To Kill Your Own People

Photo courtesy of PRI.org | Citizens of Beirut, Lebanon held a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims of suicide bombings in the city on Nov 12.

Photo courtesy of PRI.org | Citizens of Beirut, Lebanon held a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims of suicide bombings in the city on Nov 12.

 

Maya Sleiman ’18
Contributing Writer

This week, I came across a video of Hillary Clinton publicly discussing how the United States funded and equipped Islamist fundamentalists – referred to as Mujahedeen – during the Reagan administration. Carried out during the Cold War, its purpose was to block the Soviet Union’s influence and the spread of communism in central Asia. Clinton discussed how the Wahhabi brand of Islam was “imported” from Saudi Arabia to serve as the religious doctrine of these Mujahedeen and fuel their set agenda against the USSR.

“It wasn’t a bad investment,” she said, referring to the consequent collapse of the Soviet Union.

That same day, twin suicide attacks hit the southern suburb of Beirut, one of the most densely populated areas of the city. The first suicide bombing took place during a rush hour The second one followed five minutes later, right when people were pouring onto the scene to try to evacuate the victims of the first attack. Later, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

Friends rushed to console me: “Is your family safe?”

I replied, “Yes, they don’t live in Beirut.”

“I’m so sorry,” my friend said, solemnly. But I couldn’t feel any of their sympathy or concern. I felt numb.

Do you know what it feels like to live within the borders of a country whose foreign policy and fundamentalist allies are continuously and systematically destroying every bit of hope left in your homeland? To live in a country whose political and military interventions throughout the past decades have done nothing but fuel reactionary atrocities against your people? Do you know what it feels like to live in a place that disregards the lives of your loved ones as mere statistics, marginal costs of the conquest to further expand its imperialist influence around the world?

It means my tax money goes to arming the Saudi military that is bombing the children of Yemen at this very moment – the same Saudi monarchy that has poured billions of dollars into spreading its Wahhabi fundamentalist madrassas* around the world. My tax money goes to funding CIA torture programs in Iraq. My college is invested in capital that demolishes Palestinian homes and olive groves to make place for illegal Israeli settlements. My tax dollars paid for the Israeli Defense Force bullets that killed 17 Palestinian children just last month in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Do you know what it feels like to live with the guilt of killing your own people?

“I’m so sorry,” my friend said.

“I’m so sorry,” I whispered to the weary souls of my homeland.

*Arabic for school. In English writings, the term “madrassa” is often used in reference to exclusively Islamic religious schools. Note that the word “madrassa” in Arabic does not imply any political or religious affiliations.

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One Comment

  1. Powerful. Thank you.

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