October 12, 2001 Special Dispatch No. 285

Terror in America (16): A Sudanese reader: We, not the U.S., are the lawful parents of bin Laden

October 12, 2001
Sudan | Special Dispatch No. 285

Hashem Hassan, a self identified pan-Arabist, sent a letter entitled "We, not the U.S., are the lawful parents of binLaden" to the editor of the London Arabic-language daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi. He wrote:

"Most of the articles published in the [Arabic] press about Operation New York-Washington are no more than symptoms of a mental illness from which we have suffered since we were defeated by Israel in 1948. [This illness is manifested] by blaming others for everything connected to our calamities and mistakes, great as they may be. Even the articles of the intellectuals whom I respect, and by whom I am influenced, such as [Al-Quds Al-Arabi editor] Abed Al-Bari 'Atwan, [the Syrian journalist living in London] Subhi Hadidi, [and the Egyptian journalist living in London] Mohammad Abed Al-Hakim Diyab are included in this category."

"What message are these respected journalists and others like them trying to convey to us by endlessly reiterating the responsibility of America, Israel, and the West for the development of the Osama bin Laden phenomenon, and reminding us of their terrible record in other times and places? Is America also responsible for our failure in dealing with this policy [of denial] for nearly half a century, [during which] we lost Palestine and nearly lost Iraq, with more to come? I am not talking about governments, as their story is known and they too have turned into [a pretext] allowing us to evade responsibility – as if our rulers fell upon us from [another] place and [another] time and are not flesh of our flesh, part of our mentality and our way of life…"

"I am talking about the elite and the educated leaders from all streams who have emerged in the Arab world. Every one of these streams gained power in an Arab state at a given time, and had great influence on the Arab street. We, the Arabs, are a people of adults who came of age and gained independence from Britain, France, and America decades and decades ago. See what we have done with our free will. We became lost in a labyrinth of corruption, economic backwardness, and civil wars on the day we lost our democracy and the right of the people to remain free; [did their mothers not] bear them free men?"

"Bin Laden and his ilk, with their political blindness and stupid and mad radicalism, are a local Arab product, or at least 70% [local]… We must stop presenting him as a stepson of American and Western hegemony; he is the lawful son of Arab-Muslim helplessness. He is a completely legal son, to whom we, with our rigidity, gave birth – [we], the supporters of pan-Arabism, you the Marxists, you the Islamists, and you, the other educated individuals. We undermined our homeland and our peoples to the point where they became easy prey to the interests of America, Israel, and others."

"Presenting the West as Satan is propaganda for the ideas that have transformed our fanatical Islamic youths into human missiles, intentionally murdering civilians off the battlefield, until we have become exactly like the Israelis – victims who turned into hangmen. What is the difference between what the Americans did to the Al-'Amariya shelter [in Iraq] and what Atta and his friends did to the World Trade Center?"

"Do we want to renounce our lawful son so badly that we try to exonerate… someone who carried out a terrible crime by repeating constantly that there is no proof that he carried it out, thus intensifying the fear and hatred that the West feels towards Islam and the Muslims? Don’t we know what these radicals and religious extremists, the wielders of knives, do to women, children, and farmers among their own peoples, in Algeria, in full sight of everyone? Don’t we remember what their kind did before that, in Egypt and other places? Even in the Sudan, the land of tolerance, they carried out a mass slaughter of worshipers in a mosque, [an act] unprecedented except for the crime of the Cave of the Patriarchs committed by a Jewish extremist. If among us there is anyone who hates the Arabs, the Muslims, their culture, and their way of life so much that he wants to carry out barbaric mass slaughter, is it any wonder that the Christian hates us and sees us as barbarians like the [Tatar] Hulagu, [who fight] Western civilization."

"Renouncing these prodigal sons and attempting to lay them at the door of the West is shirking responsibility. It would be better to admit our paternity, and thus [admit] that our primary mistake in the education we gave them was that we closed our societies, our schools, and our media to freedom and knowledge, to the possibility of learning from mistakes. Once, we did this in the name of Islamic religious law; another time, we did it in the name of progressiveness and the struggle against imperialism. Only when [we are capable] of acknowledging this will we be able to deal with the enemy without, however powerful he may be."

"What is strange is that a few of us -of you - still insist on breeding more bin-Ladens, in the most effective way possible: persevering the policy of hatred of democracy, or avoiding democracy with various and sundry pretexts – first and foremost the war on America."[1]


[1] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), October 7, 2001.

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