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Al-Ahram Weekly: When Narratives Collide

by Azmi Bishara, Palestinian Israeli member of t Saturday, Sep. 29, 2001 at 1:04 AM

A View From An Egyptian Weekly Online: Desperation has no address, writes Azmi Bishara (Palestinian Israeli member of the Knesset); and kamikaze operations speak a language no one understands. [A few tantalizing excerpts from a much longer, thought-provoking, densely-woven piece. A must read for getting outside the US-Centric mindset.]

Since World War II, the daring and audacity of Japan's kamikaze pilots has fired the imagination of oppressed peoples around the world, although Japan itself was an imperialist nation, aggressive and culturally arrogant towards its neighbours.

Japanese suicide missions, however, were not so much a strategy for military victory as they were a specifically Japanese way of handling defeat. In its traditional militarist-religious culture, the duty of inflicting the greatest possible losses upon the enemy outweighs the importance of the individual fighter's life.

US planes, or US-made planes, have wreaked massive destruction on Baghdad, Belgrade, Hanoi, Cambodia, Dresden, Beirut, Rafah and Khan Younes. On Tuesday 11 September, they destroyed two of the most important symbols of US might and hegemony: the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This was the first attack against cities and civilian targets in US history. Did this kamikaze strike help vent the anger of the stricken peoples around the world? Did the oppressed find solace in this disaster?

No one felt relief. On the contrary, the American people's suffering added to the suffering of the oppressed around the world, because the oppressed are human beings who, first, have no wish for suicide, but rather long for a free and dignified life, and, second, feel for the sufferings of others. Nothing can relieve our innate humanity of the devastating horror of watching others having to choose between burning alive or leaping hundreds of metres to their deaths. Nothing could compensate our innate humanity as our hearts broke, reaching out to those, still alive, about to make that leap

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 10 posted about this article.
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Wrong is Wrong . Saturday, Sep. 29, 2001 at 3:13 AM
the above comment on the original post Julia Saturday, Sep. 29, 2001 at 4:13 AM
Response to the Response of the First Reply . Saturday, Sep. 29, 2001 at 4:38 PM
Arundati Roy on recent events keren Saturday, Oct. 06, 2001 at 12:34 AM
? . Saturday, Oct. 06, 2001 at 3:17 AM
? . Saturday, Oct. 06, 2001 at 3:18 AM
Shoot first, ask questions later Mango X Tuesday, Nov. 06, 2001 at 4:26 PM
Not Bombs, Words . Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2001 at 6:43 PM
A collision of narratives Moq Oso Friday, Jan. 18, 2002 at 6:48 PM
Condemnations Moq Oso Friday, Jan. 18, 2002 at 11:49 PM
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