2023 / 3 / 1
Book: "I am happy to look like a terrorist"
Last week, I read a book with a strange title (I m Glad I Look like a Terrorist). It was written by an American of Palestinian descent named Ray Hanania. This writer was born in Chicago, where his father emigrated from Palestine at the beginning of the twentieth century after the Balfour Declaration, 1917. His father participated in World War II in the US Army. He grew up in a neighborhood full of Jews and was raised among them. They were his friends in the neighborhood and at school. He does not speak Arabic and barely understands it. The reason is that his family wanted him to learn English only, and the Arabic language was not of importance. It was difficult for him to communicate with his elderly relatives because they did not master English. He studied journalism and became a journalist working for Chicago newspapers. The book is about 247 pages. It is divided into headings, the most important starts on page 80. The major issue which faces Arabs in the US is racism. The American press has always distorted and ridiculed the Arab character. He said he had a debate with Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban on American television. Then, on page 90, he talks about the FBI monitoring him and preparing a large file on the grounds that he supports the (terrorist) PLO. Then, after contacts with US officials, he was able to obtain that file and forced the FBI to destroy it. In fact, they lacked material evidence in their claim. He visited Israel, so they stopped him at the airport for a long time, searched him, and then ordered him to take off all his clothes because he was a Palestinian.
On page 155, he talks about the right of Jews and Palestinians to the land, that is, before the PLO s recognition of Israel and the Oslo Accords.
He talked about how the press deals with terrorism, especially the explosion carried out by a former soldier in the US Army at the CIA building in the 1990s in Oklahoma State. Most of the press assumed the perpetrator was an Arab and Muslim. After discovering the true perpetrator, none of the newspapers apologized for the mistake of ascribing the suspicion of terrorism to the Arabs.
After page 205, he puts all his speeches that he delivered to Arab organizations in America. I think these speeches are the most important section in the book because he mentioned in detail the methods of the American press and the way they dealt with Arab issues in general and the Palestinian issue in particular.
I was surprised by this title, as it seemed to confirm the issue of terrorism against Arabs. Furthermore, I think the book is wonderful, but the title is weak and distorted.
He told me that he sold 15,000 copies of this book. All publishing houses refused to adopt the book, so he published it at his own expense.
Finally, I say that we Arabs in America lack any kind of influence in the American press.
- Kalil chikha is a Industrial Engineer who lived in the U.S. and writes in wide variety of topics.