Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 11:56 PM
October 12, 2001
His Royal Highness
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Dear Prince Alwaleed bin Talal:
I would like to take just a moment to thank you for your
recent demonstration of empathy with those suffering from
the devastating and heinous September 11 attacks on the
United States Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
I would especially like to thank you for your most generous
offer of million to assist those Americans in need as a
result of those attacks. I was disappointed that Mayor
Giuliani chose to decline your generous offer and instead
criticize you for your observations of events in the Middle
East. Whether he agreed with you or not I think he should
have recognized your right to speak and make observations
about a part of the world which you know so well.
I think Mayor Giuliani would do well to listen to the words
of one of our greatest Americans, former Senator Robert
Kennedy. In 1968 he said that America "is a great nation
and a strong people. Any who seek to comfort rather than to
speak plainly, reassure rather than instruct, promise
satisfaction rather than reveal frustration--they deny that
greatness and drain that strength. For today as it was in
the beginning, it is the truth that makes us free."
I believe Senator Robert Kennedy's remarks remain as
inspirational and true today as when he first spoke them
over 30 years ago. Let me say that there are a growing
number of people in the United States who recognize, like
you, that US policy in the Middle East needs serious
Indeed, on the same day that you made your remarks about US
policy in the Middle East, the Chairman of the House
International Relations Committee, The Honorable Henry Hyde,
spoke on National Public Radio and said, "There's no
question in my mind that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is
the most important issue in dispute, and has generated a lot
of the animosity towards us because of our unwavering
support for Israel, which will remain in place."
At the same time, CNN played an interview with former
National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski who stated
that America must "deal with some of the issues that animate
the hostility" against us, like "the treatment of the
population of Iraq" and that "the Israelis are stronger, so
they're naturally inflicting much more casualties than the
Palestinians on the Israelis and that produces frustration
Your Royal Highness, many of us here in the United States
have long been concerned about reports by Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch that reveal a pattern
of excessive, and often indiscriminate, use of lethal force
by Israeli security forces in situations where Palestinian
demonstrators were unarmed and posed no threat of death or
serious injury to the security forces or to others.
Israeli peace organizations like B'Tselem accuse the Israeli
Defense Forces of violating the most fundamental rules of
international law in committing atrocities against
Palestinians. The Israeli Gush Shalom boldly states that
"Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is the
root cause of the violence and hatred.
As long as the occupation continues, bloodshed will continue
and increase." Indeed, Your Royal Highness, all people of
good conscience understand that this kind of mistreatment
breeds a hotbed of anger and despair that destabilizes peace
in the Middle East and elsewhere. Until we confront the
realities of events in the Middle East our nation and the
nations of the Middle East will be at risk.
Your Royal Highness, there are many people in America who
desperately need your generosity. People who have been
locked out, marginalized from America's mainstream. All of
those people are poor and too many of them are people of
color. A black baby boy born in Harlem today has less
chance of reaching age 65 than a baby born in Bangladesh.
Your Royal Highness, the state of black America is not good.
It is painfully visible in Washington D.C., where, just a
few hundred yards from the White House, one can find black
man after black man huddled in bus shelters, doorways, over
subway ventilation shafts, sleeping on the street, thrown
away like trash. Ironically, many of them are Vietnam
veterans who, having served this nation with distinction in
Vietnam, now find themselves without adequate care and
Unfortunately, this same scene is repeated in each and every
one of our major cities here in the United States. I am
ashamed to say that my home city of Atlanta is no exception.
Just last night my son was out with members of Atlanta's
Muslim community who, for years, have been feeding Atlanta's
Sadly, no one in mainstream Atlanta knows about the tireless
and generous work of the local Muslim community. But the
poor know, and I guess at one level that's all that matters.
But on a broader view mainstream America should know.
The Justice Department admits that blacks are more likely
than whites to be pulled over by police, imprisoned, and put
to death. And, though blacks and whites have about the same
rate of drug use, blacks are more likely to be arrested than
whites and are more likely to receive longer prison
sentences than whites.
Incredibly, 80% of people in prison in the United States are
people of color. Twenty-six black men were executed last
year, some probably innocent; America began 2001 by
executing a retarded black woman.
Government studies on health disparities confirm that blacks
are less likely to receive surgery, transplants, and
prescription drugs than whites. Physicians are less likely
to prescribe appropriate treatment for blacks than for
whites and black scientists, physicians, and institutions
are shut out of the funding stream to prevent all this.
I serve in Congress where the Black Caucus is shrinking.
Yet, sections of the Voting Rights Act will soon expire, and
quite frankly, after crippling Court decisions, there is not
much left of affirmative action to mend.
In the FBI's own words, its counterintelligence program
(COINTELPRO) had as a goal, "to expose, disrupt, misdirect,
discredit, or otherwise neutralize "the activities of black
organizations and to prevent black "leaders from gaining
respectability." And instead of real leaders, COINTELPRO
offers us hand-picked "court priests" who are more loyal to
the plan than to the people. Court priests who preach
peace, peace when there is no peace. As you can see, the
statistics are very grim for Black America.
Although your offer was not accepted by Mayor Giuliani, I
would like to ask you to consider assisting Americans who
are in dire need right now. I believe we can guide your
generosity to help improve the state of Black America and
build better lives.
My office can provide you with a list of charities who labor
under the most difficult circumstances to try and improve
the lives of the people they serve. I hope you will
consider reaching out to our charities and to our people who
are in need. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any
questions you may have.
Member of Congress