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February 7, 2006

On 'Who Is An American'

Topics: Liberty

I received an email this morning from an Iranian member of a forum I follow routinely (the message was also in Farsi) that was passing along an inspirational article supposedly written by an Australian dentist. It says that in Pakistan, a published report said there was a reward available to anyone who killed an American so the dentist wrote the article so that they would know one when they saw one - the article goes on to describe the ethnic and religious diversity as well as the character of Americans.

Although the article is indeed beautiful and inspirational, and certainly worthy of being posted again and passed around - especially in the light (darkness may be a much better word) of what is going on in the world today, the source and timing of the article as stated in the email is simply - not true. Before we get to the truth, here's the article as it appeared in the email:

You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American. So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is so they would know when they found one.

An American is English, French, Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani, or Afghan. An American may also be a Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses. An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each man and woman to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need. When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. The best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes.

Americans welcome the best, but they also welcome the least. The national symbol of America welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America. Some of them were working in the Twin Towers in the morning of September 11, earning a better life for their families. [I've been told that the people in the Towers were from at least 30, and maybe many more, other countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.]

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

So look around you. You may find more Americans in your land than you thought were there. One day they will rise up and overthrow the old, ignorant, tired tyrants that trouble too many lands. Then those lands, too, will join the community of free and prosperous nations. And America will welcome them!

Pass this around the World!

As I said in the introduction, truly beautiful, inspiring, and worthy of being passed around - although I doubt the Islamothugs around the world will understand or appreciate it. But as I also said, the source of the article stated in the email isn't accurate. The article was originally published in National Review on 25 September 2001. It was written by Peter Ferrara, an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law (link to exact article sourced at The part in brackets was added by someone else.

I'm surprised by how many blogs I found this on that had simply passed along the mythical source.

But please, pass this around anyway.

Posted by Richard at February 7, 2006 8:32 AM

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