West Chester, Pennsylvania—This past Thanksgiving, my grandparents brought to me a recent issue of Aramica, a non-sectarian, non-partisan, bilingual newspaper focusing on the issues, events, and people impacting the Arab-American community which, in New York and New Jersey alone, numbers well over 350,000. Aramica maintains a good reputation, or so I thought, until I looked at the cover page and, lo and behold, there was Cindy Sheehan.
Some people call this woman a “media whore.” I don’t like this nor do I agree with this. However, ever since Hurricane Katrina knocked Cindy off page one, she’s been popping up in a lot of new places, like alternative newspapers such as Aramica and college campuses at $5000 a speech. Relative to other speaker fees, $5000 is chump change, but the point is that she doesn’t exactly hate the publicity either.
Antoine Faisal, the main editor of Aramica interviewed Cindy Sheehan, in an article which lauds her as the “Gold Star Mother for Peace,” named after the organization founded in the early 20th century. How wonderful. Actually the article isn’t that bad until she starts to speak about what she would tell Iraqis and Arab-Americans.
“If I met the mother of the person whose bullet killed my son, I would say I don’t blame your son, your family or your country. I blame the administration for sending our children to invade and occupy a country that’s not a threat to the United States.”
She goes on to say “I ask forgiveness from all Iraqis, including the one who killed my son.”
There’s more. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Alberto Gonzalez and Donald Rumsfeld are also in Cindy’s words, “torturers, liars and war criminals.” But for the Al-Queada terrorists? For Al-Zarqawi and the insurgency? For Saddam Hussein? An apology.
OK, now I do not know what it’s like to lose a son in war. Believe me, I haven’t got a clue about what she’s going through emotionally. There is a mother-son bond that is there and we must respect that. I do, however, know enough about honoring someone’s memory that I would never even consider apologizing to the victim’s murderer or for that matter, asking for forgiveness from the assailant.
I am not in the crowd that arbitrarily bashes Sheehan, but after reading her interview in Aramica, I am definitely reaffirming my membership to the “Cindy Doesn’t Speak For Me” crowd, especially at the end where she mentions her new plans.
The article concludes with Sheehan indicating that she wants to go Sadr City, Iraq to the spot where Casey Sheehan was killed. What does she hope to accomplish? She has a better chance of getting flowers and gifts from the insurgents than the coalition troops. But Cindy, if you’re going there to “apologize” to Al-Zarqawi and his thugs, do us all a favor. Don’t come back.
Tony Maalouf is a senior at West Chester University.