Reflections on 9/11

September is a sad month for Americans. On September 11, 2001 about 3,000 civilians were murdered by people who think the lives of others are quite dispensable. Americans were enraged. Who can blame them?

September is a sad month for Palestinians. By September 30, 2000, only the very second day of the Aqsa intifada, 922 Palestinian civilians were injured and 20 more were murdered [1] by people who think the lives of others are quite dispensable. Palestinians were enraged. Who can blame them?

One of those 20 was 12-year old Muhammad Al-Dura, who was murdered in his father’s arms before the world’s eyes.

Proportionally, 20 deaths is not far off from the American casualty rate. If you consider the injured, however, still proportionally, the Palestinian casualty rate exceeds that of the American. No wonder then the uprising turned violent, when Palestinians decided to avenge blood for blood, since the international community is quite futile when it comes to Israel –America’s ‘best friend and ally’.

But let’s do what the western media always does: blame the Palestinians, for they, as the western media seems to insinuates “had it coming,” after all –the same thing Bin laden supporters say about the American casualties: They had it coming.

Yes, yes, but Israel is acting in self-defense and does not target civilians, many Western reporters argue. I just told you! They did murder 20 Palestinians within the first two days of the intifada alone, without bonafide justification. Does any civilized county kill this many demonstrators? When was the last time you heard stone-throwers being shot dead, most of them children?

Yes, yes, but Israel is a democracy. Huh! Inside Israel itself, shortly after the Aqsa intifada erupted, 13 Israeli-Arabs were murdered during a pro-Palestinian demonstration. When did ever the Israeli riot controllers shoot Jewish demonstrators?

Yes, yes, but Israel does not target civilians on purpose. So, how do you explain the same proportion of civilian causality rate between Palestinians and Israelis (about 70% are civilians, when Palestinians have no precision-guided artillery or remotely comparable military/military training)?

Yes, yes, but Israel does not target civilians on purpose, but sometimes that is an unfortunate but inevitable outcome! So, if the World Trade Center attackers were actually targeting an American military commander and thought that the death of other Americans is unfortunate but inevitable, would that be acceptable? Didn’t Israel target ex-military wing leader, Saleh Shehada, a few months back with a one tone bomb that killed and injured scores of innocent bystanders, and which Sharon later described as a very successful attack, but, to be fair, expressed regret for loss of civilians. Do you see the perversion?

As Americans reflect on the tragedy of 9-11, they have yet to answer the question, why were they attacked in the first place. An act of ‘pure evil,’ as Bush Jr. would say?

Palestinians need to ask themselves: what next?

Jews need to ask themselves: when exactly did they turn from persecuted to persecutors.

Arabs need to ask themselves: how did they forget their elementary school fable, when the black ox murmured before being eaten by the lion: I was only eaten the day the white ox was eaten.


[1] By September 2002, the figures have soared up to 1744 dead and over 20,000 injuries. See:

Mr. Baha Abushaqra is a Media Activist with Palestine Media Watch.