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Lives that matter
Feb 08,2017 - Last updated at Feb 08,2017
While many Americans vehemently protested President Donald Trump’s discriminatory policy to ban Muslim refugees, one social movement was oddly absent from the protests: All Lives Matter.
In the wake of many police killings of unarmed black men, women and children, a social movement spurred across the US and other parts of the world. It was called Black Lives Matter.
Some people took offence to the name and started a counter movement: All Lives Matter.
In many homes, showing support for one group or the other was a sure way to start a family feud over dinner.
But where were the All Lives Matter supporters during the recent protests? In fact, where were they throughout the election?
Their silence is telling. It tells that they do not actually care about all lives as long as they do not feel that anyone is encroaching on their rights.
Of course Arab Lives Matter. Of course Black Lives Matter. Of course Hispanic, Asian, and others’ lives matter. Everyone matters, but we must affirm: Arab Lives Matter.
The US Declaration of Independence states: “All men are created equal … with certain unalienable rights …”
That means that these rights are not exclusively American. Every person — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation — should have the same rights and opportunities.
The values Trump purports are not the ones I stand for as a US military veteran.
His values are not the reason I put on the uniform. Through three deployments with the army, I got to know many Arabs. They are some of the nicest, most generous, welcoming people I have come to know.
I recall many times that we would eat and drink together while laughing, dancing or finishing a hike. I am proud to call many Arabs some of my closest friends. They will always matter.
As a law student studying international human rights, I want to ensure that all people have equal rights and that these rights are protected.
Refugees of all religions and ethnicities have suffered enough, and it is my responsibility to ensure that US politicians provide them protection as per America’s founding ideologies.
Jordan, where I spent one deployment, is a leader in ensuring that refugees are protected. It opened its doors to neighbours in need.
Doing so has come at a great cost to it, but when choosing convenience or life, Jordan chose life.
America is more than Trump. Look at us as a whole and as individuals. Know that we support and stand by Arabs. We value them.
To us, Arab Lives Matter.
J David Thompson,
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