written with fatima & Will
For the moment, no one can say for sure that they understand the dynamics behind the events at Ft. Hood involving Nidal Hasan. What is clear is that he attacked military personnel whose sole purpose is to kill Arabs and Muslims. This should not be forgotten. He was humiliated and attacked for being Arab and Muslim, he desperately wanted to avoid deployment in a war that was directed against him and our people, and he believed that it is our duty as brown, black, Muslim, Asian, Arab, South Asian and many more to stand up and fight our oppressors. This rage that we feel swelling up in our hearts, weighing heavy in our chests, that rises up to choke us and bring tears to our eyes can only be held back for so long.
This rage cannot be controlled. Liberals and Conservatives get upset when we don’t express that rage in ways they are comfortable with. They send troops to put bullets in our peoples’ heads, and then council patience and moderation to us. This lets them offer the solution of dialogue to everyone who has their necks under the boot of Empire. When they disband the U.S. military, then dialogue can be considered with these hypocrites. There is no hope of explaining this rage to them. They will never understand.
At the same time, many liberal and conservative Muslims are afraid of this rage as well because they profit from their role as our prison guards. It is clear that the Muslim community is not united and can never be under these conditions. There are some who want to join the club of American Empire. They just want American Empire to kill less Muslims and to interrogate them with less electricity. They are just as afraid of the Black people, poor people, and queer people as the racists, the homophobes, and the rich.
There has been a plethora of responses to the shootings. The Right jumped immediately to the fact that he is Arab and Muslim saying we’re all terrorists, and that our culture is violent and degenerate, and in response progressives call out the Right for being racists, and instead say it was a result of PTSD or part of the history of soldiers who, as canon fodder in a rich man’s losing war, frag their superior officers. We should be proud of Black soldiers in Vietnam who fragged their commanding officers that told them to kill other people of color. Those soldiers are some of the heroes from that war. Those soldiers had the courage to defy an Empire, defy the most powerful military in the world, and stand in the face of history and say enough.
Why aren’t the thousands of US soldiers who have killed thousands more Iraqis, Afghanis, and others not called sick? Some of them come home suffering from PTSD because of this, and deserve treatment, but Nidal Hasan represents something else, and something more. He is not degenerate, and he is not simply sick; his actions represent an outburst of the frustration and rage caused by years of degradation and slaughter of South Asian, Arab and Muslim peoples.
Nidal Hasan was a human being with deep feelings and sensitivities. No “normal” person should be able to come from war and have dinner with their family as usual and talk about the Monday Night football game. It is a sign of humanity that soldiers have PTSD. Human beings are not meant to kill others, meant to see the violence inflicted upon civilians as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. PTSD and other forms of “un-normal” behavior is not a sign of their weakness, a messed up psychological state or anything else. Simply put, it is a testament that their soul and humanity has been deeply scarred- as it should be after any war.
To help you understand Nidal Hasan, we’ll put it simply: We are not sick. We are not crazy. We will not apologize. We will defend our communities and our families. We will continue to fight back.
For over eight years now Arabs, South Asians and other Muslim peoples have seen our homes, our families and our nations become the central target of an unbridled military assault by US Empire. Our fight against occupation and apartheid in Palestine has entered its 62nd year. But we have, in fact, been struggling in our lands against you honkey-ass crackers – who call us “towel head,” “terrorists” and “camel jockeys” – for generations.
And despite that it has been our lands, which have been occupied for centuries, we are the ones who are asked to apologize. When have the imperialists apologized for the millions that have died because of their bombs and guns? When Madeleine Albright glibly declared that 500,000 lives of our Iraqi sisters and brothers were worth their sanctions, why wasn’t the white man made to apologize? Why are Palestinians made to pay for a holocaust perpetrated by white fascists? You are the degenerate ones, not us. In an age where the virtues of equality are professed by all, the truth is that white, American lives are worth more than Muslim lives. We wish someone on TV would be honest and just say this. At least the country would not live that lie anymore. Just go on TV and say that killing Muslims is OK, but when white people die it is a historic tragedy. At least we would not have to hear your lies.
But it doesn’t stop there. You study us like caged animals, and write books about us trying to decipher the “Arab Mind” but when Timothy McVeigh blew up Oklahoma city where were the psychological profiles of the white mind? You… yes you, you white supremacists and imperialists, are the ones who are sick. You are a disease, and we are the cure. You are a blight that should be wiped off the face of the earth.
We can’t even travel safely. When we go to the airport our hearts pound, our nerves tense, our chests get heavy, our stomachs drop, our mouths get dry and we can taste our own bone and flesh that may very soon be hammered, and bludgeoned, and pounded, and mashed, and stomped, and crushed, and cracked, and shattered on the floor, under your boots as we gasp, and choke, and scratch, and drown in our own blood.
In Iraq and Palestine, just so we can get to work, we wait hours in line to go through checkpoints, and then we’re thrown on the ground and searched because of our brown skin and brown language, but that’s not enough. When we come home at the end of the night you break down our doors, destroy our homes, rape us, and then put a gun to our head and pull the trigger… blood, bone and brain matter splattered on the wall.
