I’m being followed by an air marshal, air marshal, air marshal.
I can’t believe that Cat Stevens was actually taken off a flight to the US and sent back overseas because he is on a watch list. What did he do? He is Cat Stevens!!! Okay, he is Yusef Islam, but still, he is always and forever the Cat in my book. Who doesn’t love Tea For the Tillerman? What treacherous act of terrorism is he capable of? Did the FBI log onto his website and see him beheading Christopher Cross? Was he declaring a holy war on all the hits of the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s? This is just lunacy, and there can’t possibly be a good reason for it. The facts are hazy. The discovery of Cat Stevens/Yusaf Islam on the watch list prompted officials to emergency land the plane to let the legendary singer songwriter off. He was not detained, as far as I know, and is supposed to be going back to London today. Is it because he is a prominent Muslim and the government is trying to send a message to Islam that they are not welcome here? Doesn’t that violate the Constitution?
It has been a heavy, emotional week with the horrible, tragic deaths of the two American hostages by extremists, and American confidence about security is waning. Although I am infuriated by the war in Iraq, the incredibly barbaric and grisly killings of the two men fills me with murderous rage against the perpetrators. Of course, America is responsible for the total body count. We started it, we own it, we reap, we sow, but we are also disconnected to the responsibility of our own dirty acts of war. We don’t see what we have done.
The militants post their vengeance on websites and seek publicity for their violent displays of inhumanity. They want us to feel the loss of life as keenly as possible. It may be difficult to comprehend, but their exhibitionism points to the fact that they value life more than we do. The lives of the hostages were precious. If they weren’t then it would not be necessary to have the world watching, in outrage and grief. How many American lives have been lost in this brutal and needless war? How many Iraqi lives? How many names do we know, on either side?
It still makes me sick to see the last moments of the hostages’ hideous ordeal, and I am blind with anger towards all the ‘zealous sons’. I look at their ringleader, Zarqawi, and I think about how he is younger than me. He’d was in the fourth grade when I was starting high school. I humanize him because his actions are incomprehensibly inhuman. Is he more a villain than an American soldier who picks off dozens of Iraqis with his assault rifle or tortures prisoners at Abu Ghraib? We justify their atrocities because they are doing their best for their country, but then again, that is exactly what the hooded executioners of Tawid and Jihad are doing. The slayings of the hostages were gruesome and horrific, but what is also terrible and sad is it feeds the unquenchable thirst for American-style revenge. We see that and we think,”Kill ‘em all! Let God sort ‘em out!” It becomes a grudge match, just without the spandex and mullets.
I want to scream and shout, “Stop! We are all human beings! Stop!!! We are all people!!!” but I don’t think anyone will hear it. Or that nobody cares anyway. What does any of this have to do with Cat Stevens? Give him back his acoustic guitar and his freedom. Let him ride the peace train.