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BURAK BEKDİL

burak.bekdil@hurriyet.com.tr

BURAK BEKDİL > Why Golda Meir was right (II)

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In the half a year since I wrote “Why Golda Meir was right” (Hürriyet Daily News, Aug.
23, 2011) the Syrian death toll has moved from 2,000 to over 7,000 - about five times more than the Palestinian casualties during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in late 2008 and early 2009.

These distressing figures forcefully remind us of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s famous dictums: 1. Muslims don’t kill, and 2. (Jews) know well how to kill.

“Why Golda Meir was right” aimed to illustrate unpleasant death statistics in a way Islamist ears refuse to hear:

“Sudan is not in the conventional Middle East, so let’s ignore the genocide there. Let’s ignore, also, the West Pakistani massacres in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) totaling 1.25 million in 1971. Or the 200,000 deaths in Algeria in the war between Islamists and the government from 1991 to 2006.

“But simple, strictly Middle East research will give you 1 million deaths in the all-Muslim Iran-Iraq war; 300,000 Muslim minorities killed by Saddam Hussein; 80,000 Iranians killed during the Islamic revolution; 25,000 deaths from 1970 to 1971, the days of Black September, by the Jordanian government in its fight against the Palestinians; and 20,000 Islamists killed in 1982 by the elder al-Assad in Hama. The World Health Organization’s estimate of Osama bin Laden’s carnage in Iraq was already 150,000 a few years earlier.

“In a 2007 study, Gunnar Heinsohn from the University of Bremen and Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, found that some 11 million Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000, (0.3 percent) died during the six years of Arab war against Israel, or one out of every 315 fatalities. In contrast, over 90 percent who perished were killed by fellow Muslims.”

More recently, in a blistering critique of Iran’s sectarian support for the Syrian regime, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said on Feb. 5: “I am addressing the Islamic Republic of Iran: I do not know if you are worthy of being called Islamic. Have you said a single thing about what is happening in Syria?”

Mr. Arınç was right. All the same, someone else could have simply asked: “I am addressing Turkey’s good Muslim rulers: I do not know if you are worthy of being called good Muslims. Have you said a single thing about what happened in Sudan? About what is happening in Bahrain? Which religion is the perpetrator of never-ending murders in the Middle East and North Africa (including Syria)? Why do Muslims kill other Muslims en masse, then turn around and tell the entire world that ‘Muslims don’t kill?’ What is the world’s real Muslim population if all of these killings have been perpetrated by non-Muslims?”

Why did thousands of Turks who gathered in a demonstration to protest the Khojaly massacre of 1992 praise and semantically impersonate Ogün Samast, the killer of Turkish journalist of Armenian origin Hrant Dink? Why did they shout “You are all Armenians, you are all bastards?” Were those Turks, who were ready to butcher any Armenian in sight, Buddhists? 

But according to Mr. Erdoğan, the too-visible hate-speech at that demonstration merely constituted an “isolated/individual incident.” In other words, none of the hate slogans, chants and placards at the gathering are worth investigating legally. Would Mr. Erdogan think the same if the same hate speech had been directed at Muslims or Turks? Are we not all equal before the law? 

Mr. Erdogan is siding with the Syrians oppressed by the al-Assad regime. Perhaps he should lend an ear to one of the victims, a one-legged revolutionary singer undergoing medical treatment in safe Turkish territory. Time magazine quotes the man, one of the 300 who have fled to Turkey in the most recent wave of refugees, as saying: “We’d rather accept Israel than Bashar […] The Israelis didn’t do to the Palestinians what Bashar has done to Syria.”
Who, really, knows better how to kill?

March/07/2012

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