Parents of a fallen Pakistani-American US Army Captain, Mr. Khizr Khan and his wife, speaking at the DNC Convention, July 2016, waving a pamphlet version of the US Constitution at Donald Trump
Maybe even 50-60 years from now, Americans will still be talking about this speech, given by a Muslim whose son died fighting, in Iraq. History, poignant history got made in that cavernous auditorium, in the most spectacular way.
It is amazing how the man, a Pakistani American named Khizr Khan and his wife, Ghazala, held it together and remained stoic all the while that he spoke, his wife looking up at him from time to time, a mixture of concern and devotion in her eyes. I believe that their dignity added to the impact of his speech.
After he had said what he had come to say, all hell broke loose. The talk shows united on one thing – that Mr Khan struck a chord within all who watched him speak, even many Republicans who were watching the convention. I am certain that the volume of tears shed by Americans during Mr Khan’s amazing address would be enough to fill up a football stadium.
Here’s what Capt. Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan did for America, as per the citation that his parents received from the US Army…..
In 2004, Khan was assigned to the 201st Forward Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division in Vilseck, Germany, when he was deputed to Iraq.
Three months into his tour of duty in Iraq, on June 8 near Baqubah, Khan was inspecting a guard post when they observed a taxicab approaching too quickly, raising concerns that it was going to ram the guard rails and detonate an explosive device. Ordering his subordinates away from the vehicle, Khan ran forward 10–15 steps to the taxi to caution it to slow down.
His suspicions turned out to be well founded. The car turned out not to be just another taxi. It was in fact driven by a suicide bomber and had been rigged with a powerful remote-controlled explosive device which went off the moment Khan came close. He caught the blast before it could reach the gates or the nearby mess hall where hundreds of soldiers were eating breakfast.
By that single act of bravery, Capt. Humayun Khan probably saved 100-200 Americans that day. He rests at the Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia, USA. That he has not been cited for the Medal of Honor for his heroic act of sacrifice is inexplicable. (Not that it matters to someone who is dead).
For those interested to lay flowers there, the location of his grave is identified below….
KHAN, HUMAYUN SAQIB MUAZZAM
CPT US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 09/09/1976
DATE OF DEATH: 06/08/2004
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 7986
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Fresh flowers around Capt. Humayun Khan’s gravestone, emblazoned with the Islamic crescent moon and star, in a sea of crosses. Acknowledging a hero’s faith is a sign of greatness in a nation. The Arlington National Cemetery is known to Americans as the saddest acre in America and those who visit it find a sign at the gate that reads…’These are hallowed grounds’
It does not matter that no one paused a moment to consider that Capt. Humayun Khan died fighting a war that is now universally recognized as an insanely unjust and unnecessary war – one which has left the Middle-East in tatters – a war whose incomprehensibility shocks us and makes us wonder why those leaders who started it have not only not been convicted of war crimes and horrendous human rights abuses, but they are today walking freely among us, proud strutting puffed up men, holding forth on the lecture circuit on how they brought democracy to the Muslim world, with not a shred of remorse evident in them.
It does not matter that Capt. Khan fought on the side of those aggressors, for something as blatantly and ludicrously facile as what its military code name suggested – ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’.
I am confused – ultimately what does the his father’s speech at the DNC Convention show us about America? That this is a Muslim whose son was willing to martyr himself for America and not the kind that Donald Trump demonizes?
Or does it show America up as a nation that repeatedly and needlessly sends its young into the jaws of death, training them to kill on its orders thousands of innocents, a majority of whom have never lifted a finger to hurt it?
I wonder how Capt. Khan’s father’s speech will be received by Muslims, within America and without – the one’s that Mr Khan appears to to want to represent? Some will surely tear up like the rest of us, but there will be many in the Muslim world who will dismiss the death of Capt Humayun Khan as something that he had coming to him. After all, Capt. Khan was not forcibly drafted – he chose to enlist.
I don’t know, help me out here – if the parents of a foot soldier in Genghiz Khan’s western divisions or Attila the Hun’s hordes made a speech about how their son gave up his life in the effort to subjugate and annihilate the overrun territories, were the audience then supposed to tear up?
After all, if we look closely, there is no difference between that Hun horseman in Attila’s legions and Capt Humayun Khan. One died securing the fig orchards in overrun Anatolia and the other gave his life guarding the billion dollar no-bid reconstruction contracts for the Bechtels and the Haliburtons.
Or is the message hidden inside Mr Khan’s address, telling us that sacrifice, any sacrifice, is noble? That war, any war and dying in that war, is a heroic thing and must be honored, regardless of whether the hero fought for the invaders or the invaded?
“You have made no sacrifice, you have lost no one,” says the bereaved Mr. Khan to Donald Trump, making it seem like there is no difference between a just and an unjust war, as if being martyred is all that matters.
In that case, what was the difference between the Capt. Khan who fought with the Americans and those other Khans who fight with the Taliban?
When will America start seeing the bigger picture, instead of playing to the gallery every time?
Am I the only one who refuses to tear up at a PR exercise?