by Prof. Gordon L. Bowen, Ph.D.
The extent to which the U.S. is hated in the Middle East is revealed through this sample of statements made shortly after the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia in February 2003.
Lebanon: Hizbullah Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said: "What happened yesterday is a message for all humanity, and especially for Arab and Islamic peoples and the peoples of the Third World. This is a message to all those who in recent years thought that the U.S. was God... America the superpower, with its navy, its science, and its invasion of space threatens the Planet Earth with war... Yet, yesterday it stood stunned as the space shuttle exploded in the skies and fell to earth without anyone being able to do a thing. Whether it wanted to or not, the U.S. stood submissive to the will of Allah."
Source: AFP, cited by Al-Bayan (UAE), February 3, 2003; reproduced courtesy of MEMRI Institute.
United Arab Emirates: Hamed Salamin, a columnist for the UAE daily Al-Bayan, wrote: "Feelings of sadness and joy intermingle at the sight of the fragments of the American space shuttle Columbia scattering in the skies of Texas. These conflicting feelings make those feeling them probe the obscurity of their souls to seek out the reasons for the sadness and the joy... An atmosphere of sadness and shock overcame the Israelis two days ago when NASA announced [Ramon's] death... This is enough to arouse joy in every heart that beats Arabism and Islam... Perhaps the sight of the Columbia shuttle's crashing in the town of Palestine, Texas reminds the Israeli people of the daily tragedy of the Palestinians - of the sorrow, the blood, and the massacres that the army of the [Zionist] entity carries out on the occupied lands. But it would not appear that the vast majority of Israelis have feelings for others... The Columbia disaster is a loss to all, even though emotions are conflicting. Sincerest condolences to the American people and to the families of the six American astronauts, and Ramon should go to hell. There is no sorrow for him whatsoever."
Source: Al-Bayan (UAE), February 3, 2003; reproduced courtesy of MEMRI Institute
Libya: Khaled Ghalam in the Libyan newspaper Al-Zahf Al-Akhdhar: "... The Americans, whose administration has set them at odds with the world due to its blind policy, found no one to comfort them, even in this bleak moment... What will Bush say to his people this time? Did bin Laden fly in a space shuttle like Columbia and crash into it...? Or perhaps Hamas used short-range Qassam rockets to explode it? Perhaps [the disaster was deliberate] so as to serve as a pretext for Blix and Al-Barad'i to explain the danger of nuclear warheads that cross the atmosphere and hit shuttles? ..."
"Our only condolences to the American people are for its administration... which has lost human feeling and genuine love in its attitude towards the world's governments and peoples."
Source: Al-Zahf Al-Akhdhar (Libya), February 3, 2003; reproduced courtesy of MEMRI Institute
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