Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Neil Steinberg Column

Not ten minutes after I did the previous post, a friend of the blog e-mailed me the September 04 Neil Steinberg column mentioned below. This friend of the blog performed a "paid search." Older Chicago Sun-Times articles can't be accessed by cheapskates such as myself. In his September 6, 2004 column, Steinberg mostly discusses the presidential campaign, but here is the relevant part of that article:

The most unexpected result of the horrific slaughter of schoolchildren at a school in Russia is a rare moment of introspection in the Arab media. The reported involvement of Arab terrorists in the attacks caused some in the Muslim world to pause and wonder, "Gee, maybe this stuff makes us look bad."

The Associated Press reports that the general manager of al-Arabiya television wrote "Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture," in a column running under the headline, "The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims!"

I'm sure the IRA would object to that. But at least some in the Arab world seem to finally get it. "If all the enemies of Islam united together and decided to harm it . . . they wouldn't have ruined and harmed its image as much as the sons of Islam have done by their stupidity, miscalculations, and misunderstanding of the nature of this age," a columnist wrote in Egypt's al-Ahram newspaper.

Of course, such introspection only goes up to a point in the Arab world. I meant "moment of introspection" in its literal sense. There is always the relief valve that kicks in should self-doubt rise to unacceptable levels. One Arab scholar said, "I have no doubt in my mind that this is the work of the Israelis who want to tarnish the image of Muslims." I bet he doesn't.
Why not 'freedom fighters'?

This latest atrocity sent me to my dictionary to look up the word "militant." As a noun, it means, "a militant person, especially, a political activist."

A "political activist"? That sounds like somebody ringing doorbells for John Kerry. Am I alone in feeling that this is an awfully weak term to apply to killers who take over a school and slaughter more than 330 people, including about 150 children? Yet too many newspapers, including this one, repeatedly referred to the Chechens as "militants." The proper term should have been "terrorists." We've been through this before with Palestinian bombers in Israel. If we can't bring ourselves to call things what they are, then how can we expect the Arab media to be any different?

Well done, Neil. Now, can you look into the free speech case of Professor Klocek at DePaul?

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