The Lady Speaks

The Email I Can’t Actually Send

To my sibling,

I received an email from you today, which I’ve excerpted:

This pilot hit the nail on the head in his open letter. He needs to be awarded a Medal for saying all this in a very profound way!

The newspaper stated today that some Muslim doctor is saying we are profiling him because he has been checked three times while getting on an airplane.

The following is a letter from a pilot. This well spoken man, who is a pilot with American Airlines, says what is in his heart, beautifully…. Read, absorb and pass this on.

*

“YOU WORRY ME!” By American Airlines Pilot – Captain John Maniscalco

I’ve been trying to say this since 9-11, but you worry me. I wish you didn’t. I wish when I walked down the streets of this country that I love, that your color and culture still blended with the beautiful human landscape we enjoy in this country.

[snip]

How do I differentiate between the true Arab / Muslim-Americans and the Arab Muslim terrorists in our communities who are attending our schools, enjoying our parks, and living in OUR communities under the protection of OUR constitution, while they plot the next attack that will slaughter these same good neighbors and children?

The events of September 11th changed the answer. It is not my responsibility to determine which of you embraces our great country, with ALL of its religions, with ALL of its different citizens, with all of its faults. It is time for every Arab/Muslim in this country to determine it for me.

[snip]

We will NEVER allow the attacks of September 11, or any others for that matter, to take away that which is so precious to us: Our rights under the greatest constitution in the world.

I want to know where every Arab Muslim in this country stands and I think it is my right and the right of every true citizen of this country to demand it. A right paid for by the blood of thousands of my brothers and sisters who died protecting the very constitution that is protecting you and your family. I am pleading with you to let me know.

I thought I would send you this in reply, but the truth is: I chickened out before clicking send. [I know, dear readers. I know! But the last thing I want is to be the reason behind a family feud. Another reply was sent, something a little less threatening, but which expressed my distaste for the thoughts expressed.]

Here’s my first reaction to this piece of racism disguised as email:

I could have – and probably should have – just deleted this, rather than say anything. I realize what I’m about to say will probably offend you, but truthfully, I can’t just ignore this, even for the sake of family harmony.

When the majority of any race, any religion, any philosophy of life are condemned for the actions of a minority, that is wrong, and against every single principle for which this country used to stand. It also goes against everything our mother taught us.

I don’t remember any Christians standing up and saying, “We condemn the atrocity committed by so-called members of our religion.” when 17 Christians killed two Muslims and beheaded them in Indonesia. Three of those convicted were leaders of the group that slaughtered hundreds of Muslims in Indonesia. (And were recently convicted.) I don’t remember any Christian clergy apologizing for the use to which their Bible, their religion was put to by members of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda and Sudan, about whom this is said: [via MIPT Terrorist Knowledge Base]

Formed in 1992 in an attempt to unify a resistance movement fractured by the marginalization of the Uganda Democratic Christian Army, the group promotes a radical form of Christianity which it wants to make the foundation of a new Ugandan government. The group, led by Joseph Kony, has sought to achieve these objectives primarily through unbridled brutality. Rape, torture, and murder have become the group’s hallmarks in the almost fifteen years that they have terrorized the citizens of Northern Uganda. The ranks of the LRA are filled in large part (approximately 80%) by children, who are kidnapped and brainwashed into service with the group. Human rights NGOs place the number of children currently fighting with LRA at around 3,000. LRA members also kidnap children, particularly girls, to serve as sex slaves; some have even been given as “gifts” to arms dealers in Sudan. [my emphasis]

I don’t remember anyone standing up and condemning the Christians in Nigeria. I don’t see any clergy condemning the insanity of Fred Phelps and his band of followers. I didn’t see anyone condemning white militia members in wake of the arrests of members of an Alabama militia group which had a cache of weapons – including 130 grenades, an improvised rocket launcher, and 2,500 rounds of ammunition – and who were planning to, quote, “massacre Mexicans.”

