They fled. The American louts fled. Indeed, concerning the fighting waged by the heroes of the Arab Socialist Baath Party yesterday, one amazing thing really is the cowardice of the American soldiers. we had not anticipated this.
Just as certain Cold War binaries were collapsing, new binaries of Sunni versus Shia or Arab versus Kurd were being created by the new occupation force. It's the corruption of that moment that I am really interested in.
In the Islamic world, the U.S. is seen in two quite different ways. One view recognizes what an extraordinary country the U.S. is. Every Arab or Muslim that I know is tremendously interested in the United States. Many of them send their children here for education. Many of them come here for vacations. They do business here or get their training here. The other view is of the official United States, the United States of armies and interventions.
Throughout the Arab and Islamic world the feeling is that we are now in top gear for a war of civilizations, a clash of civilizations. Support for the United States is very low and there are no voices within the Muslim world, except for a very few.
The Indian who fells the tree that he may gather the fruit, and the Arab who plunders the caravans of commerce are actuated by the same impulse of savage nature, and relinquish for momentary rapine the long and secure possession of the most important blessings.
When my stories were translated into other languages and received good reviews in the international press and won prizes, some Arab festivals and newspapers began to take an interest in what I had produced. This sudden Arab interest is a form of hypocrisy and nonsense.
The Arab rulers are basically unpopular. They are supported by the United States against the wishes of their people. In all of this rather heady mixture of violence and policies that are remarkably unpopular right down to the last iota, it's not hard for demagogues, especially people who claim to speak in the name of religion, in this case Islam, to raise a crusade against the United States and say that we must somehow bring America down.
The reason it has relevance is because I, as a popular Arab personality - the Arab people like me and respect me - thought it was time for me to make an ever so tiny statement about what I thought about this whole thing.