Date Fri 15 Mar 2002 162525 0500 Est To

Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 16:25:25 -0500 (EST)

To: gulf2000 list

Equal Opportunity Bigotry

Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 16:23:12 -0500

From: Juan Cole

Yes, I am outraged by Dr. al-Jalahma’s column, and by similarly outrageous

pieces of gross bigotry that appear quite frequently in the Saudi press

and the Arabic language press more generally. I have complained on

Gulf2000 about such pieces. Saudi Arabia’s writers and publishers are

especially influential in places like Pakistan and Indonesia and their

columns are often widely translated, because of the kingdom’s prestige as

the site of the twin holy cities. They therefore have a special

responsibility to express judicious views, a responsibility they often

fail to fulfill.

Gratitude is a less common human emotion than is generally supposed, and I

suppose it is unrealistic to expect the Saudis and other Gulf nations to

realize this. But Saddam Husayn clearly had it in for them in 1990, and

they were saved from being put under his hegemony if not direct rule by

the intervention of the U.S. military and its allies, a military in which

American Jews serve with distinction. And yet, if one of those American

Jewish servicemen, now a civilian, sought a visa to Saudi Arabia as a

private citizen, [he might face difficulties because of] his or her religion.

However, the very sad state of human rights and the routine expression of

hate speech in Saudi Arabia with regard to religion, does not in any way

excuse Lowry’s comments, sarcastic or contextual or whatever. I just ask

you to imagine what would happen if an American journalist of his

visibility sarcastically advocated nuking the Vatican or the Wailing Wall

in Jerusalem. I suspect he would have to resign from his journal in the

resulting firestorm.

By the way, we’re all relieved that Nightline has been given a reprieve.

Without that show, the television news situation in the U.S. would be

altogether desperate.


Juan Cole

University of Michigan

– Juan, 12:14 PM

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