As I sat watching the movie, “A Time to Kill” this past Saturday, which depicts a man on trial for the killing of two white men who beat and raped his daughter played by Samuel L. Jackson, it was the summation where his lawyer played by Matthew McConaughey, I zeroed in on. He told the jury every gory detail of how this little girl was assaulted by asking them to close their eyes and picture each horrific detail in their mind’s eye. At first knowing that this little girl was black could have taken away her humanness in their eyes. It was the brilliance of his summation which came at the end when he stated, “Now imagine her as being white.”
Well it shocked them as they wrestled in their own minds their own prejudices. But, I submit that each crime against an innocent should be met with scorn. Not to spoil the ending of this movie, but will to make a point, the verdict was innocent. What I especially loved was when the KKK was demonized at the end of this movie and seen for the cowards they are as a woman unmasked one of them and spit in his face.
At this point, I want you to watch this outstanding summation and take every word in. The reason I want you to do so is there in lies the truth as it pertains to the Israeli/Gaza conflict. To put it simply, many do not see the Palestinians as being humans deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which is something we may boast of and claim for ourselves, yet often take for granted and deny others of namely Iraqis and Palestinians.
Yes, we hear of suicide bombers going into Israeli markets and blowing not only themselves up but innocents around them. I will say again, violence only begets violence. At this point in time, we have to understand the root cause, because if we do not, it will certainly escalate beyond those borders as it has when Israel launched an assault upon Lebanon. Yet, our government continues to support the government of Israel both militarily and economically. So, indirectly through our tax dollars, the deaths of innocent Lebanese and Palestinians are on all of us. Ultimately there is blowback and that is something we cannot even grasp but we must in order to secure our own nation.
Who amongst us would wish to live as Palestinians do, being walled off, denied medical care and treated as animals? I do not know about you, but I would come to abhor those who would treat me that way and this is something that Americans just do not understand. Then again, when you have a media sympathetic to only Israel, how can Americans feel otherwise?
In this country we detest when people call blacks the ‘N’ word or where people will call those who are Jewish, k*kes. Yet, how many times do we hear the term ‘rag-head’ as it pertains to Muslims? Do we remain silent and complicit? Do we correct the offender? In all three cases it is the dehumanizing factor of human beings. I thought we were better than that. In siding with the Palestinians some have marginalized former President Jimmy Carter and that is intrinsically wrong since he has seen this carnage first-hand and many of us have only read accounts in the news. Even the bombings in Gaza via the media cannot even compare to seeing it as others have.
Over the years, I have immersed myself in viewing the most horrific images coming out of Iraq, Lebanon and now Gaza and I cannot even fathom actually walking on that soil. In immersing myself in these images, they have often been the images I have seen at night in my nightmares. While at first they shocked and horrified me, in some aspects, I have become numb in viewing them today and that is dangerous. To become numb to human suffering is the ultimate in seeing people as being inhuman. Well damn it, these people are humans.
Thank God, in our lifetime there have been heroes who have seen the Palestinians as being humans, but this hero is never spoken of by the mainstream media and her name was Rachel Corrie who put her body in front of an Israeli bulldozer that was set to demolish an apartment building where Palestinians resided. The person driving that bulldozer ultimately murdered this brave hero who walked and lived amongst these people. She unlike many Americans knew all too well their pain and suffering. But, do we?
What I cannot for the life of me understand is how a people namely the Israeli government could treat human beings as their ancestors were in the ghettos of Poland during World War Two. That comparison is something very rarely discussed. In this country we tend to see Muslims as being only the aggressors in this post 9/11 world.
I do think this prevailing negative opinion concerning Muslims is at the heart of our reason for not standing up to the Bush administration through fear, silence and complicity as he allowed torture and rendition to take place on detainees. Am I foolish to believe in our own judicial system which states that everyone is innocent before being found otherwise? Study-after-study has come to the conclusion that torture does not bring forth useful information to help law enforcement. Yet, we as a country stood by as humans were tortured and none of us really know if any of them were guilty of terrorism. Some may be guilty, but that is for the courts to decide and not Bush, Cheney, et all.
While some will discuss it on television such as Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley who is one of their frequent guests: Will our negative opinions of Muslims resonate across America as we transition to a new presidential administration? That is for we the people to decide in the recesses of our hearts and minds. Torture and rendition are war crimes. Could it be that our very prejudice against Muslims is where we allowed this present government to disengage from the Geneva Convention?
We as Americans have got to realize that not all Muslims see radicalized leaders as being the ones that they will follow, but if we as a country consistently wage a war on their citizens, they will follow a radical who is at least listening to their concerns and more importantly acting upon them. Hence the blow back affect.
When some Americans stand silent and allow for people like President Bush, Vice President Cheney, et all to wage a war of lies upon innocent Iraqis: What does that say of us? More importantly are we responsible for future blow backs that will visit us on our own soil? I keep saying, you hit a hornet’s nest long enough, those hornets will get mad and attack the offender. Let this be a lesson to us all.
Author’s email address is, email@example.com