In my weekly column at Creators Syndicate, this week, I analyze the factors that may be driving what I believe is the racism that is driving the Western response to terrorism in Paris and Beirut. Why is Daesh/ISIS terrorism in Paris different from Daesh/ISIS terrorism in Beirut?
By Ray Hanania
It’s a hot topic these days. It seems pretty clear that the West, such as in the United States, is reacting differently to Daesh/ISIS terrorism in Paris, France than it is to Daesh/ISIS terrorism in Beirut.
I think part of the problem is racism. Americans, and much of the West, don’t care about Arabs, even if during the Beirut terrorism the day before the Paris terrorism three Americans were killed in Beirut. It’s hard to believe that racism, bigotry and politics mean more to mainstream Americans than the lives of three Americans killed in the Beirut terrorism that pretty much was overshadowed and engulfed in the world-wide obsession with Paris.
But racism isn’t the only factor.
I think another factor is the Arab and Muslim worlds themselves. The dictators and the tyrants have brutalized the Arab and Muslim people. We’re not allowed to think freely. Free speech is often not free in the Arab and Muslim world. Even among some extremist American Arabs and American Muslims, the idea of an open discussion is considered “haram” (Arabic for a “sin.”) The fanatics don’t want an open discussion. Their power comes from bullying and intimidation and they are empowered even more by the fact that the Western mainstream news media pretty much ignores the substantive issues facing American Arabs and American Muslims.
The whole issue of terms like “American Arab” versus “Arab American” have become a focus of extremist rhetoric and attacks not just from the small but loud handful of extremist activists but from so-called professional journalists. They won’t allow even a discussion about the topic and prefer to bully people into silence.
The truth is that the Arab media has failed to put the spotlight on the importance of covering Arab and Muslim victims of Daesh/ISIS terrorism. We’ve played into the hands of the dictators who don’t want the Arab and Muslim public to over-empathize with Arab and Muslim victims of terrorism. It doesn’t suit their political agendas.
It also undermines their controls on speech, expression and opinions.
The only way to put the Arab and Muslim victims of terrorism, like those who died in Beirut on Thursday November 12, 2015 (nearly 40 civilians were killed in the worst terrorist attacks in Beirut since the end of the civil war, including three American Lebanese civilians) is to start a discussion and a debate loudly and widely.
We can’t let the fanatics and extremists shut us up. We need to speak out.
It’s not about whether we agree with each other 100 percent. It’s about whether people with differing views can have a civil discussion. Civil discussion is the foundation of civil rights. If you can’t have a civil discussion, you can’t have civil rights.
Racism is driving the way the West is responding to the Daesh/ISIS terrorist massacres in Paris on Friday Nov. 13, 2015, but it’s not the only factor.
The Arab World and the Muslim World need to cleanup their act when it comes to silencing the fanatics and extremists, and when it comes to discussion, dialogue, debate and free speech.
Click here to read my column at Creators Syndicate and share your views on the many Comment Platforms we have here at the Arab Daily News. (WordPress comments, Facebook Comments, and Disqus Comments. Some or all. It’s your choice.)
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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