Sunday, 25 March 2012

"If you don't like my country, get out!"

Hi guys, welcome to Orygyn!

I'm not American. This is immediately obvious to anyone who's watched even 1 of my YouTube videos. I live in Scotland where I've never heard the title statement said by a Scot to anyone else. I've seen it in documentaries about racially insulated communities like Bradford in England (specifically the channel 4 documentary, "Make Bradford British") but I've never personally heard it. On the other hand, I've seen it written in YouTube comment sections by Americans more times than I can count.

First off, don't mistake this for a generalisation. Most people likely to read this post will be American and I know that most of you want nothing to do with these nationalists. I do feel, though, that we need to talk about a more severe case of this statement, in writing on the body of an Iraqi woman, Shaima Alawadi, living in San Diego. A note saying "go back to your country, you terrorist" was put on her after she was beaten to death.

I'd like to give anyone who agrees with the message on the body a perspective on the issue which I think you'll find enlightening. Under Bush, the US invaded Iraq. The premise of the invasion was the mistaken belief that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. During the US' time in the country, millions of Iraqis were killed, many innocent, many intentionally despite this fact (see the "Collateral Murder" video made public by Wikileaks). Although Shaima's family came to America in the 90s, there is enough reason above for her to legitimately view the US government with contempt, and it is understandable that such contempt would be applied to anyone who supported the war, and certainly to those who continue to believe it was good. However, her father and husband worked as cultural advisers to the US military during their time in Iraq.

So let's review. The family came to the US in the 90s of their own free will. The US invades Iraq for no valid reason. Despite there being very legitimate reasons for them to despise the actions of the US government, they actually help the efforts of the US military. This family has done far more for the US than likely anyone who could possibly have written that note and so, in my books, could not possibly have more of a right to call the country their home. Yet Shaima is killed in an action that, as far as I can see, could only have been motivated by her appearance. I know my blood's boiling. What about you?

This is, of course, the title statement taken to its extreme. The average usage of this statement doesn't have that outcome. It is tossed around in mild political discussions against someone who might be too liberal or atheist. Let's deal with all likelihoods quickly.

Criticism of a country's government to prevent dangerous or unwise ideologies from harming the citizens is an act of respect towards that country, not hate. Someone who believes differently to you most likely is still driven by the same ambition of a better world, they are just proposing an alternate way of getting there. There is no basis to chalk up that difference to lack of patriotism. Most importantly of all, someone who chooses to immigrate to your country is most likely doing so to pursue a better life for themselves. For them to even consider your country as their new home shows an enormous amount of respect for it. For you to tell them that they do not belong there is a baseless act of racism that has no place in a civilised society.


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