There is one type of immigrant in our community that we’re all familiar with. All of us have at least one in our family. It is the immigrant with the inferiority complex. They usually change their first name, and some pretend they forgot how to speak Arabic before they even learn English. Another distinguishing characteristic of this type of immigrant is the need to routinely express their patriotism. The constant bellowing of love for America and excessive flag-waving is patently insincere, but nevertheless, a necessary ritual that must constantly be performed in order to compensate for the minority status they carry around like an albatross. The best time of year to spot these individuals in our community is the 4th of July and Thanksgiving, two uniquely All-American holidays.
Ikhras readers will remember David “Go GOP” Ramadan from our previous posts about this buffoonish immigrant and hyper-patriot that specializes in parroting American clichés and regurgitating Republican slogans in Arabic. Last 4th of July we found David reminiscing in a moment of “reflections” about his immigrant “journey” and life in America. Not too long after that we found David shouting “Go Hogs” after he learned no other product exemplifies American culture and screams “made in America” louder than Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The despicable Lebanese-American who supported the destruction of his own childhood neighborhood of Southern Beirut by Israel back in 2006, wanted everyone to know how proud he was this American icon had opened its first Beirut showroom.
Today we found David celebrating that other quintessential American holiday, Thanksgiving. On his blog David wrote: “Today we celebrate Thanksgiving. Today we thank God, country, family, and friends for all the blessings we enjoy as Americans and remember those who are not as fortunate. Simply remembering, however, is not enough. Giving is a proud American tradition, so please give this season. Give thanks, give money, give food, give time, give love. Give to the unfortunate, give to the troops, give to your community, give to family, give to all…” Instead of giving thanks, money, food, time, and love, David should just give it a break. His superficial patriotism needs a day off. How insecure is this guy? Does he realize how phony he comes across? And is he really unaware that Americans see through his parodic behavior?
Also notice that after using “we” three times in two sentences, he managed to throw in “as Americans” just in case utilizing the first-person, plural personal pronoun three times did not make it clear to which group he belongs. We won’t say anything about his desire to “give to the troops” rather than viewing the holiday as an opportunity to call for an end to American militarism and the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. An insecure immigrant can never say such things. That’s left for other far more courageous Americans who are secure in their identity, sincere in their patriotism, and guided by conscience.
David is the shameless self-promoter with very little knowledge of US government, politics, or society, and completely lacking any self-respect, but if you thought it’s only the shallow, political simpletons that engage in this self-demeaning behavior, you would be wrong. Arab-Americans far more capable than David, and able to engage at a much higher level discourse fall victim to the same inferiority complex. One of them is Foud Ajami, a self-hating Arab who is often found in the mainstream media repeating some of the worst stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims and attempting to provide a veil of academic legitimacy to bigotry and racism.
Ajami also figured out that July 4th and Thanksgiving is the best time of year to emphasize one’s “Americanism.” More articulate than David he wrote: “It was ultimately two celebrations of great simplicity that appealed to me: Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. They are both, to the core, celebrations of Americanism, great assimilative affirmations.” Like David, Ajami also mentioned the “troops” and engaged in his own more sophisticated, but no less disingenuous, form of American patriotism.
The explanation for David’s buffoonery and the more refined performance of Ajami is the same; an inferiority complex and a complete lack of self-respect. What is interesting is that both individuals, who live in very different environments, and with great discrepancy in knowledge, skills, and abilities, nevertheless reached the same conclusion about themselves, and their place in American society. They also both figured out the best times of the year to express themselves and their “Americanism”, each in his own way, is July 4th and Thanksgiving. Yet no matter how many more July 4th’s and Thanksgivings they celebrate they will never earn any respect from the people they left behind in their homelands, nor from their fellow Americans until they learn to respect themselves.