Dear President Obama;
Growing up during the 60’s and 70’s in Detroit I met people from around the globe who had escaped war torn countries, searching for new beginnings to raise their families and create a sense of normalcy that they hadn’t previously experienced. I could tell who came from Europe by what they planted in their gardens as fruits and vegetables meant that they had experienced hunger.
Along with Europeans, there were smaller groups that also landed on our shores – Jews and Arabs. But after the 1967 war in the Middle East it became a flood of Lebanese, Egyptians, and others seeking respite from the endless fighting between Israel and her Arab family members.
Luckily for me my father was in the restaurant industry, a business that many new American’s would create to remind them of home. That’s how I learned to appreciate kibbi, a raw lamb dish, and humas with Pita bread, along with bagels with lox. I also learned that not all Arabs were Muslims, with some being Christians, Catholics, and Coptic’s. But all of them were about family and very welcoming of any stranger who came into their homes.And with 1.62 billion of them on Spaceship Earth, it makes sense to make friends with them all.
All of this brings me to why I’m writing you. I recently discovered a book that gave me a new perspective on the issues related to the Middle East. My hope is that it will do the same for you before your travels there in a few weeks. The book was written in 1954 by ret. Col. William Eddy, and titled “FDR Meets Ibn Saud.” Though a slender volume, it tells the tale of how Israel come into existence after WWII, brought to creation by your predecessor FDR and America’s war allies.
As the war was coming to a close there was the problem of what to do with the remaining Jews. Though all the western nations had empathy for them, not one country wanted the group, as a whole, immigrating to their lands. So it was secretly decided that they would push the Arab nations into giving this minuscule portion of humanity a small part of Palestine to settle.
After he had completed the Yalta Conference Roosevelt setup a secret meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia to come up with a solution for the displaced Jews. Spoiler alert: Churchill was pissed as shit when he found out, and quickly setup his own meeting with the King.
Initially, ”Ibn Saud’s reply was prompt and laconic: “Give them and their descendants the choicest lands and homes of the Germans who had oppressed them.” When FDR pushed him further, the King responded “Amends should be made by the criminal, not by the innocent bystander. What injury have Arabs done to the Jews of Europe? It is the ‘Christian’ Germans who stole their homes and lives.
Let the Germans pay.”
Roosevelt was finally able to get the King to agree after making two promises – “He personally, as president, would never do anything which might prove hostile to the Arabs; and (2) the U. S. Government would make no change in its basic policy in Palestine without full and prior
consultation with both Jews and Arabs.”
But there’s the rub as America didn’t keep its promises to Arab nations so we are now one of the most reviled nations of Muslims worldwide. As Israel continues to take land and murder “innocent bystanders”, with the assist of American monetary and military aid, we are collectively viewed as abetting the enemy that Israel has become to the Arab world because of their treatment of Arab’s throughout the Middle East.
However, you have the power and influence to “be the change we wish to see in the world.” With your speech in Cairo several years you gave hope to the “innocent bystanders” that they would live to see the end of tyranny in their portion of Spaceship Earth. They, and all of The Tribe, are counting on you to return the Muslim community’s faith in America with your words and actions.
As ret. Col. William A. Eddy so eloquently wrote in his post script:
“The Muslim world does not have tanks or atom bombs and is, therefore, often brushed aside as unimportant in the world struggle. Like the Chinese, they also, however, might be united, armed, and disciplined, either for freedom or for tyranny.
The United States can still tip the balance one way or the other. If we regard the nations of the world as a
string of sixty-odd pearls, we have to admit that the string has been broken and many of the pearls lost. The most precious of all remaining pearls, one which is not firmly within our mutual circle, but which is still within our reach, is the friendship, the good will, and the resources of the three hundred million Muslims of the world. There are those who are bent upon taking this pearl of great price and hurling it to the bottom of the sea. If they succeed in that wanton and disloyal act, let them hope that the American people will someday forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Word pearls of wisdom from a very humble and wise man.