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The reasons behind anti-Americanism

Discovery Times Channel had a program on the rising anti-American feeling in the world. The program was Thomas L. Friedman reporting from the Arab world, asking students and intellectuals why 19 young people decided to take the lives of 3000 innocent civilians in United States.

Most people said it was because of the US support for Israel and other dictators in the Arab world. According to one student, everyone was shocked when Sept 11 happened in America but it happens everyday in the Arab world. According to Friedman, Arab countries are suffering from the poverty of dignity and humiliation is a very powerful force in international relations.

Another student mentioned that Americans tend to view Arabs and Middle East with terrorism, for which Friedman replies that it was not 19 Norwegians who attacked us on Sept 11th. Also it is not as if the terrorists are illiterate and poor people. Mohammed Atta was an educated Arab, who wanted to be a town planner. He was a normal person, till he moved to Europe where he got radicalized in a mosque in Hamburg.

This brings to the question of understanding the relations of immigrants in European countries. Friedman travels to Belgium which has been in the middle of a stormy relation between Muslim immigrants and natives. The natives complain that the immigrants fail to assimilate to the society and the immigrants complain that they are humiliated by their hosts. The radical mosques in these countries take advantage of the desparation of the immigrants turn them into terrorists. It was the same way Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was released by India in Khandahar became a terrorist according to Bernard Henri Levy in Who Killed Daniel Pearl?


Then Friedman asks the question that while Arabs blame America and Britain for everything wrong in thir societies, they seem to be doing nothing to improve their conditions. He points to the Arab Human Development Report, prepared by Arabs themselves, which present a dismal view of their countries. In fact more than half of the population wants to move out. But, then America is blamed for supporting the dictators of the Arab nations.

Another reason for the hatred against the Americans is the disinformation spread by the Arab media. These involve tales like the CIA and Mossad did the 9/11 and 4000 Jews were asked not to go to work on that day. Friedman asks who kept the phone number of the 4000 Jews in the building, and why no one reported it to the police. In a madrassa in Indonesia, one student tells Friedman that Al Gore was not allowed to win because he was a Jew and she got the information from Internet and Arab media.

The funny thing was while all students blamed America for their problem, they said they would love to come and study here. Finally Friedman concludes that 9/11 will change the Arab world more than it will change America.

Kai Smith too has a summary of the program

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