Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"No one likes us, I don't know why...."

I don't usually do this, but I don't usually come across this kind of data:*

This, for example, is what Richard Reid said in court while he was being allowed to live.

I further admit my allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah. With regards to what you said about killing innocent people, I will say one thing. Your government has killed 2 million children in Iraq. If you want to think about something, against 2 million, I don't see no comparison.Your government has sponsored the rape and torture of Muslims in the prisons of Egypt and Turkey and Syria and Jordan with their money and with their weapons. I don't know, see what I done as being equal to rape and to torture, or to the deaths of the two million children in Iraq. So, for this reason, I think I ought not apologize for my actions. I am at war with your country. I'm at war with them not for personal reasons but because they have murdered more than, so many children and they have oppressed my religion and they have oppressed people for no reason except that they say we believe in Allah.

And this is what Ramzi Yousef said in court while he was being allowed to live.

"Yes, I am a terrorist and proud of it as long as it is against the U.S. government."

And this is what Zacarias Moussaoui said in court while he was being allowed to live.

"God save Osama bin Laden — you will never get him...You have branded me as a terrorist or a criminal or whatever," he said. "Look at yourselves. I fight for my belief."
It was just easier to leave Mr. Pierce's comments in there, to identify the speakers.  What struck me was not the reasoning on display here; violence is no excuse for violence, I don't condone an eye for an eye.  What struck me is how reasonable these speeches are, especially in the light of 9/11 and the reasons we went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.  "Reasonable," it turns out, isn't all that relative.

I'm also struck by the fact that while there is mention of Muslims and Islam, there's no mention of the Koran.  I'm constantly being told the Koran is the reason all Muslims are crazed terrorists bent on death to the infidel.  But in the longest speech, no reference to the Koran, no mention of fundamental tenets of Islam; just a catalogue of death and a severe statement of resentment.  No mention of infidels, either.

Mostly there seems to be anger; the kind of anger I recognize as the most lingering after-effect of 9/11.

Who knew we had so much in common?

*As a footnote I would add I recently saw this documentary on Frontline, about the current battle for Yemen.  It's not about Islam v. infidels; it's about power.  Pretty much the same reason ISIS is at large in largely powerless Iraq, and spilling over into Syria, where the government is losing control of its territory.

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