Posted from the US
In Rolling Stone Issue# 1008 (Sept. 7. 2006), writer Matt Taibbi describes what it was like to hang with Arab-Americans protesting American and Israeli policies in the Middle East. On August 12th, 2006 thousands of Arab-Americans rallied to Washington, D.C. to protest against the Iraqi war and Israel's war against the Hezbollah in Lebanon. Matt rode with them in a bus and describes how the film "Legally Blonde" (it's actually not a bad movie) was deemed offensive when it was shown as entertainment during the trip, among many other unsettling observations.
He writes that many of the protestors had an extreme anti-Israel, anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-capitalist sentiment.
Here is my problem with all of this: where were, and where are the Arab-American protests against the genocide in Darfur?
In the Wikipedia on Darfur, the following is stated:
In response, the government mounted a campaign of aerial bombardment supporting ground attacks by an Arab militia, the Janjaweed. The government-supported Janjaweed were accused of committing major human rights violations, including mass killing, looting, and systematic rape of the non-Arab population of Darfur. They have frequently burned down whole villages, driving the surviving inhabitants to flee to refugee camps, mainly in Darfur and Chad; many of the camps in Darfur are surrounded by Janjaweed forces. By the summer of 2004, 50,000 to 80,000 people had been killed and at least a million had been driven from their homes, causing a major humanitarian crisis in the region.
The Washington Post reported that the Darfur death toll estimates ranged from 60,000 to up to 400,000 people.
Arabs largely committed the massacres and atrocities at Darfur - and the world watched and did little to intervene. I do not recall any Arab-American protests at the White House regarding this issue - nor do I recall Matt Taibbi writing about how Arab-Americans were protesting Arab violence on a scale that exceeds 400 Lebanon conflicts.
Why? Because protesting against Israel and the U.S. has political capital. It plays well in the media. It advances a larger agenda. But let's not mix this with true humanitarian protests - and this is where Taibbi is both lost and confused. You've been manipulated Matt - and you missed the wider context.
I want to see the Arab-American protests against the violent agenda of many Arab regimes, against harboring terrorists behind women and children, against suicide bombings, against the Islamic violence in Iraq against other Muslims, and an accounting for Arab crimes in Darfur. Where is that protest?
This kind of protest would be introspective - it would be about coming clean regarding all of the violence and blood spilled first because of Arabs and Muslims. That kind of self-reflection would go a long way in making peace and communication with the West possible. As long as the Islamic world seeks to find the root cause of its problems in the West, blaming the West for all, there will be conflict. It is easier to blame someone than to look within, and it is high time for the Islamic world to look within and to have an internal spiritual struggle, not an external, physical struggle. The revolution needs to be within the Arab world and worldview.
There can not be a true dialogue with the Islamic world if there is no admission of their own major contributions to violence in the world. There is also a great need for the Arab world to admit and correct, the harsh, abusive, and repressive treatment of women in many Arab countries. The liberation of women in Arab countries will go a long way to creating a culture where peace is possible.
There is a whole lot to protest about. Some of the problems are caused by the West - but many are not. It would be refreshing to hear that from a non-Westerner as well. That would be progress.