Hating America, and Otherwise


The BBC's Arabic-language site often provides its readers an opportunity to weigh in on issues. On the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it invited readers to address anti-Americanism. Omar at Iraq the Model has translated about a dozen of these comments. "I decided not to translate any of the offensive comments which you can find almost everywhere," he writes. Because Arab support for the US is rarely reported, however, he's reproducing those postings for his readers.

Obviously, these remarks come from a self-selected group, and from a region where, for many, online access is limited to Internet cafes. (Not to mention that we don't know who these posters are.) Reasonable people can disagree over the representativeness of these views.

Nevertheless, there is now an audible debate in the region over the legacy of historical Arabism and the future of democratic reform, and it is probably best to read these remarks as part of that continuing interchange. As a reader who identifies himself as a Najafi writes, "The false slogans of Arab nationalism that emerge here and there calling people to hate America are all against the interests of our people. We followed these slogans for decades and look what we've ended up with; poor countries ruled by dictators. We must head to the other side and hopefully we can find our goal there and put an end to the poverty and oppression that are ruining our nation."