When the white man went into Afghanistan, you claimed you were there to liberate women, only to legalize rape through your munaafiq, Uncle Tom puppet governments, as if the bombs and bullets weren’t enough. We, Arab and Muslim and South Asian women, can see through your bullshit and we have since the beginning. We will fight patriarchal dicks wherever we find them, among the imperialist crackers, among the crackers in our own communities who think they can crack the whip on us because they have a penis. We will fight against white “feminists” who think we need your bombs and guns to be free. We don’t need you to save us and we don’t need saving. We will fight with our brothers who love and respect us for our strength and strong will, and who we love and respect for their gentleness and their love for our people. it don’t matter whether we’re wearing a burqa or a push-up bra — being in front of the barrel of your gun don’t make us free.
WE WILL NOT BE AFRAID ANYMORE! WE WON’T! ENOUGH! Without an organized alternative, there may be more Nidal Hasans. The army, the schools, the cities are about to erupt. People all across the country are angry. They are just not sure which way is forward.
There has been another response from the “official” leaders and organizations in our communities. US Empire tells us we can be the ‘good Muslims’ by supporting their wars and their occupations, but if we don’t we’ll be called the ‘bad Muslims’ who support terrorism and only want to spill American blood. We can no longer be silent about these cowards and traitors in our community. But CAIR, ADC and other bourgie, middle class organizations have fallen in line with this argument and denounced Nidal Hasan, and by extension the rest of us who resist, and lash out every day. These groups condemn people who fight U.S. occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and those who fight Israeli apartheid. The irony is, of course, that many of these people are refugees of colonialism. They conveniently forget that it took violent struggles to throw the British and French out of the Middle East. Now that they are in the comforts of the United States they counsel a course, which will only lead to the continued oppression of our people. These people condemned Nidal Hasan the same way they have condemned our people every other time our sisters and brothers have fought back, as if we don’t have a right to defend ourselves. They are licking the very same boots that stomp on their necks. These “leaders” tell us to “be American first,” insist the “Islam means peace,” and that “jihad only means inner-struggle.” Inner struggle and betterment cannot happen in the backdrop of our brothers and sisters being killed. That is the sick irony of their so-called “inner jihad.” It is meaningless. They have forgotten that Islam means submission to something greater than ourselves, no matter what the cost. And no matter what the cost we will be free, and our homes will be liberated.
There is a crisis in our communities. Everyday we walk around with an open wound. We are forced to be two people at once. We cannot be whole people. We tell our children not to talk politics in school. We stay away from those discussions ourselves. We prostrate not only in front of Allah, but to U.S. Empire. That is the secret truth of where our community is at today. And those of us who boast of strength need to look in the mirror. What is strength? Strength is the resistance in Palestine, the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anything less is not strength. It is time to be honest about strength. Because of these betrayals, because of fear, and maybe because we’re not sure how to exactly fight back there is a lack of hope. When 9/11 hit, some Muslims ran to buy crosses to wear around their necks as if we could escape who we are. Weeks later, many more Arabs and South Asians could be seen waving American flags — the same flag that lashes our backs, pierces our hearts and conquers our nations — embracing US Empire’s desire to see us live on all fours as dogs and slaves. The FBI infiltrates our masjids, the cops harass us, the Feds set up checkpoints for us in our neighborhoods just like in Palestine and Fallujah, and our leaders continue to “submit.”
Others have responded to Nidal Hasan and the apologies by these so-called leaders by asking, “Why should we apologize? We’re not all the same. Why should I be responsible for something I didn’t do?” They know we shouldn’t apologize, but don’t embrace our people’s revolts, however individualized, when they happen. They evade the fundamental issue. They don’t ask the question, “What do we need to do to fight back?”
Perhaps this explains the tragedy at Ft. Hood. Because the anti-war movement is so weak, and because Muslims don’t have our own fighting organizations, Nidal, and so many of us who have also felt isolated and alone, are forced to lash out in individualized ways. The actions of Nidal Hasan are not a program for liberation. Soldiers must refuse to fight in these wars, and organize on the basis of an anti-racist and working class resistance. Our liberation is a political and social question before it becomes a military question. One person will never put an end to empire, patriarchy and white supremacy on their own. The sadness of this event lies in the fact that that most soldiers are working people who don’t share the gains and interests of imperial wars, and that Nidal did not organize a revolt within the military.
This moment reflects the reality of where Muslim and Arab progressives and radicals are at politically, socially, and personally. Our people are dying everywhere, and we have barely a shadow of the organizations necessary to help them. Like our flesh, our souls are burning. It’s time we bring that rage to the streets. It’s time to tear down everything and everyone that’s holding us back. It’s time we think hard about the course ahead. It’s time to revive Malcolm’s vision, Stonewall’s courage, and the Intifada’s spirit. If the imperialists have their own organizations to oppress us, it’s time we build our own organizations to destroy that oppression, and free our people once and for all.