Saudi Reactions to the Lawsuit by September 11 Families
The lawsuit against Saudi and other Arab officials and organizations by the families of September 11 victims has aroused the ire of the Saudi media. The following are excerpts from articles that appeared in Saudi newspapers on this subject:
Saudi Columnists: The U.S. Should be Sued for Killing Millions
"If America wants to open up the issue of compensation for those who died in the two towers," wrote the Saudi daily A1-Riyadh in an editorial, "it must agree to the establishment of an international court that will examine [its own] war crimes, plundering, coups, what American intelligence did with the drug barons, the policy of abductions and murder, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the claims still pending regarding the black slave trade, and the deliberate annihilation of the Indians and apply all this to all countries, without statute of limitations, so that we feel we live on one planet that functions according to the same moral principles..."
Saleh Al-Shihi, a columnist for the Saudi daily Al-Watan, held a similar view. In an article titled "This is America," he wrote:
"According to American concepts, it is not important what the world loses; what is important is what America gains. This is American logic and American language. This is America, the civilization that arose on the skulls of others."
"America, that carried out the Hiroshima massacre and the Vietnam massacre; America, that incited South Korea against North Korea and Taiwan against China; America, that interfered in the affairs of Chile, Nicaragua, and Panama; America, that tried to assassinate many of the world's leaders... among them Castro, who alone was subject to 30 assassination attempts one of them by mixing deadly plutonium poison in the cigars he smokes! America, that erected the Statue of Liberty so as to plunder others by it; America, that established liberty in order to kill millions of people in its name, from the Indians to Afghan children... Behind all this stood members of the CIA... This is America, the tyrannous, and all that remains is for it to turn into a pharaoh [the symbol of an evil regime]. This is America, the land of freedom, the land of democracy."
I still remember the story of the Indian leader who returned from battle with the American colonialist and found that other American soldiers had, in his absence, raided his home and killed his children and wife. All he could do was shout: "I fought long, but I never killed a child or a woman. These [Americans] are not human." This is America, gentlemen do you want us to trust it?!"
Suit Stands No Chance
Muhammad Ahmad Al-Hassani, columnist for the Saudi daily Okaz, took another tack. In an article titled "Washington and the Birds" Milk," he wrote: "In old times, when people wanted to discourage a man in love who wanted to lay with the girl who had stolen his heart... they would ask the poor enamored fellow for a skin of birds" milk for a dowry. He would head out towards the wilderness and the desert in search of the milk of birds and would eventually die of thirst and loneliness, because he believed in illusions, and chased after them, and thought that what they asked of him was obtainable!!"
"I recalled this story because of some U.S. groups" demands from popular and official Saudi institutions to pay an amount in excess of $100 trillion [sic] in compensation to the families of the September 11th victims... Regardless of the fundamental idiocy of this lawsuit, the demand for the sum mentioned is like the search for the milk of birds, or even ants" milk, if ants even have udders and milk..."
Saudi London Daily: A Change In Saudi Arabia is the Key to Rectifying the Crisis
However, Daoud Al-Shirian, a Saudi columnist for the London-based Arabic-language daily A1-Hayat, sought to minimize tensions: "The Saudi press attacked the suit filed by a group of the families of the victims of September 11th, and even demanded that the Riyadh government reexamine strategic relations with Washington and called for serious national dialogue on the future of relations with the U.S. The [Saudi media] attack did not distinguish between [the] American government [initiative] and private [initiative]... It presented the damages [from the] lawsuit as an [American] act of political settling of accounts with Saudi Arabia due to its stand on the Palestinian matter..."
"The media clashes between Riyadh and Washington have been on the rise since the September catastrophe. This ongoing escalation has made some Saudis doubt that the American government is uninvolved in what is going on, although it repeatedly and absolutely rejected [the claim] that the [media] attack [on Saudi Arabia] expressed [official U.S.] policy..."
"It is difficult to minimize some Saudis" fears regarding the lawsuit. It is also hard to see the attacks as an expression of an American conspiracy against Saudi Arabia. Yet the Saudi fears are justified, because the continued use of the expression "Saudi Arabia's hostility towards the U.S." attests to a change in the general mood [in the U.S.]. This change is likely to affect official policy if it gains the support of the pressure groups and centers of influence in the corridors of American policy..."
"Regardless of the official American stance that Saudi Arabia is a close and strong ally, the events of September 11th led to a reopening of the file of Saudi-U.S. relations and the rebuilding [of these relations]. Washingtons adherence to its relations with Riyadh is genuine, but American policy is not laid out by one man or one party; it is shaped by various circles, and therefore what is now happening can be seen as initial signs of change in policy towards Saudi Arabia. This change does not mean hostility or clashes, but change of some foundations and beliefs..."
"A change in the perceptions of public opinion in both countries, primarily in Saudi Arabia, is the key to rectifying this crisis..."
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