Actually, I am not unaware of what you call "American hypocrisy and agression" and I have no problem in seeing things from that perspective. However, by using the same standards Americans would not be alone in that classification, I guess few would escape.
I don't think Sept. 11 was the first act of agression, but I would prefer to separate the Middle East Muslim-Jew issue of terrorism if at all possible, as without this separation we in the west will run the risk of bigotry towards Islam, which is imbedded in our culture to start with. We cannot see Islam = Palestinian liberation problem. Still, they became entangled in this thread, so let's go from there.
You are right that Americans and Europeans (like others) do not see "loss of life" in the same way and are biased towards "loss of life" from their side. But what do you think the Americans should do after Sept. 11 in Afganistan? Nothing? Wait for the next strike? It would not be reasonable to expect that and my starting point in this thread is that you or I could criticise saying "we would have done differently", but the strikers, those from where the strike originated, cannot complain.
I don't have a mainstream perspective and I don't think the US, and Europe though possibly to a lesser extent, fully appreciate the dimensions of the problem.
If we try to follow the "first agression" thread it is a bit pointless as it takes as so far back. I guess that the first agression was Joseph's conquest of Jericho, where the Jews/Israelis(?) wiped out the entire population of the city, according to their own historical account of the event, because they felt God had given them permission to steal it.
Once Palestine was conquered by Israelite Kings, they were then subjected to foreign agressions of various degrees of brutality, like everywhere on Earth at that time: Babylon, Persia, Rome. At this time, these "Jews" are the cultural ancestors of modern Jews, as well as Christians and Muslims, right?
The Romans, like the Babylonians before them, eventually decided to wipe out Jerusalem and the Jewish state and condemn a fair proportion of the population to a diaspora, spreading them throughout Europe/the empire.
With the rise of the Arab empire shortly after Muhammad's (pbuh) death, Jerusalem and Palestine are conquered by Islam. This agression was not of Islam against Jews, it was of Islam against Orthodox Christians. As an agression, however, it was to prove of a different nature, as for over 500 - 600 years since the conquest of Jerusalem we have the only sustainable period in history where the 3 monotheistic religions were quite free to practice their faiths in the city.
The Turks, an Asian people coming from near China, conquered the Arab empire. Perhaps as recent converts to Islam they felt the need to be "more papist than the pope", as we say in the West, and their empire is much more restrictive to the activities of others, namely Christians thatthe Omyadds or Abbassids had been. That, and the animosity generated by the Arab invasion of the Western Empire (Rome did not bother with Islam taking over the Eastern empire, that they were happy with), eventually fueled the Crusades. This now is an agression of Western Christians against Islam (and Israel too), of a particularly brutal nature.
At the time the British take over Palestine from the Turks, Palestine is still mostly a Muslim region, as it had been for nearly 1,500 years. Some Jews live there, where they have a level of freedom and security that is unparalleled to what the Christians have done to Jews in Europe in the meantime (notwithstanding brutal episodes, like a famous one in Muhammad's time).
The strongest, most barbaric, and inhumane agressions towards Jews are perpertrated by Europeans, in the name of Christianity, for over 1,500 years. It culminates in the Holocaust. At that time, Jews living in America were quite happy there, had no particular inkling to engulf in wars for setting up a Jewish state in Palestine, etc. American Jews were, very rightly, a lot more concerned with the lot of their kind in Europe than in Palestine, regardless of the special meaning of Jerusalem and the Holy Land to them.
Due to the fact that Palestine was then ruled, as a region, by the British, gave the Jews a unique opportunity to try to set up their own state, to protect them from inquisitions, pogroms and holocausts, that they would not have had if the British had not decided to colonise the place after WWI - note again a lot of hypocrisy. The Germans and Austrians started the thing, but they are not colonised, the Turkish Empire is however dismembered. Those are the days of colonialism, when European empires fight for the right to rule (with variable degrees of barbarism) over non-European lands.
After WWII we now see a flow of thousands - millions of European Jews to Palestine. Looking at this from the perspective of someone sitting on a chair in Jerusalem and looking at the inflow, I would say that this is a European invasion - those guys basically have European passports.
If there had been no Jewish state and no Israel in the late 40's, there would have been probably no need for an independent state called "Palestine". The borders of countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, etc. have more to do with the European colonial partition than with strong historical or cultural facts. The major problem this created, in my view, is with the Kurds, actually. There is also a funny story about Kuwait, but I don't know the details of it with certainty. Still, this did not have negative repercussions as much as the fact that the Kurds did not have their own nation.
The way things turned out in the end, the Muslims that lived in the Palestinian region are shoved off by the invading Europeans. If you see this as the origin of the Middle East issue, than it is the fault of the Europeans more than anyone else, even more than the Jews. Had European Jews been living the type of life they had in the US, this ivnasion would probably never have taken place. Certainly, it is not the fault of the Americans.
These Muslims, that we now call "Palestinians" turned out to have a cursed lot. They have no nationality proper, they have to live in special regions, which can therefore be called "concentration camps", in the sense that they are forced to be concentrated there (without the Nazi barbaric connotation of what a cocenrtation camp is), like if they are prisioners of war. They have no right over their own life or over their own land - where they can work, what jobs they can have, etc. They live in very similar conditions to the Jews in Europe before WWII.
The Israel contention, widely accepted by the US and most Europeans, is that "there already are plenty of Muslim states around - why don't the Palestinians all go to Jordan"? This is such a silly argument if you think of it that almost deserves no comment. What is the sense of that? Palestinians have never lived in Jordan, they lived in Palestine for roughly 1,500 years!
Resentment against the US for this is not fair. They did not create the problem and it is not their problem. You may say that they are responsible for supporting Israel, that without them Israel would have been destroyed. I am not actually sure of that. Furthermore, you could equally argue that the US have actually tried to do something to mitigate the violent urges of some Israely actions - specially before Sept. 11.
The resentment for what you call "US arrogance", like the air bases in Saudi Arabia, has other dimensions. However, that comment is not totally fair either. In exchange for these bases, which are requested by the country's formal rulers anyway, they receive a lot of support that they would not otherwise have, mostly military.
I can see the point of "US arrogance" and hypocrisy - take Chile 1973-74 for instance. However, we must also understand other positive aspects of that influence and not "Satanise" the US government, and least of all the American people themselves.
In the war being faught, innocents are paying - innocent Afghans, innocent Palestinians, etc. I think we can see that the US is really doing their level best to minimise this. In return, the terrorists try the exact opposite - to take as many innocents as they can.
My personal wish is for terrorism to be curbed as soon as possible. And also for Palestinians to be free as soon as possible.
|You remember the Caroline incident???||275||Astikapati||02-Jul-02 23:05|
|Pre-emptive murder||134||Lee McGiffen||03-Jul-02 10:31|
|Re: You remember the Caroline incident???||187||Briffits||03-Jul-02 10:47|
|How new is it?||128||Akhenaten||03-Jul-02 11:32|
|How FAIR is it?||123||drak1||03-Jul-02 15:45|
|Re: How FAIR is it?||129||Akhenaten||04-Jul-02 17:43|
|Blatant hypocrisy + rage inducers||109||drak1||04-Jul-02 22:30|
|Re: Blatant hypocrisy + rage inducers||182||Akhenaten||05-Jul-02 11:23|
|Re: You remember the Caroline incident???||145||Astikapati||04-Jul-02 08:06|
|Re: You remember the Caroline incident???||132||Briffits||05-Jul-02 04:24|
|Pre-emption and terrorism||111||Lee McGiffen||05-Jul-02 04:41|
|Re: Pre-emption and terrorism||115||Briffits||05-Jul-02 09:45|