My sympathy goes to all the victims of yesterday’s Boston Marathon bombing and to all the people who died cross the world in various other bombings in Iraq, Syria, etc… yesterday as well.
I could go on and on about how such acts are those of cowardice but what good would my words do to a country struck by tragedy and to the grieving parents of the people that died yesterday?
However, is it acceptable for the mantra “innocent until proven guilty” to become “an Arab Muslim until proven otherwise” when it comes to any terrorist act taking place anywhere in the world?
Case in point: the following tweets from an American pundit. Do you want to kill all the Muslims too?
Is this even allowed in the case when the bomber turns out to be, in fact, an Arab Muslim?
He later on said that this was “sarcasm.” Though I think his “sarcasm” got lost with bashing the “Islam apologetics.”
That “pundit” is a complete total idiot. I disapprove of the supposed “Arab Muslim culprit until proven otherwise” sentiment, but I can’t say I am as appalled. Let’s face it Elie, have the Saudis – not Average Joe but their rich politically-inclined people – been as positive to us (the West) as say the Danish? The Swedes? The Slovenians? Right.
The reason I mention Saudis is because their influence is actually felt in the West (through terrorism, funding radical mosques and running clandestine fundamentalist schools for teenagers), and inevitably it will translate to dislike of Arab Muslims among some people. In very emotional times, for example a few hours after a terrorist attack, generalizations might kick in.
I’m afraid terrorism will re-occur in the West. Because the extremists hate us, because of American policies in the Middle East and because the West (and mostly the USA) is currently too entangled in this messed up relationship with the untrustworthy Gulf states. This hypocritical and dysfunctional relationship which exists between Western democracies and backward governments in the Gulf will continue to haunt us.
But maybe this time it was just another far-rightist nutjob, or another Oklahoma.
Example: 9/11 didn’t elicit a sentiment of “they had it coming” in the region. People were largely empathic. However, who could have foreseen the entire post 9/11 policy would be largely aimed at these people?
What’s the heavier part to this equation: the policies that have been aimed largely at keeping this region at bay or the people who believe the way to fight those policies is through terrorism?
And do the terrorists of Al Qaeda or whatever group du jour represent their entire religion and ethnicity?
As for the post-9/11 policy I have not a single good word for the neo-conservative politics in the Midde Least. The war against Afghanistan was fully justified in my book, but more than a few (deliberate) errors have been made during and after that.
Those policies may have incited terrorism. But the phenomenon is way older than that and so is the Saudi-sponsored type of terrorism. They did it in the 80s and 90s against the Russians when it was okay to do it. Not just terrorism but spreading their influence. They tried to do the same in the aftermath of the Balkan wars, trying to penetrate more tolerant Muslim countries like Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia. “They” is rather vague, at times it has been the Saudi government, their friends or just rich people with a dirty agenda. As for your question I don’t know which one is heavier. This marriage between the West and those Gulf states is simply terrible. And then of course the Israeli-American relationship is just slightly younger as the Saudi one, I haven’t figured out which one is the mistress.
Obviously Al Qaeda does not represent the entire religion nor the entire ethnicity. But if they commit an actor of terror some people may shout something like “those f*n Muslims”. It’s not nice, and hopefully people come back to their senses, but I can understand it.
As for “keeping the region at bay”. I don’t really agree with that. It’s not like the West is the only one scoring points here. I dare say for some countries – not just Israel – American presence in the region sure is beneficial.
I know the phenomenon of terrorism is older than current times. My point was, sorry for not explaining it well, aren’t current policies alienating the regular folk who were more than empathic to 9/11 and to the Boston bombing and the the London 2005 underground explosion, etc…?
By constantly portraying everyone in this region as “sand niggers” and “terrorists by default,” where do you draw the limit of hate?
We can go on and on about politics and how Al Qaeda is as US made as it is extremist made, if not more. But the true question in the matter is: how should media handle such cases and how should they know the way they are currently handling these things is unacceptable?
