[A Letter] to an American Lady*


Pic: from the original Arabic blog of the author

Author: Adham Sharkawi
Translator: Abdulrahman Abuabed

Place: A spot in this disgusting planet called “America”

Time: It doesn’t matter; for some things are such a shame regardless of the time they were committed at.

As for the event: A white police officer kills an unarmed black man with cold blood, and it turns out later that the victim’s crime was his color. The black community was outrageous, and the world witnessed that America was far away from civilization as far as you can imagine. The hardest thing for me, besides killing an innocent man, was a scene that took place the next day: a black woman standing in a rally in front of the police holding a sign that says: “We are not Arabs, to be killed and keep silent”.

As always, when something irritates me; I write about it, but it turns out later that the photo was photo-shopped, and to tell you the truth this is not the first time I believe something, that turns out to be fake later; I believed once that the Arab World is my home, then my home denied me a visa to visit a book fair. I believed the Arab Defense League, just to witness the invasion of Iraq later, while the Arabs are watching. I believed that the Arab’s essential case is Palestine, and I discovered that Paul Pogba’s transfer to Manchester is far more essential to them. The biggest lie I believed was that we are humans, then I saw us getting killed in Rabe’a and Syria, I discovered that my life is nothing but a fake series, and this photo wasn’t the only deception. Anyway, I wrote a letter to this woman, and it goes like this:


I deeply respect you for standing up and demanding your rights, I respect those who fight for their rights from all religions, colors and races, and I detest those who surrender even if they were my own people. You probably don’t know this, but 1400 years ago, long before discovering America, a man of your color walked among us, his name was Bilal Ibn Rabah, our Prophet, peace be upon him, took him as his Muzzin [Caller for prayer], and our Khalifa said that he’s our master. So, you see my fair lady, we weren’t just the first nation to set the slaves free, but we also were the first ones to make them not only equals, but masters.

We weren’t like today; we had a state more powerful than yours, we ruled vast lands; lands you state only dreams of ruling. Contrary to your state, we were merciful towards other people, and we weren’t cowards, to be killed and keep silent. We drove armies twice for the sake of one woman who got humiliated: one time during the era of Prophet Mohmmed, peace be upon him, and the second time when a woman cried for the Khalifa: “Wa Mu’tasimaah”, and he replied: “Labbaiki”, I will send a large army that will start from here and end under your feet”, just read about the conquer of Amorium.

My lady,

We had a great military force, so great that when our ships crossed the Mediterranean Sea towards Andalusia, the Churches of Italy stopped their bells so that we don’t get irritated and conquer them. When Khalid Ibn al-Walid, who was more experienced in war than the generals of the Pentagons will ever be, wrote to Kissra, the ruler of Persia, asking him to surrender, Kissra asked the emperor of China for help, and the later replied: “We are no match for those; who if they wanted to remove the mountains they did”

And whenever your leaders misbehaved in their letters, we answered with actions. Haroun al-Rashid wrote to Nikephoros II Phokas: “From Haroun al-Rashid to Nikephoros, Romans dog, you will not hear my answer. You will see it. Salaam”. Haroun, my lady, once talked to a cloud saying: “Rain where you please, it’s all returning to me”

Don’t think that we only fight, I just wrote to you as a reaction to what you did. We were also men of justice, and never allowed the minorities to be mistreated. When Amr ibn al-‘Aas, the governor of Egypt, once hit a Christian because he defeated him in a horses race, the Christian complained to Umar ibn al-Khataab, Umar summoned Amr and his son and told the Christian: “Hit these so-called noble men exactly as they hit you”, and he said his famous quote, the same one you desperately need today in your country: “When did you enslave the people, whilst their mothers begot them free”

If you are teaching us human rights today, we taught you animals rights 1400 years ago. Our Khalifa used to prevent people from overloading camels, and years later his grandson told his associates: “Spread grains on the tops of mountains so it cannot be said that a bird went hungry in the land of the Muslims.”

We also were people of knowledge, for example: when we take prisoners, we never strip them like you did in Abu Gharib, we ask the prisoners who can read and write to teach ten , in exchange for their freedom. Our Khalifa gave the translators for each book they translated its weight in gold. In 1313 AH, King Philip ordered those who were infected by Leprosy to be burned alive, because he thought this disease was a curse, nevertheless, 600 years earlier we established a special hospital to fight Leprosy.

When the Church condemned Galileo, Al Biruni long before him did not only say that the earth rotates, but also calculated the diameter of the earth. Europe was deep in darkness, while Ibn al-Haithm established Optics; while you were busy counting your sheep using your hands, al-Khaourzmi was busy setting the foundations of mathematics; and while you walked the earth, Ibn Firnas tried to fly. I can go on forever, but let’s stop here.

My Lady,

As you see, we are no longer as we were, and if you want to know why, go ask your government, ask them about the military compounds in our countries, ask them how many rulers they have placed, and how many they have overthrown. Who told you that they kill us and we keep silent? Israel bombs Gaza with your weapons, did they keep silent? and the same goes for Syria …but we didn’t give up.

My lady,

If we are weak today, then it’s our fault, but don’t ever think that you are innocent, and if the killing of one innocent man made you angry, many get killed every day, either by your soldiers or by the orders of your government. It’s your right to be upset for not being treated like a human being, but have you ever asked yourself how do you treat us?


Adham Sharqaawi

* This blog is traslated from Arabic, published on blog.aljazeera.net



2 thoughts on “[A Letter] to an American Lady*

  1. Recently, I have been reading tens of blogs written by Arab activist, students, journalists and more, in various subjects. However, what drew my attention were those bloggers who is blogging about the Arab Spring, the revolutions happening in their countries, their governments and their soceities being affected by all this. Few weeks ago, Aljazeera launched its website blogs.aljazeera.net ; a space for Arab bloggers to share their thoughts and experiances, in which more than 10 articles are published each day. I was thnking of how amazing it would be if we can translate some of the blogs that are absolutely important to share with non-Arabic speaking people, espcially in the West, in order for them to know what’s going on in here and to know more about what ordinary people think of what their are going through.
    One of the blogs that was shared on aljazeera website written by the writer, Adham al-Sharqaawi, that was among the top most-read artilces, is the first blog I decided it has to be translated, “[A Letter] to an American Lady”


  2. I agree with Isra Migdad–it is important to translate this for those of us in the West. I cannot speak for all Americans, but I want you to know that a lot of Americans are very angry at President Bush and his son President George W. Bush on how they handled Iraq. Americans feel trapped–we do not want to sit back doing nothing while we see bad things happening in the world, so we stepped in when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. But then we went too far and hurt the Iraqi people, which created so many of the problems we see happening now. So our current President has done very little to get involved in Syria, which has not been good either. We want to help, but very clearly don’t know how. Translating and showing us what is happening, and how the Arab world feels about these events, is helpful.

    Brother Sharkawi–I am sorry we have angered you. Please forgive us Uncle. Seeing propaganda in the U.S. media is just proof that the problems here are even bigger than you realize. If we can’t show true images of the problem, and are resorting to photo-shopped images, this tells you that it is too dangerous to show you the real truth. We have seen the same “fake” images come out of Gaza, where videos and images were fabricated to get attention to problems happening in Gaza. Why can’t Palestinians show true images? Because it is too dangerous. The documentary “5 Broken Cameras” is proof of that. I am not angry when I see Palestinians fabricating images to get attention–this tells me that they are powerless and need help.


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