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Liberal Arab Columnist: 'Why do Arabs Hate the West, Especially the U.S.?'
MEMRI ^ | 8-12-03 | Zuheir Abdallah

Posted on 08/13/2003 5:58:46 AM PDT by SJackson


THE MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Special Dispatch Series - No. 551
August 12, 2003 No.551
Liberal Arab Columnist: 'Why do Arabs Hate the West, Especially the U.S.?'

In an article titled "Why Do Arabs Hate the West, Especially the U.S.," Zuheir Abdallah, columnist for the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat, blames Arab fascism and Islamism for failing to achieve any accomplishments for the Arab world since 1948, leading to its backwardness today. The following are excerpts from the article: [1]

Arabs Should Remember They Invaded and Occupied Europe Before The Crusades

"Most Arabs hate the West, especially the U.S., for many reasons; some date back to the Crusades and the Andalusia period, and more recently, because of Palestine and Iraq. I don't intend to delve into this historical turmoil, but for the sake of history, the Arabs should remember that they invaded and occupied important parts of Europe hundreds of years before the Crusades wars.

"The West and the U.S. in particular, as a result of their growing financial and moral power since the 1950s, and just like any human force, dominates and colonizes… just like them the Assyrians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Persians, the Arabs, the Tatars, the Ottomans and others did before them… But since the 1950s, both the dominating and dominated initiated an attempt to build a new world, where competition (which is part of human nature) gradually moved from the battlefields to the realm of creation, economy and trade. Sciences and inventions developed as never before, especially in the fields of space, communications and medicine, which led to the invention of computers, the Internet and satellites, and many medicines and antibiotics were discovered, overcoming many diseases and increasing humans' life expectancy. In general, the world went on a stable path of progress, as trade prospered (with the elimination of tariffs and the speed in transportation)."

Since 1948 The Arab World Has Regressed

"But despite this, the Arab world failed to ride the same wagon (except for the consumption part), ever since the Palestinian Nakba in 1948. Since then, under the pretext of liberating Palestine and destroying the occupation's agents, most Arab countries were taken over by not so intelligent and more tyrannical people (mostly from the military). Thus, the economic and scientific growth regressed and reached the bottom level, in comparison to the rest of the countries in the world (according to the last report of the UN)."

Arab Fascism and Fundamentalist Islam Have Nothing to Offer People

"Since 1948, the primitive Arab fascism was given free reign, and boosted by the backwards soldiers, from the officers to reactionary parties (sometimes self-dubbed progressive), and other times allied with fundamentalist Islam. It has nothing to offer to its people except empty slogans revolving around the themes of resistance and struggle, for no voice can be louder than that of the fight, and consequently, corruption spread, and this Arab fascism was constantly being defeated in its Don-Quixote-like-battles with any foreign force (except its people, as it always vanquished them).

"All around the world, extremist slogans and concepts are falling one after the other; but in the Arab world, they have reached such a level that many simple-minded people and ignorant persons were unfortunately brainwashed and turned into the fuel of this extremism. When discussing with many Arab citizens, even those claiming to be educated, about the reason for our backwardness, you get a preset answer to the effect that the West with the U.S. in particular are stopping the Arabs from progressing. If this hypothesis is true, then why did certain Arab and Islamic countries, such as Malaysia and Dubai [sic], manage to achieve progress (even if partially)?"

Arabs Reject Western Inventions, Only to Embrace them Later

"The West and the U.S. in particular achieved major accomplishments over the past century. As for us, Arabs and Muslims, we became at most consumers of these accomplishments and inventions; we reject them at first claiming they are designed to control us, then consume them fast and even hide it most of the time. The examples are many:

* The invention of radio transmission, then television then satellite channels, then electronic communications devices. Most Arabs misused these means, and used them as channels for religious extremism, political provocation, and transmission of erroneous information. The young generation spends long hours on the Internet to view pornographic pictures, mainly in the highly conservative societies, which foster frustration. Before the modern communication means (visual and audio), we had enlightened religious scholars such as Mohamad Abdu and Jamaleddine Al Afghani. After the confusion resulting from these means, we have Sheikhs like bin Laden, Al Dhawahiri and many others we watch and hear on the Arab satellite channels.

* The weapons were highly and unusually developed during the last century. From 1948 to this day, arms purchases in the Middle East occupied the first place among the countries in the world and reached between 1995 and 1997, about 38% from world purchases in comparison to 3% in South America, according to the U.S. State Department's report: "Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1998." Most of these purchases were made under the pretext of liberating Palestine and fighting the enemies. They were either used against the people or during the civil wars or to attack neighboring countries. As for Israel, it remains the most powerful in terms of arms.

* In the medical field, penicillin and antibiotics were discovered, which saved millions and billions of human lives from fatal diseases as typhoid and many children diseases. As a result, there was a disorder in the demographic balance of many developing countries, especially in the Arab countries, as birth rates considerably grew (sometimes encouraged by ignorant rulers), combined with a decrease in death rates, especially infantile. As a result, the yearly demographic increase varied between 3 and 5%, which means that the census in some Arab countries doubled every 16 years. Social, political and environmental problems ensued and governments and people couldn't confront them.

"These are few of the examples on the inventions and discoveries of the last centuries and how they were misused in the Arab world. Let us stop for a minute and ask ourselves, Arabs and most Muslims, what did we offer for ourselves and the rest of the world, since the beginning of the industrial revolution to this day, from human sciences and inventions or any other added value to civilization? Unfortunately, the answer is: almost nothing!!"


[1] This article is a reprint of a translation into English by Dar al Hayat, http://english.daralhayat.com/opinion/08-2003/Article-20030808-e1036326-c0a8-01ed-0054-c054dbe12836/story.html, August 8, 2003. The article originally appeared in Al-Hayat (London).


 



TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: arabs; clashofcivilizatio; crusades; haters; thewest

1 posted on 08/13/2003 5:58:46 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Notice the repeated reference to the year 1948, when Israel was established.
Truth is, I don't think the Arabic culture for the most part has advanced past the Nineteenth Century.
2 posted on 08/13/2003 6:08:19 AM PDT by Marauder (Throw the rascals out.)
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To: Marauder
I believe the point the author was trying to reinforce was that Israel is not the source of their problems, but just a convenient "whipping boy"......

Oh well...some "cleric" will now issue a "Fatwa" against the author for pointing out the obvious....

NeverGore :^)
3 posted on 08/13/2003 6:27:42 AM PDT by nevergore (Please return your seat trays and seat backs to their full and upright position....)
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To: Marauder
He could have used the year 1946 to make another point. In that year Lebanon achieved independence and began what was to be become a process in the colonial world. When that country was governed by Arab Christians it prospered. When it was led by Muslims and infected by Palestinians it degenerated.
4 posted on 08/13/2003 6:37:29 AM PDT by gaspar
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To: SJackson
Another question may be "Why does the West hate the Arabs?"
5 posted on 08/13/2003 6:37:55 AM PDT by tkathy
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: boxerblues
bttt for later
7 posted on 08/13/2003 6:48:47 AM PDT by boxerblues (God Bless the 101st, stay safe, stay alert and watch your backs)
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To: gaspar
When it was led by Muslims and infected by Palestinians it degenerated.

Kind of like California with its liberal democRats and illegal aliens.

8 posted on 08/13/2003 7:11:13 AM PDT by Marauder (Throw the rascals out.)
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To: tkathy
"Another question may be 'Why does the West hate the Arabs?'"

Something to do with numerous acts of terrorism culminating in an act of war on 9/11/2001, I'd venture to guess...

--Boris

9 posted on 08/13/2003 7:16:08 AM PDT by boris (Education is always painful; pain is always educational.)
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To: nevergore
some "cleric" will now issue a "Fatwa" against the author

Yes; these people will continue to prove the author's point. Just ask Salman Rushdie (author of Satanic Verses).

10 posted on 08/13/2003 7:16:38 AM PDT by Marauder (Throw the rascals out.)
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To: SJackson
excellent article as usual from MEMRI.
11 posted on 08/13/2003 8:11:34 AM PDT by Terriergal ("multipass!")
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To: Eaker; habs4ever; Ditter; shaggy eel; dorben; Son of Rooster; Tennessee_Bob; Cyrano; ...
PING! Another excellent find from MEMRI
12 posted on 08/13/2003 8:12:32 AM PDT by Terriergal ("multipass!")
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To: SJackson
The fact of the matter is that the West collectively doesn't hate the Arabs, or more accurately, the peoples who have come to use the Arabic language, at all. Mostly we don't think about them very much. Were it not for the oil issue we would hardly think about them any more than we think about the inhabitants of Nepal, Kenya, or Papua New Guinea - it isn't out of disrespect, it's simply that they have their ways and we have ours, and where the two do not intersect it's really perfectly all right by both.

