Translation by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East.
September 16, 2001
Anti-American statements are a common component of the Egyptian media, including in the weeks and days prior to September 11, 2001. Following are excerpts of such statements:
The US, Enemy of the Arabs
Columnist Mahmoud Abd Al-Mun’im Murad of the Egyptian government-sponsored daily, Al-Akhbar, [a former member of the Egyptian peace movement] six months ago faced off with the American media and government. On the eve of Mubarak’s annual visit to Washington, Murad stated that US Secretary of State Colin Powell “has the brain of a bird,”(1) and called him “stupid” and “a liar.”
This, along with racist articles written about Powell in Al-Akhbar, sparked a strong reaction in the American media, forcing President Mubarak to apologize to Powell. Chastened, Murad wrote an article about the strategic importance of US-Egyptian relations, but then abstained from dealing with the subject. In August 2001, Murad decided that the time had come to renew his attack on the American government:
“The conflict that we call the Arab-Israeli conflict is, in truth, an Arab conflict with Western, and particularly American, colonialism,” he wrote. “The US treats the [Arabs] as it treated the slaves inside the American continent. To this end, it is helped by the smaller enemy, and I mean Israel.”(2)
“The issue no longer concerns the Israeli-Arab conflict. The real issue is the Arab-American conflict – Arabs must understand that the US is not ‘the American friend’ – and its task, past, present, and future, is [to impose] hegemony on the world, primarily on the Middle East and the Arab world…”(3)
In another article, Murad stated, “The Statue of Liberty, in New York Harbor, must be destroyed because of following the idiotic American policy that goes from disgrace to disgrace in the swamp of bias and blind fanaticism.” He further announced that “the age of the American collapse has begun.”
“The time has come for us, officially and on the popular level, to take a clear position about the Americans,” he explained. “Bush Jr. will realize that he is squandering many American interests with his overt bias towards the Israeli aggressors…
If the US thinks that with its policy, it is actualizing American interests within and without the US, it will very quickly discover that the price of this bias is extremely high… The US, including the American people and the Israeli people, has rightly become Enemy No. 1 of the nations.”(4)
In yet another article, Murad wrote, “There is no doubt that we all believe that if American interests in our region were subject to real threat and damage, the US would not hesitate to adopt a suitable position to remove the danger to its interests… I wish we could convince the US that its bias in favor of Israel will cause it damage…”(5)
Columnist Galal ‘Aref, of the Egyptian weekly, Akhbar Al-Youm, joined in, stating that “…The US – in its great idiocy – hopes that the American interests in the region will continue to exist securely… but it ignores the historical facts: cruelty always comes back on its perpetrators; thus, though [Arab] idleness may continue for a long time, it has its limit.”(6)
Following Durban, he wrote, “The US does not understand that it alone will pay the high price for its fall [at Durban].”(7)
Bassiuny Al-Hilwani, a columnist for Al-Azhar magazine, ‘Aqidati, called on Arabs to develop deterrent capability towards Israel and the US:
“Every day, George Bush reveals the hatred towards all the Arabs and Muslims that he inherited from his father… George W. Bush’s hatred for Arabs and Muslims equals that of Sharon… Will Arabs and Muslims realize this fact and treat the Americans as they should be treated, or will they continue to enjoy the life of humiliation and weakness that they brought upon themselves when they transferred the handling of their affairs to the Americans…?
Alone, the Arabs, if they take a united stand, are capable of deterring Israel and anyone supporting its aggression and arrogance. Will the Arabs and the Muslims try this, even once? I hope so.”(8)
Personal Attacks on Bush
Some columnists made personal attacks on the American president. In an article entitled “Oh, No, Mr. Bush,” editor of the government-sponsored daily, Al-Akhbar, Galal Dweidar, wrote about Bush’s “provocative” statement that Washington could not intervene in the Middle East more than it already had.
“In response to this nonsense,” Dweidar wrote, “I say to you, Oh Mr. Bush, that you alone are responsible for the feeble image of the US, whose name smacks of lack of credibility and lack of transparency and has become a synonym for oppression and for abnegation of justice and international legitimacy… The US was founded 250 years ago on [the principles] of freedom, justice, and equality, and has now become [a country] supporting the ruin of these principles.”(9)
President Bush was attacked even more blatantly in an editorial in Al-Akhbar: “…President George Bush … about whose intelligence a debate is underway in the US – has come to the conclusion that the best way to make peace in the Middle East is having Sharon, the shedder of blood…”
“George Bush, who never tires of appearing on television screens to shed a tear for every Israeli who dies in a [Palestinian] martyrdom operation – [an operation] that is fundamentally a legitimate act of resistance… – directs no criticism towards [Israel’s] acts of vengeance, its bombings, or its incursions [into Area A]…”
“… The Arabs must shake off the dust of idleness and take matters into their own hands – instead of waiting in vain before the doors of the White House.”(10)
“Columnist Kamal Abd Al-Raouf of Akhbar Al-Youm wrote: “What’s happening to America?… Since Little Bush entered the White House, the US has been acting like a racist state interested in nothing but Israel and Israel’s defense, regardless of the crimes [Israel] may be committing… Why should Little Bush [complain] about Israel, as long as all the Arab funds are deposited in American banks and all trade in Arab goods is with the US? All the Arab oil flows to the US and its European allies who hide behind the American cowboy Bush, who has surpassed all previous presidents in his love for Israel and his unhesitating and shameless public submission to it.”
“Even Truman, who founded the State of Israel, and Johnson, who conspired with it against Egypt in the 1967 war, did not do what this… Bush has done.
[Bush] cares for nothing but gratifying Israel’s desires so that the Jewish lobby will pass his bills in Congress. For the American Jews, who dislike Bush and did not vote for him… Little Bush degrades himself before the Zionist lobby and sacrifices all the Arab and Islamic countries, on the assumption that the Arabs cannot jeopardize his political future… But the US and its spoiled offspring Israel will not escape punishment, as it was with Hitler and Mussolini.”(11)
Columnist Ahmad Al-Gundi of Al-Akhbar ridiculed the US president: “If only the American president, George Bush, would take the same interest in peace as he does in the White House pets, the situation in the region might be different…”
“The news agencies have informed us that President Bush opened a new White House Web site on the Internet… part of which, on the president’s instructions, is devoted to his two dogs, Spot[ty] and [B]arney, India the cat, and Ofelia the cow, who are introduced as central personages considered to have high status by the president and his family…”
“In this regard, several facts must be stressed: First, President Bush wants to present himself and his children to the American public as humane, as proven by their interest in animals. Second, as far as the White House is concerned, there is no difference between people and dogs, cats, and cows. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the president, and all deserve the privileges that go with White House residence… Third, the president’s rapport with animals is humane… No one can accuse him of racism or discrimination among American citizens, even if it concerns animals! This is the apex of American justice and democracy!! Just as he zealously safeguards human rights, he also zealously safeguards animal rights…”
(1) Al-Akhbar (Egypt), February 2, 2001.
(2) Al-Akhbar (Egypt), August 29, 2001.
(3) Al-Akhbar (Egypt), August 26, 2001.
(4) Al-Akhbar (Egypt), August 28, 2001.
(5) Al-Akhbar (Egypt), August 24, 2001.
(6) Akhbar Al-Youm (Egypt), August 25, 2001.
(7) Akhbar Al-Youm (Egypt), September 8, 2001.
(8) Aqidati (Egypt), August 29, 2001.
(9) Al-Akhbar (Egypt), August 23, 2001.
(10) Al-Akhbar (Egypt), August 28, 2001.
(11) Akhbar Al-Youm (Egypt), September 8, 2001.