FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

An Open Letter to the American Public

by OMAR BARGHOUTI

Dear Americans,

I’ve written to you a published open letter a year after the criminal attacks of September 11th reiterating my heartfelt condemnation of those attacks, while reminding you, despite your pain, to search deeper for the context, for the root causes that made them possible. I still had not run out of sympathy for your victims then. After Iraq, you can still count on my moral rejection of any similarly criminal attack against you in the future, but you can forget about my sympathy. I hope you realize what the difference means. ‘Who cares?’, you may ask. Well, although I obviously do not speak for the peoples of the south, the Arabs, or even my own people, the Palestinians, I suspect much of what I convey to you here is widely shared in all three domains.

Despite the horrifying exposure of your military’s war crimes and systematic dehumanization of and terror against Arabs and Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, your elected representatives are feverishly seeking a technical, bureaucratic explanation of what happened, and are trying — to no avail, evidently — to portray every incident of terror or abuse as a rare occasion committed by an isolated group of individuals against standing orders and in contravention of American ethical values and norms. Whom are they fooling? Is there anyone left in Europe, not to mention the Arab world, who still believes your government’s policy gives a damn about moral principles or international law? Hasn’t it become abundantly clear that your country is increasingly being viewed by the rest of the world, especially the southern part of it, as a lawless, immoral, bullying and murderous empire?

If all what has been revealed about the illegal, racist behaviour of your armed forces around the world has failed to convince you to democratically impeach, or at least withdraw your support for, the ruling neo-conservative regime in Washington, then you’re proving that far from being an isolated aberration, this arrogant, fundamentalist, imperialist junta does in fact represent America today. Still, from my perspective, this can never justify a terrorist attack against civilians in your country or anywhere else, but it can surely blunt any potential sympathy one would normally have — and did indeed express after September 11th — in such circumstances.

The next time the US is afflicted by terrorism many of us who did in fact shed tears in 2001 will not do so again. For one, I shall maintain my moral consistency and still condemn any comparable attack as criminal and immoral, mainly out of principle; but, honestly, I doubt I shall re-experience the sincere dejection and searing agony that I felt the first time.

Whatever you ask, please do not ask why we “hate” you. Putting aside the simplistic and dichotomic nature of such a question — “you’re either with us or against us,” your great leader says — let me give you my straight answer: I don’t.

But, I hate what your government is doing in your name, with your tax money, and with solid support from most of you. I despise the fact that your country is sponsoring Israeli colonial oppression against my people, shielding Israel from the world’s wrath and from the overdue prospect of sanctions for violating every applicable precept of international law in maintaining its military occupation and illegal colonies in the West Bank and Gaza, its racial discrimination against its own Palestinian citizens and its obdurate rejection of the internationally protected right of our refugees to return to the lands from which Israel had expelled them, and on the ruins of which it had established itself.

I hate the way your mainstream media refers to our innocent victims, whether in Iraq or Palestine, as faceless numbers, as relative humans, as dispensable objects in your empire’s crusade for world domination.

I hate the repugnant hubris of your “elected” lawmakers, who owe their seats and privileges to a few very powerful lobbies controlling your lives and minds, and forming the pillar of American flouting of international law in every field imaginable. It is ironic that lawmakers anywhere can become such an infested breeding ground for lawlessness in international affairs.

I hate the fact that your military, oil and other sinister industries have flourished at the expense of killing, injuring or ruining the livelihood of millions in Asia, Africa and Latin America. And I strongly resent the fact that in order to keep prices low at your gas pumps, Arabs have had to suffer under despotic rulers, hand-picked and buttressed by your consecutive governments for decades.

I hate the silence, the apathy — and therefore the implicit approval — that your majority espouses when faced with incriminating evidence of your government’s wrongdoing in our countries. After Falluja, you were silent. After Rafah, you were apathetic. After Guantanamo’s horrors were revealed, you turned your eyes and ears the other way.

Why do most of you hate us, we, people of the south, should ask? Why can’t you accept us as beings who are equally human, who possess a similar sense of pride, who have similar dreams and aspirations, and who value peace and dignified living more than anything else? Why can’t you see that all we need is justice and a chance to develop on our own, without your government’s oppressive exploitation, patronizing intervention, or masterly dictates.

Your country is way too powerful now for anyone to have the guts to drag it to the international criminal court, where most of your leaders ought to stand trial; but if Rome is any example, I would not take solace in that transient strength. You have a clear moral, legal and political obligation to change your country’s course. For the foreseeable future, it can afford to stay on its current path, crushing every head raised in resistance, and battering every soul that refuses to be enslaved, but this path has always led to one destination: utter defeat under the feat of the oppressed majority which will undoubtedly prevail, as it always has.

OMAR BARGHOUTI is an independent Palestinian political analyst. He can be reached: jenna@palnet.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail