Saturday, June 04, 2016

Muhammad Ali

What Muhammad Ali meant to many Arabs and Muslims is something that many Americans won't understand or realize. He was not a mere sports figure, as he was here in the US.  For many people in the Third World, he was the American black hero, not Martin Luther King, who supported the war in Vietnam and who supported Israeli wars and occupation, and who seemed always afraid of the reaction of the White Man.  Martin Luther King was someone who would heap praise on Lyndon Johnson, knowing that Johnson was still referring to blacks as niggers.  Martin Luther King was the ideal hero for the White Man (and I don't mean to denigrate his I have a Potato speech): of what a black hero should be like, while Muhammad Ali was someone who was a hero for the natives everywhere in the world.  He stood up to American racism here at home, and against US imperialist racist wars overseas.  I grew up in a home where Nasser and Muhammad Ali were the greatest heroes.  The era of defeats began in 1967, but also was marked by the defeat of Ali at the hands of Frazer in 1971.  I remember in my school bus: the Muslims supported Muhammad Ali, while Christians supported his opponent, and they still referred to Ali as Casius.  There were clashes over that in my school bus.  Muhammad Ali was challenging and defiant but none threatening, which explains that the way American white audiences were amused by him.  His defeat at the hands of Frazer was not in the same league with the 1967 defeat, but it was in the same line of an era of defeats which was suffered by Arabs, until the Israeli occupiers were humiliatingly kicked out of South Lebanon in 2000, and later humiliated again and more in 2006, and the humiliation of the Israeli occupation army in Gaza in recent years.  Muhammad Ali was also the first Muslim who didn't scare Americans--and Americans are still scared by Muslims.

PS Man/Woman: those two man were most photogenic.  Not one bad picture for any of them.