I thought long and hard before posting this because of the increasing anti-Muslim hysteria in general and anti-Syrian hysteria in particular. The vast majority of the victims of ISIS are Muslims and many of those are Syrians but this does not seem to mean anything to many of our citizens. Who knows what lists this post will put me on but in light of the terrible things done as a result of fear and xenophobia I felt compelled to offer this.
The Washington Post published a story with the heading: “CNN anchor blames French Muslims for failure to prevent attacks”
Yasser Louati is a highly respected French civil rights activist and attorney. The Washington Post story properly takes CNN to task for its two reporters who badgered Louati relentlessly in an interview about why the Muslim community in France failed to prevent the awful massacres last week.
John Vause of CNN asked Mr. Louati, “Why is it that no one within the Muslim community there in France knew what these guys were up to?…Because it seems to me that this was a pretty big plan. Surely someone beyond the seven guys who’ve been killed over the last 48 hours would have to have known something and that was probably within the Muslim community but yet no one said anything.”
The parochialism and ignorance of Mr. Vause in this interview was just appalling. Following Timothy McVeigh’s bombing in Oklahoma, no one asked any Christians on television to defend the failure of the Christian community to stop McVeigh. It apparently never occurred to Mr. Vause that he was expecting an individual who he assumed to be Muslim to explain how the entire French Muslim community couldn’t discover what the global intelligence community failed to detect.
I am pleased to be able to republish a poem by the Syrian Kurdish poet Amir Darwish. A collection of Amir Darwish’s poetry can be found in the book Don’t Forget the Couscous.
Sorry! An apology from Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslims) to humanity
We are sorry
That we have caused humanity to suffer from.
Sorry for Algebra and the letter X.
Sorry for all the words we throw at you;
Amber, candy, chemistry, cotton, giraffe, hazard,
Jar, jasmine, jumper, lemon, lime, lilac,
Oranges, sofa, scarlet, spinach,
Talisman, tangerine, tariff, traffic, tulips,
Mattress (yes mattress) and the massage you enjoy on it:
We are sorry for all of these.
Sorry that we replaced alcohol with coffee for Enlightenment philosophers.
Speaking of hot drinks,
We are sorry for the cappuccino the Turks brought over.
Sorry for the black Arabian race horses,
For the clock,
Abdul in the US is sorry for what so and so did;
He does not know him but he is sorry anyway.
Sorry that we accompanied Columbus on his journey to the States.
And sorry for the Arab man with him
Who was the first to touch the shore and shout ‘Honolulu’
And named the place after him.
Sorry for the architecture in Spain and the Al Hambra palace there.
We apologize for churches in Seville
With their stars of David at the top that we built with our hands.
We say sorry for every number you use in your daily life from the 0 to the trillion.
Even Adnan the Yezidi (mistaken for a Muslim)
Is sorry for the actions of Abu whatever who beheads people in Syria.
Sorry for the mercury chloride that heals wounds,
Please give us some –
Because the guilt of initiating all of the above
Gives us a wound as big as this earth.
Sorry for the guitar that was played by Moriscos in Spain
To ease their pain when they were kicked out of their homes.
Sorry for the hookah as you sip on its lips And gaze into the moon hearing the Arabian Nay.
Sorry for cryptanalysis and the ability to analyze information systems,
To think what is at the heart of the heart of the heart and bring it to the world.
Sorry for painting Grenada white to evade social hierarchy. Sorry for the stories in The Arabian Nights.
Every time we see a star, we remember to be sorry for
We are sorry that Mo Farah claimed asylum here
And went on to become the British champion of the world.
Sorry for non-representational art,
Pattern and surface decoration.
We are sorry for all the food we brought over:
From tuna to chicken tikka masala,
Right up to the shawarma roll.
And don’t forget the couscous.
If we forgot to apologize for something, never mind,
We are sorry for it without even knowing it.
Most of all we are sorry for Rumi’s love poems,
And we desperately echo one of them to you:
Oh Beloved, Take me.
Liberate my soul.
Fill me with your love and Release me from the two worlds.
If I set my heart on anything but you
Let fire burn me from inside.
Take away what I want.
Take away what I do.
Take away what I need.
Take away everything
That takes me from you.
Please forgive us.
We are sorry and cannot be sorry enough today.