In 1941, people who looked different from us used planes to attack a military base, and our country responded with fear and racism. Yes, the “Greatest Generation” went on to fight and win WWII, but their great achievement will always be marred by their treatment of Japanese-Americans, two of whom grew up to become Senators Mike Honda of California and Nobou Matsunuga of Hawaii. Former Senator Matsunuga said – in 1988 during floor debate of the Japanese-American reparations:

The Commission found that the precipitous action had been taken under the leadership of men like General DeWitt, who believed, and stated to the U.S. House of Representatives Naval Affairs Subcommittee on April 13, 1943:

A Jap’s a Jap. They are a dangerous element, whether loyal or not. There is no way to determine their loyalty … it make no difference whether he is an American; theoretically, he is still a Japanese, and you can’t change him. … You can’t change him by giving him a piece of paper.

In 2001, people who looked different from us attacked a financial center and the heart of the military, and possibly would have hit the Capitol Building or White House, and our country responded with…fear and racism. Although, I suppose I should be grateful that the passage of time and the awakening of our national conscience meant Arab-Americans weren’t rounded up and placed in internment camps.

“We will NEVER allow the attacks of September 11, or any others for that matter, to take away that which is so precious to us: Our rights under the greatest constitution in the world.”

Or, to paraphrase: “But it’s okay if WE do it to other, not-like-us people. People who pray differently, people who look different, people who speak a different language. They deserve to be treated in ways that are not only unconstitutional, but contrary to the very religion we espouse! It’s only bad when it’s one of US [white + Christian] being treated like this!”

“Judge not, that ye may not be judged.” I learned that in Sunday School. Apparently this verse was forgotten by the originator of this email. This one as well: “Fear not, for I am with you.”

Maybe those of you who profess to believe in God and in the teachings of Christ might want to take the time to actually…you know…believe and then, act accordingly.

Sincerely yours,

Your sister

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August 2, 2007 - Posted by | America, Politics, Religion, Terrorism, War

2 Comments »

  1. Scary stuff, that- the letter, that is. Just as scary, from a Christian perspective, is the mentality that makes America, not God, the almighty power of the world; “national security,” not the good of the Church or love for mankind becomes the matter of ultimate, if not exclusive, importance. Then it is just a matter of exalting ourselves and what’s “ours” against “them”- about as perfect an opposition to the message of the Gospel as you can get.

    I would note though that I carry out that sort of thing all the time, even as I hate doing it: it’s so very easy to fear and hate the Other for his perceived crimes against yourself and your stuff (it’s really about as basic and pernicious a sin as it gets). We get used to doing it in our personal lives, and if we think there’s nothing wrong with it, we’ll seek to make it national and foreign policy.

    Comment by Jonathan | August 2, 2007 | Reply

  2. Due to the history of our nation..Little Guy beats Big Guy (Geo. Washington vs King George), and our successes both militarily and economically, and our previous isolation from much of the world, our Nation has come to view itself as superior.
    When you add that superior mindset, to religious fervor, we become so close to those we decry.
    It is human instinct to notice those who differ from us. I quickly recoil from tall, large, loud people. They tell me beware…Altho, I know not all tall, large, loud people want to stomp me in the ground, I will still cross a street or move to the other side of the room, to avoid direct involvment. (I am 4’8″ , small sized, and quiet.) I don’t want to be “overtaken”. May sound crazy, and, in fact, is kind of crazy, but it is my natural response.
    So, we must fight not to lump anyone in the “one size fits all” mentality.
    Noting, that all humans profile, in some manner.
    No one is truly color, or culture, blind. We just must recognize that we are more alike, than different, and try to draw on the similarities, for peaceful co-existance.
    Profiling, racism, class, all are parts of life, Perhaps by accepting this, we can change our response to it.
    Not just us WASPS, but all people, need to work on this.

    Comment by mom | August 3, 2007 | Reply


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