Those views are extreme [Archives:2004/785/Opinion]

October 28 2004

M. Neave
For the Yemen Times

When I read letters by people like Tom Dennis and Ron Coyken that criticize opinions published by Arabs in the Yemen Times, I wonder what people in the Arab world must think of their views. Firstly, Tom's letter on the commonest sense ignores the most obvious questions.
For example, it would seem common sense to me that if you have imposed sanctions on a people for more than a decade, and bombed them during that time, and then invade them because they allegedly hold WMD's which is later proven to be false, you cannot expect to be welcomed with open arms. Especially when your post war reconstruction involves jobs for ex patriot workers, while the locals have no employment opportunities.
So often the US ignores the possibility that it may not be seen as a liberator, but may in fact be seen as another oppressor.
I think commonsense – certainly the peace movement – predicted what we see in Iraq.
With the increase in anti US feeling among many Muslim people (and certainly not helped by letters such as the one by Ron Coyken) it was inevitable that Iraq would become a magnet for those wishing to fight against it. And that the longer the occupation went on, the more likely there would be a backlash against the invaders.
While terrorism is not justifiable, the fact remains that it will contuinue to grow as long as nobody is prepared to examine what causes people to be attracted to this path. And this is something the US especially is not prepared to do, perhaps through ignorance, or perhaps because they would need to examine their own role in creating this situation.
They are not alone in this – there are plenty of other nations who have contributed to the current unrest.
And in relation to the Russian situation, I am afraid I have read too many accounts of what has done to Chechen children to be surprised that some young Chechens may lack compassion and empathy for Russian children. How can you understand that children need to be loved, protected and nurtured if you have been deprived of this all your young life? Such an experience is most likely to create a ruthlessness which is incomprehensible to most of us.
And we should all be thanking God/Allah that we have not had the same experience.
There can be no dialogue with terrorists. Fine, but it is obvious there can also be no dialogue with the US, which prefers to use strong arm tactics. As long as this state of affairs continue there is no hope for resolving any conflict.
Mr Coyken's letter shows disrespect for Islam – indeed – disrespect for all who don't share his particular version of Christianity – I have never seen anything in the Bible that outlines a role for the US as an agent of God.
His view is on some levels similar to that of extreme fundamentalist Islam, but perhaps poses a far greater threat to global peace because it is based in the most powerfully armed nation on earth.
I sincerely hope readers of the Yemen times are aware that this is an extreme view, and one not shared by the majority of people in the west, and hopefully in the USA!