After the obligatory I-am-honored-to-be-here yada yada,
President Obama, speaking in Cairo, gave a peace greeting in Arabic: �Assalamu
Perhaps, as these words were heard around the globe, a US
drone was incinerating civilians in Pakistan or Afghanistan while a smart bomb,
targeting a �terrorist safe house� in Iraq, melted children who were playing
During 55 minutes, the length of Obama�s speech, a hell of a
lot of shocks and awes can be unleashed.
Certainly, in the amount of time required to call for a �new
beginning between the United States and the Muslim world,� a detainee could
contemplate suicide -- could commit suicide.
And in the moments it took Obama to reference the Koran,
quoting: �Be conscious of and speak always the truth,� a general could decide
to lie about fratricide.
When the president said: �I am aware that some question or
justify the events of 9/11, but let us be clear -- al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000
people on that day,� I went back to the date, remembering the fear, the horror,
and the weeks and months that followed, the demand for revenge and the invasion
and occupation of Afghanistan. And I also remembered the deceitful plot, the
Bush/Cheney disaster, to connect Iraq to al Qaeda. Yes, 3,000 people died on
September 11, 2001, and, now, almost eight years later, in two countries, 5,000
coalition troops have lost their lives and in Iraq, alone, the country that
Bush and Cheney were determined, prior to 9/11, to conquer, over a million
civilians have died.
Expressing his knowledge of Islamic history and culture,
Obama said it is his �responsibility as president of the United States to fight
against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.�
And he lectured that: The �same principle must apply to
Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype,
America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire.�
During the minutes Obama spoke about 9/11, the rich fabric
of Islam, and his denial that the USA is a �self-interested empire, people in
countries affected by our very sophisticated weapons of imperialism are dying,
their loved ones stricken with grief remaining with them as long as they live.
And as he sermonized about America�s respect for the
�sovereignty of nations and the rule of law,� and referred to �extremists,� I
thought of the egregious crimes of war, including torture, committed by Bush
and Company, and, now, continued by Obama. In the time required for the
president to expose the hypocrisy of this country, George Bush, a free criminal
who may never be held accountable, could have walked around his exclusive
Dallas neighborhood several times, carrying a plastic bag to pick up Barney�s
At some point, Obama talked about the tension between
Israelis and Palestinians. �Palestinians must abandon violence,� he said.
�Hamas must put an end to violence.� Nothing to Israel about their attempted
genocide of the Palestinian people, using weapons made by the US.
And as he spoke, American-made violence continued its savage
march in multiple countries.
In 55 minutes, an orator can give a passionate speech, using
soaring rhetoric. I couldn�t finish reading it, though. The ooze of piety was
giving me a headache.
But as I closed the page, I thought, Assalamu Aleikum. Peace
be upon you. Please, peace.
lives in New York City. She�s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken
critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she�s a member of Gold
Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death
of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,� 05, she
has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com.