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To the US ambassador

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    To the US ambassador

    Asalaamu alaikum.

    This letter is written by Sr Afnan H. Fatani

    (Afnan Fatani is a Saudi professor of English language and style. She has
    published several papers on Arabic linguistics. She is based in Jeddah.)


    A letter of protest and condemnation

    To the US ambassador:


    Just because we don’t demonstrate by the thousands in the streets of Jeddah.
    Just because we don’t march to the US Consulate on the corner of Palestine Road.
    Just because there are no overt signs of mass fury and public outrage on the
    Corniche or at malls in Jeddah.

    Just because we don’t riot in front of McDonalds and T.G.I. Fridays and pelt
    their doors with stones and rocks. Just because we don’t burn US and Israeli
    flags and burn effigies of Sharon and Bush, chanting “Death to America” — “Death
    to Israel.” Just because we don’t wear FREE PALESTINE tee shirts and checkered
    Palestinian scarves. Just because we don’t boycott American and Israeli
    products, Helena Rubenstein (HR) and Marks & Spencer, lurking sinisterly in
    every corner of our shopping malls. Just because we don’t travel on solidarity
    missions to Bethlehem and Ramallah along with other writers, intellectuals and
    peace activists. Just because we abhor violent protests and the sight of police
    retaliation with clubs, water cannons and tear gas grenades. Just because we
    don’t use the rhetoric of a simple housewife riding the Cairo metro — “Anyone
    who eats at Burger King and drinks Pepsi is drinking the blood of the
    Palestinian people.” Just because our students do not organize anti-American
    rallies and gather for peaceful protests inside university campus. Just because
    we are unable to personally deliver this message right at your embassy door.
    Just because we don’t and we don’t and we don’t ... that doesn’t mean we are not
    outraged at US biased support for the slaughter of Palestinians and US
    unwillingness to force Israel to comply with UN resolutions ordering it to
    withdraw from the West Bank cities.

    That doesn’t mean we are not appalled by the ominous role of the US in Palestine
    and its cold-blooded willingness to condone the assassination of those who dare
    to fight for their basic human rights. That doesn’t mean we are not shocked by
    your president’s vindictive and personal hatred for the elected leader of
    Palestine. That doesn’t mean that we do not hold President Bush personally
    responsible for all the carnage and wanton destruction in Palestine and for any
    and all future massacres of Palestinian refugees. That doesn’t mean we do not
    accuse President Bush of sponsoring and funding the terrorist state of Israel.

    Just because American tanks are not rumbling through Palestinian towns and
    American soldiers are not roaming the streets of Ramallah and Bethlehem, that
    does not make your current government any less responsible for the current
    plight of the Palestinians.

    Here is our list of 10 condemnations:

    1 - We condemn President Bush’s speech on Thursday. Leaders of great and
    powerful nations like America should be magnanimous and generous, not cruel and
    vindictive. Blaming an isolated Arafat and a desperate 18-year-old Palestinian
    girl for the violence and Israeli atrocities in the West Bank is not just
    simplistic, it is evil. It is an incitement and a license to kill anyone who
    dares to speak out against the Israeli tyrants that America sponsors and funds.
    We will, therefore, hold President Bush personally responsible for the
    inevitable murder of Arafat and for the point-blank executions of innocent
    Palestinian teenagers now trapped in the closed military zones of Ramallah and
    Bethlehem.

    2 - We condemn President Bush’s speech because it is written with the intent to
    sow discord and distrust among Palestinians and Arabs. According to his logic,
    if we the Arabs want a “peaceful” Palestinian state then we must kill Arafat,
    kill our resistance movements, kill our peace activists, kill our
    anti-occupation activists, kill anyone who dares to oppose Israel and America,
    kill anyone who says NO, and especially kill the warriors of Hamas and Jihad.
    Only then, Bush tells us, will he and his Israeli aggressors allow the original
    inhabitants of Palestine to regain what is rightfully theirs.

