I attended the conference to which Shadi Hamid referred in his recent column (“Anti-Muslim Sentiment: Troubling and Un-American,” The Hoya, Feb. 7, 2003). There were disgusting, racist bumper stickers, pins and other items for sale for a brief period before intelligent minds were infuriated and forced dealers to take them off their tables. I also attended the anti-war rally on the Mall a few weeks back, but you don’t know that. You don’t know that a dozen students from Georgetown University went to the protest to show support for our troops because it wasn’t reported in the campus newspapers. Several articles applauded the courageous Georgetown students who woke up early to stand with thousands of others against an “evil racist war,” and to say “no blood for oil.” Nothing was printed about the dozen who walked slowly to the front of the protest holding signs bearing red, white and blue, waving American Flags and calmly standing strong amid a sea of dissenters. You don’t know that many Georgetown Students support the belief that we may have to go to war. You don’t know that we’re not Nazis, evil oil barons or members of an international Jewish Zionist conspiracy to take over the world. You don’t know that many of us think carefully and believe that sometimes fighting is a necessary evil.

I’ve been spit at, called a “filthy f-ing Republican,” a “Zionist pig,” a “f-ing moron” and a “racist bastard.” Several members of the protest told me that they hoped I went to Iraq and one woman went so far as to wish me death, declaring that there’d be “one less f-ing Republican in this country.” You’ve been told in class that we shouldn’t go to “war.” I have too. In class, professors have mocked me, alluded to my being an arch evangelical, more specifically, a Southern Baptist supporter. (I’m both Jewish, and from suburban New York). I used to raise my hand at the mere sight of revisionist history teaching on our campus, but I’m growing tired of the mockery and I-get-the-last-word-it’s-my-show responses. The most common response I’ve gotten is one of sympathy. People feel bad for me because, apparently, I’ve been brainwashed by an evil establishment, or conspiracy, or something – whatever it is, it’s evil. I couldn’t help but shake my head as a young man, one of 10,000 carrying a “no blood for oil” sign, told me to think for myself.

A law school professor told me that many religious leaders oppose the war. Religious leaders, especially a lot of them, must be right, because God told them so. I must admit, the stickers and posters look really cool, too. I must also admit that I actually don’t want to blow up that sweet looking Iraqi girl. I’m opposed to racism, so I guess I’m against the racist war, I just don’t know what the racist war is, exactly, or where it is, for that matter. I’m not surprised by the overall reaction to my belief that we may have to go to war in Iraq, just surprised by the venom with which the responses have been delivered. Opposing the war is very this-season, but agreeing en masse is always in season.

Shadi, I don’t think you should be surprised by the anti-Muslim Sentiment, and it’s very American, as is the current so-called “anti-war,” movement. The pages of American history are drenched with racism, hatred and fashionable mass movements with severe political consequences. I’m sorry that you heard about the speck of racism at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and now you’ve heard about the ocean of anger in which I live, learn and express my views.

David Benjamin is a sophomore in the College.

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