Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sharing bread with Kasim in his mosque.

Continued US aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq, dumb media coverage (giving credibility to hateful fear-mongers just to get some ratings), increased executive power, lack of protection for whistle-blowers. And you ask me how can I be a progressive who believe in civil liberties? 

It was 9/11/2001, I was in Vietnam, and as a 11 year-old kid, seeing the towards falling, I can't help but feel slightly disturbed that so many people died so easily. But that's about it, because it was distant, and I was still a child. Then 2002 in Connecticut, after I've moved to the United States, I remember we had a day of remembrance or something, and we walked out to the front of our middle school. We saluted the flag, I had my first moment of silent, and I felt touched by the sadness of those around me. This is seriously something America will not forget in awhile. 

In the next 8 years, my family moved about 3 different times, in order to find cheaper housing, and eventually Section 8 housing. Clearly, 9/11 is not much of a topic, considering all other things in life, like playing basketball, and doing IB/AP testings and classes. It's around high school time, though, that we learn about the blunders of the world, of the United States, and the injustices that oppressed people faced, and still face today. Looking back, I think my high school was great, because I had the chance to meet great individuals, who come from different family backgrounds that helped me grow so much. I remember being introduced to Pakistani/northern India's specialty, the naan bread, and I thought it was the most awesome-st bread in the world! 

I remember going to Kasim's house to finish science projects, playing Xbox 360, and sometimes talk about his religion, Islam (if I wasn't busy spilling glue or soda on his carpet). As an agnostic, I observed and was impressed by how calm these people are, when they were in their mosque, praying, and then socializing with each other. I broke fast with my best friend, and I went on my first Halloween trip with them too. These are the memories that tell me why so much going on is so wrong. The 2008 election came up, and I found Dennis Kucinich, and everything he said resonated with me. The reluctant vote for Obama came awhile after Kucinich understandably endorsed the more hopeful of the two. 

Let's be clear, I am no expert, but I have common sense guided by my own morals. 
- Terrorists and fringe group seek overreactions from the "normal" people. With this said, we have helped Bin Laden succeed in our overreaction in initiating the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, passing the Patriot Act, condoning warrant-less wire-tapping. Essentially, we had our personal freedom taken away, in order to fight wars which were supposedly done to produce freedoms...
- Most humans who have been raised in today world will not engage in killing, especially on a large scale. In order to kill, one must dehumanizes the situation, the same reason why John McCain is still used to calling Asians "gooks". So those who fight these wars had to dehumanize their targets, and often times the same people they were supposed to be helping...
- Prolonged wars (like the Vietnam War) are the worse kinds, and no one has ever benefited, as Sun-Tzu tells us thousands of years ago. 

It is 9/11/2010, and I am so sad now that we've done so much more damage to our own Constitution, our own credibility, again thanks to our own prejudice, ignorance, and lack of faith that we can do something about it.  <---video, images, and speech about US indiscriminately killing innocent Iraqis. <---for some thoughts on our mistakes <--for some humor