Did we miss something else?

So I’m reading Jeff Jacoby’s op-ed in the Boston Globe today and he’s talking about anti-American sentiment in the Arab world, (I’m ignoring the fact for a second that the idea of an Arab world, like Arab street, is Orientalist, and that using Egypt as an example for over two dozen countries is just bad writing.) when I run across this paragraph:

It was Al-Akhbar, another regime-sponsored daily, that declared in August: “The Statue of Liberty . . . must be destroyed because of the idiotic American policy that goes from disgrace to disgrace in the swamp of bias and blind fanaticism. . . . The age of the American collapse has begun.”

Examples of the anger engendered by the Iraq war? Hardly. Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar published those statements in October and August of 2001.

Now at the risk of reading too much into it, Jacoby reads an Arab paper that says a major New York landmark should be destroyed, and this article is translated by a politically conservative service, and he’s using it as proof that anti-Americanism was fashionable before 9/11. At the risk of sounding as obvious as he does, duh! We know it was fashionable, our concern should be when it became actionable, and it looks like we missed another clue here.

2 thoughts on “Did we miss something else?

  1. Sounds good to give up colloquialisms like “Arab Street” and “Arab World,” especially if the Arabs ever get around to giving up that other fiction, the “Arab Nation.”

  2. While I agree the “Arab nation,” the result of pan-Arabism of the early 20th century, is a utopian fantasy, much like pan-Islamism, I’m not sure the “Arabs” believe in it. It’s a useful fiction perpetuated at the highest levels of corrupt regimes and their sponsors, not really a man on the street type idea.

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