IS AMERICA GOD’S HEAVEN ON EARTH?  

Mohammad Ali Salih

Last month, I published a piece in “The Washington Times,” critical of the government’s spying on overseas phone calls.

But most of the comments from Arabs and Sudanese were about one sentence in the piece.

First, the sentence, and then some of the comments (Arabic and English) for the sake of a wider discussion:

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THE SENTENCE:

“But, in spite of its mistakes, I believe America is God's heaven on earth.  Never before in the history of mankind has a nation been so free, strong, advanced, diverse, proud and built on a strong faith.”

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RESPONSES:

Salih, Ya Sudani:

Of course anyone who is from Argo (which as you explained just heard about mobile phones!!) will be proud to be naturalized as American and be fond of so called freedom and democracy in the US.

To think that the US is "God's heavens on earth", as you put it, is highly naive and flies in the face of well-documented inequality and human-right abuses in the history of the US, both locally and abroad (Iraq and Hurricane Katrina are just two recent examples to mention(

Also, in no other western democracy does a president's son or wife succeeds him to the throne
Despite your newly-acquired passport, you are still very Sudanese in
manners...both simplistic and chauvinistic!!!
Sudan Lover

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Mr. Salih:

I understand you eagerness to please your American friends.  Looks like this is all what you do everyday in America.  Please, Please, Please.  But to say America is God’s heaven on earth is too mush pleasing.

Ahmed.

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Mohammad:

I live in America, probably not as long as you have been.  Just four years. But, I have come to respect American and the Americans.  I appreciate their freedom, their manners, their education and their advancement.  

Yesterday, I returned with my daughter from the hospital after an unfortunate accident.  My daughter is fine, and probably wouldn’t have lived if it wasn’t for the kindness of the doctor.  I am not saying the ability of the doctor.  She is a woman. It was her kindness.  First, she was straightforward and smiling all the time. Second, she makes me feel I am a human being.

I have been to many Sudanese hospitals.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I am not talking about Americans more advanced.  I am talking about them friendlier, and always smiling.  I have never seen a smiling doctor, or nurse for that matter, in Sudan.

O.S.O.

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Hey!!!!!!

What are doing in the US????

Go back to your village!!!!!!!!!!!

Me

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Dear Mr. Salih:

You made us very proud.  I wish we all Arab journalists here in Washington are doing what you are doing.

Not only your ability and views.  Also the courage to say things we probably cannot say.  With the US killing Muslims left and right, it is not easy to defend the US.

But you criticized this killing in a nice way and, at the same time, present yourself as a proud American, and defended America more than many Americans.

I would like to be like you: separate criticism from the love of America.

Fellow Reporter

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My dear Sudanese:

You are really off mark in what you said.  You are on the edges of being a kafir, like the Americans you are praising.

How do you say America is God’s heaven (underline the word)?

There is only one heaven, and it is not on this earth.

Or did the Americans stole your mind?

Another Sudanese

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Ya Akhi:

America maybe the land of freedom, but don’t forget it was built on the shoulders of blacks and Indians.  Ya Akhi: did you forget ships after ships after ships carrying slaves from Africa?  They shipped them like sheep, owned them as slaves for 200 years.  They sold, bought, killed, raped, impregnate the poor blacks women, and when they have children from them, half white and half black, they told them you are not white, you will never be white.  Even with one drop of black in you, you are black.

Ya Akhi: and you talk about the greatest country on the face of earth.

Akhouk.

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Mr. Salih:

It may not be heaven on earth.  But, to be honest with you, I just like their pride and  decency.

Abdul…..

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Dear Arab and Muslim brother:

You wrote in your article that you work for an Arab newspaper.  So, you must be following Arabic news, Iraq news, killing news, bombarding news, destruction news, occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan news, and you declare that the US is God’s heaven on earth?

Are you out of your mind?

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Mohammad:

Thank you for a well-balanced piece.  You criticized the US, and you praised the US. It is the same country, with good deeds and bad deeds.  And like the Arabic saying: “who ever doesn’t have a sin, through her with a stone….”

M.I. (Arab journalist in Washington).

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Dear Mohammad:

(Please don’t feel bad about this comment):
I congratulate you on your success in reaching the readers of the Washington Times which is an achievement by itself due to the well known political and ideological leaning and biases of its management and writers (not usually favorable toward Arabs and Muslims)  

But, I'm wondering whether your statement (about American being God’s heaven on earth) contained a little bit unnecessary exaggerations regarding the true history of how this country was built.  

How about Native Americans???
M.S., Ph.D. (Arab journalist in Washington)
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REPLY:
Brother M.S.:
Thank you for your kind comments.
Remember, I said: “Despite its mistakes.”
These include: Native Americans, Slavery, KKK, imperialism, excessive capitalism, excessive rationalism, excessive individualism, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, militarism, arrogance, etc... 
But, I strongly believe that, in historical prospective, nations are like men.  The best among them are the good, and the best among the good are the free, and the best among the free are the moral. (It is the freedom to make mistakes and to correct them).
Some wrote me asking whether the above sentence was the price to have my piece published in "The Washington Times."  No. They didn't ask me to make any changes, and they didn't make any changes.
Now, there is something more important than me and my piece: US AND OUR PIECES. 
Like Brother El-Sitouhi (President of Association of Arab Journalists in Washington) wrote yesterday, we all should publish.  Or try to publish.   Only 20% of what I send out is published.  You all maybe more able than me.
Regards.
Mohammad Ali Salih

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