In todayís America, there is so much hateful rhetoric surrounding people from the Middle East. Mosques have been burnt down, individuals attacked, religious clothing torn and racial slurs uttered. I find this disgusting, especially for a country that is supposed to be a melting pot of all people and ìthe land of the free.î This idea that ìwhite Americaî is under attack from other cultures is horrific. My guess is most people have never been overseas and donít have any Muslim friends. Instead it has become popular to go along with the hate speech that is spewing across our country. In my experience, from two deployments overseas, the Middle Eastern people were some of the kindest and most sincere people I have ever met.

My first deployment to United Arab Emirates was for eight months. For part of that time I trained the Emirate soldiers. We worked with them on gear, physical training, weapons, drills and more. They all were so kind and respectful. Many people claim that their culture disrespects women, but they were always respectful towards me and my other female counterparts. They were eager to learn, offered to help and made me laugh. They were always happy and friendly.

Every day they served us lunch and every day they had a positive attitude about what we were teaching them. When we dressed them in riot gear and put them to the test, they worked hard and worked with us to beat the task. I had many amazing, deep conversations with multiple individuals. I made a good friend, Muhammed, who opened up to me and told me about his family and the hard times he went through.

When I was in Kuwait on my second deployment, I worked directly with the Kuwaiti commander of the base we were a part of. We had a number of meetings with him and his staff which included women, and again, they were always polite and kind. Every meeting they served us food and loved to talk about our lives. They were genuinely interested in how we were and how our deployment was going. That was my favorite job I had during my six years.

Thereís a misconception about people in the Middle East, especially Muslim people. Yes, we are at war in certain areas of the Middle East, but there are more good people overseas than there are enemies. They are human beings, who love, who serve, who work hard, who enjoy life and have no hate towards Americans. They want peace and serve next to us to defend our country.

To those who think any negative thoughts towards people of Middle Eastern heritage, you have no reason to. Stop listening to the hatred, stop putting everyone in one category. There are evil people within every group. The most important thing to realize, however, is most of them are good people. Instead of listening to hate, get to know the people who are hated. Instead of seeing people as a problem because of the media, and even our president, go find facts. Learn empathy, speak love and donít judge a book by its cover.

Letís take the hate rhetoric away from a group and realize they are, in fact, people.

letters@chronicle.utah.edu

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