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September 13, 2001
11:53 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know how to circulate an online petition? That is, to get one rolling? I think we need to urge President Bush to address the nation directly and as soon as possible, beseeching the American public to end the outbreak of violence against their fellow citizens of Arab (or perceived as such) extraction. The worst irony of the WTC terrorism is that angry Americans are now committing acts of terror against other Americans. Yes, Americans.

Maybe it would fall on deaf ears, but it never hurts to try, right? We have to do something.
posted by donkeyschlong (29 comments total)

 
didn't he already do that?
posted by rebeccablood at 11:56 PM on September 13, 2001


Online petitions never work. The moment you start one, they start getting filled up with the usual juvenalia like "Ben Dover" and "Bob Abooie" and become a running joke almost instantly. Plus, online petitions carry less meaning in the realm of government, for the same reason emails carry less weight than physical letters: Anyone can drop their name (or anyone else's) on an online petition in a second, without even thinking. With a physical petition, you know the signatories actually cared enough to stop and think about the subject matter for a moment.

If you really want to do this, do a real life petition drive.
posted by aaron at 12:00 AM on September 14, 2001



How to circulate an online petition: Put up a Web page. Tell people about it.

But I'm not sure there's much to be gained by urging Bush to do anything. I'm inclined to agree with this Slate column: we'll make much more collective progress if we just go ahead and accept Bush as the genial figurehead he is, rather than try to push him to become the statesman and leader this situation so very clearly calls for, but which he obviously can never be.

There are lots of sources of leadership. Not all of them live in Washington, D.C.
posted by jjg at 12:09 AM on September 14, 2001


uhmmm....I think an online query would be grand.......
considering how much hype any sort of online poll has been getting in the past year or so....if the networks dig it ...then hey ....its effective..at least in the public circles....if not...well then...I'll go door to door and probably drum up the same stats.....then will post them here...
posted by studiovector at 12:19 AM on September 14, 2001


I would recommend a hands-on, grass roots program to assist those around you who are suffering under threats and/or actual attacks. Visit them. Talk to them. Accompany them on trips to the store or the doctor or the school. Coordinate your efforts with police if violence seems imminent or even likely. Reach out to those around you and then convince others to do the same.
posted by dewelch at 12:21 AM on September 14, 2001


I think some kind of address will be made very soon..The First Lady made some comments about that exact thing today on television. People attacking other Americans is not the answer. Were we attacking Oklahomans because Timothy McVeigh was from Oklahoma? No, and making certain American groups live in even MORE fear than they have been is nothign short or wrong. The ignorance of some people appalls me.
posted by pakelika at 12:30 AM on September 14, 2001


As others have hinted, it seems to me that starting a petition to have Bush tell people to be nice to people is like a four-year-old yelling 'Mom! Billy keeps touching me!'

If you're intent on starting another email meme, how about sending a letter to everyone you care about, decrying anti-Arab sentiment in a moving manner and asking them to pass on the sentiment to *their* friends, in your words or their own, and so on.

If I had an attitude that was different than that of Pres. Bush, I'd be more likely to reexamine it if it were brought into question by people I knew and was close to, and not by the President.

Sometimes grassroot campaigns can be most effective simply spreading through the grass...
posted by kfury at 12:35 AM on September 14, 2001


Dewelch's idea seems truly effective and democratic. The American spirit would be best enacted by a program such as he suggests. There are a lot of innocent Arab Americans who are being targeted just because they are Arabs. What a show of strength it would be if people actually stood by them as the Americans they also are.
It's an old aristocratic maxim - show you're superior by being above the rabble. Any sort of violence partially validates the violence it is reacting against. Leaving these things to the police and the courts - and assisting them in this task - is truly in the spirit of the Constitution.
If innocent people suffer for the innocent people who died then I guess it also makes passive bystanders guilty.
There are many degrees of terrorism. Not even the slightest is acceptable.
Bravo, Douglas!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:38 AM on September 14, 2001


Don't forget that non-American Arabs, Muslims, or Asians (viewed as Arabs) all over the world who are just trying to get by, are also being abused by people who are hitting out before thinking.
posted by jetgrrl at 12:40 AM on September 14, 2001


