Lebanese protesters hold anti-American and Israeli banners, during a protest against the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday July 24, 2006. Some places in the United States, this demonstration might seem a dangerous action. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Remi Kanazi wrote in yesterday's Middle East North Africa Financial Network News:
If Kanazi is right, the newly galvanized Lebanese American, Arab American, and Muslim opposition to U.S. slavish support for Israel runs smack into the other reality of post-9/11 America: suppression of the civil liberties of the same communities.
In liberal strongholds like Northern California, repression has not yet worked. I just got a notice from the American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee about a protest against Senator Diane Feinstein's blanket support for Israel. And Arab Americans in Michigan turned out in huge numbers last week to register their dissent.
But many places in the United States don't feel so safe. A really disturbing article from South Florida tells a story of fear:
The awareness of being watched extends even to relief efforts for the victims of the Israeli assault on Lebanon. The Council on American-Islamic Relations sent out a special plea today for donations to help displaced, homeless Lebanese. In all international relief work, it is established wisdom that the best donation any of us can make is cash. Our money can then be used in ways that fit the needs on the ground and often can benefit the economy of the suffering area. But, because since 2001 Islamic charities are routinely charged with passing money to "terrorists" and sometimes have assets frozen, CAIR doesn't urge money donations.
They carefully list the supplies needed and how to pack them, urging that they be sent through the USAID-approved charity LIFE. Politically motivated "security theater," meaningless restrictions that don't make us safer but do get in the way of ordinary humanity, here is forcing well-meaning people to build their relief efforts with one hand tied behind their backs.
As Katrina showed, this government doesn't give a damn about arrangements to help suffering people. Not too surprising, since our rulers don't do ceasefires either...