by Dennis Prager
In attempting to understand 9/11, the first question asked by the world's elites -- as exemplified by leading media and academics -- was, "What did America do to provoke such hatred?"
Ten years later, the same people are still asking the same question. And it is as morally repulsive now as it was then. It was always on par with "What did the Jews do to antagonize the Germans?" or "What did blacks do to enrage lynch mobs?"
As long as people keep asking what America did to incite such hate, nothing will have been learned from 9/11.
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred because of a law of human life that has been true since Cain killed Abel: The worst hate the best (and the second best and the third best and so on). Evil hates good.
The United States of America is a flawed society. As it comprises human beings, it must be flawed. But in terms of the goodness achieved inside its borders and spread elsewhere in the world, it has been the finest country that ever existed. If you were to measure the moral gulf between America and those who despise it, the divide would have to be calculated in light-years.
If the academic and opinion elites of the world had moral courage, they would have asked the most obvious question provoked by 9/11: Were the mass murderers who flew those airplanes into American buildings an aberration or a product of their culture?
As far as those elites are concerned, only the first explanation exists. The 19 monsters of 9/11 were, for all intents and purposes, freaks. They were exceptions, no more representative of the Arab or Islamic worlds than serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was of America. According to the elites, the hijackers happened to be Muslim -- only in name, we have been constantly reassured -- but were not produced by anything within Arab or Islamic society. Even to ask whether anything in those worlds produced the 9/11 terrorists -- or Britain's 7/7 terrorists, or Madrid's March 2004 terrorists, or Palestinian terrorists, or the Taliban, or Hamas -- is to be a bigot, or an "Islamophobe," the ingenious post-9/11 label to describe anyone who merely asks such questions.
It can be said, therefore, that not only has the world learned nothing from 9/11; it has been prohibited from learning anything.
The Muslim regime of Iran violently represses its people and (along with the Muslims of Hamas and of Hezbollah) vows to exterminate the nation of Israel. Muslim mobs murdered innocent people because of cartoons in Denmark. The Muslims of the Taliban throw acid in the faces of girls who attend school. Muslim mobs kill Christians and burn churches in Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria and elsewhere. And we are told that the mere mention of these facts is an act of bigotry.
After 9/11, the normal and decent question that normal and decent people -- people who fully and happily recognize the existence of vast numbers of normal and decent Muslims in the world -- would have posed is this: What has happened in the Arab world and parts of the Muslim world?
But as this, the most obvious question that 9/11 prompted, has not been allowed to be asked, what lessons can possibly be learned?
The answer is, of course, none.
But that has not stopped our media and academic elites from drawing lessons.
And what are those lessons? One is that America -- not the Islamic world -- must engage in moral introspection. The other is that we must oppose all expressions of religious extremism -- Jewish and Christian as well as Muslim, since, according to the Left, America's conservative Christians are as much a threat to humanity as are extremist Muslims.
Perhaps the best-known exponent of these non-lessons has been Karen Armstrong, the widely read religious thinker and former nun. She was invited to give a presentation on compassion at the nation's religious memorial service this past Sunday. And what was her message?
"9/11 was a revelation of the dangerous polarization of our world; it revealed the deep suspicion, frustration and rage that existed in some quarters of the Muslim world and also the ignorance and prejudice about Islam and Middle Eastern affairs that existed in some quarters of the West ..."
There you have it: Muslims have rage and deep suspicion; the West has ignorance and prejudice.
If that's what the world learns from 9/11, those who died that day died in vain.
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -