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    Sign of the times

    I was hoping someone would get around to saying this so I didn’t have to (it’s Dale Franks posting):

    So we’re starting to see articles like this one from Khaled Duzdar, the Palestinian co-director of the strategic affairs unit at the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information in Jerusalem. Now, I don’t know anything about Mr. Duzdar. For all I know, he’s been a beacon of sanity and peace in the Arab Muslim world for all his adult life. But there’s something about his article that strikes me as…odd.

    Last week’s suicide attacks against innocent civilians in Amman shocked us all. It is unclear what message the suicide bombers were conveying and there is no logical cause justifying such insane acts. What could the aim of such attacks be, and what were the mad executioners aiming to achieve? For some time, they have claimed they are defenders and combatants of Islam and the Muslim world. However, Islam has no use for such people and their acts and ideologies – if we believe they have any ideology at all. They promote nothing more than killing and aim only to bring about a state of lawlessness and instability in the Middle East.

    Yeah. All of the sudden, terrorist acts have gone from the acts of frustrated national aspirations on the part of a helpless people to wondering, “What could the aim of such attacks be?” Yep. All of the sudden, terrorism is just incomprehensible.

    No kidding. For years, many–if not most–of the Arab and Muslim condemnations of terrorism have come with qualifications on the order of “But let’s remember the sense of rage and powerlessness such people feel” or “But their bodies are the only weapons they have to fight with.” (To be fair, Palestinian-sympathizing Westerners have taken the same tack, too.)

    It’s all very strange. There are certain things that generally good-hearted, disciplined, civilized people simply do not do when they’re cracking under pressure. Chilly premeditated murder of dozens of random people peaceably going about their business is one of them–even, I would submit, if the killing conveys a clear “message.” I was saddened and outraged by the bombings in Jordan this weekend, but like Dale, I’m having a little trouble getting myself worked up into extra-special shock, grief, and epistemic crisis just because it was Amman and not Tel Aviv that was hit.

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