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Laughing at the Misfortune of Others - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It is appropriate to use the old Arab proverb that “we didn’t see them stealing…but we did see them fighting over the loot” when looking at those that are currently circulating a list that attacks certain Arab writers and accuses them of working for Israel.

And so the misinformed have selected the names of Arab writers whose articles have been quoted by the Israeli Foreign Ministry website and circulated them in news laundering [operation] claiming that these writers are pro-Israeli.

This list was published in order to usurp [the position] of those that have a critical view of the adventures undertaken by Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran and the pro-Iranian bloc, in an absurd intellectual terrorist operation.

The funny thing is that the magic has [now] rebounded on the magician.

A number of Syrian newspaper that are opportunistic, rather than being independent as they claim; and have published an apology and a clarification to Syrian writers whose names were included in the provocative list. The newspaper justified what it did by saying that it had published the list “verbatim” after taking it down from an “Arab nationalist” website.

The issue does not end here of course, and those circulating this list targeting Arab writers have now begun to face protests from writers affiliated to their own movement. And so what is funny is that some Nationalists and some Islamists have accused their own colleagues of treason in what can be called an incident of “friendly fire.”

This list was put into circulation without anybody noticing that some of the names included in it belonged to people who share the same ideology and viewpoint as those who are inciting [against the list]. And so now the people whose names are contained in the list are calling for their friends to scrutinize [the list], and be rational, before leaping to judgment.

A scene that can only be described as ironic, since many of them have forgotten that there are no restrictions, and that facilitating the accusation of others with treason may one day rebound back upon them.

The quoting of an article on an official website or elsewhere does not come as a result of its writers’ permission, especially in this day and age of technology and communication; [if that were the case] we would be able to say that Hezbollah-affiliated websites are complicit [with Israel] since they publish every tidbit and morsel from the Israeli media.

The intimidation of opinion-makers is not something new, but is something that we experienced following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 when during the early days Al Qaeda was [mistakenly] condemned of being responsible for similar campaigns. This was repeated when it was said that Saddam Hussein would not stand up to America, and would lay Iraq open to destruction.

The same thing happened with regards to the criticism of Hezbollah’s adventures, and its coup in Beirut, as well as Hamas’s coup on the Gaza Strip.

The mob have short-memories, and so the same thing is repeated over and over again; like the day that the Palestinian Liberation Organization was accused of corruption during the time of the late Yasser Arafat, and it was said at that time that this cannot possibly be true because Arafat is under house arrest!

It may be appropriate at this time to invite Dr. Faisal Al Qasim, the presenter of “The Opposite Direction” [Al Itija Al Muakas] on Al Jazeera to present an episode specifically dealing with these “freedom fighters” entitled “The Same Direction” in which they discuss their ridiculous implications and dilemmas.

And why Faisal Al Qasim specifically?

The reason is simple, the Israeli Foreign Ministry website quoted one of his articles, yet those behind this campaign have been cautious with regards to him, and have not added his name to the list of targeted Arab writers.

And so it may be possible to explain to them that “we didn’t see them stealing…but we did see them fighting over the loot” and remind them that the misfortune of others is funny.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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