Baking Artistry and the Culture of Fear

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“When Dreams Turn Nightmares”
By Nidal Sakr

(MAF - 7/15/08) Long before the word “globalization” was invented, a global phenomenon persisted. It is simply the loaf of bread that is ever present on every table in every culture. Loaf of bread takes different shapes, is made from various ingredients, and tastes and feels differently, as if to exhibit the diversity in mankind who eats it, and even in other creatures who eat its leftovers.

As usual, Arabs could not help but notice the diversity that the loaf of bread represented so they coined the saying: “Give the bread to its baker.”

We have long gotten used to dictating hardship to others without having to share it. As we scramble for solutions to the life we have brought upon ourselves, we ought to look once again to those whom we have picked on for so long for a solution.

As we watch our American Dream change colors to blue, blue, and blue, we must remember that we have gotten accustomed to giving our own bread to those who know nothing about baking. In a strike of fortune and with no logical explanation, somebody who knows nothing about governing his own behavior finds himself strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue in an inauguration to govern an entire nation. Some intellectual-wanna-bees jam the airwaves and cable channels to analyze what is happening and should happen in the Mid-East, which they think is just on the other side of the Mid-West. And now, once again, many of us think that learning how to shoot rifles in the military is equivalent to knowing all about foreign policy and how to fix the economy.

I am afraid there is no simplistic solution or a quick fix to the American problem today, and that what is happening today is a natural outcome of an ill-conceived and misguided path the country has long adopted. For so many years, many have asserted that this misguidance cannot continue forever and that we must one day face the reality of our own making. The country is suffering, morale is at an all time low, and things do not look very promising. We can sum up our most pressing crises in four: food crisis, energy crisis, economic crisis, and foreign policy crisis. But before learning about what crises we are facing, we must, in total honesty, understand and then acknowledge our mistakes that got us in the predicament we are in.

Since WWII, the U.S. has committed to advancing colonialism under a new trendy fashion called imperialism. In colonialism, the colonizer controls the resources, culture and life styles of the colonized through direct military control. In imperialism, the imperialist exerts the same control by outsourcing to leaders and agents whose survival solely depends on their loyalty and service to the imperialist as opposed to their own country and people. Agents in imperialism vary from political and military officials to economic entities that serve as explorers, marketers, brokers, insurers and others to ensure that the largest margins of any gains from the country’s resources are captured by the imperialist.

Over the last few decades, American imperialism has taken a serious turn towards colonialism. Israel, which is merely a leftover of colonialism, has become more central to America than any other American state, and Israelis have gained entitlement to American aid and resources regardless to how much Americans suffer because of it. America moved to directly occupy lands in fulfillment to Israel’s wishes and strategic planning. American candidates and politicians put the fate of their own country at the mercy of such a colonial state that cannot even help itself to a life without destruction. And finally, the agents, with the help of an “oily administration,” turned against their own people, jacking up oil prices in speculation and jacking people out of the pennies they scramble for in their empty pockets.

For decades we have gotten accustomed to sneezing as the world catches a cold. Today, we’ve got pneumonia, while the world is barely getting an itchy nose, and it is of our own making.

By now we all know that September 11 was an incident exploited to instill the culture of fear among Americans so that we may advance our politics of hate with impunity. We hardly ever ask ourselves the question: "if September 11 was an outcome of our ill-conceived policies of the past, then what retribution may we be facing after taking our politics of hate to another unprecedented level?" Our politicians are dead set on continuing politics of hate, disguised as “war on terrorism,” which only makes us hate ourselves further while eating through our own security.

Dream Restoration and the Baking Paradox:
Someone once said: “If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got.” As we now hope for change, we also hope for a change of course based on accurate and truthful assessment of the course itself.

We must first understand that foreign policy, which traditionally does not account for more than one-fifth in our decision on who to vote for, is in fact detrimental to our own life here at home. Unwavering support for Israel as a cornerstone in our foreign policy is only a guarantee that our country will end up on life support just like Ariel Sharon is today, the Israeli bully who dragged us into Iraq. Let’s be honest. You just cannot be truthful to serving U.S. interest, or anyone’s interest for that matter, if you insist on supporting Israel.

We must fully account for what the current administration has committed in service of oil companies, military and government contractors, and all of the crimes we carried out under the banner of “war on terrorism.” We must assess the setbacks to our civil liberties and freedom and remain truthful to the cause rather than saying one thing on the campaign trail and doing the opposite on the senate floor. We must fear our hatred, lying and bigotry just as much as we hate paying for it. Only then would we be entitled to enjoy eating our bread - the bread we baked, that is.