I Am Not An American                                                            An Essay by Sabri Bebawi

How life turns is simply amazing and dumbfounding.  When I first came to America as a journalist as a political asylee, escaping a world of oppression and dictatorship, I had a dream. A journalist could not write or say what he/she wanted to write or say; everything had to be approved by the government or else.  America, then, was a dream land considering its majestic Constitution and powerful Bill of Rights. And that is in addition to what the Statue of Liberty conveys: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”  Of what else would an intellectual, a thinker or a writer dream?

I came to America in 1981. I was the happiest person ever and even the evil drug dealer president Ronald Reagan and his Iran – Contra affairs did not bother me much because it was nothing compared to what happens in fascist countries. So what, a president cheats the legislative branch and does one thing that is immoral – most, if not all, politicians are immoral any way. I had interviewed Presidents, Diplomats, Government Official. on behalf of the Arab Press Service, which was a branch of Agence France Presse, (The French Press Agency).

Time passes as it normally does. I would spend sometime in Europe and sometime in California.  I was young, impressionable and full of hope and dreams.  Though I became an American Citizen, I still thought of myself as a citizen of the world.  I even thought to have a United Nation Passport, but that never materialized.

I got myself very busy with education, teaching and reaching the highest level of education possible; I obtained my PhD.  Life is a “Divine Comedy” as I wrote in my latest novel; I have been stricken with the worst of diseases one after another that I had to go on disability retirement, at a very young age, from the college where I had been teaching.

Over the years of going through educating myself and educating Americans, I realized that there is a huge distinction between “an American Citizen” and “an American” – Like I am, not all American Citizens are Americans; being an American is not a nationality like being a British, a French or an Italian; since the 1950s, being an American has become an ideology, a philosophy, a belief -if you will. To be an American is to be a liar, a cheater and a thief; to be an American is to be a violent psychopath and sociopath; to be an American is to be an abusive and user and that is with the complete encouragement and support of the corrupt American government itself. Even if I wanted to be an American, I could not; I  have never had the skills; I cannot lie, cheat, steal, deceive, use, abuse or step on others which in American terminology “Pursuit of Happiness.”  In France the equal phrase to that is ” fraternité ” which means “brotherhood.”

Now I realized, I can never be an American for my parents had tamed me to be a human who has none of the above characteristics.  These traits are now innate in the American Character- Sadly.

I am Dr. Sabri g. Bebawi, a Social Scientist


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