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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Fair view!

In this interesting OP-ED piece in the NY Times, Thomas Friedman writes about what I previously mentioned here, how the Arabs / Muslims can never give the Americans credit for anything! He points out the fact that no matter what the US does for the Arab and the Muslim world, nothing will shake their deep-rooted disdain towards America: In the wake of U.S. aid to help Muslim and other victims of the recent tsunami, Colin Powell suggested that maybe, now that the Muslim world had seen "American generosity" and "American values in action," it wouldn't be so hostile to America. Don't hold your breath waiting for a thank-you card. If the fact that American soldiers have risked their lives to save the Muslims of Bosnia, the Muslims of Kuwait, the Muslims of Somalia, the Muslims of Afghanistan and the Muslims of Iraq has earned the U.S. only the false accusation of being "anti-Muslim," trust me, U.S. troops passing out bottled water and Pop-Tarts in Indonesia are not going to erase that lie. It is not an exaggeration to say that, if you throw in the Oslo peace process, U.S. foreign policy for the last 15 years has been dominated by an effort to save Muslims - not from tsunamis, but from tyrannies, mostly their own theocratic or autocratic regimes. It clearly has not made much of an impression. So you will pardon me if I say that I don't care whether the state media in Saudi Arabia - whose government gave far less to the Muslim tsunami victims ($30 million) than the amount spent by King Fahd's entourage on his last two vacations in Marbella (reportedly $100 million) - say nice things about us. Ouch! He then hammers on: I believe the tensions between us and the Muslim world stem primarily from the conditions under which many Muslims live, not what we do. I believe free people, living under freely elected governments, with a free press and with economies and education systems that enable their young people to achieve their full potential, don't spend a lot of time thinking about who to hate, who to blame, and who to lash out at. Free countries don't have leaders who use their media and state-owned "intellectuals" to deflect all of their people's anger away from them and onto America. To me, this article is interesting, because it made me notice something that I didn’t notice before about my surrounding environment, which is that I can’t find any Egyptian Christians who are Anti-American. Not a single one. They may not usually voice that fact in public- Translation = when surrounded by Muslims- but in private they will tell you that they actually support what Bush is doing in Iraq and the pressure that he is putting on the region to reform. That, in turn, made me remember when I was in college, how all the Lebanese Christians were, more, or less, Bush supporters. They didn’t identify with the perspective the rest of the Arab student body had, which was that Bush was out to invade and occupy the middle-east and oppress and kill all Muslims. The rest of the Arab student body, needless to say, was all Muslim. This could lead us to one of two conclusions: The Arab Christians support the US and Bush because they identify with his faith and share his "hatred" for all things islamic or that the Arab Muslims have a biased and often skewed perspective when it comes to the US. I personally doubt that the Arab Christians are supporting Bush cause he is anti-Muslim, because in the case of war, bombs don’t discriminate; they kill Muslims and Christians the same. It’s also kind of hard for me to believe that Arab Christians are less patriotic or nationalistic the Arab Muslims , when the history of Egypt from the days of Napoleon to the Yom Kippur War has proven that in times of war religion becomes a non-issue for arabs and they usually fight side by side. Which leaves the second option: Arab Muslims have a skewed perspective when it comes to the US, no matter what the latter does for them. I had this discussion with my aunt regarding the US tsunami aid and how she also thought that the US aid to the Tsunami victims was stingy, but when I asked her about the rich Muslim or