The Politics of hookah
Lounge and City of Seattle.
Hookahs are the Middle Eastern water
pipes used for smoking flavored tobacco, and the Health risks from smoking
aside; the city believes the lounges are also magnets for violent crime.
The recent press release of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is trying to close all
the city's hookah lounges have created a wave of anger from civil right
leaders and a community activist. Most business owners work hard, care for
their families pay their taxes, and obey the law. Closing the hookahs real
change for our society will not come to curve violence and gang related
crimes. Using the Hookahs lounge as scapegoat for our social problems; is
going to reinforcing the existing stereotype that the East Africa
immigrant community as a trouble makers and shifts the problem to
encourage to flourish underground activities.
On the contrary for some community
activist it became an urgent calling that they feel all business must be
shut down to turn back this tide violence.
As concerned citizen to their community they have to handle their
move with care and patience as this unfortunate addictive substance
continued to batter our community like freak act of nature and has become
Achilles heel of the community. By the same token, according the recent
Press release is nothing but political decoys that would pit one community
to another community that none of us wanted to tear up against each other.
The Mayor and his supporters
including Seattle Police Department Chief O’ Toole and few council
members and alleged selected community members are linking the violent
incidents to Hookah Lounges since 2012. The crackdown has support among
members of the community on religious, health and moral ground.
What is great about America is we
are not guided by religion nor by moral conviction but by the rule of law.
After Donald Chin's death must be investigated and City of Seattle
must use and mobilize all the resource to apprehend the criminal thugs.
Because it happened near hookah lounges and linking without verifiable
evidence is truly mind boggling and has created discontent and mistrust
among those communities and business owners. What the mayor needs to help
the community is invite all community leaders, civic organizations and
known community activists who
are fare minded with vision instead of listening from few who wants to use
this unfortunate social problem to advance their career in the Mayor
We need a panel discussion and
concurrently create a task force to present the endemic social problems
that our youths to escape the hard, bleak lives that many of them still
face. We can lift their hopes and restore their dreams. When
we have the courage to face the truth about our failure and looked at our
failure and say this is not why we are and we are better than that. We
have to acknowledge the roots of our youth pain of false arrest and police
brutality. We became victims of homicide and there are more East African
men in corrections system than in our collages and unacceptable economic
disparity and unfair in terms of employment are the issue that we must
fight. Closing the hookah
lounges is not a solution for our youth failure such an action only makes
them to mushroom underground.
Let’s demonstrate our commitment
that we must focus on education and economic opportunity that are
necessary precondition and fight for more funds to navigate the youth to
the right truck. Today, we face a choice between overcoming our failure
and live up to our best ideas, move forward and restore the pride and
optimism of our immigrant youth, or simply give up on our noble
We should defend our community
business owner who have lived by the rule and find alternative choices to
support their families. Closing
their business must not be a remedy to our problems. We are creating more
blink future to those business owners who have invested a lot for
realization of American dream.
We urgently need leadership that,
closely attuned that better reflects our values and interest and follow
through on hard decisions instead of being used as parrot.
Ethiopian Observer editor,
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