This is an interesting article on the matter: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/04/the-saudi-marathon-man.html
That touches another subject. Namely the difference between objective or investigative journalism on the one side and highly opinionated or sensational journalism on the other side.
The end of the cold war saw the US catering to those radical even by Afghan standards, only to push back the already declining Soviet sphere of influence. A few years later the Israelis tried the same: condone the Islamists because the real enemy was surely pan-Arabism. If that’s what you mean with al Qaeda being somewhat American-made I can go along with that. But let’s not kid ourselves. For many Gulf politicians and leaders this situation is a dream coming true. The US supported Iraq against Iran, armed the paper tiger army of king Saud to the teeth and its regional presence is really the only deterrence for a (hopefully very) hypothetical war in the Gulf. Or maybe the Qataris can find more Pakistani mercenaries to fight for them, more Filipinos to clean their mess halls and more Dutch engineers to envision artificial islands in some pompous shape fitting their leaders’ character.I don’t see it as just America keeping the region at bay. That’s really only half of the story for me. They have us by the balls as well: our wahabi “allies” funding mosques and clandestine quran schools here in Europe is still a lot more worrisome to me than Iran getting “the bomb”, and I’m sure they laugh about that. I’m adding to much content here. Sorry for the analysis paralysis.
I’ll stop being so anal now.
Hey Elie, always nice to return to your blog and see such prolific output–you have so much to talk about, you need a tv show! 😀
Now, this is the first time I’ve seen any mention of a Middle Eastern connection to the Boston bombings. The mood on the American street is a pretty simple one of sadness and a little fear…the mass shootings of last year, the continuing violence in our society: can we trust our leaders to lead us in overcoming this? Our president is a weak, indecisive leader. Such uncertain times. I would be extremely surprised if their was an Islamist perpetrator
I’m afraid news outlets were quick to jump on the possibility of a Saudi being linked to the double bombing. Check these: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/04/the-saudi-marathon-man.html and http://publicshaming.tumblr.com/post/48093470152/two-explosives-went-off-at-the-boston-marathon-on
Either ways, politics aside, sorry for what your country went through. To lighten the mood, if you need any pointers on how to deal, I am here 😛
Pointers are welcome! I’m always up for good ol’ Middle Eastern wisdom! I’m positive I’ve never felt the deeper, complex feelings ppl in your corner of world feel, it’s painful to see the regular updates on Syria. In my corner I’m just concerned about our growing MINDLESS culture of violence (whether it’s psychos or the growing cartel presence), and the resistance of many ppl (on The Right) to do anything constructive about it. I say this holding center-right political views myself.
I guess I hadn’t paid close enough attn to the media on their focus on the Saudi victim in Boston’s terror attack. But again. It is these crazy right-wingers focusing on it the most. Outlets like Fox News, New York Post, infowars have a lizard brain appeal to them–unfortunately too many ppl (some close to me) believe they are gospel. I don’t know how to respond with all the people telling me how I need to be grassroots-active to prevent the (much needed) gun bill from passing. They get angry when I pretend ignorance or apathy. Got pointers on handling heated political discussions? F*ck politics, the worse its getting, the more people have to talk…ugh.
After reading some (actually a lot) of similar tweets I must say I underestimated the amount of full retards. I doubt they come to their senses. Their latent idiocy was just activated.
Yeah check this out: http://publicshaming.tumblr.com/post/48093470152/two-explosives-went-off-at-the-boston-marathon-on
Also a plane was brought back to ground because people complained about two Arabic speakers on board. If it had been me, people would be having their asses sued for millions.
That’s… beyond stupid. You know, when there was a failed assassination attempt by some idiot on our royal family a few years back, the media immediately spread the news the man was an ethnic Dutchman to prevent discriminatory speculations. Sometimes racial profiling can be for good reasons 🙂
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