You would think I would have learned from my post about the Muslim lecture on wife beating to never write anything critical of our Arab friends in the New World Order. But an article on the front page of today’s New York Times tells a story that is, in my view, beyond belief. I’m going to run the risk of having to deal with numerous argumentative comments, but I just can’t let this pass. It exemplifies the huge cultural differences between Americans and Western Europeans and the denizens of the Arab world, and feeds into my bias as to why it will be difficult, if not impossible, for Arab Muslims to assimilate into the Western world.
Before I get to the Times article, I will admit that none other than P.J. O’Rourke may have hit the nail on the head in an interview published in today’s Wall Street Journal. I talk multiple times per week with my literary agent who is a good friend as well. She is of the opinion that the Palestinian situation in particular and the hostile Arab situation in general can be solved once these people make their way into the middle class and divert their thinking from ‘woe is me’ to ‘I need a bigger car.’ O’Roarke feels the same way. Maybe they’re right. I hope so.
“I have no idea if some societies, anthropologically speaking, aren’t really suited for democracy. I don’t think that’s true. But there certainly are societies that just love to fight. Northern Ireland, for instance. You couldn’t stop that problem because they were having fun — they were really, really enjoying themselves. It would still be going on full-force today if the sons of bitches hadn’t accidentally gotten rich. What happened was, more and more people started getting cars, and television sets, and got some vacation time down in Spain, and it wasn’t that they wanted to stop fighting and killing each other and being lunatics, but they got busy and forgot.
“So our job,” he says, “is to make the Iraqis get busy and forget. ‘You know, I meant to kill all those other people but, well, jeez, I had to get the kids off to school, the car was filthy and I had to take it down to the car wash, the dog got sick on the rug. Killing all those Shiites is still on my to-do list . . .'”
Based on the Pan-Arab response to Saddam’s execution, I suspect it will take a good long time before we get to the ‘killing all those Shiites is still on my to-do list’ state.
Remember, Saddam Hussein was the most heinous mass murderer of our generation. He was responsible for the brutal deaths of tens of thousands, no, hundreds of thousands of people during the course of his reign. The people he killed were not Americans, they weren’t Israelis, they weren’t Europeans: they were Arabs. They weren’t Catholics, they weren’t Protestants, they weren’t Jews: they were Muslims.
So countless Arab Muslims die at Saddam’s hand and because he showed some dignity and bravery before he dropped to his well-deserved death, these Arab Muslims embrace him as their new hero.
In the week since Saddam Hussein was hanged in an execution steeped in sectarian overtones, his public image in the Arab world, formerly that of a convicted dictator, has undergone a resurgence of admiration and awe.
On the streets, in newspapers and over the Internet, Mr. Hussein has emerged as a Sunni Arab hero who stood calm and composed as his Shiite executioners tormented and abused him.
Praise came from all corners. From Egypt:
“No one will ever forget the way in which Saddam was executed,” President Hosni Mubarek of Egypt remarked…
a government statement said a statue depicting Mr. Hussein in the gallows would be erected…
hundreds of members of the Lebanese Baath Party and Palestinian activists marched Friday in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood behind a symbolic coffin representing that of Mr. Hussein and later offered a funeral prayer. Photographs of Mr. Hussein standing up in court, against a backdrop of the Dome of the Rock shrine in Jerusalem, were pasted on city walls near Palestinian refugee camps, praising “Saddam the martyr.”
“God damn America and its spies,” a banner across one major Beirut thoroughfare read. “Our condolences to the nation for the assassination of Saddam, and victory to the Iraqi resistance.”
long a bastion of support for Mr. Hussein, many are lionizing him, decrying the timing of the execution and the taunts as part of a Sunni-Shiite conflict.
Another Jordanian journalist, Muhammad Abu Rumman, wrote in Al Ghad on Thursday: “For the vast majority Saddam is a martyr, even if he made mistakes in his first years of rule. He cleansed himself later by confronting the Americans and by rejecting to negotiate with them.”
Even the Saudis, our supposed friends, got in on the act.
“Prepare the gun that will avenge Saddam,” a poem published in a Saudi newspaper warned. “The criminal who signed the execution order without valid reason cheated us on our celebration day. How beautiful it will be when the bullet goes through the heart of him who betrayed Arabism.”
I find this attitude unbelievable. It simply shows–to me, at least–the wide cultural divide between the Western world and the Arab one. And makes me believe it will be a long, long time before the Arab Muslims will be able to assimilate into Western society.