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Political Subterfuge, Smoke, Mirrors & Ethnocentric Business Bullying

Omar and I moved to California a few short months before the attacks of 9-11. His mother called me early in the morning, frantic, asking me if I was watching the TV. I had just turned on the TV to keep me company while I did the house work and was watching in horror. "Did they say who did it?" I asked her. She answered, breathlessly, "Oh, some crazy Arabs." Those were the words out of her mouth - a woman married to an Arab Muslim born and raised in Egypt, mother of a half Arab son. Those were her words. We were all devestated by the violence. It was against all of us.


The day after the lamp posts on our street were plastered with a flyer demanding all Arab, Black and Gay men be rounded up and killed. I called the local paper and the police. The flyers were removed by the end of the day. I never saw ANYTHING about it in the news. Omar walked to work every morning. I was terrified for him. In the coming months I encountered venomous targeted hatred from local Zionists and other Jewish people, particularly in Palo Alto where many anti-Arab demonstrations were taking place. I was maligned by a clerk at a store who recognized my last name as Arabic on my debit card for "marrying one of them". I had my work removed from an Art gallery because of my last name. I dealt with prying people asking about my, new to me mind you, last name and where it came from. The priest at the church I attended demanded to know if Omar was Coptic or not and when I told him no, he called our marriage an "abomination".


Since living in the Bay Area for the past twenty-some years I have also been grilled by Jews and others about whether or not I'm a Jew or of Jewish heritage. I've been told, "but you look Jewish" and other such oddities. As if any of it matters, and what exactly does a Jew look like anyway? I've known a lot of Jewish people and they all look different. Some Italians I have known have looked like they could pass for family members of some of the Jewish people I have known. Some others looked like some of the Arabs I have known. Arabs and Jews are BOTH Semitic Peoples anthropologically, by the way. I'm not a Jew. My family of origin emigrated to the United States from Ukraine, Slovakia, Italy, Scotland and England and some were already here when they arrived. And if I go back even farther relatives emigrated to those European Countries from other places like Africa. I'm a mixed bag. Humans are a migratory species. Where am I going with all of this? Here:


Since the start of the most recent war between Hamas and BiBi there have been a number of ridiculous actions and demonstrations in Saratoga. First there were the inflammatory "missing" posters that were slapped on trees surrounding specifically Arab and Persian owned businesses. Then there were people from out of town causing scenes of street theater at different times. Then there was a group trodding up and down the streets draped in flags. Today, as I write this the last group just marched on by once again. I find it all tiresome, pointless and insulting - nothing more than entitled temper tantrums that do nothing to address the root issues: ethnocentricity, xenophobia, and misplaced self-hatred.


One of the Arab/Persian owned businesses in town seems to have closed now. They looked to be struggling for some time, like most businesses here and everywhere else, but I have to wonder. How much of their struggling and subsequent closure came from ethnocentric and xenophobic bullying. My business has been bullied and I wonder if my refusal to jump on "the correct" political bandwagon has something to do with this.


I do not support Hamas. I do not support the UN (for my own reasons). I don't trust the US government. I do not support Israel. I'm not an Israeli. I'm an American. I do not support theocratic governments. I believe the creation of the State of Israel was not a good choice post WWII. But I also don't believe in the killing of innocents. I am non-violent. Sure I get angry sometimes. That's human. It's something we all wrestle with from time to time.


I experienced violence on my person and my business was bullied away for not just being not Muslim, but not the right kind of Muslim when we lived in Oakland. My own mother in law has maligned and abused me over the years for refusing to convert to Islam, though her own son is not a Muslim. He's been at risk in greater Muslim community as well for the "crime" of being considered "Apostate" by fundamentalists for not confessing Islam. It was a Jewish OBGYN who gave me an abortion without my consent, and I've had Jewish friends ask me things like, "How do I keep Gypsies from robbing me." when they knew full well of my own Romani heritage. I guess I was supposed to feel honored for being "one of the good ones"? I've also been "gyped" and harassed plenty of times myself by fellow Rom, including family. It's all tiresome.


What do any of these people sanctimoniously stomping up and down the street with their flags want from me? From anyone? I don't know. Do you want me to not exist? Because that's how I feel.


I'm sick of all of it. I don't care about your "blue squares", or your flags, or anything else like that. I don't fit in any of your clubs and your psychological badgering does nothing for me either. Folks around here brag profusely about their international travel...but I've yet to see how their Worldliness has served to make them more welcoming, inviting, compassionate or cultured. Like I said, it's all just tiresome. And I have news for you, if Putin decides to release his Satan we're all up shit's crick, no matter what you call or don't call God...AND if you support the killing of ANY innocent person, no matter where they come from, or the bullying of ANY business based on their ethnic heritage, I don't want you to own ANYTHING I've poured my heart into making to sell at 1UV. You can keep your dirty thirty pieces of silver and eat them for all I care. I've had enough of it all. How about you?

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