MADNESS
Trying to understand what the hell is going on......today has to be the most memorable day of my inclusion in United States history. The world trade center is a mass of dust, ash, and rubble, falling victim to an irrational, well thought out, kamikazee, terrorist act that, at the risk of sounding cliche, is not unlike Pearl Harbor, only this time we don't know where the pilots came from. I woke up late this morning...not knowing anything of the catastrophism until I got to class. There was an unsually large crowd hovering around the student lounge area, watching on tv the pandemonium taking place along the ash covered streets of New York. From that point on the whole day took on an erie sense of withdrawnism. I went on to my classes finding this wierd saturating sense of "we're all in this together" attitude and spent most of the day, thinking and hashing out with fellow students the opinions and emotions resulting from our intial reations to the tragedy. One class discussion in particular, Drawing 101, stood out among the rest. Yes, drawing class. The professor, a petite asian woman with a terrible pronunciation of the word "composition", felt obligated to seek as much input from the class as she could. I could tell that she was torn up from the morning's shock factor as she quickly discounted the days assignments and went straight into this precarious way of humbling all of us by starting class with her own exposition of an emotional brake down. She then proceeded to verbally grope for sentiment and empathy, demanding opinions, explanations or whatever. At first nobody wanted to talk. We were withdrawn into ourselves as any normal human being might react when their whole sense of security abandons them. We spent a a good ten to fifteen uncomfortable minutes trying hard to hide behind our blank faces and selfish thoughts like "Why is she doing this to us, its already hard enough to take". Three hours later after digging around the debris of emotional residue left behind in the wake of vicarious ash within our own crumbling sense of safety, we left the room with a strength more akin to a sinsee teaching his student the art and benefits of mental excercise. We deliberated on everything from religious upbringings to why we, as Americans, priviliged ourselves with the act of hugging one another. Most of what was said summarized into a majority our individual feelings of vulnerability and a new ever present "what if" syndrome. We gave thought and acknowledgment of our ignorance in foreign policy issues, and we all agreed that as a superpower our countries people tends to overlook the harsh opinions that smaller countries might hold of us. I personally walked away with an awareness that I hadn't contemplated before. That of the havoc that results from the correlations between religous groups, their propagandas and a countries economical status. Study history and one will find that whole countries can act very much like individuals. The parallels are incredible. The individuals that perpetuate these mindless acts like todays and all over the Middle East would have us think that their motivation is as simple as getting back at the big guy, rich vs. poor, or their own sense of reconciling for their countries economical disparity. But what I think I've realized is that sometimes all it really boils down to is individual character traits. I'm not talking about character flaws...I'm talking about individuals, certian persons that lack a rational reasoning mechnism and/or a sense of common good. Their ideas might be extreme because their sense of reasoning is extreme. They are exceptionally perceptive. They take things seriously and personally. They are highly sensitive individuals but feel as if they are very normal. Their justifications for movement and action seem to them benevolent at least within their circle. They are the one percent group within another one percent. They are not conscious of hope or a chance at success. Instead they concentrate on vengeance and getting back. They need to belong because they have been rejected. They usually are never considered as a factor in any scheme of things. Many might consider them crap that we've flushed down the toilet. They feel as if they are nobody's and they are treated as if they are nobody's. They don't have friends and they can't even function in society. They are redolent of the two guys at Columbine Highschool who shot up their classmates with guns because they were tired of being picked on. They are scared of never becoming anything or being a part of anything significant, and they so desperately want people to know that they do exist. They live one extreme to the other. If we look at the human constiuents that make up society, we know there are certian people that exist as I've described. A certian percentage of the whole. The same goes for countries. The world is made up of countries...alot of countries. And like that small percentage of individuals in human society there will always be that fraction of the world that has to justify its existence.

THIS WAS POSTED SEPTEMBER 11TH .......SORRY NO LINK
sorry so long ...but its important to be heard.......thank you metafilter
posted by studiovector at 12:42 AM on September 14, 2001


It would be much easier to "hear" if it had some "pauses". Ouch my eyes are killing me...
posted by fooljay at 12:45 AM on September 14, 2001


At least it didn't go on the front page.
posted by darukaru at 12:47 AM on September 14, 2001


Ouch. I couldn't read it either. There's something to be said for the Enter button.
posted by brownpau at 12:56 AM on September 14, 2001


I think a petition would be a perfect intention of every rational Americans' opinions.

I am a patriot to the point where I would give my life for America. My roomate is a Muslim, and even though he wasn't born in America, he is as every bit American as I am. He would give his life as soon as I would for this country.

The outbreaks against American Muslims needs to stop NOW, as 99.9% do not embody the ideology Bin Laden does.

If America continues down this path of lashing out against a certain group of people because of their religion/culture/ethnicy/background, it will cease being America, the only country that values freedom above all else.
posted by catatonic at 1:18 AM on September 14, 2001


Well, use the Enter button all you want, without a <br> it won't do you much good.
posted by j.edwards at 1:18 AM on September 14, 2001


And studiovector, lest you think we're just picking on you, I'm interested in reading what you wrote, but I just can't. It's way too long and absolutely no line breaks. My eyes can't take it and I'm not engaged enough to put it into wordpad myself and make line breaks.

