Cindy Sulieman / Jul 28, 2002
No not the popular Pink Floyd song by the same title (one of my favorite), but a title I chose to describe us Arabs who live in the United States, and them the people and society we live in, allow me to explain......

You see, I am one of the many millions of Arabs that have emigrated to this great country, I feel us Arabs have not been able, a more accurate description might be unwilling, to integrate with the people and society that we live in, in many cases for 10,20,30,40 or even 50 years. We never viewed ourselves as part of this land, even though deep inside we know this is it, this is where we will be living and we are not going back, in other words, this is Home.

When was the last time you heard of an Arab volunteer for community service? The concept of community service is something the Arabs have not grasped yet, nor do we truly understand it, because our mentality is programmed to the tune of "what's in it for me?". We don't view this society as a place that each one of us must contribute to it's success, we view it as a place to benefit from, an opportunity to take advantage of, take all we can, and not give anything in return.

I have in many occasions listened to Arabs who were involved in car accidents that have caused no bodily injury or just a minor one, do you know what is the first thing that comes to their minds? You guessed it, how can I swindle the insurance company and make money through lying and cheating, and do you know what is the saddest part of all this? We do it without feeling any guilt, we involve our mothers, fathers, wives and husbands, even our chil
dren in the scam, just like it is the right thing to do. And then..... we brag about it?!!

When was the last time you've read an opinion written by an Arab in the local newspaper that dealt with local issues, or the last time you saw an Arab attend a community hearing in City Hall or the many other places, to listen and voice opinions on issues that affect our lives? Again, 'what's in it for me?" or this is something those silly Americans do, what a waste of time!!

What percentage of Arabs do you think take advantage of the local library and the treasures it holds within it's walls? Very little would be my guess, may be if we start spreading the word It's freeeeeee, may be then we will get Arabs to use it, but I have a suspicious feeling the reason is much deeper than that........I can go on and on and on.

Unless and until we start to feel and act like we are part of this society which carries responsibilities with it as much as rights, we are doomed to be ignored and considered irrelevant. Unless and until we stop being judgmental, and we are the most judgmental people on earth, and stop feeling superior and refer to others by their nationalities or religion, we are doomed to never join the civilized world with all that it has to offer. Unless and until we start viewing our neighbors as humans and not Mexicans, Polish, Blacks, Vietnamese and Chinese, we will live forever in this box we built around ourselves.

Unless, and until we stop thinking in terms of Us and Them, we are doomed to be amongst the ones at the bottom of society, missing out on the true opportunity this great land has to be humans for the benefit of all humans.

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