Letter from a new friend

March 27, 2010

In Letters To Finkelstein

Dear Dr. Finkelstein,

I hope this letter finds you in good health.

I am a Saudi students currently pursuing my studies here in the US (Colorado in specific) and I am aiming to become a journalist. This past year I have had to deal with many issues that made it literally the worst year of my entire life. I lost my best friend in a car accident that happened on campus, that triggered inherited clinical depression which was diagnosed only about a year later, I started taking medication in hopes of trying to do well in school where at the time. I have been doing engineering while having a scholarship with a Saudi oil company. Even they knew I was ill and all they still kicked me out for having bad grades. Even though I got them letters from my caregivers that I was not doing well in school. Anyways, I have taken this opportunity to pursue my dream of being a journalism writer. My precursor was doing well in the TOEFL test required to enter colleges in English-speaking nations. I have been writing ever since.

I still get bouts of despair from time to time. I have not been supported by any of the administrators who could make my grades vanish and get a medical withdrawal in order to transfer to my desired university. The admission people at the other university are even worse. Despite what happened with me all their focus is purely in terms of grades and they cannot trust that I can do well if they admit me right away due to my “downhill trend” in grades. Even though the courses that I did badly in would not have been useful at all over there. It seems like they care more about GPAs than seeing me for who I am and giving me a fair shot at my dream. Being in my current institution has only been contributing to my deteriorating mental health and I might be forced to transfer and after taking one or two more semester here. I do not feel like I would be able to do well, mainly because I feel repulsed by the institution and my colleagues here. The only thing that is good about it is that my loving fiancee is here.

It just seems like the entire world is against me and like I am doing my part but the rest are not doing theirs to aid me.

I happened to stumble upon the clip of your talk at the University of Waterloo and I could not believe what I have seen. I then saw American Radical and viewed more clips and articles about you and your conflict with Dershowitz in specific. I do not how you can stand it when people keep accusing you of untrue accusations when they are the ones who seem to be talking nonsense, even your debaters. I have been dabbling with politics for some time and it is another thing that I had forced on me. For you see my grandfather had been arrested by the Saudi government at some point in the sixties accusing him of being a Communist and his brother was tortured to death by them. His remains were never found. Furthermore, I come from a Shi’ite family and city and I am discriminated against in Saudi Arabia for being one, even though I do not even practice anything. We are being discriminated against in terms of full rights and to not be treated as second-class citizens. There isn’t even any form of acknowledgment of our existence. AlQaeda and such other Sunni-extremists want me dead more than any Jew or Christian.

Because I have a Saudi passport, I have to go through a secondary inspection every time I land at a US border and get me registered and have hours of my life taken from me. I would have to be escorted by a DHS officer and that makes me look like a criminal in public view. I am discriminated everywhere I head because of two things that I feel like I am not. I do not even feel like I am a Saudi and I do not feel like I belong from anywhere else, either. To me it is the worst thing that a human being can feel, to not belong anywhere. The most I feel belonging to is here in Colorado yet I am here on a temporary basis and I will have to go back to Saudi after my studies are over. After all this I would have given up on anyone and everything and on life in general. What I have seen from you made me feel otherwise. Even though you have been discriminated against and had your right to tenure denied and and having your career decided for you by so-called “intellectuals”, you still have not given up on the message you are trying to spread. Naturally I am opposed to Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians but it was never a blind opinion with me. I was not an obligatory opinion forced on me by default just for being an Arab “Muslim”. I actually looked up all that was necessary for me to have a good understanding of the situation. Other Shia from my city do not like Palestinians for the mere reason that they think Palestinians hate the Shia even though Iran, which has a Shi’ite leadership and majority, opposes Israel and supports Palestine. I have seen how ignorant and shallow people can be first hand. Despite all the bad publicity I can still distinguish right from wrong, yet I cannot fathom how your opponents think that they are right about what they state and how they think it is preposterous that you think that they are wrong. Your perseverance has inspired me and given me hope in humanity again. I will keep trying to accomplish my goal without leaving any stone unturned. I do not know if you would ever be in Denver but I would love to attend a lecture or debate where you would make an appearance.

I wish you the best and I hope that people can open up their minds and see how much dirt they have been fed.


The Eternal Discriminatee