Whether it’s a tsunami in southeast Asia or a volcano in Latin America, an earthquake or a flood, there are always people in Syria – and other parts of the Arab world – who swear it’s part of an international conspiracy. Perhaps the most shocking was when a university professor in Amman, Jordan, said with a straight face: “The tsunami that hit Aceh was part of an American conspiracy to get rid of poor people, because they don’t have the money to be consumers of American products.” I know too many people in the Arab world who subscribe to such logic.Of course, it was written by an Arab woman who grew up in Saudi Arabia, who is also anti-Israel. It is also important because no matter how many Arabic articles I read, they don't approach the level of ignorance and bigotry that average Arabs seem to have (based on anecdotes like these.)
Indeed, people often dismiss events unfolding before their eyes on the TV news as “part of the international Zionist conspiracy”. And the culprits don’t even have to be western. The latest conspiracy theory is that the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad must be working with the West on behalf of Israel. “Why else would he mention during the most vulnerable times in East-West diplomacy that Iran will defy everyone and embrace nuclear power? Or say things about the Holocaust that will be held against him?” the respected father of an Arab friend asked me.
Paula R. Stern – The Last Day
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