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Monday, October 31, 2011

More on the Palestinian Arab culture of martyrdom, plus two more posters

This is a followup to my previous post discussing whether it is accurate to describe Palestinian Arab support for terrorism as an example of its culture.

In 2008, Palestine Media Watch gave lots of evidence that the (secular) Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency would routinely use the word "martyrs" in its English language articles describing the death of terrorists.

In response, Ma'an said, "in the Palestinian cultural/religious tradition, the martyrdom aspect is significantly different from the Judeo-Christian understanding. Those who die as martyrs may be defending their wives or their property, not necessarily engaging in the Western notion of a holy crusade. The PMW interpretation, while undoubtedly held by some religious individuals, is not necessarily the general interpretation of these terms."

So Ma'an is saying that it is merely following the Palestinian Arab cultural (not religious) tradition when referring to people killed by Israelis as "martyrs" in Arabic. But if they died directly because of a terror act, does this Palestinian Arab cultural tradition still allow them to be called "martyrs"?

Let's look at a Ma'an article to find out.

On January 18, an Al Qassam Martyr's Brigades member killed while he was engaged in a "jihad mission." Not defending his family, not minding his own business, but engaged in a purely offensive mission, and he appears to have accidentally killed himself while performing his jihad.

And Ma'an in Arabic called him a "martyr" both in the headline and in the article.

If you believe Ma'an, when Palestinian Arabs glorify terrorist acts, it is cultural.

But you don't even have to go that far to see how Palestinian Arab culture glorifies terrorism. All you have to do is look at the songs and dances at the annual Palestinian Cultural Festival!

In 2010, a dance troupe held rifles and danced to the idea of dying, using lyrics like
He who offers his blood doesn't care if his blood flows upon the ground.
As the weapon of the revolution is in my hand, so my presence will be forced [upon Israel].
My weapon has emerged.
My weapon has emerged
And in attendance was the PA Minister of - you guessed it - Culture. The dance was shown multiple times on Palestinian Arab TV.

And in September of this year, at another edition of this cultural festival, singers sang:
He sacrificed his life for the land.
They wrapped him in white cloth with a flower.
He shouted and said: "How sweet is Martyrdom."
Meeting his Lord was his choice.
He adorned his land with the purest blood.
Tears for him are [tears of] joy. [His] mother makes sounds of joy.
[The Martyr] a groom and his wedding - Martyrdom and heroism.
Oh hero, rest in peace, do not worry.

So for anyone who thought my first poster was offensive - here are two more: