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Why are white activists ignoring Middle Eastern people?

by shiva Monday, Dec. 03, 2001 at 3:16 AM


Hi, im going to post this note on a lot of different IMC sites because I really do want answers. Im half Armenian and half Iranian. Ive only lived in this country for 6 years. Im 23 years old and have been involved in activism for about 3 1/2 years now.

I have always worked hard and view myself as an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and against globalization.

After September 11 happned, in a lot of ways I was so happy to see that finally after so many years so many of you wonderful activist that I had seen work so hard before were paying so much attention to what was going on in the Middle East. I mean I know that people have paid attention to Iraq, and Palestine over the past few years, but never in such large numbers.

As I attended services at my mosque I told fellow worshipers how these amazing activist were helping us now, and letting our voices be heard. That we could work in solidarity with you, and bring not only the struggle and plight of my Afghani brothers and sisters but also the struggle of the people from Armenia, Quatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Iran, Pakistan to the fore front and that finally some of you would enter our communities and get to hear, listen and touch our culture and see where our passion for life comes from

I would have to stay that overall in the past 3 monthes I have been disappointed, at times hurt, and very secluded in this whole process. What I thought would be a wonderful chance to bring our communities together and tell you and help teach you all a bit about our cultures and way of life has in a lot of ways turned into a nightmare for me and a lot of my fellow friend and family who are also of middle eastern decent.

In many ways we feel like we have been left out in your organizing, we feel like instead of asking us our opinion or ways that our community can be helped many activist have come in and told us what we need to and how we need to give our press conference and where we need to go, what protest to show up in and what meetings to attend. Please try to understand this is one of the first times in a long time that we have had to deal with such a very sad event, that we do not understand in many ways what to do next, still it's not right to tell us what to do. It seems very selfish and coming from a very looking down to attitude.

I don't know for myself what to do. I like working with many of you, but I wish sometimes you would just listen a little bit. This situation is unlike any other, sometimes it needs to be handled that way. Sometimes we feel like many of you are not even intrested in our communities that we have already built in this country. Sometimes it seems like many of you don't want to know about our history and our people and why we are here in this country to being with.

It pains me to see this going on because I know how much I want to reach out to you and show you that we are good people, that we are not all bad and that we want to work with you but we feel we are not included but instead our name is being used for all sorts of political reasons. Both the left people in this country are doing this and so are the right. It pains me.

My country and my people come from a very rich background of land and culture. We have built and survived many hardships both in our old country and now here in this country. We would like to share a bit of that with you, but it seems like nobody is even intrested. we have invited many of you to our Islamic Centers, our cultural art shows, music events and none of these people who say they are fighting for us ever come, but instead they ask us to come to meetings and show up in a press conference. I don't think our people should be used as a sort of side show. We are not one to be used in a charity case. Yes many people in Afghanistan are hurting, starving and dying right now but the Afghan culture is a beautiful rich culture that is bountyful and very very old in history. The people are wise and have worked their land and faught for the land for so long. They are not just dirt people, they are not just charity cases, they are not just for you white people in this country to feel sorry for. They are a strong great people who have been on the earty for a very long time, and have complex forms of society and civilization.

Instead of just feeling sorry for us and only wanting to go on the street and scream that you are fighting for us. Please I beg of you to come visit some of us, talk to some of us, and if you can learn of our history, the fathers and mothers who worked so hard to get to where we are today, our traditions and our culture. Please respect us a little bit and don't make such martyrs and victims of us.

We are not victims, we are your fellow human being that needs a hand right now, and please don't allow us to be exploited just like the right wing people are doing to us.

Please let go a little bit of this very strong white western mentality that your way is the only right way, and involve us, don't fear us.

We all know your hearts are in the right place, but also realize that you have alianted many of us, and we don't want that.

thank you very much my name is Shiva and you can email me.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 2 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Thank you Shiva for saying what we feel Chantel Monday, Dec. 03, 2001 at 7:19 PM
terrific post rtf Tuesday, Dec. 04, 2001 at 2:59 PM

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