The Daily Demarche
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
"ideologies of hatred"
In catching up on my reading from the holiday I came across an interesting piece by Bouthaina Shaaban, Syria's Minister for Emigrant Affairs. More accurately, what I found was a re-write of a piece by Shaaban from only a week ago. The new one is entitled Bush's policies succeed only in defaming all Arabs and ran on the Houston Chronicle site on the 27th. The first piece was the UPI Outside View in the Washington Times on the 21st- Syria's question to Condoleezza . The differences between them are subtle, but interesting, and I'll try to remember to indicate which piece I am referring to by denoting them HC and WT respectively.

From the WT:

Damascus, Syria, Mar. 21 (UPI) -- Reading the headline "Rice commits that Washington will build a different kind of Middle East," I understood the anxiety haunting the people of the Middle East. Rice's remarks to the American troops in Kabul reveal Washington's official concept of the region: "a different kind of broader Middle East that's going to be stable and democratic and where our children will one day not have to worry about the kind of ideologies of hatred that led those people to fly those airplanes into those buildings on September 11th."

As such, those remarks imply dangerous prohibitions, for Rice has accused the region of harboring "ideologies of hatred," and talked about "those people" referring to the people of the region as the culprits who flew "those planes into those buildings on September 11th."

From the HC:

DAMASCUS, Syria "I recently picked up a newspaper and saw the following headline: "Rice Promises That Washington Will Build a Different Kind of Middle East."Unsure what this could possibly mean, I looked closer at Condoleezza Rice's remarks to U.S. troops in Kabul, Afghanistan, to see if I could learn what this new Middle East was going to be.

"A different kind of broader Middle East that's going to be stable and democratic," was what she described that day, "where our children will one day not have to worry about the kind of ideologies of hatred that led those people to fly those airplanes into those buildings on September 11th."

So let me get this straight. Rice believes that our region harbors "ideologies of hatred" and that it is populated by "those people." Those terrorists.

As I said, subtle, but real. Minister Shaaban, I can not tell you what Secretary Rice believes, as I am not privy to her thoughts. But I can tell you this: your region does harbor ideologies of hatred and is populated at least in part by terrorists. Does that news shock you, or is it the fact that an American administration is calling the kettle black? You can splutter and equivocate all you like, and draw comparisons to Abu Ghraib if it helps you sleep at night.

But do us a favor and don't pretend that (HC)

the entire U.S. "war on terrorism," ...has severely damaged America's reputation and credibility around the world and ...has led to the disastrous policies that will harm relations between the United States and the Arab world for decades to come.

I will stipulate that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have harmed relations in the Middle East- they have made you and others of your ilk frightened, and scared men are dangerous. But I can also tell you that the decision to interfere in the ME was made by OBL and his minions when they turned airplanes into missiles. Much to our shame we were largely content to ignore the likes of the Taliban as they beat women for showing an ankle, or executed them for having the temerity to have been raped. Much to our shame we were content to ignore the madrasses in which hatred for Jews and the West was presented as "education." No, sir, there would be no "war on terrorism" were there no terrorists.

Minister, you push all the right buttons using Israel and apartheid in the same sentence (HC) with no regard to the fact that black South Africans were oppressed because they were black, and that Palestinians are being walled out of Israel because of the tendency to blow themselves up in crowded places. You want to end "all kinds of occupation, settlement, discrimination and hatred against Arabs and Muslims" (WT)- you were doing great up until the last three words of that quote. Some pigs are more equal than others, after all, I suppose. You even end the HC piece with a great soundbite:

I'm sure Rice recognizes the great difference between the reports she receives from pro-Israeli think tanks which see nothing in the Middle East except resources susceptible to extraction and unarmed people vulnerable to occupation or oppression and the reality of the Arab people's long history of building civilizations and proselytizing for peace.

Did you manage to keep a straight face as you wrote that? You do have incredible resources, which leads me to wonder why the "Arab people's long history of building civilizations " is precisely that- long a matter of history. Where are the great Arab civilizations of today? Where are the great centers of learning, the research institutes and hospitals? I won't even address the idea that Islam is proselytizing for peace. I don't have your ability to write pap and smile at the same time.

Minister Shaaban, the second draft of your article is better than the first. With a bit more work I am sure the New York Times will pick it up, and you will briefly be the golden boy of the "America is always wrong" crowd. In the meantime, if you are sincere in your expressions that you "want a future where they [Arab children] enjoy freedom, dignity and equality" (WT) and that "the events of Sept. 11 have weighed heavily on Arabs and Muslims just as they have on the people of the United States" (HC) I have a suggestion. Stop pretending that there are no terrorists and that Islamofacism is not a problem. Do what you can to solve your social issues at home, and expand your definition of children, Arabs and Muslims to include women and girls. Stop wasting time with pre-emptive whining and do what it takes to drag your country, your region and your religion from the 16t to the 21st century. In other words, build your own "Different Kind of Middle East".

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dé·marche 1) A course of action; a maneuver. 2) A diplomatic representation or protest 3) A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.

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