Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Stop Blaming Bush? Muhammad Ali Hasan's Plea

I ran across this article at Naseeb.com. I really wish this was brought to my attention months back. Oh, how I wish! But these things happen for a reason. Let's take a look at Hasan's plea for us naysayers to stop picking on our current president.

First off, we here at Muslims For America, on behalf of all of our members, would like to extend our deepest prayers and love to all victims of the hurricane. We are touched by the outpouring of charity that we have seen on various news channels, particularly, all the folks rushing to the southern states in hopes of helping others - this is the kind of stuff that makes us love America! We have also listed some charities that are looking for volunteers and donations - the list can be found here - link

The article starts off very nicely with his expression and grief for us Hurricane Katrina refugees. What's interesting though is that if you click on the link, you'll notice that of all the charities that Americans for Bush recommend, none of these charities are Islamic ones. You would think that the Hasans in their efforts to increase understanding of Islam amongst Americans would have joined up with at least one Islamic organization to collect charity for Katrina victims. Wouldn't that be great dawah and a way for us to show other Americans that we care? I'm certainly not knocking secular or Christian based charity organizations but Muslims for America should include American Muslims, don't you think?

However, we here at Muslims For America are getting increasingly concerned over the demonization of President Bush and the trivializing of this disaster as somehow being an incompetency to be blamed upon the President.

Who trivialized this disaster? I don't remember any mainstream American reporter trivializing the event. Now some of the reporters were very opinionated, some were even self-righteous, but far from being trivial. And if certain reports are using that angle, isn't that their right? Hasan must admit to himself that Bush's handling of the Katrina crisis was pretty bad. Showing up in the Gulf South days after the storm does not look good. Oh, wait! He was on vacation. So he was on vacation while our country is at war and a huge storm nearly decimated the Gulf South. Yeah, it's hard for a reporter to give that a good spin.

We even heard, from one source, that commentators at the BBC were criticizing President Bush for hugging victims of the hurricane, and somehow, insinuating that his response was one shallowness --- such commentators were likely referring to this photo (the picture is up above).

So where's the source? I'm not saying the BBC reporters didn't criticize President Bush but it would be nice to have a link to Hasan's accusation. I don't know what's in President Bush's heart so I can't say for certain that this picture was simply a photo-op or a man sincerely concerned for his citizens. But Bush does have a reputation for not being concerned about the plight of poor people and people of color.

On behalf of all of our members, we are deeply upset by such comments. We suggest that such British commentators start reverting their criticism towards Prime Minister Tony Blair, who we have never seen make any sorts of outreach to minorities, whether it be visiting British Muslims in a Mosque after a terrorist attack, as President Bush did here, or hugging minorities. This is the kind of stuff that makes us love America!

Oh, dear. Well, you see, Muslims aren't concerned about Bush visiting mosques and holding iftars as much as we are concerned about white phosphoros and shrapnel being used on defenseless Iraqis and Afghanis--not to mention our American fallen soldiers and those who are coming home with some serious injuries. For all the speeches about "Islam is Peace" and "Muslim Americans are patriotic" can't compare to the over 25,000 death count of Iraqi civilians since the March 2003 invasion. So who cares if Tony Blair didn't hug a bunch a Muslims, Bush and Blair share the same policies when it comes down to oppressing poor Muslims in the "third world." He hugging minorities! I is soooo happy (insert me tap dancing)! Maybe he should have thrown some life rafts to all those drowning minorities in New Orleans.

We have also listed some charities that are looking for volunteers and donations - the list can be found here--victims of various British disasters. We applaud President Bush for visiting with hurricane victims, signing a $10 billion relief bill, enlisting Presidents Senior Bush and Clinton to head a relief effort, and of course, embracing victims of this tragedy, particularly minority victims who have lost their homes.

There he goes with that "minority" stuff again. Since September 2005, Bush has NOT been back to the Gulf South. The Gulf South has NOT seen any improvement. Corpses are still being taken out of the Ninth ward and Chalmette. Will New Orleans or any affected city see that money? The writers of the New York Times are asking the same question. Because if you talk to the residents of New Orleans, they'll tell you that things haven't really changed. Maybe Hasan should go to New Orleans and see the carnage for himself to get a better picture of what's going on and maybe he can see where that $10 billion dollar relief bill is going.

Prime Minister Tony Blair could learn a lot from our President. The media would like us to believe that this is a racial issue and that these hurricane victims perished simply because of their race, thus indirectly saying that our President is a racist.

Do I have enough time to tackle this in this entry? Okay. Since the storm, many people have been wondering if the federal and state response would have been quicker if the suffering residents were of a different ethnicity. No one argues that Katrina would have done her damage whether New Orleans was predominately Black or not. But the questions remain. Why did it take so long for local, state and federal agencies to respond. Why did they sit on their hands as average Americans sent aid. Why were people left to fend for themselves? We do have the most powerful military machine on Earth. We do have within our arsenal the power to subdue nations and make them bend to our will. In light of our political and military might, there is no reason that anyone could offer for the delayed response that would be satisfactory. I don't care about the reasons. The fact remains that American, tax paying citizens needed help and they were left to drown.

