Responding to 2 letters to the editor [Archives:2005/805/Opinion]

January 6 2005

Alawi Abdulla Abu Bakir
[email protected]

There are two letters I like to reply to; the first is a letter from Nijole King that wrote and I quote:

“Where's the outrage from the Arab community that the Aid worker was executed in Iraq? She was aiding the Iraqi people for 30 years and was also married to an Iraqi. But a Marine shoots an insurgent and we have hysteria in the streets. I honestly don't believe the people of the Middle East want democracy. It sickens me!”

Nijole, maybe you need to remember what the Aid worker lived for and one of them isn't asking the world to be outraged but to build bridges and help each other, instead of being angry and shouting at each other, asking to be outraged. What will make a difference is building bridges. Arabs like me have two choices, shout about every injustice that happens, innocent killing or we roll our sleeves up and make things happen and eave to people like yourself to write a letter about how outraged you are. Being outraged will benefit no one, whatsoever. What will? Courage with action, getting to know the Arab community where you live to understand, to build bridges and bring communities together but that's what we call 'work, effort and commitment.'

An American died defending Palestinians. Remember? Now, was there a lot of outrage because the murder of the American hero? Damn right there were but why didn't you hear about it Nijole? Because the media will show what it wants to. Go to Occupied Palestinian and talk of the American hero and you will see tears roll down their face and see how they loved and still love her, and respect her courage. But you wont get it shown on the western media only for a few snippets or a year later in a documentary.

Start learning how the mechanics of media works because you've just let them take your brain in a doggy bag and assumed what they wanted you to assume – that Arabs weren't outraged. Of course they were but it wasn't televised, written in western papers but it was televised in Arab media. In my city alone, they were debating on it in Mosques, Arab youths talking about the injustice of it for hour, days, weeks and so forth. Many got together to write to newspapers, and none were printed in western papers.

Now, According to the letter by Faid on the Yemeni Youth and how they shout, and cause chaos on Eid. I guess you're an adult Faidhur Rahman Tariq. Have you rolled up your sleeve to give them an alternative? Have you tried for a year, before the coming of Ramadan and Eid to build relations with these youths, get to know them, talk to them and then work together to create something that they can all join in?

We didn't have what you mentioned because we took time to build trust to educate the Yemeni youths about 'adaab'. We gave them an alternative! That takes time, takes a lot of love for the youths and a lot of trouble to find out what they want, then go out into world after a hard days work to fight for what the Yemeni youths need. They are our future generation whether one likes it or not.

Adults, many moan about how kids hang around corners at night and yet, if we can stop moaning about them, and get to know them, gain their trust by building something for them, find out what they want then they wont be hanging in the streets. Instead of blaming them, give them something. I was like that myself years ago and I remember how adults said the same thing you've said. Show them what Eid is about! Do something through out the whole year to build up to Eid and see the difference. They don't know any different because like me, no one showed us how, what and when. Even Islam wasn't taught to me by my elders, I taught myself because the Hypocrisy I saw many a adults, elders that shouted about Islam and only thing we saw that was about Islam was the Islamic Calligraphy on the wall and they're 'salat' and 'adaab' was out of the window. Make Eid special for them. Show them what it's really about instead of giving up on them and doing what many elders do; complain about the Yemeni Youth.

There's the arts council, other donors that can provide you funding if you put time into it, get advise and get the youth to work with you make next Eid special and invite not just Muslims but non-Muslims.

It takes work, effort and…real love for our people. The youth are the future, we cannot afford to keep blaming them. Time we turn the negative and make be brave and make it happen.