbornly persisted until this very day.
Iraq, where the positions taken and still adhered to, are not only shameful in themselves, but are reminiscent of that same Zionism this bunch purports to be fighting.
They have latched on to a few clichés, handy slogans, which 9 times out of 10 they don't understand themselves, and they use it abracadabra, in utter stupidity...
However and thankfully so, there are exceptions to the rule. They are rare and I have encountered a couple, not more.
One of these exceptions comes from an email I received from an Arab-American, who prefers to remain anonymous. I am publishing his/her mail with his/her consent.
I think this person is one of the very few who understood...I hope you will read that mail slowly and let it sink in, because it holds many important insights and truths.
I happened upon your website by accident and ever since, I have been hooked...
Thank you for the depth of your analysis and the clarity of your vision. I live in the United States...I can tell you that what thrills me the most about your prose is the fact that you have no illusion about the “Good Cop” in that tired and despicable vicious cycle we are pitted in, namely, having to listen to the “Good Cop” apologizing for the actions of the “Bad Cop” while at the same time, both take a break and drink coffee together. The false dichotomy of bleeding heart “Liberals” and security minded “Conservatives” is the favorite currency of political dialogue in the United States. They play the game like husbands and wives have done for thousands of years. One punishes and the other tells you to please moderate your naughty behavior and stop being stubborn, while accusing the other of being too harsh. The game is so crude that I wonder whether they really care if we believe what they claim or not. Crude as it has been all along, it has lost any effect it ever had, thanks to the war on Iraq.
Ever since the Soviet Union collapsed, the USA felt no more the need to play a smart game or don a pretty disguise in pursuit of its ugly policy. Propaganda and its actors are no more the pretty faces, the pleasant cartoons, the creative ads selling exotic goods, the claimed lush lifestyle, the claimed beacon of democracy, or in the case of the Media, the clever cover of diversity. The old propaganda has died and in its place has risen and taken shape a ghost-like apparition : Instead of striving to appear diverse, now their only hope is that listeners believe them to be “appearing diverse"; instead of striving to convince you that they are spreading democracy, they are now desperately hoping that you at least believe that they are appearing to be on the side of democracy; Instead of making a case to you that they are on the side of human rights around the world, now their best hope is that you do not laugh when they try to appear to be on the side of human rights around the world; instead of claiming to be fighting drugs, they now strive to confirm the “appearance” of fighting drugs. This is Neo-propaganda, a propaganda that wears a sign that says, ” I am propaganda, do not believe me.” This is how clownish the situation is: the same old tired stale joke told by a clown who expects you to smile at his joke, not because you like them, but because you feel pity for him. It is as weird as seeing an old man playing “Hide and Seek” and loving it.
The “beauty” of propaganda in what was a bi-polar World has completely been discarded and replaced with one-liners and clichés told by the incredulous. If you appear to appear honest, you are a bad faker leaves an effect no better than that of movies played by bad actors who do not believe what they are playing and it shows on their faces. At no time did this situation become so porn-like clear than in the selling of the invasion of Iraq and …of course… the war on terrorism.
I have been in the United States for more than 20 years and have seen how “funny” their salesmanship was, how crude their pitch was, and how delusional these people were, no matter what creed they adhere to or what walk of life they belong to. Smart replaced intelligent and clichés replaced analysis and smirks replaced apparent seriousness. You should see how they are now trying to sell us “Iran the Normal Country” and force feed us the “need to talk to Iran”.
The crudeness and “laughability” of their claims on Iraq are matched only by the crudeness of their claims that Iran is a “great nation that must be talked to, not fight against” and in between the two, one can but feel dizzy at the whopping 180-degree reversal of politics. These people are no longer trying to impress you or brainwash you. They do not even aspire to fool some people sometime; they just want to convince some people that they appear convincing…sometime.
Remember, more than any other politics around the World, American politics live through a heavy dose of propaganda about who Americans are and what their mission in life is. The Intravenous serum of propaganda has been severed for good with the war on Iraq. Nothing will replace it neither now, nor in the future. This is the direct result of the belief of “Winner Takes All.” A little modesty could have saved the day; millions of lives and the image of decency, shredded or intact, wrong or right, the Americans have of themselves. Out are the days of “we are basically good people;” in are the days of crude and frightful awakening.
Painting: Iraqi artist, Mohammed Al-Shammarey.