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memri
September 21, 2001 No.
272

Terror in America (6): Lebanese professor: It is permissible to rejoice over 'the penetrating of the bastion of American colonialism'; 'Everyone gloated at the misfortune of the American administration, while its leaders scrambled to find a place to hide'

Images of Palestinian jubilation following the September 11th attacks have attracted the attention of the Arab media. Most writers criticized both Palestinian reactions of joy to the disaster and the American and Israeli media networks thatbroadcasted images of these scenes. They claimed that American media networks used the pictures of a few Palestinianswho celebrated the attacks, in order to distort the image of the entire Palestinian people

The editor of the Palestinian Authority mouthpiece Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Hafez Al-Barghouthi, claimed that the film crew enticed the Palestinians to rejoice: "The crew of one of the satellite channels artificially created feelings of joy among the children in occupied Jerusalem. Crew members asked the children to dance for them and [the children], enraptured by the camera, did so… The occupier dreams of shifting the cameras from our dismembered body parts to the [dismembered] body parts of others in the world… The Palestinians have no interest to gloat. [Those few who gloated] do not represent our public opinion. It is a whim that might also have [been expressed] in other parts of the world, even in the Western world. But in these instances [in the Western world], the cameras did not reach those places…"[12]

However, University of Lebanon lecturer Mustafa Juzo published an article in which he stated that the displays of joy are understandable, and called those criticizing them "hypocrites"[13] :

"History will testify that the Arabs have never carried out barbaric wars. It is known that the rules of war customary in the Islamic conquest were far superior to those implemented by the United Nations today. The humane approach – even relatively in past centuries – is what characterized the behavior of the Arab and Muslim conquerors. "

"In contrast, terror as we know it today was introduced in the region only at the beginning of the 19th century, by Western colonialism and the Zionist gangs. Therefore, the killing of innocents distresses every Arab, even if the slain are his enemies. Hence, many Arabs expressed identification with America's tragedy. This is the truth."

"However, another truth is that most Arabs, and perhaps also most of the Third World, did rejoice, not because of the killing of thousands of innocent Americans, but because of the penetration of the bastion of American colonialism and the offensive within its home turf. No one thought for a moment about the people who were inside the tallest of the world's towers as they burned; everyone thought of the American administration and rejoiced at its misfortune, while its leaders scrambled to find a place to hide."

"There is a large degree of hypocrisy and idiocy. Does anyone think that the CIA does not know how much it is hated by the Arab people, and how happy the oppressed people in the Third World are at the tragedy that has struck it? [Therefore, there is no point] in our trying to prove to them that the Arab people are not gloating over the American misfortune. Can anyone really believe that a people of whom the US has killed hundreds and thousands times the number of people killed in New York and in Boston [sic], is sorry, and is not happy, when he witnesses this smack to the face of its most bitter enemy?"

"The meaning of terror according to the American [dictionary] is known. [The term] refers to any resistance to the new colonialism. In contrast, the collective and racist annihilation of peoples constitutes (according to the American dictionary) a civilized action that should not be resisted."

"The Arab wise-guys (referring to those who condemned the attacks) are granting the US – who has opposed them in all international forums and in all arenas of the war – permission to attack their peoples and their friends, especially in light of the fact that the American investigators are restricting their investigation to [suspects with] Arab names, as if the Arabs are entirely to blame… It never occurs to the US that there are others who benefit more from the attacks on the US cities than the Arabs and the Muslims. I refer mainly to Israel, especially since one of the suspects mentioned by the media lived in occupied Palestine and could very possibly have been used by Israel…"

"There is no doubt that several Arab intellectuals have put their fingers on a painful truth, saying that terror can be eliminated only by removing the reasons for it, and that the strike on the US is the result of the oppression it inflicted on nations. Some Arab states demanded to distinguish between terror and resistance. There must also be a scientific and correct definition of terror. Terror is the use of violence against innocent civilians with the aim of achieving political, religious, or racist goals – provided that the civilians subjected to that violence are not partners of the military, do not constitute a militia, and are not benefiting from the military aggression in ways such as living on occupied land, or profiting from the property of the people whose land is occupied…"

"The funniest thing is that the Arab media and intellectuals encouraged the Arab rulers and people to please America; they chastised anyone expressing joy, as if the Arabs should be seeking forgiveness for every crime carried out in the US out of fear that the enemy, whether the one close by [Israel] or the one far away [the US], will take revenge…"

"Arabs must make the American leaders understand that the occupation cannot be rewarded by love, and that American interests are not more important than the rights of human beings… [America] must understand that someone who successfully infiltrates its home turf and attacks its Department of Defense can strike painfully at its interests outside the US with greater ease."

"May Allah have mercy on the innocents that the American administration murdered by means of the hijackers; among them are several of our countrymen. True, that administration did not carry out the crime itself – but it caused it, and whoever causes a crime bears a large part of the responsibility for it."


[12] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), September 13, 2001.

[13] Al-Hayat (London), September 17, 2001.