Sunday, August 10, 2008

What it means to "kill an American"...

This article was sent to me this weekend by a friend. According to when I checked the authenticity, it was penned by Peter Ferrara, an associate professor of law at George Mason University School of Law in Northern Virginia. It was originally published in the “National Review” on 25 September, 2001. I had read it before a few years back.

Based on all the recent banter and bigotry of our political process where everyone is trying to claim the “inside track” on being a true patriot or “American”, I thought this would be worth repeating here. This is in hopes that the world, and yes, even we Americans, will truly understand what it means to be an American…and it is much more inclusive than many of us think.

"An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.

An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need.

When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. Americans welcome the best of everything...the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least. The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.



Timothy said...

Hey Ed,

It was a nice enough article, and I think it had many good points.

The only two places where I believe it went overboard is where it said that America has helped just about every country in need, and that killing an American is like killing the spirit of freedom.

I can think of quite a few places that are/were in need of help and America did not offer any or adequate assistance, such as Rwanda, Palestine, Darfur, etc. During the Cold War it was quite clear that both superpowers were only offering aid to countries that agreed to be an influence in the region for capitalism/communism. Right now, there are many situations where African countries are in grave need of support, and the world bank and other US-supported institutions will only offer assistance if augmented with at times extremely liberal economic reforms which will not benefit the national economy.

Furthermore, it used the example of Soviet Russia invading Afghanistan, and the proud announcement that America aided the people of Afghanistan to win back its country. When viewed objectively, the war in Iraq, and also the war in Afghanistan, can be considered equivalent to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. And yet, if someone kills an American soldier it is not seen as an act of liberation? Not that i'm implying that killing any soldier is any more than deplorable.

Despite this, I enjoyed it on the most part and thanks for sharing!

edward said...

HI Tim...thanks for the input. I actually concur and realize that my country has not always been an "equal opportunity supporter" worldwide. We tend to support where we have "political" interests...or count on vast resources of oil and other economic interests. And yes, our support to Afghanistan was run by the CIA and very under the radar of the "American people". (Just read "Charlie Wilsons War").

As you know from other blogs of mine, I'm not too in favor of "government support" of foreign interests. Altruism and disaster support should be from true humanitarian organizations with no political motivations. But I do know many good Americans...and other international humanitarians...have been working hard to help and give aid to Darfur and other African trouble spots, even if it hasnt been official "government" aid. The problem is...the many despots and tyrannical leaders in those poor countries steal everything for themselves...and it can be next to impossible to come to the people's aid. I have had friends who have been over there in the middle of all that...trying to help.

I do believe we need to support more the Red Cross and many other non-profits and church organizations who are trying to fill the gap. I'd rather see government funding those organizations to administer the aid...than the other way around.

And yes, true humanitarians should lament the loss of ANY life, American or non. I get quite cross at USA media who has no interest in for example, the numbered losses of Iraqui civilians in our ill advised invasion there. The cost has been much higher to them than to Americans in lives anyways. And the funding of that debacle unfortunately has helped immensely to "break the bank" in the USA. We are looking at DECADES to recover I'm afraid.

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Bibiana said...

Americanos somos todos, tambien somos los que estamos mas al sur de los Estados Unidos.

Como, Mejico, Belice, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brasil, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Las Islas del Caribe.

A nosotros tambien nos matan, pero nadie dice mucho, somos el 3 mundo.

Quien saca la cara por nosotros?