By Paul Balles
Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid, tells of a polite Oklahoman who held a copy of his latest novel, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” and examined the face on its cover, comparing it to Hamid’s.
The Oklahoman then said to the Muslim writer, nodding once as if to dip the brim of an imaginary hat: “So tell me, sir. Why do they hate us?”
Hamid then goes on to voice the propaganda he’d been fed, attributing it to envy, adding, “The richest, most powerful country in the world attracts the jealousy of others in much the same way that the richest, most powerful man in a small town attracts the jealousy of others.”
Of course, the Washington Post who published Hamid’s article devoured his explanation as if he was serving them and the country a lesson in deserved pride.
Hamid does finally add more answer to: why do they hate us? “Simply because America has — often for what seemed good reasons at the time — intervened to shape the destinies of other countries and then, as a nation, walked away.”
As true as that reflection on his own experiences with both America and Pakistan, it turns two blind eyes toward the most egregious of America’s foreign maladies.
Along with the control of other’s land, populations, governments and resources has come the Sword of Damocles: imminent and ever-present peril faced by those in positions of power.
The excessive fear of terrorists and terrorism held by vast numbers of Americans feeds on the mythical sword hanging over their heads on the thinnest thread.