A Muslim anti-war letter to Khizr and Ghazala Khan and Muslim Americans.
Khizr Khan, father of Humayun Khan, spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 28th. Humayun Khan died in Iraq while serving in the US army. Khizr Khan’s speech has been shared millions of times. Here is an excerpt where he is addressing Donald Trump, “Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one. We cannot solve our problems by building walls, sowing division. We are stronger together. And we will keep getting stronger when Hillary Clinton becomes our President.”
Khizr Saheb, Ghazala Khala and the Muslim American community,
I see you both. Standing there, teary eyed. Khala, in you especially, I see my mother. She too wears glasses. She looks a little like you too. I see you, the Muslim community, sharing these images.
Newspapers report that the Khans lived in Dubai for a time. So did I. My father was a blue collar migrant worker who worked in a hospital there. The newspapers say Khizr Saheb, you are a Harvard educated lawyer, so perhaps our families didn’t run into each other.
I can see your loss and the need for you to believe that your son died for something important. I understand that one of the only ways to accept your unbearable grief is to insist it was for a greater good.
But it wasn’t. The United States did not attack Iraq to defend itself. There were no weapons of mass destruction, there was no imminent threat, there was no danger to the American way of life. Your son died in a war of aggression. He was not defending, he was part of the oppressors.
Khizr Saheb, you said we cannot solve our problems by building walls and sowing divisions. That is true. One of the most fundamental divisions in our world is between the United States and its friends and the rest of us. If there is a wall, it is made up of nearly 1,000 United States military bases in over 63 countries that seek to dominate, repress, coerce, exploit and intimidate the peoples of the world. It is this wall, bristling with guns, missiles, gunboats and fighter jets that has plunged our world into economic and social crises for generations.
Khizr Saheb you said that like many immigrants you came to the United States empty-handed. Many Muslim Americans sharing your story know this intimately. But this empty handed was and is a result of the actions of the United States and its counterparts. That same wall of bullets is the one that impoverishes us all. This United States’ wealth stems from the theft of Indigenous land, the enslavement of African people, and the exploitation of women, and racialized people here and the world over. This wealth is not America’s to give away.
Newspapers say Humayun Khan chose to enlist so that he could raise the money to go to law school. I don’t know about the Khans specific circumstance, but many of those that die at America’s walls are those that are shut out from its wealth. People like Donald Trump, and Hilary Clinton do not sacrifice anything or anyone. It is always, the poor, the racialized, the excluded. We die, for them. For their lies and their profit.
Khizr Saheb you said that in these elections, do not vote for the divider. But, my dear community, that person does not exist. Hillary Clinton will take that dividing wall of US forces and grow it immensely. She will outdo Obama who has already killed 3,341 people just with drones in our native Pakistan. She who has overseen ravages from Honduras to Libya, cannot unite us.
The dividing wall must fall, but it won’t fall in the elections. Humayun Khan should be alive today. His parents asked us to honour his death. To do so requires pulling down the fortress wall of US imperialism on which he died.
With love, and care. Salam,