Letters to the Editor

Wrong enemy

September 21, 2011


To the editor,

I was working with a United Nations refugee program in Guinea, West Africa, on 9/11. We watched the towers fall on television. I listened to the extensive 24-hour wall-to-wall radio coverage of the news on the BBC World Service. The Guineans asked me to give their condolences to the people in America: to you, to us.

Sara Jawhari, a Kansas City, Mo., senior at KU, is an American Muslim. She wrote about her experiences in the University Daily Kansan last week. “We saw Americans unite at candlelight vigils and memorial services and found signs and bumper stickers that announced ‘United We Stand…’” But, “it was clear to me that Arabs and Muslims weren’t included in this unity.” “Our nationality and patriotism was questioned.” Sara wishes that someday “I could hold up the sign that states ‘United We Stand’ and truly believe it.”

Sometime after we began the controversial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the International Herald Tribune published an article by a British parliamentarian. She said that the Bush administration (and the media) made a mistake by calling this “an attack on America.” Instead, she said, it should have been labeled “a crime against humanity” in order to place this atrocity in proper perspective and to better garner international support for any subsequent U.S. actions. Unfortunately, it became a war against Arabs and Muslims. We alienated many people and left a lot of nations on the other side of the fence, including our friends in Guinea … and people like KU student Sara Jawhari.


its_just_math 6 years, 8 months ago

Maybe Frank left his heart in San Francisco......

'They Flew The Plane In, But We Caused It' -Tony Bennett

cato_the_elder 6 years, 8 months ago

It's now evident that Tony Bennett's brain, if he has one, is with his heart in San Fransicko, with Pelosi Galore and all the other halfwits who embrace the culture of Haight-Ashbury.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 8 months ago

Until America changes some of it's foreign policy, worldwide hatred of the U.S. will continue.

jaywalker 6 years, 8 months ago

Except there is no "worldwide hatred" of the U.S. 60 million foreign tourists came to America last year, up 10%, and that growth is expected to increase at near the same rate for the next five years. And in a recent (there's gotta be something better to research) poll, American's were voted the coolest nationality, for whatever that's worth.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 8 months ago

The increase in tourism is likely due to the destruction of our economy which resulted from the right wingers lower taxes for the wealthy and elimination of government. All of which make the dollar's exchange rate better vs. other world currencies.

jaywalker 6 years, 8 months ago

No offense, fellas, but that's not the point. I don't care how great the exchange rate is, I'm not touring the country and visiting the people I "hate."

jaywalker 6 years, 8 months ago

True enough, though I sincerely doubt many actually know or understand our foreign policies nor the deals we strike with their leaders. Much like how the Arab world followed Bin Laden's lead when he began his jihad using our troops existence in Saudi Arabia as fodder, even though we were asked to be there.
So I still contend that "worldwide hatred" is a gross exaggeration. And you're the perfect person to ask this question, vertigo: If the shoe was on the other foot and you believed it was China or Russia or whomever that was responsible for any variety of misdeeds against your country and/or people, whether through policy or action, that had such an adverse effect that you would proscribe the word "hate" toward them, would you spend money to go there? Or (and this just came to me) do you think that the rest of the world is able and willing to differentiate between our government (entity) and our country (playground, of sorts)?

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago


I think that many people in other countries understand that there is often a divide between the people here, who are generally decent, and the policies of our government, especially foreign policy.

jaywalker 6 years, 8 months ago

So then the "worldwide hatred" for America, if you believe such, would be limited to animosity toward our government alone? That's not how 'we' viewed Japan after Pearl Harbor, nor were there swells of people vacationing in the USSR.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

The animosity is generally directed at the government, and those individuals that support the foreign policies many find objectionable.

It's entirely possible that other cultures are more able to make those sorts of distinctions than we are.

Do you hate all Japanese people because of WWII?

Or do you realize that any government doesn't have 100% support of the population, and may in fact act in ways they don't support, or may even not know of.

jaywalker 6 years, 8 months ago

Of course I don't hate Japanese people for any reason, and I do realize that no government has 100% support, but once again we're veering off the point. All I'm arguing is that there is no such "worldwide hatred" of America. I cited two counters (tourism and "coolness") to show we are not so loathed as some would like us to think, but still haven't gotten any decent argument against, just digressions.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

Tourism doesn't mean anything in regards to American foreign policy - it means that America may be a fun place to visit.

I don't know where the "coolness" thing came from, so I can't comment on that.

And, I do think there are many in the world who have serious gripes with many aspects of our foreign policy.

jaywalker 6 years, 8 months ago

Americans were ranked "coolest nationality" in an international poll. And my argument on the tourism angle is that you don't visit a country you "hate."

jaywalker 6 years, 8 months ago

Not at all. It finally dawned on me that was the case, kind of an odd argument from the start so it's not a surprise.

ljwhirled 6 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, but if you support end support for Isreal's right wing policies (which would garner support from the arab world) you get voted out of office.

Face it. Arab hatred is the price we pay for unlimited, unchecked and unconditional support of the Jewish state.

Getaroom 6 years, 8 months ago

"...Math" and "....elder": Blind and Ugly Nationalism seems to want to keep raising its ugly head and by far too many others in this country. Anyone who has studied US international/foreign policy understands that powerful elements within the US government are all about world dominance through power over initiatives like: war for instance. "Social Darwinism At Work " the sign should read! Making war, leveraging oil resources in foreign lands is all part of the picture of gaining world dominance. So apparently neither of you chose to accept that our interference in foreign countries affairs has created hostilities toward Americans/America. If you agree that, as a nation, it is our duty and right to get what we want, how we want and whenever we want, then of course you will deny that 9/11 was reflective of anything other than Islamic Extremists striking out. Yes, it was that of course too, but it was also the culmination of collective anger at US interference in global affairs for many years and furthered by trying to cram Democracy down the throats of those who do not necessarily want it, or for whom it may not actually be right for now - if ever. Grammdaddy is right on in his post! Some of the statements in the posts today are prof that ignorance is not bliss, but just ignorance.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 8 months ago

We are, at times, tribal, nasty chimps. The biology is bad enough, then we have to put up with remainders from the age of magic. There are no gods, fairies, leprechauns, wood sprites, spirits of the lake, etc............grow up humanity.

50YearResident 6 years, 8 months ago

Sara can hold up a sign that says "United We Stand" right now. But it will have a truly different meaning when you are a Muslim. It will mean "Under Islam, United we stand".

voevoda 6 years, 8 months ago

50YearResident, I think that you misunderstood the sentiment Sara Jawhari expressed, according to the letter. She is a Muslim and an American, and she wishes that in her country, the United States, her fellow-citizens of other religions would accept her patriotism to be as genuine as their own. She certainly isn't expressing unity "under Islam" with terrorists--quite the opposite! Nor is she advocating that the United States become a Muslim nation rather than a multi-religious one with a secular government. So I am utterly puzzled by your comment. Who is "you" here? Sara Jawhari? But she is already a Muslim. Frank Janzen? He gave no indication of being, or planning to become, a Muslim, and even if he did, he doesn't show any signs of wanting for force all his countrymen to become Muslim, too. Readers of this forum? Same as for Frank Janzen. Maybe you're just confused. Or maybe you are so ignorant of Islam and so suspicious of Muslims that you are scaring yourself.

Mike Ford 6 years, 8 months ago

what I gathered in conversations with German and Canadian people I know is that this country is getting the reputation of being full of loud, emotional buffoons, who ignore proven facts and history and cajole and bash people until their view is accepted. Nominative versus empirical views. Muslims and Christians clashed in places like the former Yugoslavia and Spain almost a millenia ago. The Ottoman Empire was dismantled during and after World War One and Turkey became a secular state during Attaturk in the 1920's.

Segments of the US population are as intolerent as anyone in the Middle East. One segment is the southern US which is a virtual theocracy and uses religion to judge others and castigate them in ways similar to the Middle East. I know because I grew up there, survived it, and left and became educated. People here refuse to acknowledge the errors of their views. States Rights is used as a statement because a number of states didn't like the fact that the US Military and National Guard took on southerners much like the Union took on the Confederacy. How does one group of land stealing free labor using immigrants get to be judgemental of others? I remember speaking to a Canadian Ojibwe veteran at a military weapons museum in Brantford, Ontario in 2003. He said that he could tell when an American was around him because they were loud and had no sense of reserved or dignified behavior. They had to be the loud patriotic chest beating characters. I heard this as I was driving through Ontario around Flag Day there and saw big Canadian flags and veterans memorials in every town. I even saw them on Indian reservations where there were Canadian First Nations Veterans that had no legal status until the 1950's. It's not how loud and judgemental one is... it's the knowledge, the memory, the dignity, and the sacrifice, and the respect of country that is patriotism. Not this loud judgemental racist mess I see now.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 8 months ago

I have always lived in the US and have been a Muslim too. I have travelled extensively all over the world and all over the US. No Muslim wants the US to be a Muslim country, to live under Shariah law or to have anyother government than the one our Constitution Guarantees. So why all the hub bub over Muslims? No one I know supports terrorism or the deeds of terrorists. As a matter of fact, most Muslims hate them and want them to stop using our religion as a reason to kill people. I am sick and tired of this conversation all the time. Muslims are not in America to rule it, to have a shrine at Park 51 or build training camps for terrorists. That is a fact and if you want to visit our Mosque here in Lawrence, you can talk to hundreds of Muslims who feel the same way. We are tired of the prejudice and suspicion.

Mike Ford 6 years, 8 months ago

the germans and canadians must've been talking about you snap....

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 8 months ago

Reality check: The government's official 9/11 conspiracy theory has big holes through out. We need a new and independent investigation of these events to understand who was responsible. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZEvA8BCoBw Can you smell it? That's the stench of truth.

ST3V3N 6 years, 8 months ago

People like Sara Jawhari are victims of the situation that was caused by the terrorists. Just like everyone else. Perhaps in a different way. If you get bit by a Pit Bull, you will naturally have fear when you see one. It may be the nicest dog but you will still cross the street to avoid the possability of being bit.

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