    3 - We condemn the fact that a notorious war criminal like Sharon is welcomed
    with open arms and accorded red-carpet treatment at the White House, while
    Yasser Arafat, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is shunned and abhorred. When the
    Jews first came to Palestine from the ghettos of the world, these bands of armed
    settlers formed terrorist organizations like the Haganah that maimed, killed and
    bombed the original inhabitants into fleeing their land. Sharon, Barak and other
    leading figures in Israel were and still are, members of this coalition of
    terror. Why is America rewarding them for their evil? Why are they not branded
    as enemies of the state? Why are their names and photos not listed on the FBI’s
    most wanted list? Or is this infamous list meant only for Arabs?

    4 - We condemn President Bush’s belated verbal call on Israel to withdraw from
    the West Bank cities of Palestine. His half-hearted appeal rings hollow as long
    as he continues to supply Sharon with the weapons now being used on the streets
    of the West Bank, and billions of dollars in aid and continued moral support.

    5 - We condemn President Bush’s racist call to Arafat “to do more to curb
    terrorism,” while all the time praising the barbaric actions of Sharon, a
    remorseless sponsor of the Sabra and Shatila massacres.

    6 - We condemn President Bush’s personal support for Sharon’s genocide and
    ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and his terrorizing of inhabitants into
    fleeing.

    7 - We condemn President Bush’s support of the illegal Israeli occupation and
    its colonial policy of settlements, mass murder, expulsion and transfer.

    8 - We condemn President Bush’s denouncement of our state organizations,
    religious schools, charities and educational institutions as inciting terror and
    hatred of the West. What about your Klu Klux Klan, your Timothy McVeighs, your
    Waco militants? What about your biased Zionist-controlled media and your
    anti-Arab journalists like George Will and Rosenthal? What about Hollywood and
    its hostile stereotyping of Arabs as terrorists and bandits? Aren’t those
    incitements that Bush could do more to curb? What about your own federal
    institutions? Your congress, your radical senators, your pro-Israeli Capitol
    Hill, and your strong Zionist lobbies who back Sharon, cheer him on and applaud
    his barbaric actions. What about your anti-Palestinian lawmakers gearing up to
    further condemn and impose new sanctions on Arafat and the Palestinians while
    happily ignoring Israel’s brutal take over of Arab homeland? What about your
    congressmen’s constant conferring with Howard Kohr, the executive director of
    the American-Israeli Public Relations Committee (AIPAC), before every bill they
    pass just to make sure they “get all the details right” (as journalist Barbara
    Ferguson reports). What about the smug, racist views of your Senate Majority
    Leader Tom Daschle and Sen. Henry Hyde’s smug smiles and obnoxious statements:
    “Sharon is doing what we in Texas describe as “A man’s got to do what a man’s
    got to do.” How sinister! How evil! How degenerate!

    9 - We condemn President Bush’s support of religious extremists in Israel and
    his self-proclaimed bond of loyalty to radical ultra-orthodox Jews. Where is
    Bush’s indignation at the incitement, hatred and racial superiority preached by
    these racist groups? As Israel Shamir explains, “the Talmud preaches compassion
    to animals. But there is a profound lack of compassion toward non-Jews. They are
    frequently compared to animals. In the Talmud, marriage to a Gentile equals
    bestiality... In an interview, a Shabak official, Ehud Yatom, boasted he smashed
    a Palestinian prisoner’s head with a stone. He is supported by many MPs and by
    the Israeli public.”

    10 - We condemn the racist and tasteless statements of the American ambassador
    in Bahrain who called on Arab students at a university gathering to observe a
    moment of silence for Israeli victims of the conflict with Palestinians. Do you
    in America observe a moment of silence for the native American victims your
    forefathers slaughtered. Do your schools and universities bow their head in
    silence for the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for the victims of Vietnam,
    Iraq, and Afghanistan. You and your Israeli friends have no right to occupy our
    land, confiscate our territories, brutalize our civilians and then ask us to
    show sympathy and to honor your dead. Where is your sympathy, not ours? This is
    our sacred homeland and no radical, racist settler from America or Europe is
    going to drive us out.

