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From Syria to America: With Love


Not everyone in the Arab Middle East hates America.

As Lee Smith notes in Slate, Egyptian President Hosni Mubaraq has claimed that anti-American sentiment in the Middle East has reached new heights. However, not everyone in the Arab world hates the US. Lee writes:

The remarkable fact is that there are Arabs who like America. I don't just mean those who cherish our bloody action movies and blond pop stars or want to immigrate to the United States because there is little work or chance for advancement at home. Rather, I'm referring to those Arabs whose admiration of the United States as an embodiment of justice and liberty is so idealized that it sometimes seems to bear no relationship to an America that, as we admit, has made many errors around the world.

For instance, a Syrian friend CCs me on e-mails he writes to the U.S. Embassy in Damascus or to American officials here in the States. This came from him last week after Ted Kennedy compared Iraq to Vietnam:

Dear Senator Ted Kennedy,
I am a pharmacist from Syria and I am 56 years old. I still remember when your brother was assassinated in 1963 and we all cried. He had a dream for the whole world not just for America. We suffered under totalitarian regimes in the Middle East for the whole of our lives. We look for America as our Savior. Please Mr. Kennedy you have to know that America has a burden in freeing the other peoples of the world from tyranny. I have no right to comment on internal U.S. issues but as a citizen of the world I have the right to ask the American legislators to help other peoples in the world because this is the principle that America stands for.

One letter from one brave person represents thousands of voices. Are they a majority? I don't know. But surely, Americans, they deserve your attention, if only to enrich your understanding of what the Middle East is all about. Not everything here is as represented on Al-Jazeera and in the Friday sermons on state-run television stations, and not everyone has those views.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000248.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 8 comments

Thank you for that comment!! It makes everything worthwhile.

Posted by Karen from California, USA @ 04/28/2004 07:16 PM CST

A nice comment indeed, I don't know if I'd say this is how all Arabs feel - I have a very close friend in Iraq right now, and he says it's pretty terrible feeling. I do, however, have to thank this man for his outreach and publicly going against what I'm sure many Arabs in his home country think - I'm only 19, my friend in Iraq is 20 - and I can't help but think how scary this world is. Good will prevail - it always will - I just pray for those that find themselves on the front line - civilian and military, that some sort of peace can be made. Also, I hope this man knows, not all Americans hate Arabs - I don't even think it's a question of hate, it's more that the media distorts so much of what is true, that it puts so many negative feelings in the public's mind. Thank you for this informing website - anyone can say they offer balanced news, but this is truly un-biased, and a great read. God bless.

Posted by Max @ 05/05/2004 03:06 AM CST

you know kids are born vanilla that is kids are born without any preconceived notions of who to hate
its only the education received and attitudes from people that influences them
any muslim thats been to the US usually ends up liking the US
gotta figure out how to stop the circle of violence

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