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Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Narrative

There are two surprising things about this article. One is that it appears in the New York Times. The other is that it was written by Tom Friedman (Hat Tip: David Hazony via Twitter).
Have no doubt: we punched a fist into the Arab/Muslim world after 9/11, partly to send a message of deterrence, but primarily to destroy two tyrannical regimes — the Taliban and the Baathists — and to work with Afghans and Iraqis to build a different kind of politics. In the process, we did some stupid and bad things. But for every Abu Ghraib, our soldiers and diplomats perpetrated a million acts of kindness aimed at giving Arabs and Muslims a better chance to succeed with modernity and to elect their own leaders.

The Narrative was concocted by jihadists to obscure that.

It’s working. As a Jordanian-born counterterrorism expert, who asked to remain anonymous, said to me: “This narrative is now omnipresent in Arab and Muslim communities in the region and in migrant communities around the world. These communities are bombarded with this narrative in huge doses and on a daily basis. [It says] the West, and right now mostly the U.S. and Israel, is single-handedly and completely responsible for all the grievances of the Arab and the Muslim worlds. Ironically, the vast majority of the media outlets targeting these communities are Arab-government owned — mostly from the Gulf.”

This narrative suits Arab governments. It allows them to deflect onto America all of their people’s grievances over why their countries are falling behind. And it suits Al Qaeda, which doesn’t need much organization anymore — just push out The Narrative over the Web and satellite TV, let it heat up humiliated, frustrated or socially alienated Muslim males, and one or two will open fire on their own. See: Major Hasan.

“Liberal Arabs like me are as angry as a terrorist and as determined to change the status quo,” said my Jordanian friend. The only difference “is that while we choose education, knowledge and success to bring about change, a terrorist, having bought into the narrative, has a sense of powerlessness and helplessness, which are inculcated in us from childhood, that lead him to believe that there is only one way, and that is violence.”
Friedman asks what to do. He says that he believes that most Arab Muslims know the truth about the Narrative and he urges President Obama to confront them about it. Unfortunately, everything we have seen about President Obama to date indicates that he is someone who appeases Islam, and not someone who confronts it and exposes its flaws.

But perhaps the most telling thing about this article is the fact that Friedman's Jordanian friend asked to remain anonymous. Jordan is a country that is supposedly friendly with the United States and has a peace treaty with Israel. Jordan is a country that is viewed as friendly with the United States, and it has a peace treaty with Israel. Yet a 2008 Pew study shows Jordanian approval of Jews in single digits, while the majority expresses positive views of Hamas and Hezbullah.

Perhaps Friedman should confront his friend with Jordan's attitude toward Jews and ask what can be done about it before asking that President Obama confront Muslims generally. A country's attitude toward Jews and Israel says more about the love for freedom and mankind in that country than anything else.


At 4:59 PM, Blogger Mr. Gerson said...

"Jordan is a country that is viewed as friendly with the United States, and it has a peace treaty with Israel. Jordan is a country that is viewed as friendly with the United States, and it has a peace treaty with Israel."

At 7:37 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The truth is Jordan is overwhelmingly an anti-Semitic and Jew-hating country, the majority of the inhabitants want to see Israel destroyed. That's the harsh reality of the neighbor Israel is supposedly at peace with.

All the settlement freezes in the world won't change it.

At 3:16 AM, Blogger Dude1394 said...

Well it would have helped is his newspaper and the far-left liberal democrat party were not busy helping push that narrative.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

It is ILLEGAL for a Jew to be a citizen of Jordan.


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