Some conspiracies can be legitimate [Archives:2004/781/Letters to the Editor]

October 14 2004

Sean Bowman
[email protected]

Thank you for publishing my letter in a recent edition. The people that have e-mailed me in response to that article have been very articulate, intelligent, and kind. I appreciate their feedback.
Unfortunately, I believe I gave the wrong impression. I did not mean to mean ALL Arabs or even the vast majority of Arabs believe in the conspiracies. All I meant was that the conspiracies hold more legitimacy and have more followers than such conspiracies in the West. I must also admit that I found fewer Yemeni people espousing such views than elsewhere in the Middle East. Nevertheless, when a newspaper such as the Yemen Times publishes such conspiracies, it gives those conspiracies legitimacy. That is, some hate monger now can point to this article and say, “See! Most Americans don't even believe 9/11 was carried out by Al-Qaeda!” when that is far from the truth. If someone questions the man's statement, he merely has to say, “Well hey, it's in the Yemen Times, that means there must be some truth to it.” Consequently, it might lead others to fall into the same way of thinking. As a result, there is greater mistrust between the West and the Islamic world. Publishing such an article is an insult to the intelligence of the readers as well as the victims of 9/11 (or whichever “conspiracy” it is).
I am all for free speech and obviously the editor has every right to publish what he likes. My point is that such an article is tasteless and would not be found in any professional left wing, anti-war publication such as Mother Jones magazine or the Guardian newspaper. Both of those are filled with VALID, well-researched criticism of the United States. It would be wonderful if the Times could do the same.