Why do they hate us so?
Every time a western target is attacked by ISIS or by al-qaeda, or by any of the many other “hate” groups that seem to have sprung up in recent times the same question is asked: Why do they hate us so? And as common as this question is, it is seldom asked with a serious view to get an answer.
So let’s look at what some of those reasons might be:
Of course, we know there is a very long history of transgressive behavior and outright injustices that have been perpetrated against third world populations by western societies. Some of these outrages are well-known, while others seem not yet to have risen to the level of public notice. Among the former are the many political manipulations and assassinations sponsored by (mostly) the U.S. and British intelligence agencies in Muslim countries. As we now know, entire countries were disbanded and joined to other political and cultural entities without regard to the wishes of the respective peoples. Heads of state were installed and deposed as western political and/or business interests dictated. Assassinations and violent overthrows were common, and the interests of the people of these ancient civilizations were totally disregarded for decade upon decade. One of the most egregious transgressions along these lines, of course, was the U.S. reaction to the attack on the World Trade Center by invading and destroying Iraq — a society that had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11.
(This list is not intended to be exhaustive: it could easily be doubled and tripled in length. See http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article6308.htm for more details.)
But there is another, possibly even more powerful reason for the current level of enmity. This reason consists of injustices and transgressions unconsciously perpetrated by western tourists who, unbound by the standards of acceptable behavior in their own communities, obliviously transgress against the moral standards of the local population. This kind of behavior may have contributed more to the current level of hatred than all the political shenanigans mentioned before.
Admittedly, the lack of concern for local mores or standards of behavior is not unique to western tourists. It’s just that western vacationers seem to have developed this lack of sensitivity to new heights of depravity. Imagine what it would feel like to have well-heeled tourists arrive in your part of the world, in your village, and prance naked on your beaches, copulate in your public square, lure teenaged girls to prostitute themselves, get drunk and scream, holler and vomit and urinate in public. All of these things are and have been reported. In same case they have resulted in immediate violent retributions. For instance, there was an incident in Luxor, Egypt, a few years ago where a large number of American and West European tourists were killed as a result of the locals taking exception to the depravity of a small number of their party. Somalia, too, which once had a number of nude beaches, famous as ‘meat-markets’ for western tourists, has had incidents where the locals banded together and killed or maimed tourists who didn’t keep their clothes on. And then there were the “sex-tourists”, whose only intention was to practice their perversions in a country which hadn’t yet outlawed it. Until recently, a number of travel agencies specialized in this so-called sex-tourism to third world countries. While much of that travel was to Burma and Thailand, other destinations included primarily Muslim countries such as Indonesia, Azerbaijan, the Maldives and Malaysia, among others.
Despite the fact that many of these excesses have occurred in the last couple of decades, there is a long history of this kind of behavior helping shape the political world as we know it. For instance, Castro’s revolution in Cuba might not have enjoyed such strong popular support if Americans tourists (and gangsters) hadn’t abused the local population as they did — while subverting the Cuban political power structure to the point where it basically no longer worked for the Cuban people.
Unfortunately, this kind of behavior is not quickly forgotten by those affected by it. For example, there are stories of explorers traveling through the Khyber Pass in the 1800’s who were surprised to discover that the transgressions of Alexander’s army were still being talked about, and still caused resentments among the population. That’s a long memory. Let’s hope that the misdeeds of the current crop of tourist-invaders is forgotten more quickly.
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