Sunday, September 12, 2010
"Hussein". Richard Wolffe, an MSNBC commentator, was speaking on Countdown Friday about a significant portion of this country's population that doesn't want to hear anything President Obama says about religious tolerance or even issues of national security (if anything at all). In casting about for reasons why that is, Wolffe spoke to this ludicrous but powerful problem: Obama is a President, "let's face it, whose middle name is 'Hussein'."
"Hussein". Where have I heard that before? Ah, yes: King Hussein of Jordan, an enlitened monarch who married an American, Lisa Halaby, who became Queen Noor. Hussein bin Talal was a goodlooking, personable charmer who ruled the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for 47 years, from 1952 until his death in 1999. "Hashemite" means descended from the Prophet Muhammed. He was a trusted friend of the United States who could speak frankly about the bad choices U.S. Administrations were making, and a very popular figure in this country, which he visited many times. He spoke English fluently, and of course his wife spoke absolutely perfect English, since she was born in Washington, DC. So why doesn't anyone associate "Hussein" with King Hussein of Jordan and his American wife, the blond and beautiful Queen Noor? And why aren't Liberals doing anything to renew that fond mental association?
It seems to me that Arabs and Arab-Americans have been entirely too timid and low-profile for their own good. Couldn't Queen Noor and her half-American children — and think about that: half-American children who are descended from the Prophet Muhammed! — step up their activities to bridge the dangerous gap between the Arab world and the United States? It's almost as tho the thinking is "Don't draw too much attention to yourself, or you will be targeted for attack." Americans don't understand people who could have the limelite but won't step into it, even for a good cause. Americans love fame, and think that privacy is for people who can't get publicity.
I'm not saying that Queen Noor should be attending Hollywood parties, and her sons and dauters with the King (who range in age from 30 down to 24), and the Princes' small dauters, should be seen in the glitziest and most glamorous settings, say in harem pants in the audience in Fashion Week — but why not royal princesses wearing some refined designers' clothes on the fashion runway? More generally, why aren't American Arabs, Iranians, Pakistanis, and the like working to change the stereotypes and bring some high-profile dignity and glamor to the image of Moslems abroad who are friendly to the United States, and of American Moslems as being as American as apple pie? Speaking of pie, Americans don't even know Arab food, or music, or any type of dance but bellydancing, which surely cannot be the whole of Arab dance. Step it up, people. The quickest way to a man's heart may not be thru his stomach, but a chain of Middle Eastern and Indo-Pak fast-food joints could open minds, not just mouths and a few top buttons.
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,418 — for Israel.)
Links to this post: