September 20, 2001 Special Dispatch No. 269

Terror in America (3): Lebanese intellectual: The Arabs are not completely innocent; the terrorists must be extradited

September 20, 2001
Lebanon | Special Dispatch No. 269

The liberal Lebanese intellectual Hazem Saghiya, who resides in London, wrote a column in the Al-Hayat daily placing some responsibility for the attacks in the US on the Arab world, and calling for the extradition of the terrorists

"The terror attacks eliminated, one by one, the political elements of the Arab strategy." "First, Israel, the US, and others can depict the Palestinian Intifada as pure terror. The world is no longer interested in the difference between resistance and terror. The interest in policy and rights has become a luxury. The Israeli claim now appears to be a universal axiom."

"Second, the reliance on internal contradictions in the First World has become meaningless. Thanks to terror, the US, Europe, and Russia have united. The world is in one place, and we are in another: the situation in Iraq is on the verge of being generalized [to the rest of the Arab world]."

"Third, the Egyptian [political] weight and the Gulf oil resources have gone on the defensive. Now, the US is the one demanding that others act 'with determination,' after others demanded that the US act 'with justice.' As far as the US is concerned, previously there was no determination. It is [the US] that calls on the world to establish a new alliance, on its own terms, of course. Its motto is 'He who hesitates is suspect.'"

"Fourth, it has been proven that there is no way to form a joint strategy [or one with] a common denominator between forces opposing each other on several levels. Yasser Arafat was working on getting himself invited to the White House; Osama bin Laden planned to destroy the White House. This is the fate of 'broad' fronts and alliances."

"Fifth, it has been proven that it is impossible to predict anything in a world where we do not hold the keys to understanding it. Some of us were counting on Sharon's madness, which is an old-style madness confined to a limited area. And behold, the madness of bin Laden has appeared, which is a global, universal, and modern madness – that is, primeval."

"Sixth, the injury to millions of Muslims in the West: to their lives, their bodies, their freedom; the insult to the image of the Arabs and Muslims in the world; the insult to the Arab and Muslim role in world civilization…"

"Seventh, the weakening of those who could have shown understanding of Arab issues in the West; the weakening of the democratic function of those Western societies; the weakening of pluralist trends and tolerance for foreigners; the dulling of anti-racist sensitivity; and the strengthening of chauvinistic and xenophobic trends. Now, 'the clash of cultures' is evident everywhere."

"The US's responsibility for the state we have reached is unquestionable. Our responsibility is also clear. Many Americans are talking about their own responsibility. Let us also talk about ours: We did not create the distinction between politics and the right to live. This is what has united the nations of the world against us. We wondered why Israeli public opinion did not renounce the Israeli government. We interpreted this phenomenon wrongly. We now wonder about what happened and what will happen in the US."

"We are responsible because in [our writing,] we placed terror in quotation marks. We praised suicide operations, and described them as martyrdom operations. We talked of crusader campaigns. We expanded politics to include culture, normalization, and translation [referring to the polemic in the Arab media about translating Arab works into Hebrew]. We shifted the conflict into each and every area. We said that we would revive the war against Western civilization, which had brought the USSR to its knees. We refused to allow any voice of opposition to be heard from our ranks. This means that we are one; this means that they will be one against us. We drew the playing field, and they came to play in it."

"Now, we can revive the political conflict with the US. We can continue to condemn its positions in the Middle East; to condemn the way in which it understands globalization, to demand that it be more just. What we must not do is to combine all of this with the dichotomy of life and death. If we do, we will be viewed as a race that is against the human race. The racists in the West will turn this image into theory, and the theory into action."

"Now, we must unite the efforts of our societies and extradite the wanted men who combined politics with the right to live."

"Let us extradite them without feeling sorry for them. Then, our political claims will be strengthened. Otherwise, they [the wanted men] will be taken by force, and we, the innocent, will be taken for their crimes as well. In the US, there are some whose appetite to do this knows no bounds." [1]

[1] Al-Hayat (London), September 15, 2001.

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