Yorba Linda: My city of hate

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?

Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 13 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Avi says:

    Is it possible that the Palestinain boy who was staying with the Christian couple was not ‘visible’ to people in the town?

    That is to say, most Americans have certain preconceived notions about people from the Middle East. For example, in many parts of the US, Hindus from India are often mistaken for Muslims because they are dark skinned.

    In addition, many Americans think that all Muslim women wear a veil, a Hijab or even a Burq’a. So, when they see a Middle Eastern woman dressed in casual jeans — for example — their perceptions prevent them from associating her with the Middle East, you know, the hordes of threatening Muslims.

    These are all caricatures that the vast majority of Americans have in their heads.

    So, is it possible that the Palestinian boy ‘got away with it’, if you will — wasn’t harassed or intimidated — because he looked rather light-skinned and lived in a nice house?

    At the same time, many people have this duality where they think that”Oh, you’re Muslim/Arab? Well, I have nothing against you as a person. It’s just that Muslims/Arabs in other countries don’t like our way of life. But, you obviously do because you live here“.

    Then there are others who claim to not harbor any ill feelings toward a people of certain ethnic or religious background, but that they hate or abhor the ideas that those people might hold, ideas such as adhering to one religion or another.

    That’s a common theme now in Europe where many pundits and agitators are claiming they have nothing against Muslims as a people. Their only concern — so they claim — is that Islam as a religion is repressive and regressive. So out of the goodness of their hearts, they are concerned — again, so they claim — and believe that it’s best if Muslims listened to them, the ‘enlightened’ Europeans, and abandoned their faith.

    This tactic is also a backdoor way to peddle bigotry and hatred under the guise of sound civilized or academic debate.

    • Yeah, these are good points. On the first one, I think so. The husband has a Palestinian accent but I guess because he’s Christian he doesn’t catch flack, and I think the fact that they live in a nice gated community helped the boy fly under the radar so to speak.

      I’ve seen both America and Europe now. I moved to London for my masters, and I’ve also been to Sweden and Denmark. They are much more academic about it, but the discrimination in Europe is far worse than America. There’s laws in most of Europe against building mosques. They’re illegal to build in Denmark for example. Switzerland made them illegal. And you’re right, the academics are much more nuanced with their rhetoric until you realize they’re fascists.

  2. mig says:

    Little of topic, but in Lebanon i found out ( reminds me from this veil thing ), muslims attitude with alcohol. Usually we have learned that muslims dont drink alcohol at all. Well few times i saw something quite opposite. Before we closed the gate, local guys drove a car to us. And in the car was 2 lebanese guys a whiskey bottle in hand, saying that they are going to Beirut & having a good time. So there went non-alcohol theme into the trash can in a flash.

    Stereotypes are based on a fiction, while reality is different.

    • Avi says:

      I have attended a wedding once, a Palestinian Muslim wedding. Amid the singing, dancing and jubilation, quite a few young people (18 – 30) broke out the alcohol and drank it openly. So yeah, I know exactly what you mean.

  3. Wow, Avi, nice of you to classify and generalize about 300 million Americans. This is the arrogance of the left. Only you have morals. Only you respect human rights. Only you are supposedly not bigoted (except when it comes to Israel, of course)

    Millions of those so-called dark skinned people risk their lives to come to the USA. How many risk their lives to go to Muslim countries? Why is that? Do these people know something you don’t?

    • Avi says:

      Wow, Avi, nice of you to classify and generalize about 300 million Americans.

      You seem to have reading comprehension issues.

      1. I wrote that most Americans have ……
      2. Polls indicate that a majority of Americans have such pre-conceived notions, thus corroborating my evaluation.
      3. My perceptions are based on experience, as well.

      This is the arrogance of the left.

      What left? I’m not a leftist, certainly not by Israeli or American standards. Leftists in Israel are people like Livni who was speaking about the necessity of bombing Gaza as the army was massacring hundreds of Palestinian children. No. I don’t want to be among that kind of “left”.

      I do, however, advocate for the respect of human rights and civil rights. And when you say “left”, is that supposed to be in the context of American politics or Israeli politics?

      Only you have morals. Only you respect human rights.

      Well, so far you’ve only posted comments in which you run interference for Israel’s brutal and criminal policies, so I don’t see how you can parade yourself as some kind of clarion for human rights.

      Millions of those so-called dark skinned people risk their lives to come to the USA. How many risk their lives to go to Muslim countries?

      Millions? By that you are referring to Mexicans? In that case, I think geography is to blame as Mexicans would have to either swim or fly to get to a Muslim country.

      I hate to disappoint you, but there are no “Muslim countries” in North America.

      Why is that? Do these people know something you don’t?

      Ahhh, so this is what you were getting at in that introductory paragraph of yours in which you whined about being ‘excluded’ from the Respect for Human Rights Club, eh? You were working your way to make a point about them racist, anti-Semitic, backward Muslims. I got your number.

  4. annie says:

    this is a really sad post. the whole situation w/these freaks is depressing.

  5. annie says:

    max blumenthal has an excellent video up. a current interview w/Maya Berry about this hate group in yorba linda and the demonization of muslims. it’s a must read/must see (video).

    don’t miss it.

    • Potsherd2 says:

      Yep, there are those Israeli flags.

      First, Zionists hijack a religious symbol, then they turn it into a symbol of hate.

      In Israel, they spraypaint the star on the doors of Arab houses, just like the Nazis painted swastikas on the doors of Jews. How soon til the American Kristallnacht?

      • annie says:

        Billed as a “Patriotic Rally,” the anti-Muslim demonstration was organized by official hate group leader Pam Geller, Tea Party outfits including the North Orange County Conservative Coalition and We Surround Them OC 912; and Rabbi David Eliezrie of the Yorba Linda chapter of Chabad-Lubavitch, a messianic Orthodox Jewish group. Though Chabad does not make its political positions explicit, I have learned through first hand experience how extreme its leadership is, especially in Southern California.

        …….

        Chabad’s Rabbi Eliezrie appeared at the Yorba Linda hate rally with an Israeli flag in one hand and an American flag in the other. Other participants displayed the Israeli flag as well. In fact, the Israeli flag seemed to be peeking out from a cluster of American flags that formed the backdrop for speakers including Republican Rep’s Ed Royce and Gary Miller, who both railed against the Muslim presence in Orange County. At 4:06 in the video, the crowd can be seen hectoring a Muslim couple with the chant, “We support Israel!” As even Haaretz has noticed, the Israeli flag is becoming a key symbol for a trans-Atlantic neo-fascist axis that thrives on violent resentment towards Muslim and Arab immigrants. Given the ethnocratic basis of the Israeli state and the country’s settler-colonial ethos, the trend is not ironic or very surprising.

        yeah. awesome post he’s got there.

    • Thanks for the link. I too immediately was reminded of the video I saw of the Little Rock 9.

  6. Mooser says:

    “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.”

    Gee, why do I think that with just a little adjustment, you’ll do fine in Yorba Linda. Frankly, I wouldn’t be caught dead living in or scoring drugs in your lousy parks!