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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Kuwaiti journallist: Don't blame Zionism for violent Arab culture

The journalist and former Kuwaiti Communications Minister, Dr. Sa'ad Bin-Tafla, said that violent tendencies in Arab culture have deep roots and are not a product of the conflict with Zionism.

"I believe we are all responsible for this culture and Zionism and Imperialism have no part in it," Bin-Tafla declared in a recent interview with Jordanian television, "It is incorrect to say that violence is the result of the occupation. The French occupation left Algeria after a million victims fell, and then 100,000 Algerians were slaughtered by other Algerians, in the name of Islam, within less than ten years. That is to say, sadly, more than even Israel could have killed during the period of the intifada. This violence has cultural roots, unconnected to the occupation....

"The number of killed in Algeria and those killed by other Arab regimes is greater than the number of Palestinians killed by Israel..." the former Kuwaiti minister explained, adding, "There is a culture of violence that existed before the Americans arrived in Iraq and the Gulf, and even before the Israeli occupation in Palestine; before the American occupation in Afghanistan...."

Bin-Tafla stated, "the slaughter, the destructive abuse, the anarchy and the bloodshed do not approach in any way the legal definition of Jihad or resistance. It is anarchy and terrorism and is indicative of frustration and a culture of collective suicide reminiscent of whales [which beach themselves]. Such a culture stems from objective and personal reasons."

Bin-Tafla traces the source of much of the frustration among Arab youth to "an extremist religious stream" in the Islamic world. "It tells [the youth], 'You must achieve one of two things - martyrdom or victory,'" the Kuwaiti journalist explained, "It prettifies the culture of violence and describes it as resistance and Jihad."

Bin-Tafla also lays the blame on the Arab media: "Unfortunately, many in television, radio and print media... pushed these youth towards frustration and caused them to die needlessly, killing others with them, and to divide the world into black and white."