I have a message to those of you, especially you Americans, who say of the attacks of September 11 that America "had it coming," because of America's insensitive foreign policy in regions that now harbor terrorists. That is called "blaming the victim," and it morally repugnant when you blame victims of rape. It is equally repugnant when you blame victims of terror, including the people of this nation. With your misguided words you give encouragement to those who need no encouragement. Your cowardice will not help you — the terrorists in their rage will not distinguish you from the rest of us.
Still, my assertion begs the question that all Americans ask. "Why do they hate us?" I have tried to answer that in a previous piece, "The Right to Be Ourselves." They hate us for being us. Fundamentalism is a recent reaction against modernism, and we are modern. The current crop of terrorists has simply taken that reaction far into the realm of that which is Evil.
Now, Bin Laden has managed to issue a televised statement calling for pan-Muslim jihad against the United States and its allies until "the Palestinians have peace, and the infidel is out of the land of Muhammad."
I have three responses to those ideas. The first is that this is clearly manipulative propaganda. Only now has Bin Laden put Palestine ahead of Saudi Arabia in his rhetoric. A man with no legitimate friends is changing his message in hope of wider support.
The second is that every particle in the Universe is sacred to the One who created it. Therefore all parts of the world are equally sacred, but we remember that sacredness more strongly at some places than at others. Taking offense that some of our troops are stationed at a remote base in Saudi Arabia has therefore nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with tribalism. We are on earth by God's design, just like everyone else.
The third response is that the Palestinian people, beginning with Yasser Arafat, need to re-think their support, no their reverence, of suicide bombing and other terrorist tactics. As Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald wrote of the then unknown terrorists, on the day of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,
Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause. [more...]
Any advance of the Palestinian cause should await the successful destruction of the world's international terror networks. Further, the creation of a Palestinian state should wait until the Palestinian leadership, propaganda, and people turn their backs on suicide bombing and all forms of terrorism. Otherwise, the world will have simply set up another terrorist state.
I leave you with these words from a recent speech to the United Nations by Rudolf Giuliani, the Mayor of New York:
The era of moral relativism between those who practice or condone terrorism and those who stand up against it must end. There's no moral way to sympathize with grossly immoral actions . . . Unfortunately by trying to do that, a fertile field for terrorism has grown.