Sunday, January 16, 2005

Welcome to America, Ahmad Al-Qloushi

One of the most delightful things about living in the United States is meeting immigrants who love this country. It opens my eyes like like nothing else to some of the things that are easy to take for granted.

One day a colleague and I were discussing the disgusting revenge-motivated murder of a Sikh shortly after 9/11. He of course agreed the murder was despicable. But he commented that the United States was the most tolerant country he had ever lived in, as compared to the sectarian violence he had seen elsewhere. It was a nice comment.

Today I read the story of Ahmad Al-Qloushi, a 17 year old Kuwaiti student at Foothills College in Los Altos, CA. Here is what he thinks about the United States:
I love this country for the freedom it provides and for rescuing Kuwait’s liberty in the first Gulf War. 12 Years later, America once again has selflessly protected my country and my people by removing Saddam Hussein.
That kind of stuff warms my heart.

All is not well for Ahmad, though. As reported by the Washington Times, it seems he is having trouble with his “Introduction to American Government and Politics" professor, Joseph A. Woolcock:
A 17-year-old Kuwaiti student whose uncles were kidnapped and tortured by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's invaders more than a decade ago said his California college political science professor failed him for praising the United States in a final-exam essay last month.
Ahmad says,
Professor Woolcock verbally attacked me and my essay. He told me, “Your views are irrational.” He called me naïve for believing in the greatness of this country, and told me "America is not God's gift to the world." Then he upped the stakes and said "You need regular psychotherapy."
Now of course, as Paul at Wizbang points out, all we have to go on at this point is Ahmad's word. Woolcock has not told his side of the story. Indeed, maybe it was just a lousy essay and deserved a failing grade.

Well I found the essay online and read it myself. Here's a sample:
[T]he great men of America like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson...paved the way for what America is today the country of opportunity and freedom. These men were men of nationalism and men who took great pride in formulating what is today the greatest country in the world and thank god that it is so. Because of America the world is free. America vanquished Nazi Germany. America helped establish the great nation of Israel a democratic society in a troubled region. America freed Japan and South Korea. America freed Kuwait and now is currently in a fight to free Iraq and its 25,000,000 residents and vanquish the tyranny and monstrosity of Saddam Hussein. The US constitution and the Founding Fathers helped build the foundation to which all this was established.
Great stuff, if I say so myself. If I were grading the essay, I would pick a few nits, such as the unnecessary use of all caps for emphasis, and a couple of sentence structure problems. But it certainly does not rate a failing grade.

Read it and decide for yourself.

And Ahmad, please accept my welcome to America. The academic America-haters around you are an influential but tiny minority. Don't let them grind you down.

UPDATE: On the other hand, Steven Taylor at Poliblog, a real life Political Science professor and no Moonbat, gives Ahmad's essay a D. I still like it, but what do I know?

UPDATE 2, February 17: More than a month after this item was originally posted, I am now seeing lots of search engine hits on this page. Interesting, I wonder why this is. If you got here via search engine, drop me a line and let me know the reason for the interest. You might also want to link to a more recent posting on Carpe Bonum that links to Woolcock's response.