As a writer, I have been fortunate to have lived among several cultures.
And I have lived among Americans. I have lived around them and away from them as well. And if some things have stood out among most of the Americans I have run across, it has been their honesty, their generosity, and their sense of justice.
I realise that there have to be exceptions to this rule. But thankfully, very few of such exceptions have crossed my path.
And it is in these troubling times today that good Americans are being put to the test. Today, the United States leads among the nations afflicted with the deadly coronavirus.
They will need the support of nations to help them through this crisis which has touched all nations, albeit on a smaller scale.
I have the most complete confidence in the fair-mindedness and generosity of the American public. We Arabs ask no favours. We ask only that you know the full truth, not half of it.
But for our region, one that has seen wars grow and multiply in recent decades, I cannot help but be reminded of the long list of misinformation designed to manipulate US citizens into believing that theirs is a just cause, no matter where it materialises.
First came the craftily announced domestic threats by various organs of their government that created an air of unease among their people.
Then came the threats of the weaponry of Armageddon, WMDs, that were poised to strike the heartland of the nation.
That was followed by the evidence presented to the world body that lacked any credibility. And then came the strike against Iraq. And when it was all over, suddenly none of these threats that had been touted for so long to justify their incursion materialised. The Americans I know of are not liars. They are not bullies either.
Iraq invasion and rise of militancy
Tragically, the fall of the established government in Iraq led to increased militancy in the form of Daesh, Al Qaida and other terror groups. It was only a matter of time before the domino effect enveloped Syria, Lebanon and Libya.
The Americans I know would welcome the Saudi foreign minister, the late Prince Saud Al Faisal’s call for keeping this whole region free from WMDs. And in their pursuit of justice, they would demand that this applies to all countries, including the one known to possess such weaponry, Israel. Yes, Israel, is the major warehouse for such weapons of mass destruction in the region.
Going back further, in a November 1947 article, titled As the Arabs See the Jews, in The American Magazine, King Abdullah of Jordan wrote: “I believe that you Americans do not realise how directly you are, as a nation, responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for the present terrorism. I call this to your attention because I am certain that if you realise your responsibility, you will act fairly to admit it and assume it.”
In stating the problem, King Abdullah also stated the solution: “I have the most complete confidence in the fair-mindedness and generosity of the American public. We Arabs ask no favours. We ask only that you know the full truth, not half of it.”
The US media, by and large, is not interested in the pursuit of the truth. Israel is an entity that hardly ever comes under scrutiny. The fear of being called anti-Semitic has shut up a lot of people. Facts have been withheld for reasons of ‘national security’, and journalists are now appended.
The truth has been hijacked and withheld from the American people. If they could be faulted in the past, it would have been on their political naivety in matters beyond their borders. But there are encouraging winds of change. They are beginning to reach out for the truth within and outside their boundaries. They are slowly beginning to understand the long-term ramifications of the actions of their present and past administrations. And once they wise up to it, then the good qualities that make them Americans, shall prevail in their relations with others. Long live the Americans I know.
— Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena.