October 11, 2002 No.

Arab Press Reacts to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice's Statements on Democracy and Freedom

In a recent interview with the Financial Times,[1] National Security Advisor to President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, stated that the United States wishes to bring democracy and freedom to the Arab world. In response, a number of Arab newspapers harshly criticized National Security Advisor Rice, often focusing on her African-American background. The following are excerpts from such articles:

Egyptian Perspectives
In the government-controlled newspaper The Egyptian Gazette, columnist Ramadan Abd Al-Qader wrote on October 10, 2002, that National Security Advisor Rice's article "smacks of such patronizing arrogance that it has entrenched belief among many Muslims that they are the target of a latter-day Crusade.[2] Authorities at U.S. airports have recently taken security measures, which reportedly involve racial profiling. Media reports said that Muslim [passengers] would undergo extra checks, including finger-printing and giving accounts of relatives. If true, these steps must be the product of a twisted perception in the U.S. that Muslims are synonymous [with] terrorists. The U.S. needs to do far more than launch broadcasts for a Muslim audience if it were really interested in repairing its image in this part of the world and showing that its anti-terror drive is geared against all terrorists, regardless of their religious background."

In the Egyptian opposition weekly Al-Usbou', National Security Advisor Rice is the subject of a vicious attack by the columnist, Hani Zaid, who wrote under the title: "Condoleezza Rice-National Security Advisor in the rank of a little prostitute"[3] : "Ms. Rice persists in treating the Arabs as the masters treated the slaves or the students who have not reached the age of maturity in one of the American schools… Rice talks about teaching us democracy and freedom. She ignores the racism which prevailed when she was a child in Alabama where she attended segregated schools for blacks because she was a black Negro from African origins. She passed her holidays in parks specifically designated for blacks, and she was not allowed to enter restaurants for white people only. When she was 9, she participated in the funerals of four of her Negro friends who were murdered in a racist attack at a Baptist church in Westminster. She has forgotten all of this. What she remembers is the study of Zionism in the hands of Joseph Corwell,[4] the father of Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, in the faculty for political science at Stanford (sic)[5] … All there is for me to say to this lady and to her administration…[is] we do not need lessons from anybody."

A Syrian Perspective
Writing for the Internet site "Akhbar Al-Sharq,"[6] which is the mouthpiece of the Syrian opposition, Dr. Muhammad Bassam Yusuf, a Syrian author living in exile, attacked American preparations for a military campaign in Iraq and referred to the African-American background of National Security Advisor Rice:

"Perhaps the black Condoleezza Rice, the American security advisor, has forgotten her African origins and why she was in America and not in Africa, her original homeland. She has to be reminded that she is a descendant from African slaves and that the Americans enslaved millions of them and led them to America in chains from their homeland in Africa. [The Americans] killed millions of them as they killed millions of Indians, the true owners of the American land."

Jordanian Perspectives
The Jordanian daily Al-Dustour[7] wrote that National Security Advisor Rice claims that "'the United States wants to be a liberating force, and dedicate itself to liberating the Islamic world, starting with Iraq, and to establish democracy and freedom.' She is ignoring more than one and a half billion Muslims who suffer from America's greed and oppression and from its cruel and visible war against Islam and Muslims."

"It is a war that has many features-cultural, ideological, political and economic. It [America] slaughtered Muslim children, women and men and stole their natural resources; its ships have occupied their territorial waters; it has acted against them with racism and terror; it has frozen their money and has provoked the Zionist crusaders to attack the religion of Islam and its morals and values, its holy Koran and its messenger [Prophet Muhammad]. [America] has pressured the regimes allied with her in the Muslim countries to prosecute the Islamic movements, the religious thinkers and the young Muslim men in the name of war on terrorism."

"Will America free the Muslim world [to act] in the manner in which its ally, the criminal and blood thirsty Ariel Sharon does… conducting all kinds of murderous acts in one of the purest and holiest lands of Islam...?"

"The Black Rice"
"Will the black Rice free our Muslim world by the same method that Americans have used against Muslim prisoners in the Giangi fort in Afghanistan?! Or the method [America] used in Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Algeria and other Muslim states where it has killed millions, expelled and tortured many and violated their fundamental human rights!!"

"Will the black Condoleezza free our Islamic homeland with destructive calls for moral degradation through drugs, sex, AIDS and crime which have spread all across the great America?! Or through the destruction of peaceful homes, the uprooting of stones and trees and the destruction of agriculture as it has done in Muslim Afghanistan. Not a single mosque, mud house, village or city, not a clinic or institution, child, woman or old man, was saved from America's crimes?! Or by the erection of Buddha statues in every city and village in that large Muslim country?"

