In response to Waj Syed”s column in yesterday”s Daily (“Ignorance on the Union steps” 11/28/01), I would like to apologize on behalf of the wino that attacked him, simply because I”m sure he won”t come forth and apologize, and I would like to make it clear that he is not representative of America.
In yesterday”s column, Syed said: “America is ignorant. So are most Americans. And that too in a very important way: culturally.” To support this statement Syed includes the tellings of what happened to him Monday night.
First, Syed is interviewed by a reporter who is trying her best to relate reality to the rest of the metro Detroit area. She is interviewing foreign students to get their reactions to racial profiling in an effort to let others know that it is real and cannot be ignored. Unfortunately, this reporter came unprepared and mistook Pakistan for a Middle Eastern nation. What a tragedy.
Next, he encounters a police officer who is trying to help by calming you down, then is chastised for using poor grammar by saying “Pakistanian.” I”ll pretend I can”t see the poor grammar Syed uses throughout his column like sentences with “till” and “and.” Finally, Syed met a bystander who saw the incident with the wino and decided to stick around and give his story to the police. He could have just left since he was under no legal responsibility to stay, but he decided to help a stranger. According to Syed, this “ignorant” American makes three mistakes. He infers that Pakistanis and Iranians look alike, somehow conveys the point that Iranians deserve to be targeted, and thinks that Pakistan is nowhere near Iran.
I actually agree with the bystander”s first point because I wouldn”t be able to tell the difference between a Pakistani and an Iranian just as much as I wouldn”t be able to tell the difference between a Japanese and a Chinese person or as much as you can probably tell the difference between an American and a Canadian.
I don”t understand how you took his statements to mean that Iranians should be targeted, since all he said was that you look similar to an Iranian and asked where you are from.
Finally, as shocking as it may be, not many people have a working knowledge of the geographical locations of Asian nations. I just found out myself that Iran and Pakistan share a border. Should I be labeled as ignorant for not knowing that? My point is this. If I had chosen to go to school in Pakistan, I would at least try not to hate the people. I wouldn”t expect them to know where Michigan is, and I wouldn”t get pissed if they didn”t.
I wouldn”t lash out in the school newspaper how most Pakistanis are ignorant and how much I hate the country. I wouldn”t announce that Pakistan is in a “geo-strategic fallacy,” but that”s probably because I”m ignorant and I don”t know what that means. Bottom line: If you truly hate America, then leave. No one is forcing you to be here. I just thought it was funny that you continually bash America, but you do so by enforcing your right to free speech as well as the freedom of the press, two of the most important reasons why this is the best country on the planet.
Barry Fuller is an Engineering junior.