Back in Spring '01, I took The History of Modern Middle East under Dr. Donna Ryan at Gallaudet. Throughout the semester, I get to understand the ramifications of Islam, Arab world and its relationships with oil, Western Civilization and Israel as well as its struggles to live in peace with dignity and honor.
Dr. Ryan made it clear that sooner or later, the Islamic extremists would attempt to fan the Muslims' hatred of Americans because of its stubborn relationship with Israel, of its arrogant policies that favored the ruling classes over the masses through weapons and oil.
For example, the Shah of Iran was overthrown by the masses because the Shah was corrupted and oppressive -- the Americans were steadfast in supporting the Shah and his government. The Americans were quick to condemn the majority of Iranians to revolt against the corrupted government -- a classic hypocrisy on Americans' response, considering the fact that the Americans also revolted against the Britons in 18th century. It is as if we can revolt if we wanted to, but they can't. The result is that Iranians viewed us as the evil empire. Cannot blame them, really.
The Americans seemed to enjoy its hypocrisy by telling people how to live their lives but when it comes to them questioning back, Americans turned its back. Afghanistan enlisted the Americans to help out in battling the Soviet Union, and the Americans sent the CIA over there. But after the years of devastating war against the Soviet Union, Afghanistan finally expelled the Soviets. Afghanistan then turned to Americans for some help. Where were the Americans? They were nowhere to be found. Abandoned. They were abandoned. The seeds of hatred, resentment and frustration were born from that point.
Dr. Ryan explained things in a very broad picture of frustrations with Americans' policies in meddling with Middle East countries. One student, I do not recall her name, asked Dr. Ryan whether if she thinks someday, someone will kick our butts for what we did? Dr. Ryan smiled and said, "Of course, it shall happen. It will. But when?"
It was thought-provoking class. I enjoyed it tremendously. I still have 15 books based on Middle East countries, conflicts, Balkan states et al. Oh, yeah, I got an A with the course.
That was Spring '01. Four months later, the Islamic extremists enacted what Dr. Ryan prophesied all along, and they did it with a force that rattled the rest of the world by bringing the Twin Towers down. As I was watching the Twin Towers burning, I quickly reminisced what Dr. Ryan talked about this. It was inevitable. It was bound to happen. I wondered if people around me truly understood the ramifications that led up to this point?
Never mind the Patriot Act, never mind that we retaliated by overthrowing Taliban, never mind that we termed Iran, Iraq and North Korea as the Axis of Evil, never mind that Libya repented with us as of now, never mind the Iraqi occupation -- these things meant a lot of things or nothing to different peoples but the common ingredient among the masses in the region is that the vengeance has been exacted. They got what they wanted all along, that is to punish us for our actions toward them. They do not care if we waged wars against them and killed billions of people, they knew they already punched us in our face.
History is all around us -- schools, colleges, monuments, governments, museums, peoples, cultures, countries ... why do we have history? It was to remind us of our actions -- let it be a lesson for all of us, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
When GW Bush kept on ranting about preserving the freedom, don't fall for it. It is bullshit. I do not like Osama bin Laden for what he did. But to beat the enemy, one has to understand him, his thoughts and his actions. Read what he said:
Contrary to what [President George W.] Bush says and claims -- that we hate freedom --let him tell us then, "Why did we not attack Sweden?" It is known that those who hate freedom don't have souls with integrity, like the souls of those 19. May the mercy of God be upon them.
See? Even he's crazed loon, but he has a point. It is not about freedom. If it is the case, they'd attack Sweden. It is because we meddle in their affairs.
Now we need to improve ourselves in order to treat others better. But certainly not with GW Bush in the position -- he is simply delusional, indifferent to the ramifications of historical events up to now. Bush's tough position in Middle East will make it much worse than ever.