Hate America... My Summer Home is in Miami!
Sohail, Kansas, USA
I hate ingratitude more in a man
Than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness,
Or any taint of vice whose strong corruption
Inhabits our frail blood.
-Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
That the illiterate masses and semi-literate
mobs in many parts of developing world would be out on the streets on
any occasion to lambaste the United States is a fact of life since the
Second World War. Born of envy and fuelled by juvenile rage, such
outbursts have been directed at every world power from Rome through the
British Empire to our own Pax Americana. The multitude, angry at
half a century of corrupt local governance, does not know any better
than to channel its anger in the increasingly frequent anti-American
rallies. There are those, however, who know better. Or at least should.
The English language publications in the
developing countries with a relatively free press is a good barometer of
the thinking of the social elite-big businessmen, academics, senior
bureaucrats, military officers and, of course, journalists. Being a
contributor to a few such periodicals myself, I cannot but help notice
the genteel version of mass hysteria fanned in the pages of respected
newspapers like Pakistan’s DAWN, the UAE’s Khaleej Times,
Bangladesh’s New Nation, and Malaysia’s New Straits Times,
to name a few. Just to be sure of my hypothesis, I have followed
those four newspapers since the beginning of this year. I have yet to
find a day when none of these publications, the mouthpieces of the elite
of America’s regional allies, had a single opinion piece critical of
the United States.
It is not the simple criticism of American
policy that is bothersome. Were that the case, these foreign newspapers
would be little different than so many East Coast newspapers whose
editorial pages are the domain of the self-righteous liberal left. What
makes the opinion columns of DAWN, New Straits Times, and New
Nation a chilling read day after day is the scandalous dimensions of
the critique glibly offered by these publications.
Jews control the American media and
government. The Mossad engineered the 9/11 tragedy. Osama Bin Laden is a
freedom fighter. George Bush hates Islam. America is a dictatorship.
Dick Cheney and the oil barons conspired to grab Iraq’s petroleum.
George Bush is similar to Hitler.
Take your pick. Those themes, garbed in the
format of expert analysis or investigative journalism, are repeated ad
nauseum in the pages of such ‘elite’ newspapers, never mind the
popular vernacular press. The authors of these articles are staff
editors, generals, parliamentarians, prominent politicians, and
bureaucrats. In addition to their common disgust for America, they share
one other mutual bond.
Almost all of them have benefited or
continue to benefit from American generosity. It is impossible to find a
senior military officer in Pakistan or a senior bureaucrat in Bangladesh
who has not been trained in the United States at some point in his
professional life. One will be hard-pressed to point out too many
top-level editors in the English newspapers in the Gulf or in South East
Asia who have not had some American training in their chosen
professions. The parliaments and chambers of commerce in South and South
East Asia are full of individuals whose children, nephews and nieces,
and cousins have received an American university education. Many of that
number have settled permanently in America to reap the benefits of this
supposed Hitlerite dictatorship.
What the elite of Pakistan or Malaysia write
in their newspapers is their business. It is America’s business,
however, to make sure that those who provide such intellectual comfort
to terrorism and serve as apologists for the underlying anti-Semitism
are not subsidized by the United States, either financially or morally.
Criticizing America is a right; conducting normal intercourse with
America is not.
Take the typical example of Qazi Husain
Ahmad or Sheikh Hasina Wajed. The former is the head of Pakistan’s
virulently anti-American Jamaat-e-Islami party while the latter is a
former leftist prime minister of Bangladesh. Both engage in specious
anti-American rhetoric, both have children living happily in the United
States, and both are regular visitors to these shores. The same is true
of any number of Asian and Middle Eastern politicians, businessmen, and
academics. They go to Disneyland, send their kids to Harvard, and talk
sanctimoniously of an American-Jewish conspiracy on the pages of their
newspapers, in their seminars, and in public rallies. Such then are the
genteel godfathers of anti-Americanism and intellectual apologists of
global terror and one finds them in places of prominence in countries
who are ‘allies’ of the United States.
These denizens of America’s allies are not
on the lists of individuals who are barred from entering the United
States or doing business with the United States or benefiting from
American aid and training programs. Combining both substantive and
symbolic value, such lists maintained by different federal departments
target individuals who are suspected of gross human rights violations,
drug trade, or terrorism.
Seemingly another category needs to be added
to these lists: individuals who provide moral support for the purveyors
of anti-American hatred. That the mobs burning Old Glory on the streets
of Kuala Lampur and Karachi are incited to frenzy by politicians who
maintain a second home in Miami is quixotic, to say the least. It is
also as outrageous as the act of burning the flag.
Those who cynically tap into the dark wells
of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism should not be allowed to gleefully
suckle on the resources of America. Free speech should be protected.
Ingratitude should not. A clear message ought to be sent out to those
who make a living by bashing America.