Judging by the photo above, our President is no racist, as he has been quick to respond and is always willing to embrace all minorities. We also do not welcome the criticisms of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who has also criticized President Bush. If anything, it was Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco's responsiblity to make sure that the levees of New Orleans were re-inforced enough for a Category 5 hurricane.

Re-read that paragraph. They don't invite criticisms against Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco but they are willing to criticize Mayor Nagin for failing to ensure suitable levees for New Orleans. So we can't criticize Mayor Nagin or President Bush but you can? Everyone failed. I'll repeat that. Everyone failed. All three leaders did a horrible job. And according to this article, it was the Bush administration that was responsible for cutting funds to the New Orleans levee system. And it was only after Katrina's fury that the Louisiana state legislature decided to look into reforming the levee board. So as I said, our officials, from the top down, let us down.

Some will say that it was the Federal Government's fault for not giving enough funding to reinforce the levees, however, the Governor and Mayor should have responded to the Federal Government with appeals to such budgets, in addition to gathering their own state funds. But sadly, the worst example of incompentence would be the disastrous organization behind this effort. The Mayor and the Governor knew this hurricane was coming and they knew
it would be horrible. While Mayor Nagin enforced a mandatory evacuation, he did absolutely nothing to assist the citizens of New Orleans who were living in, or near, poverty and did not have the necessary personal funds to leave the city. There were plenty of school buses that could have been used to bus these people out of town, but the Mayor made the decision to stand pat.

I can agree with that--everyone failed, top to bottom. It's everyone's responsibility to insure security to America's citizens, not just the local or federal sector.

Thus, we are infuriated at the Mayor's decision to blame everyone except himself. Our advice to him is the following: Please keep your mouth shut.

Very mature.

Your criticisms have proven to be counter-productive.

Not likely. I spoke to some New Orleans residents who don't particularly care for Mayor Nagin but did respect the fact that he spoke his mind on that fateful day. I even had a little respect for him after his outburst.

In addition, we offer great criticism towards the media. It is well documented that many reporters are picking and choosing who they refer to as a "looter" and who they refer to as a "shopper." Should we see a Muslim dragging grocery bags across water, we shudder to think of the possible labels - "Terrorist Looter?" It is also worth noting that MSNBC photographer, Tony Zumbado, gave an excellent account of the real atmosphere within New Orleans. His comments included the following -"They were told to go to the convention center. They did, they've been behaving. It's unbelievable how organized they are, how supportive they are of each other. They have not started any melees or riots ... they just want food and support. And what I saw there I've never seen in this country." While some in the media show pictures of African Americans and print "looter" under them, President Bush has made a point of wrapping his arms around the same people, weeping into their shoulder and promising rebuilding. Zumbado further confirms the incompetence behind the Governor and Mayor's decisions, within this crisis. People walking miles, in flood water, from the SuperDome to the New Orleans Convention Center? No assisted evacuations for those who couldn't afford to leave? Late calls to the National Guard?

Hold up. I was watching Tony Zumbado that night and he didn't finger anyone as responsible for the crisis. In that same transcript, he states, "I don't want to sound negative against anybody or any official, but according to them, and what they saw, they left and they're there on their own. There's no police, there's no authority. ... You would never ever imagine what you saw in the convention center in New Orleans.

President Bush has no control over how evacuations will be handled, how the victims will be taken care of afterwards, and what the actions of the state's national guard will be. After all, he is a Federal administrator, not a State one. He does though, have action over any aid bills to be passed and making an example of how we should go about this tragedy. While some in the media show pictures of African Americans and print "looter" under them, President Bush has made a point of wrapping his arms around the same people, weeping into their shoulder and promising rebuilding.

So if there is a tragedy, like a terrorist attack or a deadly storm, the president's job is to simply pass bills and let the state handle it? Well, he certainly didn't do that for September 11th. New York City has been able to rise from the tragedy stronger than before but will New Orleans be the same? Do we have to get attacked by terrorists for the president to take a more proactive stance in securing our country from man made and natural disasters? When you are in a position of leadership and you see those under you are not doing their job, whether you like it or not, you have to pick up the slack so that people can look at you and say, "Well, at least he responded when one else did." But he didn't do that. He waited. Could you imagine days after September 11th, with the towers still burning and the president waiting to respond? Do you think he would have just left it up to Rudy Guiliani to take care of business? No, a defender and chief rises to the challenge and doesn't wait for other people to make up their minds. This article is an insult to those who were depending on their leaders and they were left behind.

We agree that criticisms are counter-productive and that our points above are probably better left to be un-said. But we simply could not help ourselves from pointing out some of the horrible trivializing that is taking place over this tragedy. Most of all, we pray and send love to the victims of this tragedy, as Muslims and Americans. We encourage the same of everyone else.

I thought I explained how criticizing a certain official is not trivializing but...whatever. I just hope there's some secret sadaqa coming from this family to make up for this article.

7 Comments:

Blogger Umm Zaid said...

