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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Endless Shatter

Unspeakable horror unleashed itself on the American public on Tuesday, Sept. 11, as two planes smashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, leaving thousands dead, thousands missing and a New York skyline shattered in its wake.

The horror felt by the thousands there was echoed by millions state wide. A resonance, a mass outcry in anger, pain and solace, demanding the answers to “why?” “who?” and “what?”

In the wake of such tragedy, anger is imminent, and the way Americans feel towards other nations might be altered in such an instance of remorse. Although the perpetuators of the attacks were pronounced Arab and Islamic, the finger was pointed long before any evidence was revealed. Many Islamic and Arab American communities are as of now on high alert, as angered Americans take heed for an act of revenge.

Already, a mosque was attacked in Chicago Illinois, two American Muslims severely beaten in New York, and a slew of slurs directed towards Muslims and Arab Americans, including stone hurling, spitting and crude language were hurled at Muslims going to and from their homes. (Assaults on Muslim women were more frequent due to their easily recognizable Islamic attire).

Campuses across the country have transformed from diversified, democratic institutions into a feverish hunt down for Arab American students. These attacks have left many Arab and Muslim Americans frightened, saddened at the waking realization that they are not received as citizens and residents of this country.

An illustration of this can be shown. As I was logging on to Yahoo Chat yesterday evening, I decided to frequent the Islam chat room, what I found instead was horrifying, as handles bearing anti Islamic and anti Semitic gestures filled the screen. Calls for ‘retribution against the Muslims’ and ‘kill all Muslims, get them out of America!’ for the attack they perpetuated!

Excuse me? But are we not also citizens of this country? Are we also not part of the American collective? In the dawn of tragedy, a new, smaller, but gradual one resurfaces: a revival of older stereotypes and media biases.

To make things worse, the media representation of the Middle East was tragic, as images of ‘Palestinian children roaming the streets in glee at the thought of dead Americans’ hit the air waves in an unprecedented manner. It is enough that we, as Americans have to hear of those that are happy with our demise, but to single out a group from the masses of anti American ideologies for their ‘joy’ is single handedly promoting anti-Arab notions and Islamophobic interpretations.

Not only has this marked the Palestinians as ‘enemies’ of the United States, (not to mention heightened the generalization deployed by the current media to asses every single Palestinian as a supporter of America’s Darkest Day). But it has also endangered any possible brokerage of the United States and the Middle East peace process.

As for the Palestinian Americans, we are in total shock, at how the media portrayal only seeked to promote anti Palestinian epithets, while filtering out any other possible clauses. One must also take in mind the interpretation of America as the Palestinians, as a staunch ally to Israel and a hindrance to their interests portray it. But nonetheless, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yassir Arafat was amongst the first to offer his condolences to the American people.

We, as people have to look to ourselves and solve such a tragedy together. Regardless of our race, gender and ethnic background, our identities should still persist as American, as people of this nation, as citizens, as residents, as immigrants.

It is unfair that Arab Americans and Muslim Americans are left out in the cold, as our identities as Americans are stripped, revealed only to be just ‘Muslim’, Just ‘Arab’, just ‘Terror’ shattering the American Skyline.

Mohammed El Khatib

UMB student