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Terrorist Attacks: Where Is the Outrage?

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    Terrorist Attacks: Where Is the Outrage? Khaled Batarfi http://www.arabview.com/articles.asp?article=760 7.31.05 An American friend protested once: If Muslims
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2005
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      Terrorist Attacks: Where Is the Outrage?
      Khaled Batarfi
      http://www.arabview.com/articles.asp?article=760
      7.31.05

      An American friend protested once: If Muslims really are against terrorism why
      don't I hear strong condemnation coming from every direction - religious
      leaders, intellectuals, media and all?

      Recently, he called again surprised at the level of outrage against the London
      attacks and wondered: There are more brutal ones in Iraq, why only London you
      care about?

      He meant to say: I understand the sympathy with Sharm El-Sheikh and Egypt, but
      the English standing in the Muslim world is supposed to be just like that of
      ours. Both countries invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq. They are
      closest allies in the "war on terror." Why the difference in treatment?

      I explained to him what he probably already knew: Media is about new, amazing
      and shocking news. The terrorist attacks on London and Sharm El-Sheikh fit the
      bill. The story in each case was huge, surprising and new. It was more of one
      big fireball, rather than small and similar flashes. This is the problem with
      the Iraqi terrorist attacks - they are all the same. Just like the stories
      that streamed from the world's troubled areas, like during the civil wars in
      Lebanon, Sudan, Congo, Nicaragua, Bosnia and Kosovo. Unless you have a new
      angle or dimension, they taste like old news.

      During the Vietnam War, international media, including the American, was not
      as interested in reporting daily events as they were in the beginning. Yes,
      when there was a shocking new story, like the aerial bombardment of North
      Vietnam, the reports were front page. No one was as much interested in daily
      skirmishes.

      During the first Gulf War between Iraq and Iran, I remember how the news made
      front-page headlines. Months later, it started getting slimmer and withdrawing
      to inside pages.

      People get used to repeat bad news. They become numbed and start to care and
      feel less about them. The first murder crime in a neighborhood might get
      people talking for a long while.

      But in a dangerous neighborhood were crimes are daily affairs, no one talks
      about them as much. This is basic human nature.

      My friend wasn't totally convinced. He knew better. As he suspected, I wasn't
      telling the whole story. Maybe because it was long and complicated. Maybe, I
      was in a hurry. And maybe I was self-defending.

      Here is the rest of the story. The situation in Iraq is much more complicated
      than in London. Here, we have occupying powers that invaded a sovereign
      country under false pretexts. Occupation, as history of nations testifies,
      produces resistance. Resistance generates retaliation. The vicious cycle goes
      on and on, along with all the resulting resentments, mistrust and hatred from
      both sides. Such negative thinking about the "enemy" makes the heart colder,
      morality confused, and emotions mixed. Yes, people get upset when some of
      their own get killed in the crossfire, but they usually blame it on the other
      side, especially if it was the one who started it.

      I am not trying to justify the muted reaction in the Muslim world to the
      mayhem in Iraq, but only to analyze and explain.

      As for my own stand, here it is: I feel that the best for the Iraqis now is to
      continue their democratic reforms and nation-building. Only when they manage
      to rebuild their civil and security infrastructure, they may demand gradual
      withdrawal of foreign forces.

      My stand is based on cool reasoning, not hot emotions. Public opinion is not
      always based on rational thinking. The French and Dutch said no to the EU
      Constitution for emotional reasons. Many didn't even care to read it. They
      feared for the future, they were angry with their own governments and
      politicians; many were unemployed and poor. They said no to that more than to
      the constitution.

      In the fog of war, accurate and objective intelligence is as hard to get as
      water in a desert hell. Information tends to be colored and biased. Emotions
      cloud reasons. Anger poisons perception, decisions and stands. As a result,
      the public, via the media and the rumor factory, gets a much-skewed picture of
      what is going on. This explains the different reactions to seemingly similar
      events. There are no easy answers to difficult questions. I hope my American
      friend is reading this right now. I hope this time I fully answered his valid,
      but tough questions. And I hope he would appreciate, accommodate, and
      understand!
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