Honoring The National Anthem.. and Other Horror Stories!

Ahmed Tharwat

Im going to say this and maybe regret it later, I don’t go to live sporting events in America; football, baseball or basketball,it is not so much because of the smell of hotdogs and beer or the fact that sport here appears more entertainment than being competitive, where people go mainly to consume food and the sport itself, regardless of winning or losing.

The concept of a sports fan hasn’t been fully introduced in professional sports yet. A fan is someone who supports a team and hates other teams, he/she acts as if his/her life depends on it, when his team plays, there is no time to drink, eat or watch the replays on big screen TVs.

The part I don’t understand at live sporting events in America is the spectacle of forced patriotism, the absurdity of playing the National Anthem and the honoring of our fallen heroes. Watching thousands of people around me, standing and staring at the flag in complete silence, is a terrifying scene for a guy who looks like millions of people who have been demonized and the killing of them is justifiable by the same people we are supposed to honor as our fallen heroes.

Going to a live sporting event has always been life threatening for me, especially now in the Trump-white-land. At the game, people stare at me, waiting for proof of patriotism, waiting for me to justify my being in America. Im on probation until I do, until I prove I like Americana Their demand submission, (Islam), they demanding a complete surrender to the flag.

This is the very same reason I left Egypt in the first place, where our dictators demanded a submission not to so much to the flag, but to their rule and their inherit right to rule us. Flags in the Arab world are not looked upon as a symbol of patriotism, but in the most part a symbol of oppression, corruption and a symbol of defeat.

Now in Egypt, only the people who support General el-Sisi are allowed to go to Tahrir Square and wave the flag. People in Egypt are only allowed to wave the flag with permission from the security services, and get arrested and sentenced if they do otherwise. People in Egypt for political reasons are not allowed to even go and watch live soccer games, but are forced to stand and honor the National Anthem in schools and universities.

When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused “to honor the flag,” and stand during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner, it wasn’t about the flag. He explained “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” He was not just talking about blacks, he was talking about people of color, people who look like me who are not just killed on the streets here but are killed on the streets of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Burma.., you name it, they are 4 millions of them killed since 9/11.

At these games, where most of the players are black and most of the fans white, I’ve experienced the very essence of what Mr. Kaepernick is standing, or kneeling for. I have no problem with honoring the flag or standing during the National Anthem, but being forced to do it at local sports events, thus imposing patriotism, is modern fascism, and is why millions of immigrants escaped their countries and came to this country in the first place.

We came here to have the right to express our pleasure or displeasure of our government, our flag and of our National Anthem too. I’m not going into the history of what our flag stands for, and the fact that it was during the war against the British to take Canada away and was written to glorify the killing of slaves who deserted the oppression of slavery to joined the British army.

Here is Jon Schwarz of The Intercept; “The Star-Spangled Banner, Americans hazily remember, was written by Francis Scott Key about the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. But we don’t ever talk about how the War of 1812 was a war of aggression that began with an attempt by the U.S. to grab Canada from the British Empire.” Then he went on to explain how this is related to a historical fact concerning the killing of the slaves who deserted to the British and fought in this battle, “The Star-Spangled Banner…it literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans….” He invited us to read the end of the third verse and see why “The Star-Spangled Banner” is not just a musical song, but “an intellectual and moral atrocity” he explained.

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Colin Kaepernick’s protest, as Ms. Parks’ protest wasn’t about the bus, is not about football, but of the nature of The Star-Spangled Banner itself and what it stood for more than 100 years ago; racism was in the heart of its beautiful patriotic music and lyrics!

This protest started a new revolution that is now televised every Sunday where millions of Americans are forced to face their ugly racist history and revisit what the election of Trump and the rise of white nationalist supremacy is all about. It is about the fact that the Civil War never ended, and slavery is still alive and well, even if blacks are paid millions to generate billions to their white masters, they are still denied the opportunity to take a peaceful stand against racism and modern slavery. And if they did, they are as Mr. Trump eloquently says. “Sons of bitches.”

ahmed-tharwat

Ahmed Tharwat

Ahmed Tharwat is the Producer and Host of the Arab-American TV show BelAhdan. His articles are published in national and international publications. He blogs at Notes from America,www.ahmediatv.com and his articles appear in national and international publications. Follow him on Twitter @AhmediaTV.

Reactions:
Both of the above-displayed images are fake. The image on the right was created by adding Kaepernick’s face over a photograph of Osama bin Laden, while the image on the left was created by adding an Islamic symbol to a photograph of Kaepernick. The original, unaltered images can be seen below:

Share