Salaam 'Alaikum

Great answer. The editor in me is itching to take a red pen to this. I also don't appreciate the attitude running throughout this article that the Black folks ought to be jumping with joy that Bush deigned to hug one or two of them. Read it again. He hugged some Black people, so they ought to stop complaining. I notice "HasanDaddy" wouldn't (or couldn't) address the fact that the COMMANDER IN CHIEF stayed on vacation for what? Two or three days afterwards, even going to San Diego, and then merely asking his pilot to "fly over." And if Bush, as Commander in Chief for the entire Armed Forces, has no control over where and how Nat'l Guard troops are deployed, then what the heck are these men and women doing fighting his war in 'Iraq? There's no way, of course, that a Bush Pioneer is going to talk about how the LA and MS Nat'l Guard were short on personnel b/c so many of them are spreading democracy on behalf of Halliburton et al. And surely, no talk about how Cheney, the Vice President of this country, didn't bother to show up in the Gulf region until Halliburton got them some more contracts. And it's interesting that he asks Nagin to stop excercising his First Amendment right to free speech and the right to criticize the gov't. I'm sure if it was a Clinton being criticized, "shut your mouth" wouldn't be said.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Yusuf Smith said...

On behalf of all of our members, we are deeply upset by such comments. We suggest that such British commentators start reverting their criticism towards Prime Minister Tony Blair, who we have never seen make any sorts of outreach to minorities, whether it be visiting British Muslims in a Mosque after a terrorist attack, as President Bush did here, or hugging minorities. This is the kind of stuff that makes us love America!

As-Salaamu 'alaikum,

Hehe, "we all love America cos the President hugs minorities". When I read this I really did think it was a parody! Are you sure DrM didn't write this?

2:11 PM  
Blogger publicdebate said...

Unfortunately real life is way crazier than Dr. M's parodies! ;-)

3:41 AM  
Blogger Edward Ott said...

you have a very excellent blog. i like your articles you come at things from an angle i am not used to and i find that refreshing.

11:07 PM  
Blogger JD said...

Hasan wrote: "However, we here at Muslims For America..."

Meaning, yo and yo mama.


"...are getting increasingly concerned over the demonization of President Bush..."

"Mama, how cum dey don like duh Preziden?"


"On behalf of all of our members..."

Meaning, yo and yo mama.


"Judging by the photo above, our President is no racist..."

He can judge whether a person is racist or not merely by looking at a photo? Can you say, "P-H-O-T-O O-P?"


"...and is always willing to embrace all minorities."

Just like that picture on your website, of President Bush standing with yo and yo mama. That's called a "Photo Op," boy.


"If anything, it was Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco's responsiblity to make sure that the levees of New Orleans were re-inforced enough for a Category 5 hurricane."

He obviously doesn't understand - or is blindly ignoring - reporting relationships (which departments report to whom) in the government. The Office of Management and Budget (a FEDERAL agency - read, Bush's responsibility) had cut back the budget of the US Army Corps of Engineers (another FEDERAL agency) on (among other things) Louisiana flood control projects. "One project that has drawn attention in recent days is the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, commonly called SELA, which began a decade ago to improve flood protection in a network of improved drainage canals and pump stations in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The project, which is supposed to cost $744 million overall, has been shortchanged recently, according to advocates. The corps said it needed $62.5 million next fiscal year; Bush proposed $10.5 million." (Source)


"Some will say that it was the Federal Government's fault for not giving enough funding to reinforce the levees..."

Exactly! A little slow on the uptake there, Hasan. I'd say you were just blindly ignoring the reporting relationships then. (Not that that surprises me.)


"Should we see a Muslim dragging grocery bags across water, we shudder to think of the possible labels - 'Terrorist Looter?'"

Only you, Hasan, would come up with a label like that. Tell me, why are you a self-hating Muslim? Is it because you still live with yo mama?


"While some in the media show pictures of African Americans and print "looter" under them, President Bush has made a point of wrapping his arms around the same people, weeping into their shoulder and promising rebuilding."

"P-H-O-T-O O-P!" Come on, you can say it. :)


Izzy Mo wrote: "I just hope there's some secret sadaqa coming from this family to make up for this article."

Insha'allah, but I doubt it.

11:01 PM  
Blogger izzymo said...

Salaamz people!
UZ: Man, you know us black folks love us some Bush, yeah. Just like we love chicken and watermelons. If it was Clinton, could you imagine the Right-wing backlash? "Oh, well that's typical of those liberals. Always slacking off on the job." Disgusting. It's as if Bush gave that family one of his kidneys or something.

Yusuf: You know, maybe we could convince DrM to write another one based on his article. I know he's got an Irshad Manji parody coming up.

Public Debate and Brother Edward: Jazak Allah. I wish this article was a joke. Then I could swallow the knot in my throat when I read articles like this.

JD: Masha'Allah! Thanks for that link. I read your comment and I couldn't stop laughing. Let's just imagine there's money coming from them for the sake of their own souls. It would be pretty hypocritical if they would go on about helping us poor Black hurricane victims and not giving a dime.

9:41 PM  
Blogger DrMaxtor said...

Asalamu Aliakum and Eid Mubarak,
Well said. I'd like to offer a correction though, the causality figure for Iraqi civilians is well over 100000.

9:43 PM  

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