"O Muslims, here is America invading you with its steel, its fire and its oppression. Its bloodthirsty individuals, the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice and Sharon, are carrying to you death, destruction, devastation, enslavement and evil which will start in Iraq after they have suppressed Afghanistan and Palestine, and will end, if we do not protect ourselves, in the last piece of land in our extended Muslim world which will be converted into a gigantic Guantanamo extending from one ocean to another."

"Will you Muslims be the great and free nation; the best nation ever created for humanity [a reference to a Koranic verse] or [let] the barbarian cowboys kidnap you? It is your opportunity to teach the arrogant rowdies the clear Islamic lesson through Jihad and the defense of faith, religion, holy places, the land, the honor and the homeland!"

"Have You Not Been Taught by Your Cowboy Masters"
"As for you, black Condoleezza Rice, swallow your tongue, remember your origins and stop talking about liberation and freedom. Have you not been taught by your cowboy masters that 'slaves' cannot liberate themselves, that they are not capable to capture the large Islamic world whose cultural roots are planted in the depths of history The slaves who are happy with their enslavement, O Condoleezza, will continue to be enslaved. They will never be free and will never free others."

Writing a week later in the same newspaper, Batir Muhammad Ali Wardam[8] stated that no one could imagine that "the beautiful Condoleezza Rice, the Security Advisor to the administration of George Bush the son-may Allah not show us his grandson afterwards-wants to liberate the Islamic world…on the wings of American bombers."

Columnist in the London Arabic Daily: "Ayatollah Condoleezza"
Dalal al Bizri, a columnist for the London-daily Al-Hayat, wrote under the title: "Ayotollah Condoleezza and the export of democracy."[9]

"The language applied recently by Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Advisor, to Iraq, reminds one of the Mullahs who called for the export of the Islamic revolution to all corners of the world. The American democracy as revealed in the preaching of Condoleezza Rice raises the question of relativity…"

"Democracy is an idea for the road to power which is today the most powerful for peoples and their cultures, and nothing else... It is the ideology of the greatest power on earth, and as we have learned from history it is the most enthusiastic country [seeking] to control the less strong and the less important of nations…"

An Iraqi government Daily: "The Cursed Rice"
Finally, an editorial titled "American Values and (Rice the Liberator)" in the mouthpiece of the Iraqi regime, Al-Thawra,[10] responded to National Security Advisor Rice's interview. "What does Rice know about the true Islamic religion that she can arrogate to herself the right to attack its principles and change its values and foundations! Does she believe that the Muslims, who carried the banner of religion and light to the nations of the world, will forsake their beliefs, their symbols and their history for the sake of the so-called American values or under American missiles and weapons of destruction?"

"About which values is Rice talking? Those before September 11, or after September 11? If she is referring to the previous date, would American crimes in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam, Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile, Yugoslavia, Palestine and Iraq enter these values?"

The editorial concludes: "The cursed Rice and the members of her administration should think a thousand times before uttering their empty words and old clichés about values of democracy and liberation because their nations are more in need of these than any other nation on earth. The Muslims will not be tightfisted in teaching them those principles which characterize the great religion of Islam and its honorable history."

[1] "U.S. Will Build Iraq as Democracy," The Financial Times, September 23, 2002.

[2] Egyptian Gazette, October 10, as reported by the Cairo Press Review.

[3] Al-Usbu', September 30, 2002. The attacks by the Egyptian press on National Security Advisor Rice are often caustic. Writing an allegedly humorist column in the government-sponsored paper Al-Akhbar, (May 13, 2002) columnist Isma'il Al-Naqib wrote: "[The story] is told in the fairy books that the Greek god of the eggplant had decided to convert a black girl of African origin into a goat in the color of an eggplant! When the girl turned into a goat, she was forbidden from talking because goats don't talk. Her name became 'eggplanteezza' and she was forbidden from getting married. The god of the eggplant said from the top of the Olympus: if the goat talks it would be a sign that the Date of Judgment was coming."

[4] The proper name is actually Josef Korbel.

[5] In fact, it was the University of Denver.

[6] Akhbar Al-Sharq (online), October 7, 2002.

[7] Al-Dustour (Jordan), September 24, 2002.

[8] Al-Dustour, September 30, 2002.

[9] Al-Hayat, October 6, 2002.

[10] Al-Thawra, September 26, 2002. The Iraqi daily, Babil, owned by Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, published an article on December 22, 2001, about National Security Advisor Rice prefaced by an old Arab proverb: "Do not buy the slave without the stick because slaves are filthy bastards."