Letter to the Arab American News

I am writing to register my shock and disappointment at a column written by Ms Raja Saadeh in the February 16-22, 2008 paper.
I believe in the freedom of expression - a sacred value . However, I don’t think that intolerant speech deserves a platform at mainstream media.
I strongly object to the savage attack on Mr. Walid Jumblatt. Accusing him of “working with Israel and executing its plans” is an outrageous accusation of him, a leader of the National Movement- with his father, Kamal Jumblatt, a martyr for Palestine. [ Incidentally such an accusation or rhetorical assassination is what the criminals (Israel?!) assassinating the free Lebanese leaders start with- to be followed by actual murder].
As to her advice to Shaykh Saad, she should know that Shaykh Saad has enough advisers and does not need more advice. As if her giving advice is not offensive and audacious enough, she proceeds to ask Shaykh Saad to delve into the “Deyanat,” Arabic for religion, of his allies- meaning here the Druze faith (an offshoot of Shiite Islam) of Walid Jumblatt!
The Arab American News has well-known biases and sympathies and the coverage of Lebanon events has been clearly pro the Syro-Iranian block-this is a legitimate editorial policy. But to attack a faith group in this manner is clearly outrageous and is something that I doubt Kay and Ousama stand for.
The conflict/s in Lebanon, as Samir Khalaf brilliantly analyzed, is/are political ones that unfortunately sometimes play out in religious/sectarian fashion. In a nutshell, these conflicts have always been political conflicts over the direction the small but magnificent country Lebanon should take.
You owe an apology to the Druze faith and all other fair people who reject attacks on faith communities, regardless of political agreements with leaders that belong to these faith communities.


Ihsan Alkhatib, Esq.

[And for the record – all the massacres that occurred in Lebanon are outrageous attacks on all humanity- this includes the Fathallah massacre and the Damur massacres, and all killings of civilians who were stopped at checkpoints and killed merely for belonging to the “wrong” faith community. But what happened in the Shouf pales in comparison to Tal al Zaatar, Damur and Sabra and Shatila. Ms Saadeh should check her facts before she writes.]


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