Arab American Congresswomen Combatting Excesses of Power and Wealth – the U.S. President and Amazon's Bezos
By: John Mason/ Arab America Contributing Writer
This past week, we were confronted by an insurrectionist raid on our nation’s capital by Trump-directed white domestic terrorists attempting to bring down the Government. We were also faced with the continuing tragic pandemic of COVID-19, during which certain corporations rake in huge profits off its employees, while making them unsafe. Directly combatting these two travesties are Arab American Congresswomen, Ilhan Omar and Rashid Tlaib. Here, we look at those courageous acts by two treasured Arab American women.
Rep. Omar drawing up new articles of impeachment against President Trump
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar communicated that she is drafting articles of impeachment following the attack on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday. Lawmakers were in the ‘twixt of certifying President-elect Biden’s win, when the attack sent them scurrying to safety for their lives. According to the Nexstar Media Wire, Omar tweeted, “Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate.” Furthermore, she noted, “We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath.”
Omar has joined a growing group of Democrats who are backing the impeachment initiative even as the security staff was still clearing the Capitol building of its trespassers. On the day of the attack, last Wednesday, she stressed to reporters, “Rest assured, this day will not end without us finishing the work Congress is supposed to carry out.” And, “We will not let our Constitution be trampled on by a mob and threatened by a tyrant. Democracy will prevail.”
It is critical to recall that the rioters were directly influenced by Trump, who has been lying incessantly about the integrity of the November election. Furthermore, he purposely implored his supporters to move into Washington D.C. on Wednesday to riot over Congress’ mostly symbolic function of approving Biden’s win in November. Fittingly, at the moment of the terrorists’ intrusion into the Capitol, some Republican lawmakers were following Trump’s lead by objecting to the election results of President-elect Biden’s victory.
Omar’s contribution to impeachment proceedings is especially important, given the seriousness of this unthinkable challenge to American democracy. Having come from the stateless society of Somalia, she is highly familiar with societies that have broken down due to autocratic leaders and brainwashed cult-like followers who do not understand the consequences of their behavior until it is too late.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib accuses Amazon of profiting during the pandemic while making workers unsafe
While her Arab sister, Ilhan, was combatting executive authority of the U.S. President, Palestinian Arab American Michigan Rep., Rashida Tlaib was railing against the injustices of corporate America. Recently, Tlaib, along with a host of other lawmakers, attacked Amazon and Jeff Bezos for profiting disproportionately during the pandemic, while endangering its frontline workers in the workplace. The Hamilton Business Week reported, “The continued disregard by Amazon of its workers’ well-being and safety must be exposed,” said Tlaib. “Amazon was not properly cleaning its facilities,” she claimed. Her comments followed her open letter to Bezos.
Tlaib indicated that she regularly hears from Amazon staff who work in her congressional district, which she says is the third poorest district in the country. She added, “The fact that Amazon continues to make billions in profit, especially during a pandemic, while skirting taxes and while their employees are forced to work in unsafe conditions, demonstrates that this company will not do what is right without workers organizing to make them.” Tlaib also noted that in a visit to an Amazon facility in her district, there was a “lack of precautions and resources they provided to their employees to protect from COVID-19.”
In response to Tlaib’s inquiries, Amazon said it would spend $10 billion on initiatives to deal with COVID-19, so that its employees would be safe and, of course, continue to get their products to its customers. On another point, Tlaib complained that Amazon has benefitted enormously by its exceptionally low tax bill. She averred, “They must pay their fair share in taxes to support the infrastructure they thoroughly enjoy and reform their wasteful practices that accelerate climate change.”
So, we see here, two Arab American women making vital contributions to their country via their roles as congressional representatives. They are part of a younger group of representatives who are promoting a progressive agenda in the House of Representatives. By “progressive,” we mean taking care of citizens who have been left out of the mainstream economy, citizens suffering from poor health conditions and services, and those who are disenfranchised from the right to vote. Bravo, Ilhan and Rachid!
“Rep. Omar says she’s drawing up new articles of impeachment against President Trump,” Nexstar Media Wire 1/6/2021
“Rashida Tlaib accuses Amazon of profiting during the pandemic while neglecting workers,” Hamilton Business Week 12/4/2020
John Mason, PhD., who focuses on Arab culture, society, and history, is the author of LEFT-HANDED IN AN ISLAMIC WORLD: An Anthropologist’s Journey into the Middle East, New Academia Publishing, 2017. He did fieldwork in an east Libyan Saharan oasis and has taught at the University of Libya, Benghazi, Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and the American University in Cairo. John served with the United Nations as an official in Tripoli, Libya, and consulted extensively on socioeconomic and political development for USAID, the UN, and the World Bank in 65 countries.
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