Arab countries aid, or rather how much she herself donated, she couldn’t come up with a good answer and ended mumbeling that it's not the same. I never heard a single Arab Muslim intellectual ever give the US credit for bombing the Serbs out of Kosovo and saving the Muslims from genocide. No one ever mentions that, in many ways, Afghanistan is better off now then it was under the Taliban, even when they all agree that the Taliban were on the Ckoo-Ckoo side of Islam. And, it is in many ways, the fault of the local government-backed Muslim Arab Intelligentsia that wants the populace to be angry at the US and Israel then at their own corrupt governments. The US could try and broker 100 peace conferences between the Arabs and the Israelis and it's never good enough cause the US isn’t tough enough on Israel for their liking. The US- not Saddam- is to blame for the death of Iraqi children due to their economic embargo on Iraq, even though it was Saddam who waged war against the Islamic republic of Iran for 8 years, invaded the neighboring Muslim country of Kuwait and almost invaded Saudi. Don’t blame the Muslim who was a deadly threat to his neighboring Muslims. Just blame the Americans, it’s easier that way! The Arab Christians, on the other hand, don’t really fall for that perspective, because, well, they are not Muslim and that makes them slightly more objective when it comes to judging events. They do not subscribe to the notion that Arabs are persecuted all over the world and that the US is to blame for all their problems. They are more willing to entertain the idea that Arab Muslims are a little hypocritical when it comes to self-reflection and personal assessment. They have no interest or stake in maintaining a corrupt ruler or government in place just because it is a Muslim ruler or government. Some might say they may not be completely unbiased either, for they would like to have Christian rulers or governments replace the Muslim ones. That could be true, but I have a feeling that they wouldn’t mind having a secular government that would respect Muslim and Christian’s equally rather then one group over the other, which is something the majority of arab muslims would never be for. This leaves the question, well, why do Arab Muslims act and view things this way? Well, besides the local government using the media and their flunky intellectuals to divert their subjects disdain from them towards the US, there is also the issue of Islamic pride. At some point in History, the Muslims had a great empire that even included Spain. They were a world power and a force to be reckoned with. Those days are over, but their nostalgic allure still exists in the hearts and minds of the majority of Muslims who currently live in what is referred to as Third World Countries. They blame those conditions on the old colonial empires of France and Britain instead of blaming them on leaders who had no vision or aspiration but to remain in power as long as humanely possible. It’s easier to blame the western world for your problems then to actually try to solve them. Arab Christians on the other hand never saw any glory in the Muslim empire- mainly because they were considered second class citizens those days- and see no problem blaming the inept Muslim leaders for failing to bring their country forward. While Arab Muslims will doubt that anything good will come from the west, the Arab Christians will look at what the west does well and try to emulate it. A lot of Arab Muslims seem to hang on too much to the past, while the Arab Christians seem to be interested more in their future! I just hope, that one day, the majority of the Muslim world would just stop for a minute and think in a logical, reasonable and pragmatic way, you know, the way Turkey did after the first world war. They have problems that need addressing, and the least of which is America. You know, things like education, equality between the sexes, freedom of religion and democratic reforms. But until they are able to hold an objective honest debate about what they are doing and why it seems that the rest of the world is passing them by, then they risk staying forever where they are now, while blaming the U.S. for it naturally!


At 1/16/2005 12:27:00 PM, Blogger Mike SC USA said...

cuckoo (Ckoo-Ckoo side of Islam)

Well I hope you run an Arabic blog, too, where your message gets out. You have been here and seemed to understand us. You have certainly mastered critical thought. I hope you would use any influence to change opinions—given nothing we can say or do will. Sadly, I think you will be one lone voice in the wilderness. And even if you’re not, we have sadly witnessed the tactics used to silence dissenters. Communism was a one-sided affair. Islam is not. It is political and religious, a two edge sword. Yes, the very real danger in all this is that most Muslims are so indoctrinated that, they may not be able to de-program themselves. This would leave the West with horrible choices, because since 9/11 we cannot ignore them. Even now Europe is reaching critical mass with unassimilated Muslims. Certainly Russia, China, India, Korea and Japan are no friends to the Muslims. Even now the lack of empathy, action or giving to the tsunami victims by their own Muslim brethren is NOT unnoticed by the West. The answer is becoming more self-evident. How much was it that the Saudi’s telethon raised for the Palestinian suicide bombers families while our children are freely donating their own birthday presents and raising money to help affected Muslim children. 'tis a telling tale indeed.

At 1/16/2005 12:33:00 PM, Blogger Kat said...

I thought you'd be interested in this. This is a translation from Ayman al Zawihiris book, Knights Under the Prophets Banner:

"Furthermore, is it possible that the martyr — as we regard him - Abdallah Azzam was a US collaborator when in fact he never stopped inciting young men against the United States and used to back HAMAS with all the resources at his disposal?
"Is it possible that the jihadist movement in Egypt can be a collaborator movement for the United States when Khalid al-Islambuli and his comrades killed Anwar al-Sadat, even before the phenomenon of the Arab mujahidin in Afghanistan emerged?"
"Is it possible that the jihadist movement in Egypt can be a US collaborator movement when in fact it brought up its children, ever since the movement started, to reject Israel and all the agreements of capitulation to it and to consider making peace with Israel as a contravention of Islamic Shari'ah?"
"The United States was taken aback by the fact that its scheme in Afghanistan was spoiled by the "Arab Afghans" and by the Afghan mujahidin themselves who had true hearts."
"The United States wanted the war to be a war by proxy against the Russians, but, with God's assistance, the Arab mujahidin turned it into a call to revive the neglected religious duty, namely jihad for the cause of God."
"For this reason the United States was alert to this danger in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Its primary condition to implement the Dayton agreement was to expel all the Arab mujahidin from Bosnia-Herzegovina." "The seriousness of the presence of Muslim, particularly Arab, young men in the arena of Jihad in Afghanistan consisted of turning the Afghan cause from a local, regional issue into a global Islamic issue in which the entire nation can participate. (...)

In the book's introduction Al-Zawahiri explores the 11 September events and the subsequent air strikes against Afghanistan by saying: "This book has been written as a warning to the forces of evil that lie in wait for this nation. We tell them: The nation is drawing closer every day to its victory over you and is about to inflict its rightful punishment [qasas] on you step by step; your battle against this nation is destined to lead to inevitable defeat for yourselves, and all your efforts are no more than an attempt to delay this nation's victory, not to prevent it." (..)

Al-Zawahiri quotes a saying by Sayyid Qutb, "the most prominent
theoretician of the fundamentalist movements" who said: Brother, push ahead, for your path is soaked in blood. Do not turn your head right or left but look only up to heaven."

"6. On the level of the major events facing the Muslim nation, the MB
in general and those in Egypt in particular have chosen to be passive and to abandon jihad for the sake of God, although jihad is the greatest duty of Islam. This is despite all the catastrophes that have befallen our nation and despite the US and Jewish occupation of our lands and the tyranny of the [local] rulers and their aggression on Muslims.

In general, Al-Zawahiri calls for moving the battle to the enemy's
ground, which he considers the main target of the fundamentalist movement. He adds: The struggle for the establishment of the Muslim state cannot be considered a regional struggle, certainly not after it had been ascertained that what he describes as the "Crusader alliance led by the United States" will not allow any Muslim force to reach power in the Arab countries.

He notes that confining the battle to the domestic enemy, meaning
within the Arab states, will not be feasible in this stage of the battle, which he considers the battle of every Musli

Bin Ladin's chief ally admits that the establishment of a Muslim state in the heart of the Islamic world is not an easy or close target. However, it is the hope of the Muslim nation to restore its fallen caliphate and regain its lost glory. He advises members of the fundamentalist movement not to precipitate collision and to be patient about victory.

With the emergence of this new batch of Islamists, who have been missing from the nation for a long time, a new awareness is increasingly developing among the sons of Islam, who are eager to uphold it; namely, that there is no solution without jihad.

An important point that must be underlined is that this battle, which
we must wage to defend our creed, Muslim nation, sanctities, honor, values, wealth, and power, is a battle facing every Muslim, young or old. It is a battle that is broad enough to affect every one of us at home, work, in his children, or dignity.

In order for the masses to move, they need the following:
1. A leadership that they could trust, follow, and understand.
2. A clear enemy to strike at.
3. The shackles of fear and the impediments of weakness in the souls
must be broken.

These needs demonstrate

Okay..you get the picture. the guy is a bloody good propagandist: Knights under the Prophets banner make sure you scroll up and down to read the whole thing.

At 1/16/2005 09:11:00 PM, Blogger Tina said...

Well thought out comments Sand Monkey. Sounds like you would have a great future in politics.


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