Muhammad Ali – The Patriot

June 13, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

 

 

By

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Muhammad Ali, in life and in his death, united all of us, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Native Americans, Atheists; he was America, a beautiful America as much as he was “beautiful”.

America the defiant, the diverse, the colored (all shades of colors), from Maine to California he represented us all, with a few exceptions, racial bigots, Anti-Semites and Islamophobics.

As a Vietnam era draftee, I have to take my hat off to the man who alone and as a matter of ideological principle refused to be drafted to fight a war 10,000 miles away, to kill and destroy a country and people that never transgressed on America and Americans. It is so ironic that America’s intentions were for the most part based on lies and fraud.

He had the courage to refuse to serve, in the same way that millions of us at the time too had the courage to be drafted or enlist in a war we knew little about, let alone knew the truth, but never left the country or seek connections to avoid the draft.

He refused to be drafted and did not seek draft deferment like Dick Cheney, who as a “draft dodger” served as Defense Secretary and later as Vice President. He simply refused to fight people he had no quarrel with, the Vietnamese.

Being stripped of his title, of his assets, of his freedoms, stripped of the best years of his life as a fighter, in defiance he went to jail and took his case all the way to the US Supreme Court and he won. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction but never made up for his loss of precious years, 1966-1971.  He won and he won not only the championship but won the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions here in the US and around the world, and I believe he was the first to stand up against the War in Vietnam, way before the anti-war movement took off.

I think the tribute paid to him at his memorial is a testimony to the “Greatest”, a testimony of his ability as a black man, as Muslim to unite in hope, brotherhood and peace, all three Abrahamic religions and to be honored by Native Americans, by Shinto Japan, by Blacks, and White and Hispanic is a testimony to the Greatest.

Perhaps Rabbi Michael Lerner of “Tikkun” spoke for all us when he called for an end to the drone wars, the end of the Israeli Occupation, the end of wars in the Middle East, the end of the Sectarian Wars when he called for fairness,  justice and equality for all. When he called for an end to the unconscionable incarcerations of millions of blacks as a result of an unfair and unjust judicial system. A system that jails marijuana smokers but never jails the Wall Street executives who destroyed the lives of millions of people, depriving them of their homes, dignity, jobs and pensions.

In the words of Dr. Kevin Cosby, the senior pastor at the Louisville St. Stephan Baptist Church when he recalled the Ali “dared to love Black people at a time when Black people had a problem loving themselves.”

The legend of Ali will live on for a long time, and will resonate throughout the future. Perhaps we all can get together and form a “Muhammad Ali Alliance” to celebrate his legacy, and carry on his fight, his fight outside the ring, fight for racial justice, peace among all faiths and religions and to pursue a society of fairness and justice and equal opportunities for all.

The legend of Muhammad Ali is a wake up call for Black leadership in America to take charge and lead a societal transformation away and independent of “institutions” that has failed them, imprisoned them, impoverished them, destroyed their community through drugs and alcohol and single parents family, especially in an era with racially charged moments in our history, where bigotry, Islamophobia, are the norms.

I would like to remind everyone of the words of Ambassador Shabazz, when she said “if you love God, then you must love all of his children” and God’s children are Whites, Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Southeast Asians, Orientals, Hispanics, they are Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Shinto, Buddhists, among many others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami is a Palestinian-American immigrated to the US while in high school. He was drafted in the US Army during Vietnam War earning the leadership award from the US Sixth Army Non-Commission Officer Academy.

After honorable discharge, Sami enrolled at Indiana University where he was active in student politics, elected class president, student president and chairman of the Indiana Student Association representing students from all colleges and universities in the State of Indiana.

Sami earned his Bachelor Degree (economics and politics), Master of Public and Environmental Affairs and Doctor of Jurisprudence. After a 2 years stint with a major Wall Street law firm Sami took on the job as general counsel of a major international construction company in Saudi Arabia. As an international legal and business consultant, Sami served as owner representative on major projects such as hotels, conservation foundation, defense, and technology.

In the area of public service, Sami was the founding member of the United Palestinian Appeal, a well known not for profit organization serving the needs of Palestinians refugees with over $100 millions in projects and donations serving 16 years as a trustee.

Sami as founding member and executive director of the New Arab Foundation, a US based Not for Profit Tax Exemp, a think tank (with a mission) and management consulting organization, and is working now on the launching of the Arab Peace Crops inspired by President John F Kennedy’s American Peace Corps.

Sami lives in Fairfax, VA and is married to Dr. Alma Abdul-Hadi Jadallah an international expert in mediations and conflict resolution, they have three children all living and working in Washington DC.

1 Comment

  1. Justin Hume September 04, at 05:16

    It stuns me that still, even in 2018, people don't understand what the Vietnam War was about. Why it became a battleground. And why believers in Democracy made a stand there. Mohammed Ali's stand against the war was simple. He not want to fight for America and for democracy. And he dodged and weaved every which way to justify that position. The war in Vietnam was a war between Russia and the USA, fought by the proxy states of North and South Vietnam. Like a metaphor for the war, Vietnam's many war museums feature forecourts packed with military transport vehicles and arms branded by either Russia or the US. Russia won that war because they had a better short term promise for the average impoverished vietnamese farmer - a fuller rice bowl. Russia targeted SE Asia, fomenting violent revolution wherever they could, to create Stalinist communist states in their own image. Russia hoped to roll out this program in every corner of the world. Russia facilitated this with academic & political training, provided military training and advanced warfare technology. Did the advance of communist regimes produce a good result for South East Asia? Ask the Cambodians. Countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia guaranteed their prosperity by shunning the advance of Communism and were spared the civil war disaster visited on the Vietnamese people. In the greatest of all ironies, Russia and China have thrown off the Stalinist yoke they were so determined to put on countries like Vietnam in the 1960's, and now Russia and China have free-market systems, capitalism and the prosperity they were once so determined to crush. Democracy in the end, won out. Why? Because communist states like Russia, China and Vietnam are all clambering towards the freemarket/capitalist system. And the freedoms, human rights and prosperity that follow. These freedoms are what the Vietnam War was about. Respect should go where it's due - to the real patriots, who gave up their lives. These were the greatest.

    Reply

Leave a Reply