    Here is a list of 10 Israeli atrocities President Bush and his administration
    are quick to defend:

    1 - The “bored, overfed, sadistic Israeli soldiers are daily humiliating,
    beating and often murdering the local people.” Men are stripped to their
    underwear to walk through checkpoints. Tanks are placed at hospital gates. Women
    are forced to deliver their babies in the streets. (Courtesy of Israeli
    journalist in Jaffa - Israel Shamir)

    2 - Rogue Israeli soldiers are killing unarmed civilians. “Their preferred
    victims are children. They abuse children of the refugee camps and shoot and
    maim them on a daily basis”(Courtesy of the above Israeli journalist).

    3 - Israeli tanks are firing at ambulances trying to rescue the wounded.

    4 - US jets with Israeli pilots have bombed the school for the blind in Gaza.

    5 - Palestinian civilians continue to suffer from lack of electricity, water and
    food supplies.

    6 - Israeli tanks fired on the buildings of the Medical Relief Organization
    where a number of Italian peace activists are barricaded in a show of solidarity
    with Palestinians.

    7 - So far around 1,500 young Palestinians have been arrested in racist and
    senseless mass arrests in Ramallah and other West Bank cities.

    8 - Bodies are still piling up at the Ramallah hospital morgue and denied proper
    burial.

    9 - There is widespread vandalism as Israeli soldiers loot civilians and banks
    in their door-to-door search for illusive so-called terrorists.

    10 - As I write, Israeli soldiers are storming the Church of Nativity where
    unarmed Palestinians have been given refuge by peace-loving bishops and priests.
    A repeat of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre is pending.

    Here is a list of 10 things we will NEVER do:

    1 - We will never applaud Israeli and American destruction of Palestine.

    2 - We will never label our resistance movements as “terrorists” and Israeli
    terror as “retaliation.”

    3 - We will never relinquish our right to Jerusalem.

    4 - We will never stop aiding all our people in Palestine, including those who
    choose to die as martyrs.

    5 - We will never applaud US jets leveling any of our cities.

    6 - We will never stop protesting your biased war on terror and your blind
    support of Israeli brutality. You call this incitement; we call it courage,
    faith and resilience.

    7 - We will never stop calling for the end of the illegal Israeli occupation of
    our homeland.

    8 - We will never stop honoring our martyrs and observing a moment of silence
    for our fallen warriors.

    9 - We will never forget the Palestinian Holocaust of 1948. We will never watch
    idly as Israel and America orchestrate a new one in 2002.

    10 - We will never side with the Bushes and Sharons of this world. We will never
    side with genocide, mass murder, transfer and expulsion. I guess this means,
    according to Bush’s simplistic either-or logic, that we are on the side of the
    terrorists. So be it. We believe we are on the side of the martyrs, on the side
    of decency, humanity, civility, fortitude and freedom; concepts which your brave
    American warriors of the past once strove so valiantly to uphold. But Alas, no
    more.

    In short, Mr. Ambassador, we do not care if we incur the wrath of your President
    Bush. We do not care if you deny our citizens a US visa or freeze their assets
    in American banks. We do not care if our children never attend your schools and
    your universities or our tourists never enjoy the wonders of Disneyland or
    Universal Studios. What we care most for is our faith, our dignity and our
    sacred homeland.

    He who granted victory to David against Goliath, to Moses against Pharaoh, to
    Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) against Abu Lahab, will grant victory to the warriors of
    Palestine against Sharon and Bush and those who sponsor them. Beware Mr.
    Ambassador that the curse promised by the Lord to the misbehaving children of
    Israel (Deut. 28) does not fall upon your own heads.

    Here is my signature. Here is my name. Let it be the first name listed in this
    letter of protest and indignation. See! I am not afraid. I dare to speak. Along
    with Israel Shamir, I call “for citizens to take arms against the bloody
    dictator Sharon.” If and when this petition ever reaches your embassy doorstep,
    I am confident the list of names will have grown and grown and grown.
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