“How do I respond when I see that in some Islamic countries there is vitriolic hatred for America?” United States President George Bush asked during a media conference yesterday. “I’ll tell you how I respond: I’m amazed. I just can’t believe it because I know how good we are.” –President Bush
As a child, my parents always told me never to let pride creep into my heart. I was always told to be modest and never think that whatever I accomplished was because of my own goodness; it was God’s grace. If I stood and proclaimed that I know I am really good, I would definitely, and rightly, be frowned upon as an arrogant and boastful person. And, that is only if I don’t have any flaws, because if I do, then foolish and misguided, would also be added to the list. Yet, on Friday, October 12, President Bush did not receive any of those remarks when he declared himself and all Americans as good. This statement was widely honored in America, except for a few outcasts within their country.
So, what exactly is wrong with Bush’s statement? Well, first of all, President George Bush is ‘amazed’ at the anti-American rallies. Despite being the leader of a ‘superpower’, does he really not know why America is resented in many countries? Is he really unaware that America hasn’t been too compassionate to her fellow inhabitants on Earth? I guess not.. this is another of Bush’s statements: “Oh, yes, we’re a compassionate nation..” Perhaps America’s definition of ‘compassion’ is helping Israel shower Palestinians with American-made missiles and bombs? Maybe ‘compassion’ is not letting Iraqi children have pencils and computers, because of American-backed sanctions? Or is it letting 500,000 children under the age of five die there, because they don’t have enough medicine, food and pencils anyway (all due to US-backed sanctions)? Does it possibly refer to the cluster bombs, which contain higher explosives than landmines, (and are in brightly covered casings which make them attractive to children) that they are now dropping in Afghanistan? The President of USA further goes on to say: “..but our compassion is limited.” If this is their explanation of compassion, then thank goodness it is limited.
Boasting about his goodness reminds me of a very similar statement made by President Bush’s father, who once proclaimed: “For all my flaws, I believe I have been chosen by God and commissioned by history to be the model to the world of justice and inclusion and diversity without division.” The same president whose administration conducted indiscriminate bombing of civilians areas, deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure, and killing of retreating soldiers in Iraq, breaking international law. The father believed that he was chosen by God to carry out such tasks against Iraq; the son believes that he is ‘good’ and ‘compassionate’, so, the same tasks against one of the poorest countries, Afghanistan, is justified. Does it just run in the family, or the nation?
President Bush cannot ‘believe it’, when he sees anti-American rallies across the globe. My question to him is: what is so hard to believe? When millions are massacred, and no ‘global coalition against terrorism’ is formed, but when Americans, numbering in mere thousands, lose their lives, the whole world rallies together, then what is expected of non-Americans to think? Are we still to think that the country which boasts most about human rights, cares about our lives as much as it cares about its own, as it bombs the whole of Afghanistan in pursuit of one man, as it claims? Should we still believe that America, the peace-maker of the world, had ‘no choice’ but to go to war against an impoverished nation? Why is it so difficult for President Bush to believe it?
As he says, because he knows how good he and America is. Because he knows, and he doesn’t want to think otherwise. Because to think otherwise, would mean turning over the bloody pages of America’s recent history. Because if USA did that, she would have to accept her mistakes of foreign policies. And, because accepting one’s mistakes is the hardest thing that a man who ‘knows how good’ he is, can do.
Ms. S. A. A. is a 16 year old Muslim, who has graduated from senior high school.