These past few days gave rise to events that are indeed disturbing and I ponder over the fate of morality in this world. It started when an Egyptian street vendor was accosted by a white male who began spewing racially motivated hateful rhetoric at him.
Despite the pleadings of the street vendor for the man to move on, this individual persisted with comments such as calling him a terrorist and gleefully adding that the death of 4000 Palestinian children was not enough about the genocide taking part halfway across the world.
There was no let up from this intruder who continued, “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, it wasn’t enough,’ and after being beseeched by the vendor to leave, added “You are a terrorist. You support terrorism.” Adding insult to injury, he made blasphemous remarks and told the vendor that he was ignorant as he lacked fluency in the English language.
Fortunately, some bystander captured the verbal rhetoric on his phone and the clip soon went viral. The identity of the racist male was soon uncovered. It was not an ignorant Joe from the backwoods of some small town in the South.
No, this was none other than Stuart Seldowitz, a seasoned State Department official who had served as the acting director for the National Security Council South Asia Directorate under President Barack Obama’s administration. He also worked as a senior political officer in the State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs. It is fair to assume that his hatred of the vendor and all the people of Gaza stemmed not out of ignorance, but possibly deep-rooted connections to Zionist lobbies.
Hate crimes in the US
In another incident, three Palestinian students who were on their way to a family dinner in Burlington, Vermont were shot by a single white male.
According to reports, the three shooting victims told investigators ‘They were walking past a house Saturday evening near the University of Vermont campus when a white male emerged, pulled out a gun and opened fire.’ In the process, they individually suffered injuries, some to the spine, the chest, and the back. The three longtime friends had graduated from the same school in the occupied West Bank and were attending different colleges in the US.
Two of the three victims were ‘wearing kaffiyehs, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism’, and said that while walking they were speaking a mix of English and Arabic during their walk. They also said they did not know the shooter. The incident prompted calls by civil rights groups for authorities to weigh additional hate crime charges.
Again in New York, hundreds of students at a high school revolted against the rhetoric of an Israeli sympathising teacher who was pushing his slanted and biased version of the Gaza conflict upon the students. According to reports, more than 400 students ran and jumped through the halls “waving Palestinian flags and calling for the removal of the teacher who shared her pro-Israel stance on social media.”
Most of these students were aware of the ground realities readily accessible to them on social media channels, and unlike their parents who followed mainstream media and were being fed one version of the truth, these students saw multiple images and brutalities that shocked them, and were not buying any of their teacher’s blatant bias.
A 17th French judge and philosopher once said, ‘There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice. To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.’ Unfortunately, that message has been lost in this rapidly growing cruel world.
— Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi sociopolitical commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena