In regard to life for Arab Americans in Dearborn, Michigan, one voice says at 1:40, "You can practice your faith and live your culture with very little interference from anyone."
That is the American voice I know.
I have said the same myself of all the things I have done in Maryland, from backpacking to country-western dancing to singing in restaurants and at festivals.
Outside the bounds of intimate relationships, no one has ever asked me anywhere or at any junction in my life with the intent to judge the answer, "Who are you people?"
I've never asked that question either in relation to work or recreation.
In the personal realm, it took a long and, in the end, tragic journey to suggest the answer might matter in how one may feel alone in company or entertain the prospect of raising children with views alien, even absurd, to one's own outlook.
How far should I now go with that? I ask myself.
How far should we Americans go with it, and should we do so as was once done with the prospects of, gasp, miscegenation?
How, really, do we, again American citizens, wish to transmit ourselves and recapitulate our culture . . . or divide ourselves and destroy our culture?
The centerpiece of the above clip is a t-shirt featuring a cartoon of a little boy pissing on the Israeli flag. The seller? Predictably, the table's sponsorship tells the answer you were ready to hear: www.freepali.com (a truthful antidote [the real talk online, elsewhere, around the world, is about integrity] may be found at http://www.camera.org/).
Here I may ask my Christian friends on the far seething right: is the best you can do is go to an ethnic general Arab street festival specifically to seek out the sideshow cousins of the Viva Palestina bunch?
Some questions come up: what percentage of exhibitor space seems to have been represented by similar groups festival-wide? What part of the festival seemed engaged in demonstrative and vocal anti-Israel ranting? Any? How frequently were anti-Semitic remarks heard or overheard without being elicited? Any? Be honest.
I don't much like the featured t-shirt, of course, but I may like even less the manipulation of it as a symbol used to represent or taint the timbre of an American ethnic street festival in its totality.
To make claims one way or the other, someone should do some serious and persistent visiting in Dearborn with sufficient research to tell his fellow Americans how it is in Dearborn clearly, accurately, completely.
Cited at the end of the clip -- Surrah 9:29, this one:
“Those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day – even though they were given the scriptures, and who do not hold as unlawful that which Allah and His Messenger have declared to be unlawful, and who do not follow the true religion (Deen Al-Haque) – fight against them until they pay tribute (Al-Jizyah, protection tax or exemption tax) out of their hands and are utterly subdued.”
Cue the dhimmitude.
It's a real problem, and no Muslim American needs be told how American Christians, Jews (we People of the Book) and others feel about the concept, but there's a time and place in which to bring this most chauvanist of thorns into focus. For an Americanized Muslim-friendly interpretation of the same, here's the page source from which I copied the Surrah:
The explanation cited ends with this, "Payment of Jizyah is a symbol of accepting to live under Islamic law; this is what it means to be subdued. This is the same as the taxes all Americans have to pay."
We American Christians, Jews, and others are not so dumb.
We are not living under Islamic law and have neither need nor wish to accommodate dhimmitude, the jizyah, or such fine old ideas as "contralatteral amputation".
In how we read Surrah 9:29, we even may have something in common with Osama Bin Laden, albiet from different sides of this most vicious equation (were it transplated to our American soil, which is today a Christian-majority land, pluralist, secular, and tolerant as regards the possession of every faith and the peacefully practiced legacy of every ethnic endowment).
But here also I doubt my Muslim fellow Americans are so dumb either.
The inspiration for challenge -- and fighting, if we want to go that direction -- remains, but most who "live their faith and culture" in Dearborn must also be aware of the many ancient and historic contributions to American heritage from every corner of the globe that has buttressed that freedom and the security associated with it.
David Wood's bio with the Act 17 Organization: http://www.acts17.net/txt/david.html.
It's a likeable bio, imho, and he's got a good manner before the camera, and yet he has invited a question an IDF soldier might ask on Friday afternoon across the barbed wire from the weekly Bil'in "happening" sort of protest, which generally leads to everyone's picking up more experience with teargas cannisters -- this at about 3:29:
"And if last year went bad, why are you here?"
I doubt a quiet chat about the Middle East Conflict (or current events in Egypt, Syria, and Yemen) comprised the purpose of attendance at this large community-wide Arab American street festival.
Because of my cool "MAG" ("man bag", a canvas "guide bag" from L. L. Bean), I'm able to carry a Lumix point-and-shoot everywhere I go, and here I'm sure if I were to go to this street festival without the intent to preach, prosyletize, or provoke but, like anyone else, to enjoy the food, take a few pictures, even buy a few t-shirts and go home, I'm sure all would be fine.
What might happen next?
Well, if you promote hate and some casual witness has the quotes, the notes, and the photographs from public space to tell that tale -- the story the t-shirt maker chose to tell -- there might not be too much to say beyond defending your right to have bought into, maintained and created a little extra hate in the world (certainly so in your target's views).
But showing up at the same ethnic public festival to play The Jew (my kippuh, my tallis, please -- other things I don't wear every day in public . . . for me, specifically? Friday night services, thank you) and provoke a fight?
I wouldn't think that very . . . Jewish.
I'll go a little farther here, however: if I were an Hassidic Jew or an Amish or Mennonite tourist or perhaps a Sikh -- any of these known to dress every day in a manner in keeping with their traditions --then dressed as always, I would not change a thing, nor, here in America -- this is our magic! -- expect a scene to be made of it by the festival's American Arab hosts and constituents.
I would hope to show up to enjoy the festival, not to provoke that question: "It went bad last year. Why are you here?"
Having myself been born Jewish, God may have (wisely) spared me David Wood's mission, as I and mine have not been encouraged to preach or prosyletize our faith (but, with some effort, you can join us if you really, really, really want to).
I think Moses, that most humble man, would take you along on the Jewish People's flight from Pharoah (remember: what Moses led from bondage was a "mixed multitude", not Jews only) but he wouldn't go bangin' on your door to tell you how wrong you were to remain within the capricious power of that most notable and possibly the first and most astounding of the world's malignant narcissists.
An estimated 300,000 people from the United States and Canada are expected to attend this annual event, which is one of the largest street festivals in the United States. Why not bring the kids and join the fun?
Enter the Arabic Idol contest – or sit in the audience as local talent competes for the title. Shop the bazaar, where Middle Eastern artisans showcase their crafts and clothing for purchase. Hungry? Grab some authentic Middle Eastern cuisine; there's plenty here!
I ask you, my reasonable fellow Americans and (thank you, Facebook) global travelers from Riyadh to Lahore to London (I'm sure I must know someone there) to Tel Aviv: does that plug from Metroparent sound like the bleeding edge of dhimmi-creating, jizyah-imposing Islamic Jihad to you?
"It is the most vibrant time of the year," said American Arab Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fay Beydoun. "Every year more and more people of all races and cultures are joining us in celebrating our rich heritage. It also adds an economic boost to the local economy."
For everything, is there not a time and place?
From time to time, I have cause to tell a fellow Jew, "I just spent 40 years wandering in the American Wildness."
For those raised while seated in pews, I'd have to confess to engaging in political solidarity at the Native American Sun Dance, to having a strong heart in the inipe (probably, that would kill me today), to leaving a ribbon twisted on a cedar branch to represent the memory of an ancestor (a grandmother, specifically), skinny dipping (in the Potomac), dancing and hiking and probably howling too beneath the moon -- okay, I was young once too) before finally facing the prospect of the Transubstantiated Wafer and running home to my Booklined 'hood, the cup of wine, the two familiar candlesticks at sunset Friday night . . . .
Yes, I do like the wild westness of my stil sprawling American Wildness, but God yet keep me having to acknowledge the necessity of the United West: "It is the ONLY tax-exempt organization in the world devoted to uncovering, exposing and dismantling the enemy operation with strategic academic, confrontational, resistance focused activism" (https://www.facebook.com/theunitedwest/info).
Well then, Tom Trento (we have 35 Facebook buddies in common today), let's start by doing something with those who hear, say, something like this: "We will not move toward cancelling these treaties, but on the other side: they also have to respect this agreement, the peace treaty between us and Israel have always been violated by the Israelis" (Egyptian President Morsi at 1:20 on http://youtu.be/ybg6qTQhWhk).
I really don't want to comment on the comments beneath the above comment on a YouTube video to ask "When and how has Israel ever abrogated any part of its treaty with Egypt"?
But someone should do it and at the same time suggest the lying, which is pandering, is there to make the listener feel good about himself (it's so good to have a scapegoat, non?) without doing a single thing for him.
In the above clip, yes, we can see the act and believe we have seen a street altercation in which an Arab man spits on a Jewish videographer.
Just like that.
Nonetheless, I'm curious about what happened before that happened?
Was the videographer official press (with the ribbon around the neck and the ID tag dangling from the end of it)? Did he say something? Did he make a big deal out of his being Jewish? (So what)? Or did the spitting man spit "just like that"?
Any who was the spitter?
Anyone talk to him?
Clear, accurate, complete, please.
Many moons ago, I took a bottle of wine and a tambourine in a book bag down to the Adams Morgan Festival in Washington, D.C., and feeling pretty good with the former volunteered (you know what I mean) to put the latter to use playing along a while with one of the bands on stage. No less than than these day, and probably more so in those younger days, I was pretty good! But, "Hey man, that's not a part of our sound" -- I got the message (your loss, buddy).
Again, this from the guy in gray early in the video: "If you behave respectfully, you don't invite or provoke violent behavior, then there's no . . . ." -- "It doesn't matter how we preach . . . ."
Dude: stop shakin' that tambourine!
"You're only going to put the police in jeapardy . . . ."
Now there's a thought whose pattern I recognize!
It goes like this: If I through my actions or speech should set out to offend and bad things happen to me because of what I have incited in others -- and you knew I was going to do it -- it's your fault for letting me do it or not holding them back!
This behavior has been noted often in relation to the Middle East Conflict -- if the fires you have set, the stones you have thrown, the murderous plans on which you have conspired return to sting you with rubber bullets, or real ones, or arrests (let's not even escalage to military intervention), stop whining: you have gotten what you -- no one else -- set out to get.
Take it up a notch (2:14):
"Nobody on earth would like what you're doing."
Are you sure about that?
Did the two of you have a good talk recently?
What did He say to you?
This where I reach for the transitive concept inspired by descriptions of Bipolar Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and to which I refer as Facsimile Bipolar Political Sociopathy -- it's not a mood thing or an individual and personal thing, which would keep it in the psychologist's office, but something socially related in which a person acts with great disregard for others in a cause that has in it the prospect of self-aggrandizement.
Someone setting out to blow himself up on a streetcorner (for God) may not be much different (psychologically, socially) from one setting out to convert the heathen (for God) -- only for both it's this or that modern public with passersby going about their business and patching their lives together (convenient streetcorner) or kids, teens, and families (another reason not to approve of that damning anti-Semitic t-shirt) entertaining themselves at their own ethnic and open-to-the-public street festival.
Next, from "Martyrsnudiebar": "PIG'S HEAD AT DEARBORN ARAB FESTIVAL 2012/ARAB YOUTH THROWING THINGS AT CHRISTIAN."
Do, please, click on the YouTube URL for the video and read the comments on that page.
East, west, north, and south!
Oy vey, have we got some work to do!
Is this about kiddies?
When I go out to sing, I take the straw fishing hat with the buffalo bone and turqoise headband (made in China) and it works for those Buffet and Marley tunes and otherwise says to everyone else in the bar, you know, like all four of them, "oh, dude, like, um, he's the entertainment around here."
(Actually, with regard to my weekly gig on the south side, we're getting to be like family, only much, much better for me).
So here's this kaffiya-wearing guy wielding a Bible at that big Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan . . . whoa -- how cool is that!?
Whether in the theater or the street theater, one can walk away.
Fringe politics attract fringe people -- people with issues you can't see until you hear what comes out of their mouths, or they get up in costume inappropriately, or start heavily abusing their credit cards.
So what's the bottom line?
Urban festival; 300,000 AMERICAN patrons; a handful of provacateurs; a few right-side videos that probably play out to informed others as I've responded here.
I suppose we shall see.
Don't get me started on the New Old Now Old and Far Out and Lost Left that has seen this Old Liberal -- true, Earth First!er even . . . well, I had a subscription . . . fall behind and become reborn a New Independent.
In sum, I don't like this business, familiar to Pallywood and evidently adopted here in the U.S.A., of provoking peaceful souls while armed with one's own video cameras prepared to record the bite, if it comes.
My plea to the right sliders: for four years, since 2009 at least, you have leveraged the Dearborn Arab International Festival to produce a political sideshow that, frankly, looks produced, a reflection of personal fears and ambitions not borne out by either the promotion or timbre of the festival or even those who confront you, rightly, mildly, with "If it didn't work out so well last year, why are you here"?
My plea to the festival goers and the Arab sponsors and constituents in attendance: pay them no mind.
My call on the actions of the Dearborn police in forestalling further provocations and escalations: good work!