On the Death of Shaima Alawadi

It sickens me to write this, to report on the latest manifestation of the hate that has enveloped my country and spread out across the world like a giant oil spill, but the death of Shaima Alawadi, a 32-year-old Iraqi woman and mother of five, is a moral obscenity – a crime for which the War Party must take responsibility.

On Wednesday, in the quiet San Diego suburb of El Cajon, California, the teenage daughter of Shaima Alawadi returned home to find her mother drowning in a pool of blood. There were signs of forced entry at the back of the house. Someone had broken in and beaten her mother nearly to death with a tire iron.

Next to her body was a note: “Go back to your own country, you terrorist.”

A similar note had been found tacked to the family’s door a few weeks earlier, but Shaima had dismissed it as a kid’s prank.

This kind of hate is nothing new for San Diego. In 2010, a plan to build a mosque in nearby Temecula resulted in a series of protest demonstrations by local nut-jobs. A woman in a hijab was hauled off a Southwest Airlines flight in at San Diego airport in 2011 by TSA agents, and told the captain didn’t “feel comfortable” with her on the flight: this was around the same time braying demagogue Peter King (R-New York) was holding hearings on the “Muslim fifth column in America.” Last year, a similar “go back to where you came from” message was delivered by someone who repeatedly punched a Muslim cab driver, who had been observed praying. See here, here, and here for more evidence of the climate of hate darkening the otherwise sunny skies of this California redoubt of bigotry and military families.

If you want some idea of what’s going on in Southern California, these days, take a look at this video of a demonstration in Yorba Linda, where an inter-religious charity event for the homeless was surrounded by hundreds of screeching banshees, screaming their hatred of Muslims. And lest you think this is just a fringe phenomenon, note that no less than three elected officials addressed this hate-fest: congressmen Ed Royce and Gary Miller, and Villa Park councilwoman Debra Pauly – all three of them Republicans, naturally.

As children and women in hijabs walk with quiet dignity into the charity venue, the crowd unleashes its fury of hate: “Go home, go home, go home!” they yell. Is it a coincidence that this is the very same message in the note from Shaima’s killer?

While Ms. Pauly is clearly deranged – as she herself admitted onstage, in a moment of candor (just compare this and this) – the two congressmembers tried to give their hate a relatively reasonable façade. Now that the rhetoric they endorsed has claimed the life of an innocent woman in a grisly nightmarish attack, one wonders if they’ll apologize, or take some responsibility for what occurred. They have blood on their hands: they might as well have bashed that tire iron into Shaima’s skull themselves.

But of course there will be no apology, no remorse from these hate-filled cretins: justice will have to wait for the day they meet their Maker and he hurls them into eternal darkness.

This latest violent outrage against decency and morality underscores a point I have been making for quite some time: that we are living in a society where sickness is rapidly becoming the “norm.” Yes, mental sickness – and, more than that, a moral sickness, eating like a cancer at our very core. One symptom: no one is surprised by these outbreaks of violent evil. Not even an intelligent evil, one that picks its victims with care: there have been acts of violence committed against Sikhs – who are from India, and are very far from being Muslims – because they wear turbans. That’s the mentality we’re dealing with here: the mentality of ill-educated and all-too-typical Americans, who are so bathed in their own poisonous excretions that they actually consider themselves Christians. If you listen to Pauly’s remarks at the hate rally, linked above, you’ll note she actually has the nerve to reference God and the Bible, of all things, in the midst of her tirade.

How is this possible? How is it that a religion supposedly based on “love” and “turn the other cheek” is invoked by a woman who exudes hatred, and who wants to profit politically by appealing to the basest instincts? It’s as if the leader of a lynch mob had invoked the Sermon on the Mount.

As one watches the video of the entire protest, one cannot help but compare the Muslim attendees at that charity event to the early Christian martyrs: they, too, endured the spittle of the leering, jeering mob. Why can’t Pauly see what is so visible?

Although I believe in individual responsibility, I don’t really blame Pauly any more than practically anyone else: like most people, she takes on the colors of her environment. She merely embodies a larger phenomenon – a polity in the final stages of moral degeneration, a mindless mob looking for a scapegoat and a pretext to victimize. “I have a son in the Marines,” she shouted triumphantly – as if that imbued her with some kind of moral immunity, and gave her a blank check to incite violence against a defenseless minority.

She knew she was inciting violence: listen to the hooting crowd and tell me they aren’t itching to kill. Congressman Royce knew it, too: so did Gary Miller, who looked a bit uncomfortable up there on the podium as the hate rose up and filled the air like a poison gas.

We saw it in Norway, when Anders Breivik slaughtered his victims in the name of a holy war against Islam, and we are seeing it today here in America in the heinous murder of a defenseless woman whose only “crime” was to seek refuge in the nation that had decimated her homeland. She and her husband – who provided “cultural sensitivity” training to US troops deployed to Iraq – lived in this country for 15 years, but had only moved to El Cajon in the past few weeks.

Unfortunately, no amount of cultural sensitivity training is going to solve the problem at the heart of this incident, because nothing can erase the record of the past decade or so, in which the foreign policy of the United States has been focused like a laser on the task of subjugating much of the Muslim world. The war of vengeance we are waging, in Afghanistan and around the world, necessarily nurtures the kind of hate that motivated Shaima’s killer.

Constantly reinforcing and ratcheting up hatred of Muslims, per se, is not just the work of the neoconservatives who led us into Iraq and preached a doctrine of perpetual war. It is also the work of alleged “liberals” like those in the Obama administration who, when asked to justify the continued wars, refer back to the 9/11 attacks as readily as George W. Bush ever did. These same “liberals” cavil at every criticism of Israel, and join with the neocons in smearing anyone who dares raise this forbidden topic. Like Carl Levin, the powerful Democratic Senator and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who is calling for a naval blockade of Iran, the prospect of another war of conquest in the Middle East has them licking their chops – convinced it’ll be yet another great victory in the war on terrorism for Barack Obama.

Murder, murder everywhere – in Afghanistan, where a rampaging US soldier killed 16 Afghan civilians, half of them children, and in a quiet Southern California suburb, where Shaima’s 17-year-old daughter found her mother on the floor, her brains bashed in, next to a note that echoed the slogans shouted by Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, Pamela Geller, Rep. King, Rep. Royce, Rep. Miller, Newt Gingrich, and all the rest of the Republican haters and militarists.

They all have Shaima’s blood on their hands. What’s ugly is that, lacking any moral instinct, they aren’t even trying to wash it off. They feel no more remorse for the death of an innocent woman than a hawk feels after it has killed a rabbit. This is where a decade of constant warfare, and – arguably – the modern trend toward moral relativism and nihilism, has led us.

A decadent culture, in its last stages of decomposition, nearly always exhibits signs of a false vitality, a faux resurgence centered around defeating largely imaginary enemies and entertaining fantasies of martial greatness. But this is no more indicative of real living energy than the spasmodic twitching of a recently decapitated corpse. The old America is dead, if it ever existed: in its place is Zombie America, which is animated only by the memory of past greatness. Bankrupt both financially and philosophically, with a political class that long ago lost any sense of responsibility and is rapidly driving us over a cliff, America is no longer “the land of the free and the home of the brave” – it’s the land of willing slaves and the home of the walking dead. Dead, that is, to the heritage and spirit of what had once been the greatest of republics, and is now an empire in the last throes of its decline.

Shaima was killed because she wore the hijab, and yet we are living in a world where a major Western country has outlawed this religious garb. Amid all the debate over campaigning by some “progressives” to boycott products from Israeli settlements, we hear nothing of any campaign to boycott French products for singling out a particular religious minority. What if they had banned the wearing of yarmulkes?

The President recently remarked that “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon [Martin],” the young African American recently killed by an overzealous member of a “neighborhood patrol.” One wonders what it takes to get the President to notice a victim of a vicious racist murder that doesn’t involve someone who looks like a member of his own family. Al Sharpton and MSNBC may not be whipping the public up into a frenzy over the murder of Shaima Alawadi, but then again, that’s a good reason to notice it, and come out with a strong statement against this kind of hate. President George W. Bush, for all the evil he wrought, had the moral sense to condemn the sentiments that motivated Shaima’s killer (or killers) the moment they reared their ugly heads. Will Obama have the basic decency to do the same? Or is he so afraid of the zombies who believe he’s a secret Muslim that he doesn’t dare speak up?

I’m betting on the latter, but I’m open to being surprised.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].