It used to be that Jenny and I visited my parents nearly every weekend. WalMart has put an end to that. Hell, WalMart begins its calendar week on Saturday, and it makes perfect sense. That’s when the do a shitload of business. So, that now means I work weekends. So, recently, the visits have been a lot more sparse, rare. Anyhow, during my last visit, my sister, who had stopped in for dinner, got very excited during a gab-fest my father and I were having about politics:

“Have you ever noticed that they sound like terrorist names. I mean: Joe BiDEN. Barack HUSSEIN OBAMA? You know, OSAMA? And HUSSEIN?”

Simultaneously, my father and I shook our heads. “Um. No.” We even said that in unison.

My sister retorts: “HUSSEIN?!?!?!?!”

My response, echoed by my dad: “Which Hussein are you talking about? Personally, from what I read, King Hussein of Jordan seemed like a nice guy.”

My point, to paraphrase, is thus: hating somebody because their middle name is “Hussein” is beyond stupid. Sure, Saddam Hussein was a tyrant who caused the deaths of thoasands of people. The man committed crimes against humanity against Kurds, Kuwaiti people, Iranians, and his own people. Forget, for a moment, the convoluted history America has with him, both as an enemy and an arms supplier (for when he was at war with Iran). Saddam was a pitiful human being, and to call him “human” does a profound disservice to finer points of humanity.

Of course, none of this bullshit should be new to anybody. But then again, I return to America’s newly minted president and his middle name. In the past two years, it’s been hard to live without some imbecilic reference or multi-forwarded email detailing how now-President Obama as a terrorist in waiting. Said emails as well as messageboard trolls made a point of spelling out the Barack HUSSEIN Obama, as if the man’s middle name was some sort of iron clad proof that he can’t be trusted.

There’s a whole lot of racism involved in that. I’ll leave the bulk of that for another time. However, today, I must say, there is nothing dishonerable in the name “Hussein.” Distrusting somebody named “Hussein” is about as stupid and illogical as somebody in the Middle East being suspicous of everybody in The West named “George,” on account of George. W. Bush.

So, here’s where I’d like to turn to the memory of the late King Hussein, of Jordan. Here’s a picture:

Only two Arab countries have peace treaties with Israel. Anwar Sadat, of Eygpt, brokered an end to open hostility. The other country? Jordan. In peace deal negotiated with King Hussein. As Middle East leaders go, Hussein was not an Iranian styled theocrat. Sure, he was monarch holding absolute power, but he wasn’t a religious nut screaming “Death to America.” In fact, late in life, he married a westerner, a woman Jordanians now know as Queen Noor. Here’s a picture:

And here’s a picture of the royal couple together:

King Hussein didn’t hate the west. He certainly didn’t want to terrorize it either. He wasn’t a perfect man, or somebody to idolize, but if anything, he was pragmatic in a geo-political sense. He made peace with Israel, even with a sizable chunk of Jordanian demographics consisting of displaced Palestinian refugees. But there’s another issue.

King Hussein has passed on. The current King of Jordan is his son, a man named Abdullah, and here’s a picture:

King Abdullah II was a product of a coupling before Hussein met Queen Noor. Hussein, however, thought a western education would be beneficial to his son. Abdullah actually has a semi-British accent, when he speaks English. He’s also tried to carry on his father’s policies — if he ever wanted to be a populist, he would have screamed, “Death to Israel!” a long time ago, to the Palestinians living in Jordan. But, no. He’s sought to maintain, at least, the peace his father brokered. Abdullah has a certain affinity for western pop culture. Here’s the man in a Star Trek uniform:

And that comes from a real cameo Abdullah made. Think about it. The leader of an Arab country once donned a Star Fleet uniform, just for the sheer joy of it. Just because he loved the show and thought it would be awesome to have a walk-on, non-speaking part. Last I checked, Prince Charles refused to do a cameo on Dr. Who.

But then again, I reread this post and wonder why I even bother writing it. People who get all bent out of shape about the President’s middle and last name, or claim that, somehow, he was a Manchurian Candidate in cahoots with terrorists, are usually belligerently ignorant to begin with. The same can be said for racists who paint all Arab people with the same belligerently ignorant brush.

Advertisements