The Israel issue always was blown up fantastically out of proportion to its real-world impact. Where it is regarded as an affront to Arabic honor it is a stain that must be washed in blood. Where it is regarded as the migration of a certain principally Eastern European population that happens to be Jewish the problem falls away - the exclusion and hostility that has so alienated the two sides is essentially an artificial creation, not that it makes it any less an obstruction now. Nor, to be cold about it, does it directly affect a significant portion of the populations of either the West or the Arabic countries - were all the Palestinians and all the Israelis to drop dead suddenly neither the West nor the Arabic world would do much more than grieve for a human tragedy, but a demographic pinprick.

(Nor is it a necessary religious confrontation - Islam is more comfortable both historically and theologically with Judaism than Christianity is, even, in a number of ways.)

While it is perfectly true that the center of the Arabic world is dependent on an extraction economy that its controlling elite has failed to expand and diversify (for its own reasons to which the author above alludes) that isn't really an excuse. The "Arab" world is much more than Saudi Arabia and a few principalities on the Arabian littoral; it consists of billions of people and a huge potential in terms of human and natural resources that has nothing to do with oil. Something is clearly holding these back, and it isn't the West. It is the toxic political brew composed of elements of militarism and religious fundamentalism that has intoxicated a ruling elite that is profoundly threatened by the necessity to release control in order to foster progress. This elite is using anti-Westernism, and specifically anti-Americanism, as the same sort of security blanket the Soviet Union and its controlling elite did. It is similarly brittle, and in time will fall to the human aspiration for freedom that only ignorance can suppress. There may be an ocean of blood between now and then. It is, essentially, a new Cold War.

13 posted on 08/13/2003 8:38:10 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill
Frankly, I'm sick of hearing why the Arabs hate us. Who cares what sick reason they have. If they step out of line, bomb them. They don't have to "like" us.
14 posted on 08/13/2003 8:41:33 AM PDT by exile
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To: exile
Exactly right. Make them fear us.
15 posted on 08/13/2003 9:33:15 AM PDT by sheik yerbouty
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To: SJackson
It's have vs Have-not. The religion only matters to the extent that it helps explain why Muslim countries have not.
16 posted on 08/13/2003 10:49:35 AM PDT by .cnI redruM ("Magna cum laude, summa cum laude, the radio's too laude." - Johnny Dangerously)
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To: thackney
Ping to an interesting read.
17 posted on 08/13/2003 10:56:20 AM PDT by Eaker (This is OUR country; let's take it back!!!!!)
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To: exile
Frankly, I'm sick of hearing why the Arabs hate us. Who cares what sick reason they have. If they step out of line, bomb them. They don't have to "like" us.

Amen to that, The whole Arab Isreali situation could be solved in a week with our bomber fleet and right amount of munitions.
18 posted on 08/13/2003 4:07:45 PM PDT by edchambers
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To: *Clash of Civilizatio
Indexing.
19 posted on 08/13/2003 4:20:46 PM PDT by denydenydeny
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bump
20 posted on 08/13/2003 4:21:49 PM PDT by sarasmom (Punish France, Ignore Germany, Forgive Russia. Canada-well they ARE mostly French)
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To: SJackson
Bump
21 posted on 08/13/2003 7:08:56 PM PDT by knighthawk (We all want to touch a rainbow, but singers and songs will never change it alone. We are calling you)
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To: knighthawk
After a friend returned from a middle-eastern country, he explained part of the problem the rest of the world has with us. Many of the citizens of these countries have only satellite tv, no local stations. Guess what kind of garbage they pick up on the dish? Yep, HBO, Showtime, etc. These people really believe this whole country is decadent.
22 posted on 08/13/2003 7:18:27 PM PDT by phil1750 (Love like you've never been hurt;Dance like nobody's watching;PRAY like it's your last prayer)
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To: Marauder
Truth is, I don't think the Arabic culture for the most part has advanced past the Nineteenth Century.

I would say the Seventh Century, especially where culture is concerned.
23 posted on 09/20/2003 7:20:41 PM PDT by Agitate ("You will know the truth, and the truth will make you mad")
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To: tkathy
Another question may be "Why does the West hate the Arabs?"

How does the west hate arabs? By inviting them into our countries and allowing them to prosper like everyone else? I have yet to see groups of Americans burning an Egyptian, Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian, Jordianian, or Saudi flag, but I grew up on watching American flags burn.
24 posted on 09/20/2003 7:24:21 PM PDT by Agitate ("You will know the truth, and the truth will make you mad")
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To: Allan
Bump
25 posted on 09/20/2003 7:28:57 PM PDT by Allan
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To: nevergore; Mitchell; Marauder
Oh well...some "cleric" will now issue a "Fatwa" against the author for pointing out the obvious....

I doubt it.
Even al-Ahram in Egypt has regular columnists
who write articles similar in tone to this one.

Last summer I happened to read one much more scathing than this in their English edition.

I regret I do not remember the name of that writer
but to my knowledge
he still is alive and writing for Al Ahram
(an amazingly interesting and informative newspaper).

26 posted on 09/20/2003 7:44:30 PM PDT by Allan
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To: nevergore; Mitchell; Marauder
I regret I do not remember the name of that writer

PS. His name is Abdel-Moneim Said. Here is a sample:

If people still have doubts about the reality of the Arab temperament perhaps they should look at Time magazine of 2 June. There they can discover for themselves how the rule of whim and caprice transformed Baghdad into a criminal government ruled by perverts and sadists of the likes of Qusayy and Udayy Saddam Hussein. However, perhaps the "mother of all disasters" is not only that a band of psychopaths who alter history, calendars and geography as their moods dictate could come to power in Iraq, but also that they had an extraordinary talent for propelling their country, and along with it the rest of the Arab world, from one catastrophe to another. Such disaster-bound leadership developed into a full fledged art form, with its own rules, its own standards of excellence and, more amazingly yet, its own crowds of connoisseurs who found volatility and madness a perfectly acceptable mode of government, so long as it takes place within the framework of "fixed Arab principles".

Oddly, the monopolists of the preservation of fixed Arab principles failed to observe how such principles deteriorated under the rule of their cartel in every country in which it had risen to power. As a general rule these cliques manage to prolong their rule for decades on end until some stunning disaster which results in the erosion of national sovereignty, foreign occupation and general misery for the people. Then, after some wringing of hands from the UN, the US-dominated international organisation suddenly becomes the shrine of legitimacy again and bathos reaches new heights with the bartering of children in the market of global pity. We are living in a complex world in which nations and political movements interact in intricate ways to formulate policy and handle conflict. Yet contemporary Arab history reveals that the dominant constant in this part of the world is that the vanguards of Arabism not only have an enormous capacity to ignore developments and the distribution of forces in the rest of the world, but also to land their countries in situations far worse than where they had stood at the beginning of the crisis.

Several years ago an article of mine appeared in Al-Ahram commenting on Security Council resolutions to impose sanctions on Sudan for refusing to hand over the suspects accused of attempting to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, and in which I attempted to explain how it is that the Arabs end up with economic boycotts imposed on them. Perhaps now is the time not only to look at that article again but to update it in terms of the Arab propensity to court disaster, an art developed in tandem with Arab nationalist and religious movements and the characteristics they have come to share over the past few years.

The only accomplishment of these movements claiming to uphold our cherished principles is that they lost Palestine once in 1948, a second time in 1967 and a third time in 2002; they ushered in various periods of territorial occupation in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq; and imperilled the independence and national cohesion of Libya, Sudan and Algeria. One is dumbfounded that the proponents of these movements have not only failed to notice this miserable record, but also that their inevitable first reaction, whenever disaster hits, is to cast the blame on treachery, which obviously must have been the cause, or on colonialism and imperialism, which they knew existed even before they acted, or on the weakness and cowardice of those who did not hold true to fixed national and religious principles.

Iraq is a prime example of the Arab art of courting disaster. It used the demonic machinery of dogmatic bombast totally devoid of the political acumen necessary to evaluate the state of play and to set one's goals in terms of one's resources. The ideology proclaimed by this peculiar art is either pan-Arab nationalist or Islamist or a noxious and tragic brew of both. It may have a certain coherence and logic when being discussed in the framework of an Islamic-Nationalist Congress in Beirut, but when it filters into the types of regimes we actually have it inevitably succumbs to the customary bureaucratic red tape and intellectual cretinism of the state propaganda apparatus and then, in its much reduced and platitudinous form, is taken up by Arab opinion pundits who feel they must defend it because the regimes, after all, stand on the front line in the grand confrontation between the Arabs and imperialism.

Then the wheels of the demonic machinery of state dogma begin to role, and out of the other end emerge the disaster-laden results. The first is the enormous discrepancy between the regime's capacities and its objectives. At one point the regime in Iraq -- which is really no more than a Third World nation -- declared that it would unite the Arab world, burn half of Israel, rein in the Islamic revolution in Iran, take back Kuwait and kick out the imperialist military presence in the Gulf. At the same time another Arab nationalist regime styled itself as the leader of the entire Third World revolution, while not far away a third regime, ruling a country mired in famine and civil war, proclaimed itself leader of Islamic nations.

The second result is that the enormous gap between capacities and aims is filled by false claims. The regimes imagine that they have the support of the overwhelming majority of their people. Since they have excluded any form of democratic practice, outlets for free expression and all other means to gauge public opinion, they rely on mass rallies with microphones blaring out the state's ideological slogans and adulation for the leader. Even though it is the regimes themselves that stage these demonstrations, they readily succumb to the delusion they fabricated, as do some of the better intentioned supporters of the ideology. In the case of Iraq these well-intentioned souls imagined that the Iraqi people would stand behind their regime because it was against occupation. The Iraqi people may well have been against the US occupation, but that didn't stop the Americans from carrying out their special mission to topple the regime. Indeed, many Iraqis were infuriated at the Arab "freedom fighters" who came to thwart this historical mission.

The big lie generates other illusions, with the consequent inability to read the signs of impending disaster. When vast numbers of the nation's intellectual elite and, sometimes, its entire middle class flee the country, this is chalked down to the treachery of a deviant few. And when this deviant few exceeds four million, as was the case in Iraq, no one seems to find this disturbing. The Arab nationalist and religious movements do not catch on that something is dreadfully wrong in their sister Arab nation.

More worrying in Iraq was the gradual erosion of its sovereignty over its territories in the north and south. Some of the international resolutions that brought this about were legitimate, others were not, but the outcome was the same: the loss of national autonomy and territorial integrity. A similar process took place in Palestine. Even as liberated territories were reoccupied and PA authorities in the West Bank and Gaza crumbled, Arab nationalist and religious movements clamoured about "steadfastness" and "the challenge". They then filled in the gap between aims and very limited means with banners, with claims of universal popular support and skilfully painted portraits of the inevitable coming of a new international order that would turn night into day and cast light in the darkness. This chimera of the coming of a new order is fundamental to the Arabs' eternal law of courting disaster. It proclaims a seething Arab street that will rise up against injustice. It sees an emerging European power, which together with rising poles, alternatively in Russia, China and sometimes Japan, will put the US in place. Indeed, during the Iraqi crisis some spoke of a new international pole: global public opinion. This was the pole that took to the streets in February and when the war broke out in March sat back and watched it unfold on CNN.

These illusions all need to be analysed more closely. But what concerns us here is that they have been constant to the Arab condition. We should not forget how the Soviet chimera led the Egyptian and Syrian regimes to the miscalculations that ended in the disaster of June 1967. Nor was this the first or last time that the Arabs clung to that chimera during the Cold War. The Arabs failed to learn the lesson, even after the Cold War ended and the Western capitalist order took over the globe. Instead, they hark back to that period as a golden era of Arabism, in spite of the fact that that was the exact time they lost Palestine and portions of four Arab countries. They then go on to invent emerging global poles out of thin air.

It takes no great knowledge to realise that the Arab's demonic ability to court disaster has moved beyond despotic whim to the realm of complete and utter fancy. Even a cursory glance at Arab crises, from Palestine to Iraq, passing through Lockerbie, Sudan, the massacres in Algeria and the terrorism that has spread from Riyadh to Casablanca, tells us that Arab regimes and political groupings are living in an imaginary world of their own creation, a world with its own rules of thought and conduct, a world for which they are ever prepared to go to war and lose.

* The writer is director of Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved


27 posted on 09/21/2003 12:16:30 AM PDT by Allan
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To: Allan
Thanks for posting the interesting article by Abdel-Moneim Said.
28 posted on 09/21/2003 12:19:43 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: tkathy
"Why does the West hate the Arabs?"

Slaughtering (WTC) innocent Americans bothers me, How about you?

29 posted on 09/21/2003 12:23:43 AM PDT by nmh
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To: SJackson
Paranoid envy?
30 posted on 09/21/2003 12:24:13 AM PDT by nmh
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To: sheik yerbouty
Fear keeps people in line. If there is no fear then anything goes!
31 posted on 09/21/2003 12:25:24 AM PDT by nmh
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To: Allan
PS. Link
32 posted on 09/21/2003 12:30:00 AM PDT by Allan
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To: tkathy
"Why does the West hate the Arabs?"

In the article the author includes Europe as the West and obviously that is not true. Why does the United States "hate" the Arabs?
33 posted on 09/21/2003 12:31:57 AM PDT by jwh_Denver (My monkey is working on a new tagline. Tap, tap, tap tap................)
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