Abbas Beydoun

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Dear Michael, The Americans didn’t loose any time – they began the war the moment their ultimatum ran out. Here in Lebanon, people have been holding out in front ...

Dear Michael,

The Americans didn’t loose any time – they began the war the moment their ultimatum ran out. Here in Lebanon, people have been holding out in front of their televisions since the war was started. At the beginning, the taxi drivers who drive me to my office at the newspaper, expected me, as a journalist, to explain the possible consequences of the war for Lebanon to them. A despairing novelist told me that this war would most certainly be detrimental for his profession. Now, the taxi drivers don’t ask me about things anymore. They inform me of the American losses. Posted in front of their television sets, they have transformed themselves into imaginary warriors adding to the toll of the American and English dead. Still, I don’t believe that these people crave a victory in this war, they really don’t have too many illusions as far as such things are concerned. But then, the people here don’t wage only wars they expect to win, they also believe that lost wars deserve to be fought with courage and enthusiasm. And anyway, where courage is concerned, they don’t even stop to think about outcomes. They have become used to losing and their only wish is at least to preserve a little human dignity. With the exception of the Algerian war, these people have always lost and, in most cases, it was American weapons that brought them down in the end. However, another thing they have become used to is fighting without hope.

They have been doing it in Palestine, they are doing it today in Iraq. They are doing it today, hopelessly doomed as they are to defeat, and at the same time they know, that it is for this very reason that the Americans are attacking them, because they – the Arabs – are so very weak in their desolation and despair. And because they – the Americans – believe that for a very small price they can successfully demonstrate and parade their power in Iraq. And because the Americans also believe they are taking their revenge on Iraq for what Afghanistan’s “Al-Qaida” did to them. The argument of a link between Iraq and Afghanistan is weak. The Americans have tried again and again, without success, to find such links. Their audience doesn’t need much in the way of proof. The world of Evil and Darkness is always a world of intrigue and conspiracy in which the evil, inflicting their blows upon us, will deliver us with adequate proof. According to the Torah and the cinema, Evil needs no proof. Saddam Hussein begged the Americans and was prepared to do everything he could to save his skin. He was not only prepared to burn his weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons but also to introduce all sorts of reforms and metamorphose from a monstrous dictator into an agent for the American West. But all the Americans wanted was a defeat on the battlefield. They - the Americans – wanted, above all, to come here. Not only for the oil, but also to rot out the Evil of Arab and Islamic otherness.

Inevitably, a way will be found to remove the Evil of the lesser Korean otherness. Whereas the weapons of mass destruction only seem to be dangerous in the hands of the Others, these same weapons are undoubtedly and without reserve a sign of Good in the hands of the Westerners and the Israelis. This of course needs no proof. This needs a vision. The bombing of Iraq and its defeat are the vision that was awaited.

I, for my part, wanted a short and fast war, I did not want anyone to die because of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein. I wrote an essay with the title <Translation from Arabic: Mustafa Al-Slaiman

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