There are a few things on my mind right now with the main one being the United States’s image to the rest of the world.
I know this poster tends to annoy rabid Americans, but it relates to the point I want to make here. That is, it is hard for the US to want to persuade the rest of the world to follow its example if it presents an ugly image of itself.
The caption: De U.S.A. zullen de Europese Kultuur van de ondergang redden which translates as “The USA shall save European Culture from Destruction”
Not that this poster doesn’t have its ironic twist since it was published by the Nazis who did their bit for destroying European Culture (e.g., Baedeker Raids that destroyed two cities I’ve lived in, Exeter and Coventry, as well as Bath, Norwich, York,and Canterbury). The poster was originally called “Kultur Terror” (“Culture Terror”). Although, it is difficult to find info on Leest Storm. There is the theory that this was a Flemish SS Magazine “Storm”. Well, the Nazis did have a paper “Der Stuermer”
I can argue that the Nazis were just as bad as the threat they raised in this poster, but that’s not the point.
The point here is the image that the US projects of itself to the outside world. The Nazis were using everything that was “not-European” to scare the Europeans into supporting them. Of course, that’s about like having the EU send out directives on fish and chips that turn them into something that is “not British”.
People may want to resist, but not in the way you want them to resist.
How can the US try to take the moral high ground when it has a hard time actually practising the ideals it claims to practise: such as religious tolerance, free elections, an impartial and fair court system. In addition, the rest of the world has universal health care, gun control, longer vacations, and other progressive ideas, which some in the US decry as Socialism.
But how does the US intend on spreading its values to the Muslim world if the US doesn’t tolerate Muslims at home?
The Taliban celebrated the Fort Hood massacre as a victory even if the shooter didn’t have any ties to an Islamic fundamentalist group.
I have some serious problems with the US reaction to terrorism. It develops an aggressive posture which is counterproductive to the proper course of action. Terrorism is supposed to induce fear, and any reaction other than normal behaviour gives the terrorists a victory.
It was moronic for the East Coast to shut down on 9/11. Even more idiotic to stop air travel. I tried to live my life as normally as possible, but everybody crawled into their hidy holes.
Likewise, repercussions on US Muslim’s for the act of one insane person give the Muslim extremists a victory. The extremists want to see US Muslim’s polarised against the mainstream culture.
But, Muslims in the US are patriotic. Here are a few of them who died fighting for US ideals.
Cpl. Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, U.S. Army, Muslim, American, killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
Spec. Rasheed Sahib, U.S. Army, Muslim, American, accidentally shot to death by a fellow soldier in Iraq.
Maj. James Ahearn, U.S. Army, Muslim, American, killed by a bomb in Iraq.
Cpt. Humayun Khan, U.S. Army, Muslim, American, killed when he approached a suicide bomber in Iraq.
Some African-American soldiers who fought to defend democracy in WWII were lynched still wearing their uniforms when they came home. There is a story about a black woman who refused to salute the American flag and scorned her father, a veteran, because he did. Her father explained that he did not stand to honor the nation as it was, but the nation as it could be if only it embraced its own ideals.
The real enemy is not Islam, but those who would use violence to achieve their goals. These violent extremists can be of any race, creed, or colour.
People should remember that prior to 9/11, the most devastating terrorist attack on the US was perpetrated by two white, Christian Men: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. There are other groups that expouse beliefs like those held by Timothy McVeigh. In fact, a frightening aspect is that those beliefs have become mainstream.
It is time that the US should not be seen as the nation as of violence and bigotry, but the nation as it could be if only it embraced its own ideals.