Washington Post thinks smacking around your mom is okay

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It must have been a slow news day for the Washington Post to use this article as its Military Outrage Story du jure:

Imaad said they were startled by a loud banging at the door. He went quickly to open it. When he did, Imaad said, there were about a dozen U.S. soldiers standing with their guns pointed at his head.

Imaad and his mother said the soldiers rushed in, ordering them to sit together while they searched the house. "You look poor," Imaad recalled one of the soldiers saying. "Why?"

Imaad answered in English: "I have not been able to find a job, although I'm a graduate of the College of Arts." His heart was pounding, Imaad said. His mother, a chatty widow who adores her son, sat next to him, shaking.

The soldiers went to search his bedroom. He heard laughing, and then they called for him, he said. Imaad went to his room and saw that the soldiers had found several magazines he kept hidden from his mother. They had pictures of girls in swimsuits and erotic poses. Imaad said the soldiers spread the magazines on his bed and put his Koran in the middle.

"This is a good match," Imaad said one of the soldiers told him.

"It was a nightmare," he said. "I will never forget those bad soldiers when they put the Koran among the magazines."

Within 20 minutes, the soldiers left without arresting him or his mother. While the soldiers went next door to search his neighbor's house, Imaad began to slap his mother, he said. "The American people are devils," Um Imaad recalled her son repeating.

I dunno about this. In high school, when Mom discovered the cigars in my suitcase when I was about to leave on a beach trip, my first instinct wasn't to give her the back of my hand. (Instead, I launched on an impassioned, adolescent rant about her invading my privacy, as if minor children have privacy rights.) Has any major liberal news outlet ever so blithely reported on physical abuse of women, without so much as a single word to condemn it?

More than that, the only sources for this story are a mother-smacking jobless homebody, and the target of his violence. No one else corroborated any details of the story, other than there were U.S. troops in the neighborhood that night.

It's also curious that the Post — which ran article after article repeating condemnations of "The Passion of the Christ" as anti-Semitic — would also repeat laughably anti-Jewish statements without comment.

Um Imaad brought Imaad pills from the doctor to try to calm him. He looked at the yellow ones, then the red ones and refused to take them. "All these belong to Jewish people," he said, pushing one set aside. "And these others are from bad or foreign people."
This guy sounds like Pat Buchanan at the pharmacy!

More seriously, there are a few things to know about Arab communication if you have not dealt with Arabs before. WARNING: the following paragraphs contain generalizations, which are sometimes mischaracterized as "stereotyping." However, just about anyone who has communicated with Arabs for a significant llength of time will agree with these generalizations.

1. Arabs exaggerate. Most people can embellish, but Arabs have a knack for inventing or magnifying details. Case in point: why would 12 men all point their weapons at one guy in a doorway? Why would they bunch up, unless they wanted to present an appealing target for a bad guy with an AK-47 or hand grenade? Most likely, there were two or three guys at the door, and others providing perimeter security.

2. In part because they exaggerate, Arabs do not expect their words to be taken at face value. You, the listener, are expected to read between the lines. If you don't, it's your fault, not the speaker's.

3. Arabs will make up events in order to save their personal honor. Thus, it is very unlikely that the soldiers would have arranged the naughty pictures around a Koran; it's more likely that Imaad made that up. You see, looking at provocative photos of sluttish infidels is bad, but juxtaposing them with the words of Allah as dictated to the Prophet? Incomparably worse! So the real crime wasn't Imaad's lack of chastity, it was the blasphemy of the Crusaders!

That's why Imaad says later in the article, "I asked God to forgive me...because I could not prevent American sins" (emphasis mine). Not forgiveness for his sins, but other people's.

(Thanks to Australian blogger Tim Blair for the original link to the article. Read his take, which is a lot funnier than mine.)

1 Comment

I missed why WaPo thought slapping around his mother was OK? Surely it wasn't merely because they reported that it happened? After all, the Bible reports many immoral events without comment, and *it* obviously doesn't support them.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric Johnson published on January 23, 2005 10:58 PM.

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