Thank You America

February 6, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

 

 

By

Sami Jamil Jadallah

As an immigrant, the son of an immigrant and a US Army Veteran with four other brothers who honorably served our adopted country (2 Army, 2 Marine) and from far away Sweden (on a visit but not seeking asylum), I could not help but admire and be proud of America and the hundreds of thousands across the great country who showed solidarity against the bans on Muslims and immigrants entering the United States.

No one can deny the need for our country to be vigilant against terrorist attacks, organized or “lone wolf”. However, President Trump’s Executive Order banning entry of Muslims from five Muslim countries, overlooked the fact that the 9/11 “terrorists” did not come from these countries.

The United States, and for many years since 9/11, have put in place a very solid and effective “vetting system” for all immigrants from the Arab and Muslim world, keeping in mind that no other people suffered more from the American Occupation of Iraq and its consequences and from “Islamic Jihadists” than the countries listed in the ban, adding Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt to the list.

It is so ironic that the newly designated “Countering Violent Extremism” or CVE has been revised and is limited to “Islamic Extremism” leaving out White Supremacists, Extreme Nationalists, Zionist Nationalists, and racist Islamophobists, among others.

This is the America I knew as a young boy in high school, welcome, the America I knew working after school in a Greek restaurant, welcoming, in high school where the late Mrs. Goldman chose to stay after school to help me with extra classes in English, welcoming. Or Ed Burns, the funeral home owner, who gave me my first full time job out of the Army, or my fellow steel mill workers at Inland Steel, welcoming. This is America where good decent citizens raise over a million dollars to rebuild a Texas mosque burned to the ground by arsonists or a Jewish synagogue in the same town that handed over its keys to the Muslims denied a place to worship after the mosque arson. Only in America can such acts of kindness take place.

This is the America I knew when I was drafted into the US Army and was given special meals to accommodate my faith, welcoming. This is the America with a lifetime friend from high school and the Army, welcoming. America is a welcoming country and President Trump with his Executive Orders will never change the nature of America or who we are as Americans.

I had to recall the overwhelming support, both calls and physical presence, of my family in Fairfax from our friends and neighbors, and members of the PTA and teachers of our children’s schools after the September 11 attack on America.

This is the America that tens of millions of immigrants like me know, love and appreciate, a country unlike any other country in its welcoming of refugees and new immigrants. One can only appreciate America and what it stands for when new immigrants passing their citizenship stand up and give loyalty to America, our adopted country. New citizens, from Europe, from Southeast Asia, from the Middle East, North Africa, Africa and Latin America, diverse in color, faith and ethnic origin but united in our loyalty to our adopted country, and who can doubt that?

Here in Sweden, I am so proud when I speak with Swedes and talk about the demonstrations at major airports across the country. Proud to see companies like Lyft donating to ACLU to help fight racism and bigotry, proud of Starbucks offering to employ 10,000 immigrants, proud of AIRBNB offering free stay for newly arriving immigrants. Let us also remember those businesses and banks that failed to speak up in support of the free immigration to America. If we can vote politicians in with our votes, I am sure we can make our money vote for us too.

Proud of the many governors and mayors who took time out to show support and solidarity with those affected by President Trump’s Executive Orders banning Muslims and immigrants.

Not so proud of the hundreds of members of the House and Senate who chose to remain silent in the face of this most shameful act by any President. Well, I am sure in November 2018 we hope that all those who spoke against the Executive Order will remember the members of Congress who chose to be silent.

Of course we all remember the shameful time in our history when Jews escaping Nazi Germany and the Holocaust were denied entry to the US. We also remember the times when Congress passed immigration laws favoring those from European countries, limiting the number of immigrants from “colored” countries and from those of faith other than Christianity. We are not so proud of the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, more shameful that the most liberal Supreme Court justices supported such internment.

But then America is free, proud, home of the brave and we will make sure that this administration and the administrations to come live up to the ideals that make America who we are, a welcoming country.

My proposal is for all the immigrant professionals, especially doctors and lawyers, that it is time to step up to the plate and show in real service our commitment to this country and its people.

With tens of thousands of medical doctors from immigrant backgrounds the best thing we can do is to organize nationwide free medical clinics not only serving the urban poor but serving rural whites and show them our appreciation not by words but by deeds. I am sure those who incite and promote Islamophobia and anti-immigration sentiments will be surprised with our contributions to our adopted country.

In the coming weeks and following the recently set up free medical clinics by Muslim doctors in Orlando, I will be contacting all medical associations to organize and set up these free medical clinics all across America, as a token of our appreciation.

From Göteborg, Sweden, thank you America.

 

 

 

 

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.

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