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Scribblings: First Tragedy, then Farce

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First Tragedy, then Farce

The Southeast Asian tsunami was a horrific natural tragedy. Or was it? Some of the conspiratorial minded of the Middle East seem reluctant to admit that it was natural.

An Egyptian weekly, al-Usbu, claimed that it was more likely that the tsunami was caused by "human intervention that destabilised the tectonic plates" than by "a natural, divine move". That human intervention was by India, Israel and the Americans. [It has also been proven] that India recently obtained high[-level] nuclear technology, and a number of Israeli nuclear experts and several American research centres were [involved in preparing this]...The three most recent tests appeared to be genuine American and Israeli preparations to act together with India to test a way to liquidate humanity. In the[ir] most recent test, they began destroying entire cities over extensive areas. Although the nuclear explosions were carried out in desert lands...they had a direct effect on these areas."

According to the al-Jazeera TV station, there are numerous local theories about how the tsunami was triggered, but the most popular is that Indian and American militaries were the "main cause of the disaster by testing eco-weapons, which use electromagnetic waves, thus triggering off earthquakes."

Others had more indirect theories – the Jews and Americans (and Christians) did not directly cause the tsunami by setting it off, but their behaviour so angered Allah that he unleashed the tsunami. (Apparently, divine retribution for American and Israeli behaviour is to kill 200,000+ Indonesians, Thais, Indians and Sri Lankans.)

Palestinian cleric Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, in a sermon on Palestinian-TV said the Muslim dead were martyrs but blamed the event on the fact that: "The oppression and corruption caused by America and the Jews have increased... Over there, there are Zionist and American investments. Over there they bring Muslims and others to prostitution. Over there, there are beaches, which they dubbed 'tourists' paradise,' while only a few meters away, the locals live in hell on earth....Do you want the earth to turn a blind eye to the corrupt oppressors?... Do you want the sea to lower its waves in the face of corruption that it sees with its own eyes?! No, the zero hour has come."

Saudi Professor Sheik Fawzan al-Fawzan said that: "These great tragedies and collective punishment" were the result of the fact "at these resorts, which unfortunately exist in Islamic and other countries in South Asia, and especially at Christmas, fornication and sexual perversion of all kinds are rampant. The fact that it happened at this particular time is a sign from Allah."

A variant on this theme is that because it was God's will, nothing should be done to help the victims. Ibrahim Sa'dah the editor of an Egyptian government daily, Akhbar al-Yawm, (Jan. 1) pointed out that the Arab Doctors' Association not only urged donations for the Jihad in Iraq and urged doctors to volunteer, but also urged "[those volunteer doctors] to fight, [to participate] in the Jihad war, and to manufacture explosives and to blow up places in which there were a number of 'infidels' and scores of innocent civilians." However, the same association made no attempt to get donations for tsunami victims, or send volunteers, and explained the difference thus, "The Arab Doctors' Association secretary-general, Dr Abd al-Mun'im Abu al-Futuh, justified this by saying that this earthquake was divine punishment because of the Muslims' oppression by the infidels, invaders and occupiers, headed by the US, and that therefore we have no interest in what had happened!"

Finally, there were accusations that the Jews didn't cause the tsunami, they just exploited it to abduct children. A Yemeni professor, Ahmad Muhammad al-'Ajal, said on TV, "As for the issue of child abduction in places hit by the earthquake and tsunami in Southeast Asia this is what the organisations of global Zionism are accustomed to, and this is what they do...they are playing a role, both dangerous and devastating for the values and morality of humanity, by abducting these children, while exploiting the circumstances of these painful events, and trading in them."

Why is it that hopes that a tragedy like the tsunami would help bring people together didn't eventuate in places like the Middle East? Maybe because, according to the valuable Middle East Media Research Institute, (which translated most of the above) international, US and Australian humanitarian efforts have been largely unreported by the Middle East media, which instead focused on the relatively modest contributions from Arab states.

The Holocaust and its discontents

The fact that the UN managed to bring itself to agree to a commemorative ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on Jan. 24 was a good thing, even if it remains amazing that it took this long to get the UN to talk about the Holocaust. Also positive was that even the PLO's UN observer, Nasser al-Kidwa, known for his relentless Israel-bashing, supported the session after initially working to oppose it. This would probably not have happened under Arafat, despite the fact that new leader Mahmoud Abbas promoted Holocaust denial in the 1980s.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Council of Britain boycotted ceremonies there to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust because, according to the organisation's Secretary-General Iqbal Sacranie, it "excludes ongoing genocide and human rights abuses around the world and in the occupied territories of Palestine." (They later denied they were boycotting, saying they were merely "unwilling to attend.") A Muslim British MP, Khalid Mohammed, disagreed with the Muslim Council decision, but did not make things much better by saying the boycott was a mistake because "people who were exterminated in the Holocaust were not just Jews. There were Romany gypsies as well."

Meanwhile, the children's section of the BBC added insult to injury by completely neglecting to mention that the Holocaust had anything to do with Jews. Providing a background article entitled "What is the Holocaust" for the controversy over Prince Harry's Nazi costume at a party, the BBC website (Jan. 13) simply said the Holocaust was the murder of "millions of people" by the Nazis, and that "most of the victims died because they belonged to certain racial and religious groups which the Nazis wanted to wipe out" before falsely asserting that most of the dead were "German citizens".

With this sort of information being put out, it seem less surprising that a December poll in Britain found that 60 percent of those aged under 35 claim never to have heard of Auschwitz.

Tzvi Fleischer

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