Fort Hood massacre rips open scar tissue of 9/11

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On Thursday, an Army doctor of Arab descent went crazy in Fort Hood, Texas and went on a killing spree. In the process he murdered 13 people and wounded 30 others. That much everybody has already heard about, and will continue to hear about, for at least another week or so given the way the news works these days.

But there was a related story that, relatively speaking, kept poking its head above the surface not quite a day later. Did you notice how Arab American organizations from coast to coast suddenly felt compelled to apologize on behalf of Muslims the world over for the crazed act of this one sick and twisted individual? Seemed like every time I saw another update story about the tragedy, there was yet another Arab ‘spokesperson’ emphatically pointing out how patriotic most American Muslims are, how they have served and continue to serve honorably in the armed services, and how they should please, please, please not be judged by the actions of this one man.

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Am I patriotic enough for you yet?

And that’s when I began to wonder why that should have even been necessary, because any reasonable human being should know that no way in hell are all Arabs responsible for the behavior of one Arab idiot. Did white people feel a sudden compulsion to apologize when Timothy McVeigh pulled his little prank blowing up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City? Did they suddenly feel threatened and under scrutiny? Worried about what their neighbors might say or do out of retaliation?

Hell no.

Even us black folks, who can certainly identify with race guilt reflex action which kicks in automatically every time a member of the race acts up, don’t have to appear on every news program to defend ourselves every time one of us does something really crazy. That doesn’t mean we can’t still feel the chill whenever a black person commits a hugely publicized horrible act, but for the most part we aren’t much required to rush our defensive team strategists down to the studio anymore.  However we still haven’t quite gotten past cringing whenever we hear news of something gruesome, holding our collective breath in silent prayer that “Please, God, don’t let him be black.”

Saying all this to say that 9/11  may have just made a repeat performance on 10/5. Or to paraphrase Michael Corleone in the worst of the Godfather trilogy, “Just when we thought we was out, they pull us back in.” Because if you remember much of what it was like in the weeks and months after that day, then maybe you remember a little bit about what it was like for folks who even looked like Arabs but weren’t. Because all God-fearing Americans were out for blood, and the blood of anybody who vaguely resembled the enemy would do just fine.

But even if you don’t remember it, you can bet the Arab community does. The metro Detroit area is home to the largest Arab population of anywhere in the United States, so we tend to hear about that kind of thing. Not that we pay anywhere near the amount of attention that we should, but we do hear it. And the minute that crazed fool went on his rampage, the Arabs already knew reflexively that they would have to once again rush to wrap themselves in red, white and blue and start singing the National Anthem everywhere they went, even to the bathroom.

Because right now? Patriotism for Arabs in America isn’t optional, it’s survival.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Read my wife’s blog @ The “D” Spot Redeux

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~ by Keith A. Owens on November 9, 2009.

2 Responses to “Fort Hood massacre rips open scar tissue of 9/11”

  1. What a great post, teamowens! I never thought about all other Arabs being like the shooter. As a result, I didn’t read any of the “Arabic or Muslim community abhors what that nutcase did” news items.

    I confess, however, I also didn’t think about those groups feeling they had a need to do that. Still too many small minds, I’m afraid.

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