“The Crossing” by Ruben Martinez

The essay “The Crossing,” adapted by Ruben Martinez from his novel Burning Sand, describes a divider between two nations. Ruben Martinez, a son of a Mexican American father and an El Salvadorian mother, speaks how he had to overcome the biggest obstacles in order to save the life of his fellow country man, Victor. “The line” he is talking about is the border between Mexico and El Salvador. It is a “line” that brings with it so many opportunities and also serves as barricade to many civilians. “The line” refers to Ruben Martinez’s decision on whether he should or should not help this struggling immigrant by the name Victor. He is contemplating on transporting this fellow Salvadorian to liberty, especially because he is suffering from diabetic and needs an emergency. He is driven by the urge to save this man, but also he knows that this patient is an illegal immigrant, and he is aware of the circumstances that come with transporting and aiding an illegal alien. Most likely he will be confined in a jail. Morally, he comes to a decision of saving this man’s life, even if the law might chastise him for this. The general view of this story is the need of saving, protecting and valuing of a human life despite the consequences that may be brought along. Both terrorism and the fight against terrorism present a substantial danger to human life and existence. The topic of terrorism has become of obsessive interest in the United States of America since the September 11 attacks, guiding the military and overseas guiding principles of the United States and holding its citizens in a thrall. At the same time, large numbers of innocent civilians especially women and children in the Middle East have been kidnapped and killed all in the name of terrorism. The United States of America should stop the war against terrorism as it is costly for us.


The fight against terrorism has denied the rights of the innocent people in the Arab countries. The U.S soldiers have taken advantage of the course of war and engaged in other inhuman activities such as rape, kidnap and molesting of people who may not be even related to terrorism. The topic is of much importance to us as we can dig deeper to the causes and impacts of terrorism. The United States regimes have never conceded that its decades of intrusion in the Middle East were the principal factors for being of al- Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and the growth of terrorism. Washington is unaware of the link- and certainly of the dominance of its past provocations in the region. In this era of corporate mass media dominance and increased government deception, the truth has remained hidden from many people. There are crucial decisions that were implemented in the past decades by the U.S government that changed the opinion of the public in the Arab countries against the U.S and chiefly generated the circumstances that led to the establishment of suicide bombers, al Qaeda, and the jihadist warriors. One of the decisions was made immediately after the World War II. In 1945, the U.S decided to extend its authority and control throughout the Middle East, so that to hinder the firm occupation and progress of its wartime ally, the Soviet Union. The goal of America since that period has been aimed at the establishment of a control over the petroleum rich region to ensure the global supremacy of America (Rashid 78).

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Causes and the Impacts of terrorism

To realize these goals, the U.S entered deals with conservative monarchies in the regions, such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, securing them permanent dynasties and giving them military protection in return for allegiance and concessions on supply of oil.  For instance, after the people of Iran voted for a democratic regime, nationalized the country’s extensive oil reserves, and set up a republic government instead of the monarchy in 1951, the Great Britain together with the United States instigated a drive for a gory regime change that defeated democracy and reinstated to power the vile Shah of Iran by 1953 (Smith n.pag).  Washington stifled social progress and democracy by constant interference with the monarchies and republics through protecting, supporting and enriching those who bent towards its authority, such as Egypt. On the other hand, it undermined nations like Iran and Syria who leaned left and insisted on continuing independence from their domination. In the course of attaining dominance over most governments in the Middle East; as a result, most of them have remained autocratic, masses of people in the region have been alienated by the United States. In response, there has been a creation of Islamic resistance filling the vacuum and taking up the countrywide fight against the domination by America and undemocratic rule. A relatively small fraction of these movements is influenced by severe fundamentalists’ ideologies, while a small portion has joined the jihad which was started by Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda.

The United States had successfully created the Muslim and Arab antipathy towards the U.S by totally supporting Israel to the disadvantage of the people of Palestine, especially after the June 1967 battle, when Palestinian territory was invaded and occupied by Israel (Nojumi 53). This led to the formation of fundamentalist Islamic groups, offering to bomb themselves in New York and Israel, after they rejected the anticipation of a Palestinian nation, and justice for people dreading imperialism. The Arab world has agreed to stabilize relations with Israel only if Tel Aviv allows the formation of two independent states, one for Palestine. Only U.S has the economic, military, and political capacity to support Israel in suppressing Palestinians. The involvement of the U.S in the Afghan civil war of 1978 after the takeover by the communists People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan caused misery to many civilians. The U.S supporting of the groups led to the Soviet Union sending its troops to help the leftist government, and as a result, it led to the development of groups such as the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda, which Washington supported and financed (Rashid 77). This might have directly led to the September 11 bombings.

Washington’s decision to impose malicious sanctions against Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War contributed unpopularity to the American government. The war, which resulted in humiliation of Iraq for occupation of Kuwait, was meant to make up for the U.S mortifying defeat by Vietnam in 1976. The U.S launched one of the most shocking air assaults in history against Iraq (Crahan 172). Iraqis lost over 200,000 civilians and troops while the number of Washington’s troops who died was 147 (Smith n.pag). According to the former U.S Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the goal of the Iraq war was to cripple the infrastructure of the Iraqis and make their life unsustainable (Clark 216). The decision of invading and bombing Afghanistan, instead of allowing the international police to arrest the al Qaeda after the September 11 attacks further discredited the Bush administration.

I disagree with the continuation of the war against terror because of the harmful impacts it has on society and economy. According to the Deputy Chief Economist for EDC, Glen Hodgson, defense and security expenditure escalated after the September 11 attacks. The U.S spends almost US $ 500 billion annually in preventing and combating terrorism (qtd Zalman n.pag). This money can be used for other necessities such as education and health. The extra securities at borders and ports also increase the time spent in supply chains hence decreasing costs on emerging economies.


In conclusion, the war against terrorism has resulted to misery of innocent people (Crahan 205). It has led to death of many people, increased the number of refugees, destroyed infrastructure and posed negative impacts on the economies. The Iraq war alone has caused death to about 1 million Iraqis and produced almost four million refugees. As a result, the war and sanctions, U.S has murdered 2.5 million Iraqis- nearly 10 percent of the population (Smith n. pag). We therefore, should concede that our past misdeeds in the Arab world are the main causes for the existence of terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda. To stop the terrorism, we should end the wars and pull our troops out of the regions. We should also seek an impartial solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and take actions to ensure Israel’s compliance. Being the super powers, we should allow the concerned countries to solve their social, cultural, and political problems without interference. Finally, we should stop manipulating the Middle East countries to serve our own interests and compensate the concerned people, Iraq in particular. This will bring to end jihadist terrorism and save the taxpayers` money.

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