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Our Condolences - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Clearly, many in the Arab world were shocked by the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the “Boss of all evils” in Baghdad. The murderer of women, children, young and old, Sunnis and Shiites, Sayyids and Sheikhs, Arabs as well as foreigners.The masterminded responsible, for last year’s bombings in Amman that killed sixty innocent people in three weddings., the man who couldn’t tell the difference between bird hunting and cold blooded murder.

His role as a corruptor was well documented, bearing in mind that his last message to the world encouraged civil war in Iraq. Yet despite all this, there are those who were saddened and shocked by his death. To them we should extend condolences.

Our deepest sympathies go out to all the fundamentalist websites, particularly Alsaha.com. Our sympathies also go out to all the conspiracy theorists, who said that Al-Zarqawi was a fictional character created by the Americans, to justify their shortcomings in Iraq at the expense of innocent Iraqi and Jordanian lives.

One particular conspiracy theorist that use to always call Zarqawi an illusion, said upon hearing the news of his death, that now America’s act will spawn many more Zarqawi’s more dangerous then their prototype.

We should also comfort the wounded Arab Media, which has lost a major source for extremist videotapes. These recordings became the benchmark of excellence in our industry, where the criterion for success was set by the most ignorant of individuals, particularly when it comes to standards of professionalism in journalism.

We sympathize with all of them. The writers, journalists and the TV channels. An honorable mention should go out to our friends at Al-Jazeera, who refused to answer a simple question by one of our journalists about why their Zarqawi coverage seemed slanted. Their reply; “we do not wish to speak or deal with Asharq Al-Awsat.”

I do not know if this was their genuine position, our just a byproduct of the shock they are going through, but it is important to point out that an Iraqi viewer named Hassan Salman called on a live program on Al-Jazeera, and said the following; ” I value this channel. However, I hope you commit yourselves to objectivity. The Iraqi people are celebrating the death of Zarqawi while you are holding a funeral in your channel.”

Of course, we do not expect our friends in Doha to alter their coverage of Al-Zarqawi just for our sake, baring in mind that we published a piece on al Zarqawi that included some sympathetic elements, However, we can never claim that Al Zarqawi spent his days busy encouraging Iraqis to read more, grow better harvest or build schools.

Al Zarqawi’s hands are smeared with the blood of Muslims from all sects. Homes, schools, houses of worship and even relief organizations that worked to help the Iraqi people were not safe from his blood lust. How could an entire media organization ignore this?

It is because of this that we extend our condolences to those who followed and loved Zarqawi, as well as those who had high hopes for him. We say these not out of sympathy or spite, but rather to document our position for the record, since the most distinctive features of our nations are absentmindedness and negligence.

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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