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I'm Just a Dumb Arab

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Headlined to H3 12/6/13

My name is Ahmed and I am nineteen years old.   I was raised and used to live in the village of Bhareem, a short drive east of Baghdad.   I am just a dumb Arab; not dumb because I am not smart, but dumb because I have no education and did not know much about of the world beyond where I used to live.   That has all changed, but I am now getting ahead of my story.

Saddam Hussein was President of Iraq when I was growing up.   I knew little of him, but most people in my village thought he was a bad man.   However, one man named Jamel who lived nearby thought he was a good president.   Jamel did not get along with my family or our neighbors.   Most people were afraid of Jamel and thought he was crazy, but my father did not fear him and once had strong words with him.   Because of this, Jamel hated my father and swore he would get even with him.   We avoided Jamel as best we could and went on with our lives.

One day the village elders told us that the Americans were coming to destroy Saddam Hussein and take over our country.   At first I did not believe this.   How could this be true?   Americans do not take over other countries and what did they need Iraq for?   Some people said the Americans wanted to avenge Saddam's attack on Kuwait and others thought they wanted to steal our oil.   Either way, I did not care.   I had no use for Saddam Hussein and the oil beneath our feet does nothing to ease the emptiness in my belly or feed the animals I tend in the fields.

One day an officer from Saddam's army came into our town to recruit young men to fight against the Americans.   He told us that the Americans were coming soon and would begin their offensive by bombing Baghdad in an air raid called "Shock and Awe".   I asked this officer why the Americans wanted to "shock and awe" the Iraqi people.   He said that by bombing us they hoped we would be afraid so they could have their way with us.   They wanted to take everything we had, rape our women, and turn us into slaves.   I did not believe this man and when I saw my chance, hid in the fields until he left.

Three days later, the bombs started falling on Baghdad and I could not believe the news.   Could the Iraqi army officer have been telling the truth?   At this point I was very confused and afraid.   How could the Americans be attacking my country?   Two days after the bombing started, my family learned that my cousin Ishmal and his parents, who lived in Baghdad, were killed by an American bomb.   I loved my cousin and his death turned my confusion into anger.   When the Americans came, I would fight them any way I could.

A day or so later, some Iraqi troops came back into our village.   This time they gave guns to the men and told us that we must slow the American advance on Baghdad.   Saddam and his army needed time to prepare their defenses and we would buy them that time.   Despite my feelings about Saddam, I accepted a weapon knowing that as a citizen of Iraq it was my duty to defend my nation and its people despite the hopelessness of the situation I was in.

Several of us took up positions outside our village and waited for the Americans to arrive.   We didn't have to wait long.   At first, all we could see was the dust of their vehicles on the road but soon their monstrous machines came into view.   Frightened out of our wits, we began to fire in the direction of the Americans and suddenly there was a tremendous noise.   That is the last thing I remember of the Iraq I knew.

When I awoke, my hands were tied behind my back and I had a sack over my head.   I soon realized that I was not alone and I was in a room with several other prisoners.   I lay on the ground for hours on end and was sure that I would soon be killed.   After what seemed like and eternity, two men brought me to my feet and dragged me into an interrogation room.    My hood was removed and I gazed into the face of an American for the first time in my life.   In the course of my interrogation I learned that a man from my village had told them that I was an al-Qaida operative and that the only way I could save myself was to tell them everything I knew.   Apparently, Jamel had finally made good his boast.

My interrogation went on for several days.   I was threatened, beaten, and humiliated, but, of course, I could tell the Americans nothing because I knew nothing.   One day, I was tied, hooded, and loaded into a truck.   I was sure this was the end and my fate was to be a pile of bones buried under the desert sands.   However, despite my fears, I was taken from the trunk and loaded into what turned out to be an airplane.   I have never been in an airplane before and wished they would remove my hood so I could see what flying through the air was like.   My wishes were in vain and after many hours, we finally landed and I learned I was in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

I have now been in Guantanamo Bay for four years and the only thing that keeps me going is my hatred for Americans.   I have endured the worst kind of inhumane treatment and now know that Americans are no better than animals.   I have no idea if anyone from my family is still alive and in four years have not heard anything about them.   In order to survive, I have learned to play up to my captors and do so while thinking I would like nothing better than to slit their throats while they sleep.   However, I know that if I behave, someday I may be released and when that time comes I will take my revenge.   My only wish is to kill as many Americans as I can before I die and I know that Allah will reward me greatly if I do.   Each day I turn to Mecca, fall down on my knees and pray that soon the whole world will know that the only good American is a dead American.


The story above is a fabrication and not true.   However, while the facts are contrived, the situation described or something similar has been experienced by untold numbers of young Arabs throughout the Arab world.   And we self-servingly call these young men and women terrorists even though in a different time and place they would be called patriots and freedom fighters.   The tragedies being experienced by these unfortunate people are a direct result of the way our war on terrorism is being fought and prosecuted.   But no matter, if we win our war, no one save a few relatives and friends will mourn the passing of these innocents and we will be able to celebrate a great victory over the "forces of evil".

As an American and Christian, I do not feel like most of my fellow citizens.   I do not believe that "Shocking and Awing" a downtrodden and defenseless people is the way to fight terrorism or avenge 9/11.   I also grieve and abhor the fact that my government has brought murder, mayhem, and terrorism to defenseless and innocent people just because they were the easiest target available.

We are told the cost is worth it because we are bringing democracy to Iraq, but we fail to ask ourselves what good democracy is to a dead person.   We are told we must win the war we started because if we do not, the terrorists will rule the day and we never ask ourselves is what good can come out of winning a war against terrorism if we become terrorists to do it.   We also never ask how we can defeat terrorism when, by fighting a conventional war against it, we create more terrorists than we destroy.   We are told we must continue the war so those who have died will not have died in vain and never ask how more deaths in an unjust and wrongful war can bring honor to those who have already died.   As Americans, have we truly come to believe that might makes right and winning an unjust war will make fighting one honorable?

I am an American.   I love my nation and its people and yes, I place our safety and well being ahead of all others.   However, in my eyes what we are doing to the world is not in our best interest and against everything we hold dear as Americans.   We have become what we hate the most; oppressive tyrants trying to mold the world to our liking, not to make Americans and America safer, but to make others just like us so we think we are safer.   I am ashamed of what our government is doing to the rest of the world and I am ashamed that so many Americans think what we are doing is in our best interest.   These notions are not just wrong; they are ill-conceived, bankrupt, and criminal.   May God have mercy on this nation and the people in it that support a government that is now pursuing a course that is not just un-American, but evil as well.


Al Adaschik was born in New London, Connecticut, on June 27th, 1943. He was raised in Brooklyn, New York and attended Franklin K. Lane High School. Upon graduation, he was accepted as an engineering student at the University of Michigan in its (more...)
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Terrorism is evil because innocent people are k... by Alan Adaschik on Friday, Dec 6, 2013 at 9:24:31 AM