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From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

“Coinciding with the third anniversary of the events of Sept 11, Arab News and Asharq Al-Awsat have launched a joint location on the Internet to focus on the Arab point of view on the tragedy.” As you might expect, the website is predictably self-serving, and is replete with the sort of tedious hand wringing that Arab News apparently thinks passes as engaged societal self-analysis. Mishari Al-Zaidi, for example, explains that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were more detrimental to Arabs in the Middle East than to their intended targets.

September 11 th attacks had been a catastrophe on us much more than it had been on the US. What did American lose as a result of this reckless crime? A few thousand casualties… a short-lived shock…. so be it! But, American remain composed and was able to retort with more than just a tit for a tat .. Bin Ladin's gang razed two towers in New York and attacked a Pentagon wing, but in retaliation, the US razed Taliban government and overthrew the Iraqi dictator and his group. Moreover, it has gained the reasons for interference and practicing influence under the umbrella of the war on terrorism everywhere and in an unprecedented smooth way.

So be it. Turki Al-Hamad is similarly worried about how the 9/11 attacks have affected the “Arab nation” and about what lessons, or lack thereof, that nation may have drawn from the attacks. He frets that, rather than drawing the right conclusions, the Arab nation may instead have become like certain folks (hint: not Lutherans or Buddhists) who still (still) subscribe to the “chosen” concept. In an article from last September 15, he writes that while 9/11 was “a catastrophe in the American history,”

it was an earthquake in the Arabic history. But where is the awareness of that? What happened in September was not a consequence of all these trivial justifications that we use as drugs for distancing ourselves from knowing the reality. Otherwise the whole world would become hell if each people were guided by their specific justifications and sought for revenge. What happened was a consequence of a chronic disease in the Arab psyche. I can call this disease «the culture of illusion». That culture depicts an image of something that does not exist and promises us preposterous promises. It is an illusion when we think that all the world is against us, and it illusion when we think that there will not be any existence for us without the perishing of the others. It is illusion when we have either to get the best for ourselves or we have to die…. It is illusion when we think that God is for us only not for other people. It is illusion when we think we are still the best nation appeared to the other people. With this kind of convictions we have become like some of the Jews who believe they are still the chosen people of God, forgetting the conditions on which such a choice will be held.

Well, speaking of illusions, and all that.

Interestingly enough, the site also includes an article by a certain former managing editor, all mention of whom (including the myriad articles he penned during his Arab News tenure) had been purged from the Arab News website shortly he resigned from the paper.

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