In America, all is not lost [Archives:2002/43/Focus]

October 21 2002

By Hassan Al-Haifi
Amidst all the ugly hate rhetoric and arrogance that one has been hearing from the United States these days, one does still hear some sensible and logical thinkers here and there with more somber and sensible views. It is no secret that American public opinion is nurtured by a loud, egotistical rhetoric that comes from well-established institutional warmongers. These ‘rednecks’ still think the only way America can display its true colors is by sending its war fleets to step on and destroy anything that stands in the way of their desire to fill the huge coffers of the military industrial complex that reigns supreme in the United States.
We know full well that there are many Americans who do not see eye to eye with the latest right wing American saber-rattling. We also know that there are many Americans who are governed by the desire for the United States to maintain a predominant position among the nations of the world. This egotistical current is not necessarily guided by human values and morals, but by a sense of arrogance driven by a naïve belief in the infallibility of power.
Yes, there are millions of Americans who are disturbed by the ugliness which the ultra conservative proponents of American hegemony are calling for. They even see the latter as seizing on the opportunity of exploiting the ungodly misguided acts of a few self-acclaimed “defenders of the faith”, who never had any mandate from the rest of the Muslims of the world anyway.

9-11 far removed from Islam
In fact, these broad minded Americans have the sense to realize that the most Muslims see “9-11” as far removed from true Islam as the barbaric acts of Zionist hooligans in the Holy Land. It is indeed refreshing to hear these brave and well-versed American voices speak their minds out from time to time on the American airwaves. It is obvious that the latter are seeking to remind the American people that the policies pursued by President George W. Bush and his administration are also distant from true American values and mores, which many people throughout the world have desired to emulate over the past two centuries (That was the case, until the latest wave of chauvinism, which the Bush administration has found comfort in propagating). These voices have often spoke subtly and often kept their true feelings of disbelief between the lines of what they say. The fear of the possibility of a harsh counteroffensive from the right wingers and of being accused of seeking to disunite the ranks of the American people, whose anger against “9-11” must be fueled indefinitely, etc. – if not accused of treason – is eminent in the subtlety of their criticism.

Enter Harry Belafonte
However, two weeks ago Harry Belafonte, the world renown artist of many decades, has eloquently portrayed what many Americans are beginning to sense, when they hear the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and other war mongers speak their diatribes against anything and anyone that they identify as falling in the realm of “terror” that brought on “9-11”. Mr. Belafonte is a well known singer, whose voice has given comfort to millions of people, who find in the gentle voice of his melodic song comfort and relaxation, amidst all the noise pollution that the modern age has brought with it, for many decades. In addition, Belafonte is a highly cultured individual, with a sympathetic outlook towards world humanitarian concerns and a feeling that, whatever globalization entails, it surely cannot be void of justice and equal opportunity for all of humanity. His record on the humanitarian and peace tracks stands to confirm the sincere and serious weight of his opinions, whether in the United States or in the international arena.
Mr. Belafonte’s criticisms of the Bush administration, while directed against some of its icons (especially Colin Powell) emphasized the need for a clearer course for American foreign policy. Moreover they insist that this course should not forsake the need for moral foundations to be an essential element of that policy, if America can hope to maintain a respectable world leadership position. In essence, Belafonte’s criticisms of Powell and national security advisor Rice were meant to underscore the need for important politicians to show their true colors. Senior officials, who just obey their bosses, while not displaying any sense of personal commitment, neither to their bosses’ perceptions of the world, nor to any of their personal principles and mores, if they do have any, are accountable for not truly presenting sound professional advice to their bosses and for not standing by them accordingly.

Wake up
Belafonte wanted Americans to wake up to the serious dangers that are eminent with the unpredictable and somewhat chaotic course that the likes of Mr. Bush are propagating for America to pursue. They see that this course will not just isolate America from the world, but surely backfire against American interests, as well as taint the image of the United States as a haven for a wider horizon of intellectual capacity than the Bush administration has, regrettably, been able to produce.