Thursday, September 29, 2005

Al-Jazeera Columnist Requests Equal Time From The Dread Pundit Bluto

Some time ago I read this column written for by American Sandy Shanks: Why do they hate us?, which was in the "ignorant American" mold. Taking exception with the premise, I responded with a comparison of literacy rates in the United States and the Arab world: Are Americans as Stupid as This Journalist Says?.

Mr. Shanks disagrees with my post, and has asked for equal time to respond:
Sandy Shanks here. You are doing well, I hope. Me, I'm doing fine. Retired now and loving it. This allows me time to do something I've wanted to do for quite a while. To harass your ass.

You ripped me pretty good a little while back by making some false assumptions concerning my article, "Why do they hate us," beginning with your title, "Are Americans as dumb as this journalist says." You then went on laboriously to show how intelligent we are based on education statistics. All of which missed the point. So, what is the point you may ask? The point is I didn't say Americans were dumb. I said they lacked an understanding of the past, and that is quite different. Some of the most brilliant people with whom I have been associated could not put the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and WWI on a correct timeline, and think Russia was the first and only country to drop the atomic bomb in anger.

Then you wrote, "Shanks goes on to compare Israel to al Qaeda." That is a disgustingly inflammatory remark to make and is totally alien to my point of view. To support this absurd contention, you then quote me, "The greatest ignominy, by far, perpetrated by the West upon the Arab people is the formation of the state of Israel." I then went on to describe that, from an Arab point of view, the formation of Israel was the "mother of all insults." From a purely historical point of view, those are accurate statements. I write to the Arab audience not to the Western audience and my message is contained in the last third of my articles. Please read the last third of this article.

It would be extremely foolish of me to assume Western readers would pay no attention to my articles. So, I try to drop clues as to the purity of my intentions. Those clues are missed by Western reviewers who only wish to crucify me. As an example, in this article I wrote, "Many in the West respect the state of Israel." Now would I write that if I did not respect Israel?
I stand by my post. I maintain that the lower literacy rates of Arab countries compared to the United States are more conducive to the propagation of propagandistic folklore, rather than a true understanding of history.

As for the comparison of Israel to al Qaeda, the metaphor in the al-Jazeera column is explicit and undeniable:
Let us assume that the Arab League had the power to carve a nation out of the US, say in Montana, meaning no disrespect to the inhabitants of that great state, and populate it with our deadliest enemy - members of al-Qaida.