A friend of mine sent me this article about an American Muslim's reaction to the movie Munich. I think this person has encapsulated a lot of what I and many other American Muslim's feel regarding the Palestinian issue, we are bonded together by a strong faith. Palestine is the one issue I assure you, that ties all Muslims, liberal or conservative, new or old, together, I think below explains, to a large extent, why we are so unified in this one issue.
`Munich,' seen through one Muslim's eyes
by PAMELA K. TAYLOR Religion News Service
As a Muslim, I wasn't sure I wanted to see "Munich" -- after all, it's a
Hollywood movie about tracking down and killing Palestinian terrorists. I
anticipated Hollywood's stereotypical Arabs -- violent, barbaric, subhuman
-- coupled with heroes who are no less violent than the bad guys, but whose
deeds are glorified.
True to my expectations, the film was raw -- I cried through most of it.
Contrary to what I had imagined, though, director Steven Spielberg defies
stereotypes and asks tough questions that it would behoove Americans,
Israelis and Palestinians to ponder.
To be perfectly clear, my heart bleeds for the Palestinian people. They are
my brothers and sisters in faith. But more so, I see they are today's
Cherokee. Today's Shawnee. They are fighting for their homes the same way
that Native Americans fought for their homeland. America acknowledges 150
years after the fact that we did not act very honorably by the Native
Americans. I can't help but think that 150 years from now, Israelis will
find themselves with a terrible angst over the means they used to wrest
Palestinian lands from them.
My heart also bleeds for the Jewish people -- for the Holocaust, for
centuries of anti-Semitism. I can understand their desire for a safe place,
a place where you don't have to wonder what your neighbor might do to you
tomorrow. I can relate to wanting to live in a place where your beliefs and
holidays are not a curiosity.
Back in the 1800s, Native Americans were portrayed as blood-thirsty savages,
but now we see them as a desperate people trying to save their way of life.
Back then, we committed atrocities -- giving them blankets laced with
smallpox germs, committing a massacre at Wounded Knee, signing treaties we
never intended to keep -- and justified it, saying we had to do whatever it
took, that we had to meet violence with equal, if not greater, violence. Now
we look on our behavior with shame.
Today, we see the Palestinians as extremists, terrorists and violent
radicals. Pretty much whatever is done to them is excused because of their
own violence. I wonder if they will someday be seen as a desperate people
trying to save their homes, their way of life by any and all means, and if
our responses will appear as shameful as our treatment of the Native
Americans. I am not saying that killing athletes or bombing pizza parlors
and buses is in any way justifiable, even when you are waging a war. Muslims
need to confront and eradicate terrorism in our ranks.
But, like the movie, I question whether the appropriate response is even
more violence -- whether targeted assassinations, collective punishments,
bulldozing homes and extrajudicial imprisonment can ever offer a solution.
The roots and the endlessness of the cycle of violence -- vengeance upon
vengeance upon vengeance -- portrayed in "Munich" is a reality we rarely get
to hear in the American media. Every act of violence going on in Palestine
and Israel today is justified, on both sides, as a retaliation. They did it
to us -- we have to answer with the same, or worse.
The current cycle of violence and retaliation and more
retaliation, on and on, will never lead to peace; it will just continue with
more and more bloodshed until one side or the other succumbs.
This issue is particularly important for Americans, not only because the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict has widened to become a conflict between
America and Islamic extremists, but also because we are now in the process
of deciding how best to respond to terrorists. If we succumb to the desire
for revenge, if we resort to extralegal measures, are we any better than the
terrorists? "Munich" argues no, we are no better, and I agree.