Hugh Fitzgerald: The New Duranty Times and the explanatory heart of the matter
This story about “jihadi etiquette” appeared in The Sunday Times on June 10, 2007.
It has been nearly six years since the World Trade Center attack. It has been four decades since the Six-Day War, which signaled for the Arabs and Muslims a recognition that regular warfare, in the Lesser Jihad against Israel, would not do, and terrorism would have to be employed. And so began plane hijackings, and letter-bombs in embassies, and the seizing of schoolchildren and their subsequent murders (Ma'alot), and the explosions of planes in mid-air (that TWA plane that rose to a certain height and then, bam!), the smuggling of explosives onboard through the use of innocent Infidels (that pregnant Irish girl, given a "package" to unwittingly deliver on an El Al flight by her "Palestinian" boyfriend whom she loved so very much -- but apparently he had other ideas).
It has been four and a half years since the Iraq War began, a war whose folly can only be properly understood not by those who counsel appeasement, not by those who oppose the war because "it is all about oil," but only by those who have understood how the Administration has misunderstood the real problem, in its "war on terror" and in its misunderstanding of Iraq and the usefulness of establishing, or thinking there might be established, a Light Unto the Muslim Nations in Iraq. And so in this misunderstanding it began a war that has now cost this country $880 billion, that is, more than the total cost of all the wars, save World War II, ever fought by the United States.
Yet The New Duranty Times, the insufferably inaccurate and negligent goddamn New York Times, has been unable until now even to hint at what Islam has to do with it. Instead, The New Duranty Times has hidden behind -- oh, haven't they all, haven't almost all of them, done so? -- such phrases as "radical Islamist extremists." That phrase has that unnecessary adjective fore, "radical," and that unnecessary noun aft, "extremist," and in the middle, just to be sure of misleading the reader, that little suffix "ist" put in to transform the true word, the word that does not hide behind that ill-concealing suffix -- that is, the word "Islam," which tells the intelligent student of both Islam (its tenets, attitudes, atmospherics) and of the history of Jihad-conquest (over 1350 years, from Spain to East Asia) all that they need to know to make sense not only of what is happening, but of what can be done to make what is happening happen less, or happen to the advantage and not the disadvantage of the confused and inarticulate and besieged Infidels.
Four-and-a-half years after the catastrophic war in Tarbaby Iraq began, The Times continues to be against it. But it continues to be against it incoherently and unintelligently. It cannot explain satisfactorily (this website can, this website has) how the ignorance of Islam led to the folly of the polypragmonic intervention in Iraq. It cannot explain why that intervention was undertaken not to swiftly find and destroy certain kinds of weaponry and then leave, but instead in order to bring "freedom" and "democracy" to "ordinary moms and dads" in the Middle East. That Light Unto the Muslim Nations Project was colossally misguided. It was fed by trust in plausible Shia in exile, and also fed by a belief that Islam, being a "religion," could not possibly be very different from other world religions, and the very word "religion" in some quarters commands automatic, salaam-salaam respect.
The New Duranty Times has over the past several decades failed to investigate Islam. It has failed to see, in its coverage of the Middle East, in the tens of millions of words it has published, the centrality of Islam. And so have many others. But at a certain point, that negligence or ignorance became intolerable. After the 9/11/2001 attacks, and after the attacks on non-Muslims all over the world became better known, and even, at times, reported on, what was the excuse of the Times in not finding out?
All over the world non-Muslims have been attacked, some across borders, and some within the borders of countries in which Muslims dominate. The Arab siege of the Infidel state of Israel remains what it has always been -- not a "nationalist" desire for "the legitimate rights of the 'Palestinian people'" but an implacable war, not limited to military means, against the continued existence of the one Jewish state. And that has received attention both exaggerated and misconceived. The Times has devoted thousands of articles, over several decades, to the so-called "Peace Process" without once -- not once -- ever bothering to examine the Muslim view of treaties with Infidels. It has done so without once -- not once -- studying the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyyah and its central role in Muslim treaty-making (see Majid Khadduri, "War and Peace in Islam"). The very idea of presuming to discuss either the Arab attitude toward Israel, or the real nature of Ba'athism (the reasons for the creation of the Ba'ath movement, and why it succeeded, for similar but distinct reasons, only in Syria and Iraq -- have been repeatedly laid out at this website, and for all I know, possibly somewhere else), without any reference to Islam here either shows how poorly The New Duranty Times has performed.
It is called here "The New Duranty Times" to remind readers of how badly The Times covered Soviet Russia in the 1930s, when its Pulitzer-award winning correspondent (his award worth about as much as the Pulitzer awarded to the terminally jejune Tom Friedman) Walter Duranty failed to notice Stalin’s famine. Now the Times fails to notice the Christians in Pakistan and the Philippines and the Moluccas of Indonesia, the Hindus of Bangladesh and Pakistan and even the last remaining Hindus in Afghanistan under the Taliban, the Christians and animists in the southern Sudan, and the Christians of southern Nigeria. When the Biafra War was covered, no one noticed, no one wanted to notice, that it was a classic Jihad against the Christian Ibo -- no one, except Col. Ojukwu and the Christians of Nigeria themselves.
The New Duranty Times is not alone. The newspapers, the radio pundits, the television talkshows and sound-bite rapid-fire interviewers, have ignored the nature of Islam, the history of Islamic conquest of non-Muslim lands and subsequent subjugation of vast numbers of non-Muslims, over time forcibly islamized and in the Middle East and North Africa, arabized as well.
But The Times has never been able to coherently explain much of what it covers, that is, much of what is merely reported, but about which neither The Times, nor its readers therefore, can make sense. For by leaving out the teachings and promptings and atmospherics of Islam, it leaves out the explanatory heart of the matter.
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