Linking Iraq war with shootings unethical [Archives:2003/628/Letters to the Editor]

March 24 2003

Barakat Saleh
[email protected]

As a Yemeni, I feel so sad and even angry by the way this respected (online) newspaper of ours has reported the tragic incident of the shooting of the three people in Mareb (American, Canadian and A Yemeni) .To ask whether they are the first victims of the American war on Iraq is truly regrettable and even unethical. First, the investigation has not been completed and one should wait before making such speculation with far wider implications about our people and nation (not the U.S as you might think), and a more serious fallouts, not the least of which is to frighten the foreign people (especially Americans) who live with us and help us in many ways, and those potential tourists and investors.
Secondly, and more importantly it seems to justify (in advance and I am sure not intentionally) the killing of innocent people by associating this crime with a legitimate anger to U.S policies that a lot of Arabs and Muslims have. We in Yemen and the Arab world should learn to separate issues; and in the process of feeling angry about an issue or a government, we should not loose ourselves and values.
There have been and always will be injustices in this world (especially by those who have the means to enforce their will), but that should not be a justification for loosing our values and harming our own interests by targeting the good and innocent people who come to our land and help it (like the American aid workers who were shamefully killed in Ibb).
If indeed what happened in Mareb was connected to the U.S war (as you regrettably speculated) as a form of protest, then it would be ironic that it happened at he same time when a 22 year old American girl was killed in Palestine while trying to defend the Palestinian homes from destruction by Sharon! And what a difference between the two forms of protest against injustice (one killing the innocents and another giving the ultimate sacrifice to protect the innocent Arabs).
Seeing the difference between the innocent people and their governments is something that we can't afford to ignore for our own good and indeed sanity! It is easy for us to say (once in a while) that we oppose terrorism in all its form, but what we need is to actively campaign against it and to refuse to give these criminals who carry it any legitimacy by linking their evil to the noble and just political issues that we defend, especially when we all know that our image and interest are the first (and often the only) real victims of their actions!