By Mourad Anouar
By Mourad Anouar
Morocco World News
Oklahoma City, March 6, 2012
How strange and pathetic that evincing any signs of admiration or support for America would cause you to be an outcast within your society. You would be seen as less patriotic, a sycophant or often a traitor in the eyes of those who let their hearts be eaten up by a virulent vice called “hating America”. This epidemic tendency of hate has swept through many Arab countries in the last decade or so, notably after the two wars waged by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a survey from the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project released May 17, 2011, the United States’ image has not improved during and after the anti-government uprisings that have shaken the totalitarian regimes in the region.
I am almost one decade out of Morocco living in the States – and I suppose I am somehow entitled, based on my perspective, to talk about a controversial and sensitive topic as such – but I have had a number of unpleasant conversations with friends, and sometimes complete strangers, whenever I happen to go back home, in which they expressed their hate for America. And because I think much of this rhetoric is unfounded, such experiences usually leave you face to face with two moral responsibilities that are seemingly irreconcilable.
The first moral responsibility is the gratuitous effort to rebut your fellow Moroccans who mistakenly question your allegiance to your country. It is saddening when your affiliations to your motherland might need to run through a polygraph to rule any doubt out. The second moral responsibility is how much you are able to proudly hold side by side your national flag in one hand, while in the other one a commitment to your sense of morality. While there is no such thing as having to talk negatively about America in order to be a patriotic Moroccan, there remain some people who have gone that far as to label you a traitor if you pursue the path of lauding the United States. In their supposedly “holy war”, they choose to direct their slandering arrows toward anybody who dares spot some good in this vast land; for only evil comes from there, according to their logic.
And I am sure if you ask one of them what is the most hated country in the world after Israel, the answer is definitely America. They would try relentlessly to give you a number of reasons to back up their position. They would definitely tell you the most heard and repeated grievance about the unconditional support of America for Israel in its aggression against the Palestinians. And if you are one of those who are under the illusion that Islam is targeted by a worldwide plot to obliterate it, you would most likely point to the infamous statement by George W. Bush when he declared after September 11 that America was to embark on a “crusade” in the Muslim world. Surely, he would reveal to you that there are too many reasons to hate America.
Usually, when you get politics mixed up with religion, not only are your decisions clouded by human interpretations of divine scriptures, but a flare-up of imminent danger sets in, especially in the minds of religious people who think their religion is always under attack. While it is a hard task to counter this segment of society’s apocalyptic fears and unavoidable Armageddon with more sound exegetical arguments, it is safe to say that this category of people are obviously the ones who are more into the trendy addictive habit of hating America.
But away from the treacherous and unethical practices of politics and the nature of religious polemics, people often find themselves caught up in a difficult life where poverty, ignorance, unemployment, corruption and more are pervasive. If you decide to take a walk with one of the same people who just spewed all his hate toward America and take him away from the realm of politics to our miserable realities across the Middle East and ask him about his possible plans to better his life, one of the common answers you might get: Winning a green card lottery or being hooked up with an American or European girl on a chat room. And the same guy, if you bother to check him out, you would notice is dressed up in Nike sneakers, Levis Jeans and a New York Yankees cap on his head.
The irony here is that we hate America, but most of us strive to live in it. We all wish the near demise of it, but some of us still send our children to study there where its universities are ranked among the best in the world. Sadly, no single Arab country’s university has ever managed to make it to that list. On Friday sermons, our religious clerks don’t miss an opportunity to wish to see America wiped off of the map. The same day if you are a non-practicing Muslim and happen to walk or drive by the American embassy in Casablanca, you would be astonished by how many people are lined up there willing to leave Morocco to go settle in America.
Arab authoritarian regimes used this tactic of hating and blaming America for all our failures as an outlet for the masses to vent their resentment over their miserable lives toward Uncle Sam, instead of pinning the blame on their own country. It is sad, but it is true that we are barking at the wrong tree. And it is not a secret that the same dictators who always vilify America maintain good relations with its officials behind the scenes.
A balanced assessment of the topic in question is that America is not the all good, nor is it the all evil. As any superpower, it understandably attempts to extend its borders and gain more footing out of its physical sphere in order to preserve a glory and prosperity it has worked hard to attain. It is also understandable that some get largely irked by American expansionist ventures, but we fail to overlook the fact that any nation does what it is best for her and its people. Unfortunately, we who are plagued by the “all evil America” have confined our thinking within very tight boundaries in which we are resistant to step out and take any type of initiatives.
We mistakenly conclude that our lives would get better only if America quits sticking its nose in everything that concerns us. We decide to stay idle, uncertain about what we could possibly do, and there is so much to do, whereas others choose the apian way of carrying through their businesses.
Still, I am neither in the process of openly renouncing a deep-seated love for my own country Morocco, nor do I try to be another Uncle Tom to exhibit unrequited love for a country that I think possesses some good. It is very hard to subdue the invincible nature of your patriotism and avoid falling victim to the lure of depravity. The key is to genuinely balance your love for Morocco and commitment to the moralistic judgments you are supposed to adhere to.
But for the sake of impartiality alone, I endeavored to see through the multilayered fog that has accumulated in front of our eyes for years preventing us from seeing the good qualities of America. The real problem is not the mistakes carried out by ill-advised policies on the part of this country here and there. But what we should do is to stop propagating the anti-American fairy tales and start taking responsibility for our own actions.
As debatable as this topic is, there would surely be enough room for arguing on the basis of seeking the truth. But to those who are obsessed with a bogus Jihad against America, I wish they would at least have the minimum effrontery and guts of one of the heroes in the novels of the French writer Stendhal, who hated America so much that he decided not to go there after he asked the question “to go or not.”
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
Mourad Anouar is a Moroccan writer, novelist and poet. He received his bachelor’s in Journalism and a minor in German from the University of Central Oklahoma. He is the author of several poems and short stories both in Arabic and English.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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