Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|AN OPEN LETTER - from a professor at USC|
|09/12/01 at 15:40:43|
|From: Timothy R. Huerta <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Subject: September 11, 2001
AN OPEN LETTER
I can not express to you enough my great concern over the backlash that this
country may unleash on people of Arabic descent. While I hope for the best,
I am not heartened by our history. One need only ask the Japanese-Americans
who were the victims of such fear mongering during World War II about their
experiences. At about 4 pm on September 11th, I was online listening to the
comments around the United States and my apprehension grew. Rather than
focus on helping, many people are focused on retribution, and not on the
perpetrators but rather on an entire community.
I am reminded of the movie, "The Siege", where Bruce Willis, playing an Army
general, goes outside of the law to bring his form of justice to what he
views as the perpetrators of several terrorist acts. People were locked up
in that movie if they seemed to be of Middle-Eastern descent. Families were
ripped apart, and upstanding citizens, indeed one of the main characters of
the movie (a police detective) began to be viewed as a suspect.
Not only do we need to manage our own grief, but we have a duty to challenge
those who would try and replace fear of the unknown with fear of ourselves.
After the Oklahoma bombing, everyone pointed their fingers at Middle-Eastern
terrorists. Calls for retribution were quickly silenced when it was found
that the terrorist was Timothy McVeigh. He looked nothing like what the
media had painted. He was not Middle-Eastern, not part of a radical
terrorist cell - he was a crazy American.
A person orchestrated terror on our country in Oklahoia and a person or
people did the same on September 11, 2001. We need to hold THOSE people
accountable. This is not about political correctness, its about JUSTICE.
Also, show support for those whose trial may just be beginning, not through
word, but through deed. I have friends who are concerned about their well
being because they may be mistaken for Middle Eastern. Don't just say
something about combating racism, do something about it. Talk to friends.
Talk to family. Talk to students and teachers. Get it out in the open. Don't
let racism fester. Speak out to fight ignorance. Don't stand back while your
friends make racist jokes against ANY group. Be part of the solution, and
not part of the problem. Donate blood to the Red Cross. Take a stand.
If you want, please feel free to pass this along, and I hope that all my
fears are unwarranted.
Timothy R. Huerta
Doctoral Candidate and Part-Time Lecturer
School of Policy, Planning and Development
University of Southern California
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