This is awful. The Yorba Linda Community Center, where that hate-filled anti-Muslim rally took place, is literally less than 5 minutes from my mom's house in Yorba Linda.
It's where I live when I'm back in the States. It feels humiliating and horrifying that this evil is happening in my home town. It also makes me really angry that outside agitators like Pamela Gellar are riling up my city and making it harder for the Muslims there to have a decent and normal life. How dare such people invade other people's peace.
There was a boy from Gaza injured in an Israeli attack a few years ago, who was being taken care of by a family in Yorba Linda while he received medical treatments.
The father of the family is Palestinian and the mother was a white American, both Christian, and they had their mixed race children.
My mom showed me a story about them in the Orange County Register, and I asked her if she could contact the author of the story for me and see if I can meet the family. This was a few days before I was flying to London for my graduate program.
When I met the family and the boy it was really nice.
They lived in a nice gated neighbourhood in Yorba Linda, and I thought to myself, things are actually changing. Nobody is saying this boy is a terrorist and should go back to Hamas or anything like that. And I was shocked the story got sympathetic treatment in the ultra right wing Orange County Register, which actually run uncharacteristically fair and sympathetic portraits of Palestinian suffering in relation to Israeli violence.
But when I watched that video I felt like all the progress that had been made was down the drain.
In fact in Anaheim which is about 10 minutes away from Yorba Linda, there is a neighbourhood called "Little Gaza". There is a huge Arab community in Anaheim there: businesses and everything, many Palestinians, so that's why they call it that.
But Anaheim is a pretty poor and sometimes dangerous area, Yorba Linda is an upper class almost entirely white neighborhood. There are some wealthy Muslim families and wealthy Latinos who live there.
It's a city where there are horse paths and people have horse stables in their backyards. These same people who seem so nice and down to earth are also whipped up by constant fear and hatred by the right wing talk shows and fox news and their politicians, like my congressman Ed Royce who was speaking there that day at that hateful rally. It's humiliating to even say that I'm this bigot's constituent.
Mr. Royce also sends out campaign leaflets of him on the US/Mexico border with the Border Agency wearing camouflage clothing and night vision goggles. So he's no stranger to exploiting hate for votes.
Also, the Richard Nixon library is 5 minutes down the street. When I was back in Yorba Linda over Christmas I visited there. It has great historical value, but the people working there are still as deluded as Nixon was. I talked to a woman at the desk and she basically said Nixon was set up and he was innocent and a good man for peace. She said liberals hate him because he brought peace to Vietnam and all over the world. It's a city of white delusion which is scared of a world which is changing around them. So, they try to best to maintain their fantasy of a pure White Christian America which never existed.
It's sad because on some level I love and miss Orange County especially Yorba Linda. It's one of the few cities I know of in Southern California which has parks that people besides homeless people and drug addicts go to. Its parks, its walking paths, its open green spaces. But how can a city which is so beautiful be so ugly?