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posted by Al Skudsi bin Hookah, roving reporter and foreign correspondent for The Gaza Gajeera.
September 11, 2002

What a year this has been! A year ago, just about now, I was visiting my cousin in Patterson. That is in New Jersey. A fine town, with a large Arab community. When they heard that mighty America had been brought to its knees by a few brave Arabs, they too became brave. Wednesday morning, they rushed into the streets to dance and sing. Why was this brave? Because they knew that at any moment, police pigs would descend upon them and kill them. Yet they danced and sang. They were fearless.

But nothing happened to them. The only violence came from some black men who were so politically stupid they actually roughed up an Arab bad enough to put him into the hospital.

We waited to be attacked. Not just in Patterson. But around the country. But it didn't happen. Sure, there were a few incidents. A Sikh was killed. Can you imagine? These Americans can't tell the difference between an Arab and a turbaned Sikh. And Mr Dummy, himself, told people that Islam was a peaceful religion. And he told Americans to be fair and not blame Arabs. And the TV show, the West Wing, which is about a smart president, talked about how Sarah, Abraham's wife, was jealous of Hagar, and that's why Abraham kicked out Ishmael. Naturally, they got the story wrong, but it didn't hurt. And all of a sudden, everyone was inviting us to coffee klatches and town meetings and doing our shopping and being kind. And American schools, which don't usually allow religion to be taught, were making their kids pretend to be Muslims and they had to study nice passages from the Koran. And with all the publicity, people got interested in converting to Islam. I kid you not.

Everyone was bending over backwards to exonerate Arabs. Naturally, the American Arab community was suspicious. Were they laying a trap? Did they expect the Arab community to reciprocate, to embrace Jews and other unclean animals?

But, merciful Allah, nobody expected the Arabs to make nice to the Jews. Our communities in America and here in Palestine continued to teach our children that Jews don't belong in Palestine, any part of Palestine. In Gaza, we continued to teach the children to use knives and guns and explosives in our schools, just as we have done since the Oslo Accords were signed. We started to tell the reporters that the Israeli Jews were the aggressors and we were the victims.

And it worked! Despite all that was working against us. You'd think that if America could bomb Pakistan because it harbored some terrorists, everybody would think Israel could bomb our people, especially when the bombers live among us. They are our sons and daughters and cousins. But it didn't work out that way. Western newspapers don't call us terrorists. We're the good guys, even when we do some not so nice things.

I have been asked why. I'll tell you why. We keep our story simple. We push a simple truth: We are the victims. The Jews are the aggressors.

A few years ago, we saw that it was a lot of trouble for the press to keep calling us Arabs-who-live-in-what-was-once-mandated-Palestine. So we became Palestinians. And the stupid Western press, with a little help from us, began saying we are a separate people.

Yes, we keep the script simple: we are Palestinians and the Jews are occupying our land -- the West Bank and Gaza (and Israel. But that's for later). So we are entitled to do anything to get back our land. They even write stories about how us using bombs and explosives is OK because we don't have heavy stuff like the Israelis do. Honest.

I write this in Arabic and it is intended for Arab eyes only. But, I tell you, I could write it in English in big letters and the stupid reporters would still call us victims.

Naturally, even though we keep the script simple, we are good stage managers. We understood that the press likes pictures, soap opera pictures. So we gave them sad pictures. Remember the poor little 12-year old martyr, the one who was killed while his Daddy was trying to protect him. A few nasty skeptics commented that if you want to protect a kid, you cover him with your body, you don't expose him to fire from your own side. And some people who claimed they knew geometry eventually convinced others that the bullet had come from us Palestinians, not the Israelis. But so what? Most of the world still believes it was the Jews who killed him. He is an inspiration to our children.

We know a good thing when we see it. We started to send out buses of kids from school to throw rocks. And we alerted the press. So they wouldn't miss a thing. And let me tell you the Western press can tell the difference between what's on stage and what's back stage management. Most of them took great pictures of the kids throwing stones and the Israelis hitting the kids. Almost no one mentioned that we'd staged it. Not even the Israelis. Maybe they thought it was obvious to everybody what was happening. But let me tell you, what counts is what gets into the newspapers and on T.V. And the Western press knows they better be nice to us if they want to get pictures. They know better than to talk about the stage managing. We took away some of their cameras when they took pictures of the Jew soldiers we strung up in the Ramallah police station. They got the message.

And our women do more than just work hard. Maybe they don't have much shape after bearing 10 kids, but they sure look good crying because the nasty Israelis killed one of their relatives. I gotta admit, I was a little nervous a couple of weeks ago. Newsweek had a full page picture of women crying because their relative, a suicide bomber, died when his explosive went off prematurely. Unfortunately, too many people have seen our women celebrating when someone blows himself up killing a bunch of Jews in the bargain and gaining himself big bucks and a place in Paradise. (By the way, we now have strict rules not to show them celebrating. And we can't show pictures of kids dressed in military uniform, no matter how proud of them we are. Our leadership thinks it's bad press.) So I was afraid somebody would reason that if they laugh when a suicider blows up the Jews and cry when he doesn't, maybe they are crying because they didn't get to collect on his Iraqi and Saudi insurance policies. But Americans don't reason good. And the Europeans are on our side, no matter what we do.

But our biggest help comes from the Jews. They are our best helpers. I don't mean just the peacenikers. I don't even mean the Jews who are proud of understanding the "situation" because they read the New York Times, so they believe that things will only get better if Israel moves out the settlers from the West Bank. I mean the government of Israel, which can't present a straight story. Sharon says he won't have anything to do with us, but expects a Palestinian state and starts negotiations. Peres talks like he expects a place in our Paradise with 70 virgins and a case of Viagra. And they go in for convoluted explanations -- they are so careful of what they say, they sound guilty automatically. And it is easy to intimidate them. They are always setting up commissions to decide whether some IDF action was justified. I myself am afraid that they might learn from Americans like Rumsfeld, and say: `The Arabs have declared war on us. They hide among their women and children. The sooner we kill off the terrorists, the safer the Arab woman and children will be.' But they never do. Dummies.

Anyways, my good readers. Let us celebrate. It has been a very good year. And it will get better. Water finds its way in cracks. So do we. We are starting to push hard for East Jerusalem. Soon we will be convincing people that all of Israel is rightfully ours. Jewish peacenikers are starting to talk peace again. The Israeli Government wants to evacuate their outposts in the West Bank. The U.N. is right in there helping us. And Mr. Dummy is signalling he's afraid of us by trying to convince our neighboring Arab states to help him invade Iraq. If he was really serious, he'd let the Jews kill off the local terrorists, so they couldn't help Al Qaeda. By the way, did we find the damn collaborators who spilled that Al Qaeda people are regrouping in our refugee camps? They can help train the next generation of freedom fighters.


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