RE: The terrorism meme

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Sun 17 Nov 2002 - 04:44:33 GMT

  • Next message: "RE: The terrorism meme"

    Hi, Grant, Yes, I have seen the full transcript of this latest tape from bin Laden. I think we can agree that he is NOT saying that anything done to infidels is OK. He is, for one thing, specifying not infidels, but citizens and governments of countries that are undertaking what he views (rightly or wrongly) as anti-Muslims acts.

    Here are the excerpts as given by Reuters in today's NYT. It is a bit long for email, and I apologize to all, but I do think that if we want to understand the memetics of what is going on, we MUST pay attention to the memes themselves, to what is actually being said, and not react in such a way that we blind ourselves to the actual memes that are being enunciated. Thank you for your patience.

    Best regards, Lawry


    Following are excerpts from an audiotape broadcast in Arabic this week by Al Jazeera and attributed to Osama bin Laden, as recorded and translated by Reuters.

    From the worshiper of God, Osama bin Laden, to the people of the countries that are allied with the unjust American government: the road to safety starts with stopping aggression, and it is only fair to establish equal treatment. The events since the New York and Washington raids until today - such as the killing of Germans in Tunisia and the French in Karachi, the blowing up of the French supertanker in Yemen, the killing of the Marines in the island of Failaka, the killing of the British and Australians in Bali, the recent operation in Moscow, and other operations here and there - were only reactions based on equal treatment. They were carried out by pious Muslims defending their religion and heeding God's orders and those of his Prophet. . . . What Bush, the pharaoh of the time, is doing by killing Iraqis, and what America's ally Israel is doing by bombing houses over the heads of elderly people, women and children using American planes, should have been enough for the wise among your leaders to abandon this gang of criminals. Our brethren in Palestine have been subjected to killings and torture for about a century. But when we defend them, the world was shocked and formed a coalition against Muslims under the false banner of fighting terrorism. . .
    . Why should your governments ally themselves with America? Rumsfeld, the butcher of Vietnam, killed two million people, not to mention those wounded. What caused your governments to join America in attacking us in Afghanistan? I mention in particular Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Canada and Australia. We had warned Australia about its participation in Afghanistan. . . . It ignored the warning until it woke up to the sound of explosions in Bali. If it upsets you to look at your casualties and those of your allies in Tunisia, Karachi, Moscow, Bali and Amman, then remember the children killed in Palestine and Iraq every day and remember our casualties in Khost and those killed purposely in Afghan weddings. If it upsets you to look at those killed in Moscow, remember those killed in Chechnya. Until when would killing and destruction . . . be our share, while security, stability and happiness are yours? This is unfair, and it is high time that we stand on equal ground. As you kill, you will be killed, and as you bomb, you will be bombed. Here is the Muslim nation throwing its sons at you. Those who vowed to God to continue the holy struggle with words and weapons so that right prevails and wrong is destroyed as long as their hearts beat. . . .


    -----Original Message----- From: []On Behalf Of Grant Callaghan Sent: Saturday, November 16, 2002 10:37 PM To: Subject: RE: The terrorism meme

    >Grant, I must challenge you again, I'm afraid. You said "He feels
    >done to the
    >infidel is justified, and says as much in words and deeds." Let's leave
    >aside the deeds as they are subject to interpretation, as our earlier
    >discussion demonstrated. So: to the words: What words has bin Laden said
    >that state that 'he feels anything {sic] done to the infidel is justified.'
    >I have been reading quite a bit of bin Laden material, and haven't seen
    >anything like this at all. It would be especially helpful if you could give
    >actual examples (one would do!) of these words, rather than arguing by


    How about this:

    The audiotape was aired alongside an old photograph of the al-Qaida leader, but there was no new video of him. The official in Washington said further technical analysis was needed. Al-Jazeera said it received the tape on the day it was broadcast.

    Speaking in a literary style of Arabic favored by bin Laden, the voice said the attacks were "undertaken by sons who are zealous in the defense of their religion." The speaker then castigated U.S. allies that have joined the war against terrorism, specifically Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany and Australia.

    After listing those countries, he warned: "If you don't like looking at your dead . . . so remember our dead, including the children in Iraq."

    "What business do your governments have to ally themselves with the gang of criminality in the White House against Muslims? Don't your governments know that the White House gang is the biggest serial killers in this age?"

    * * *

    I can't find a full transcript of the tape, but I have read reports that he praised the bombing in Bali, as well as the American embassies in Kenya, etc. In those bombings, many innocent people of many countries and faiths were killed and the killers were praised for doing it. They were "zealous in the defense of their religion."

    So while I can't find words that he that mirror exactly what I claim he advocates, it seems to me the evidence of what he praises makes it as clear is if he stated it directly. If I said you are a hero for killing men, women and children who are not of your religion, would you get the idea that I don't care what you do to such people?

    I think demanding that people state exactly what their intention and mind set is before you believe it is too much to ask, since he is speaking in a language that we are not equipped to interpret and have to depend on what other say he meant. But to my mind actions speak louder than words and to ignore them because the words aren't available to mirror them is to ignore reality.

    If I steal your wallet and then say, "I'm not a thief." which would you believe, my actions or my words? What did the jury believe about Wynona Rider when she denied being a thief? The people bin Laden helped to kill by training and supporting their terrorist activities are a stronger statement than anything he can say pro or con. And in every case he justifies it by citing his religious convictions. If you want to deny the evidence or find excuses for it, that's fine. You're entitled. But my opinion is mine and have no reason to feel it is not justified. I don't require anyone else to share it. I'm not going to ask you to change yours, whether I agree with it or not.



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