Comedian | Professor | Writer
(& Smartest) Arab
This Saturday and Sunday, I was planning on relaxing in hotel rooms in Atlanta and Columbus after my shows. That’s not going to happen.
Instead, I’ve been transfixed to CNN all day. And now, all weekend I’ll be glued to my iPhone getting updates from Anderson Cooper.
This weekend is going to be lousy.
Most Arab and Muslim Americans were not watching the Boston Marathon. We’ve done enough running in our home countries. Some of us ran all the way to America. By the time we got here, running was kind of last on our list of leisurely activities.
So it seems that the two main suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings are two brothers from Chechnya. And it of course did not get lost on CNN and Fox News that they are also Muslim.
Saturday and Sunday are going to be so lousy.
Of course, today, a few Arab and Muslim American organizations put out statements condemning the attacks. It has become common practice for these groups to “apologize” every time an Arab or Muslim does something crazy or stupid. We have allowed a certain environment to develop, one where we are expected to denounce every idiotic act of every idiot who happens to be Arab or Muslim. Enough already.
And you know what’s really lousy? We’re the only ones who ever apologize. I don’t see white people ever apologizing for invading Iraq, or nominating Sarah Palin, or mayonnaise, or any of the dumb stuff their people did.
Why do we subjugate ourselves like that? By constantly denouncing, condemning, and apologizing, we are in part buying into the idea that these crazies somehow speak for us. We spend all the rest of our time crying out that they do not represent us, yet every time we voluntarily denounce them, we somehow are saying that they do. If someone asks me, I’ll condemn him, I guess. Anyone would, right?
So I guess I’ll have to denounce a little the next couple days. What a lousy way to spend a weekend.
And I’m going to have to watch Wolf Blitzer give America a very bad education on Chechnya this weekend. There will some sort of CNN special report by Christiane Amanpour. She might even go to Chechnya and interview some real-life Chechens. They will, of course, be of the crazy variety. And since I’m an Arab, and therefore addicted to watching the news, I’ll be tuned in.
Oh, then I’m going to have to listen to “enlightened” people say the one thing all weekend I most hate hearing:
“Not all Muslims are terrorists.”
It is, of course, a true statement. And everyone loves saying it.
“Not all Muslims are terrorists.”
Of course they’re not. But we applaud people when someones utter it. It’s funny how speaking an obvious truth can cause us to call someone a hero. I’m sure President Obama will say it sometime over the weekend. Of course, one would expect that from the Muslim president.
“Hey, Obama said ‘Not all Muslims are terrorists.’ How courageous!”
Arabs and Muslims are going to say it too. “Not all Muslims are terrorists” is frequently a prelude to some sort of educational diatribe about Islam by one of us who usually has no idea what he’s talking about. Right-wing pundits, though, love it too. This weekend, you will routinely find someone on FOX News proclaiming, “Not all Muslims are terrorists” right before he tells you how Islam is a dangerous threat to Western civilization. In other words, “Not all Muslims are terrorists… but be careful, some of them are!”
Are we that defeated? Or are we just that dumb? Have we been so programmed into proving our patriotism that we’re thankful when someone pronounces a manifestly true statement? Saying “Not all Muslims are terrorists” might make people feel good, but it’s not courageous. Courage is not about speaking the obvious truths… it’s about speaking the hidden ones.
But this weekend, people will say it a lot. I even might if I’m not careful. How lousy.
I wonder if by Monday, things will start to look up… Probably not.