Thursday, January 26, 2017

Salaam alaykum: Try it and build workers' unity

by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I have joked with one of my Arab friends who was born here in the US how a few thousand years of incredible Arab culture, science, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, etc. just doesn't seem to shine through when I hear that urban US accent and the hip hop blaring from his headphones.

I don't say that to belittle Hip Hop although it is not my first choice of music, or urban accents that can be as pleasant to the ear as any. It always depends on what the words and intent of language is.

I have traveled among Arab and Muslim people and, like all cultures that one visits when it is not as an invader (and sometimes even when you are) it is an Arabs tradition to offer you food and drink. It's customary. It is common surely among all cultures and people. 

I have mentioned before that I traveled the length of Iraq from the Syrian border to Basra when I was young. And as far as Muslims go I was in Turkey twice and also Macedonia and Kosova (Three times) where there are a number of Muslim people, Turks and Albanians. The Iraqi's could have been excused for being a bit hostile to me as the record of British Imperialism in the region is not good even up to this day, but they weren't, they were hospitable and respectful. Saddam Hussein was the CIA's man, but ordinary people suffer when the CIA falls out with one of its flunkies. I heard that Madeline Albright is claiming that she is ready to join a Muslim registry in solidarity and against Trumps racist orders.  Trump hasn't killed as many Muslims as Albright has yet. Almost 500,000 Iraqi's lost their lives due to the US/UN imposed sanctions against Hussein, most of them women and children. When asked about this on US TV she said the deaths were "worth it".

I am saddened that the war criminals around Bush followed by Obama have destroyed Iraq as a nation; a country and people that never threatened or harmed the US or it's people in any way.

It is also sad that young American workers have died in this war for profits and that the great cost of such a slaughter was not used to offer them the opportunity to visit these cultures as guests and true ambassadors of the US working class. Imagine the learning and cross culture exchanges that could take place between peoples once we rid ourselves of capitalism and all the filth that goes with it.

To make this happen is the task history has set for the working class. We should not let it pass us by or there will be no tomorrow.

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