A huge part of communicating is about making sure that you don't put barriers up for your readers, y'know?

j.edwards, I don't get it. Mefi converts line breaks to <br>'s
posted by fooljay at 1:21 AM on September 14, 2001


Back to rebeccablood's comment - the first one - Bush did exactly that yesterday morning, after his phone call with Giuliani and Pataki, specifically mentioning the thousands of Arab-Americans in New York City alone, and those of Muslim religious persuasion. So... are you asking him to do what he's already done, "beseeching the American public to end the outbreak of violence"?
posted by JParker at 2:11 AM on September 14, 2001


I guess I just feel as though he needs to isolate that specific point, drive it home more. Because, folks, these are dangerous times, and we need to stick together. Or "unificate," as GWB might say. Sigh.
posted by donkeyschlong at 2:18 AM on September 14, 2001


You might like to check out PetitionOnline, who "www.PetitionOnline.com provides free online hosting of
public petitions for responsible public advocacy". Like other people, I don't think it would have much effect, but also as other poeple have said: it can't hurt, can it? Good luck.
posted by mis at 4:02 AM on September 14, 2001


Gah, sorry about the terrible quote in the last post.
posted by mis at 4:03 AM on September 14, 2001


I almost hate to say this, but I'm not convinced that there's really that much threat to Arab-Americans (or those who look vaguely Arabic). I'm not saying they're not afraid, but I am saying that perhaps the reports of violence miss the overwhelming support by the vast majority of Americans.

Read bogorman's comment to this post. Did that make it in the paper? Will anyone show that on the news?

Of course not. Because peace isn't news. Tolerance isn't news. And when you're getting all your information from the news... well, you aren't getting the whole of reality. A few idiots who act out, they're news, but they're not representative of the whole of the country any more that bin Laden is representative of all Arabs.

I, personally, have not heard a SINGLE person, organization, or even rumor that threatened (or proposed) violence against Arabs (Afghans, yes, but not Arabs). Everyone I've talked to, everything I've read said the same things that we're saying here: Muslims, Arabs, etc., are Just Like You and Me; Bin Laden doesn't speak for everyone of a particular skin hue; let's not have WWII-style internment camps...

Am I missing something? Or are people lighting torches and stringing nooses up around the corner, and I'm just too blind to see? Is the tide of public opinion really all that bad, or are we letting our view of a few determine our view of ourselves?
posted by terceiro at 4:18 AM on September 14, 2001


Truthfully, i don't care if the people getting beat up are Americans or not -- they are =people= -- they are =human=. I grew up in Georgia, I'm white, and I wouldn't want people beating up on me just because the KKK had set churches on fire.

However, at NYU yesterday, they =did= have some random people coming in to try to find the Islamic Center (which is right across from the Catholic Center on the 2nd floor of a 2-floor bldg), and the guards simply told the people that noone was upstairs and that they couldn't go in, anyway. My husband works in the Catholic Center, and they made sure blinds were shut all along the 2nd floor should anybody get any ideas.

The overwhelming majority of people might not be shooting their mouths off about "Ay-rabs" (as I heard a neighbor say), but as this event has shown, it just takes a couple of people to kill a whole bunch. I know there are idiots out there, and I hope anybody who takes advantage of this event to exercise their thirst for violence gets =no= leniency when they are sent to jail. I have no patience for this crap.
posted by meep at 4:38 AM on September 14, 2001


no_hate@yahoogroups.com

I've started a e-mail list to fight exactly these sorts of things. I'm not Arabic -- my email name and nick here are my Middle Eastern Dance stage name -- but I feel as though we need to put brains together and sort out this horrible situation.
You can see the web site, and sign up, at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/no_hate

Sukran, and Thanks,

----Woodrow hill, aka Asim al-Talib
posted by Asim at 7:17 AM on September 14, 2001


meep -- Good point: we've just seen that it only takes a few people (and startlingly few resources) to cause amazing mountains of pain. We should be cautious and aware of the few lunatic wackos who'll target anyone in a turban.

At the same time, I don't think we should necessarily consider everyone in a pickup truck to be a bigot, or everyone from Texas to be a right-wing Christian fundamentalist who'll throw a moltov cocktail at a mosque.

MOST of the people in this country (and most "western" countries (which I suppose includes Australia and NZ)) are, and will remain, considerate and tolerant of people with different beliefs.
posted by terceiro at 7:34 AM on September 14, 2001


(Please forgive me for cross-posting. I posted this in a later thread, but wanted to include it here as well, just in case.)

Someone had mentioned a grassroots campaign to assist Arab-Americans and American Muslims at this time when they feel most vulnerable.

I had been thinking precisely about something like this all day yesterday. As a Pagan, I envisioned something that could unite the amazingly diverse Pagan community across our nation (and around the world) to expose this irrational religious and racial bigotry and to help others in our own community who are being singled out because of their ethnicity (or even apparent ethnicity) or religious beliefs. An effort that would show our nation and the world the value of religious understanding and tolerance.

I wrote a letter and sent it out to as many prominent organizations, publications, and friends in the Pagan community in an effort to build some enthusiasm for an effort such as this. The letter may be a bit "rough", but I was writing on heavy emotion, especially after learning that Robertson and Falwell were now including me, as well as my friends in the pagan, LGBT, and feminist communities, in their list of "enemies of the state".

I know this thread had been pretty much "discussed-out" so I hope it's still getting a read or two. I don't want to post this on the main board out of fear of being accused of self-promotion. If this interests you in the least, please write me.

While I have a dream of a Pagan humanitarian organization that could really make a difference in this world, I am certainly not seeking to limit such an effort to people in the Pagan community.

PS: Please feel free to save the image below to your server and use it as you wish. It is just something that I threw together last night to put on my own page. I'll design a few more soon.


posted by tpoh.org at 7:47 AM on September 14, 2001


my friend is afraid to go out at all with her baby.

my 65yo dad, who looks different, will be flying to india soon, will peole look at him w/suspicion (and possibly be taken by gun point) because they think his briefcase looks suspicious. my younger brother has crazy hair (he's kinda doin' a belated grunge thing...which you can do, but if my brother does, he looks like a 'crazy arab terrorist').

my family has been here for 25 years,and they have faith in the america that they live in and feel that no bad will happen to them because they are americans. they don't think that anyone will second guess their loyalty.

i am afraid that the folks that are hurting muslims, arabs and anyone remotely looking like they are muslim...well that they won't stop to ask:
are you an american? how do you feel about america? did you participate in the terroristic attack? do you have ties to the attack?

i thank you so much for feeling for the people that are afraid and for wanting to help. i know that the majority of america does not want to inflict harm on fellow humans, but as long as there is a single person who wants to inflict harm, i will be afraid.

so: like dwelch and kfurry say, start locally and communicate to folks around you, that you don't agree with it...make people aware that it is not good to inflict harm on people that are innocent and that: muslim <> bin Laden follower/possible terrorist.
posted by m2bcubed at 8:01 AM on September 14, 2001


my friend is afraid to go out at all with her baby.

my 65yo dad, who looks different, will be flying to india soon, will peole look at him w/suspicion (and possibly be taken by gun point) because they think his briefcase looks suspicious. my younger brother has crazy hair (he's kinda doin' a belated grunge thing...which you can do, but if my brother does, he looks like a 'crazy arab terrorist').

my family has been here for 25 years,and they have faith in the america that they live in and feel that no bad will happen to them because they are americans. they don't think that anyone will second guess their loyalty.

i am afraid that the folks that are hurting muslims, arabs and anyone remotely looking like they are muslim...well that they won't stop to ask:
are you an american? how do you feel about america? did you participate in the terroristic attack? do you have ties to the attack?

i thank you so much for feeling for the people that are afraid and for wanting to help. i know that the majority of america does not want to inflict harm on fellow humans, but as long as there is a single person who wants to inflict harm, i will be afraid.

so: like dwelch and kfurry say, start locally and communicate to folks around you, that you don't agree with it...make people aware that it is not good to inflict harm on people that are innocent and that: muslim <> bin Laden follower/possible terrorist.
posted by m2bcubed at 8:03 AM on September 14, 2001


a search on yahoo news allowed me to find several articles providing these quotes I used for a short essay on my site.

"In Brisbane, a schoolbus packed with Islamic children was damaged by stones and bottles and there had been abusive calls to mosques, said Queensland Islamic Council chairman Sultan Deen."

"In Chicago, a Molotov cocktail was tossed Wednesday at an Arab-American community center. "

"In Huntington, N.Y., a 75-year-old man who was drunk tried to run over a Pakistani woman in the parking lot of a shopping mall, police said."

"Mosque windows were shattered in Texas, a New York man was arrested for an alleged anti-Arab threat, and a prison fight broke out over Muslim slurs in Washington state. "

"In Suffolk County, N.Y., authorities arrested a man who allegedly made an anti-Arab threat and pointed a handgun at a gas station employee. "

"In Asbury, N.J., Ramandeep Singh, a Sikh who wears a turban for religious reasons, said he had garbage and stones thrown at his car and stayed home from work. "

"At the Kuwait Embassy in Washington, Tamara Alfson spent Wednesday counseling frightened Kuwaiti students attending schools across the United States. One student was told, ``You should all die,'' Alfson said. "


these things make me cry.
posted by christina at 9:14 AM on September 14, 2001


Maybe Bush reads MetaFilter! :) Urges Americans to respect Muslims, visits mosque.
posted by JParker at 7:00 PM on September 18, 2001


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