Posted by: r.m. | February 19, 2011



What else to call it but blindness of the heart and of the mind?

I’ve heard comments this week from people close to me – comments that cannot be justified, in any way, regardless of one’s political background.

One person said, referring to the pre-dawn police attack – with live ammunition – on the unarmed pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain, that the government will destroy the delinquents  all soon and restore calm and order and security to the country.  {He reminded me of a comment I heard during the 2006 war on Lebanon.  Someone – who was a friend and ceased to be so after making this comment – said ‘May God make the Israelis powerful in their fight against the Shi’a.]

In both incidents, those killed become non-people, non-entities.  Regardless of their politics, regardless, both these people – and all those who think like them – allowed their hearts and minds to be shut, blinded by their own hatred.

(And their hatred — is it born from an anti-Shi’a sentiment? One cannot claim to be against Islamophobia and support Shi’a-phobia. One cannot claim to be against racism and support Islamophobia. And one cannot claim to want to be respected by others, and be racist.)

I do not want to carry on a conversation trying to convince others that the protesters are people too.  “We are people too” is another statement that should never be said.  To reach that point, to have to declare that you are a human…

And then this evening, another person close to me said, in response to my passing comment about the revolutions/intifadas/uprisings in the Arab World:  “Well, look at Laura Logan, she was raped. Are those the people that you’re supporting? You’re supporting those people? I’m sure at least ten other people have been raped as well.”

I thought to tell her that hundreds of women are raped every day in the United States – what does that mean about “those people”? That we should not call for a democracy in the United States because men rape women?

I thought to ask her why her only comment on Egypt – from the start of the revolt – has been about a white, American woman and nothing about the millions of protesters in the streets? I thought to ask her if she knows the names of any of the martyrs in Egypt or does she only know the name of a white, American woman?

I thought to tell her not to generalize against an entire community, an entire people.  And, the statistics-minded person in me thought to raise the issue that – despite the grave offense of rape – only one rape, amongst a circle of millions of people, is quite remarkable, particularly, again, if we compare it to the United States.

More importantly, I thought to ask her what the rape of Logan – or anyone else – has to do with the right of a people, any people, for democracy.

I was too tired to say anything. I just shook my head.

Seeing my face darken, she said that there are two sides to every story.

Yes, to all those who believe there are two sides to the story of the people’s revolt in Egypt, or in Tunisia, or in Libya, or in Bahrain or in so many other countries  … ; Yes, to all those who believe there are two sides to the “conflict” in Palestine; Yes, there are two sides: there is the right side, the side of justice and liberty and resistance; and there is the wrong side, the side of oppression and racism and occupation.

It is all strikingly clear. It really is.

Just so long as one is willing not to be blinded by one’s racism, and one’s own destructive lazy acceptance of the lies of whatever media network s/he watches.

It doesn’t take that much to see.

Will any one try to justify the massacres in Libya now?

Reports range: between 84 to  200 people have been killed today the city of Benghazi! Eyewitnesses reported to Al Jazeera that Qaddafi’s mercenary forces are also carrying out massacres in the cities of Misrata and Baida; the dead are uncountable.

Do not justify what cannot be justified – regardless of one’s political “opinion”



  1. i’m a person who doesn’t know anything about politics; my political knowledge is zero, but here is my comment:

    “Do not justify what cannot be justified” is like seeing something that isn’t there, and this is worse than blindness. (“There is a condition worse than blindness, and that is, seeing something that isn’t there.” – Thomas Hardy).

    “It doesn’t take that much to see”. Believe me Dr. Sometimes, it takes some people that much to see, and some of these people do not see at all because their own biases have blind them from seeing the reality.

    What is reality? i know; a question that is hard to answer.

    Also, maybe blindness can come from seeing each day as a similar one. It’s just a matter of paying attention to the details of each day.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mariamarahman, Rania Masri. Rania Masri said: Blindness… […]

  3. this post may sound illiberal but i will say it anyway. one should ask why is there sunni and shia in the first place? no, why is there christian and jewish and muslim and hindu and buddhist? why is there racism? and why many swear by the invisible hand that is used by capitalists to justify a free market with all the injustices that it entails?

    it all boils down to a disdain, even hatred, of a scientific understanding of our world. racists fail to understand that we are all members of the same homo sapien species and part of a bigger animal kingdom. followers of religious fruitcakes (jewish, sunni, shia, protestant, catholic, you name it) fail to understand that religion has been mankind’s worst invention which contributed so much damage that overwhelms any good which could have existed without it. those who are brainwashed by free market fundamentalism fail to understand that the invisible hand is so named because it is not there.

    if we were to empirically test all our theroies/ideas then we wouldn’t have ended up with all this racism, discrimination and injustice. mine may very well be a tiny minority view in this world but at least it is the only one that is falsifiable and stems from direct experience not revelation (god/free market/whatever).

    i suspect that most people do not agree with this view because they are cocksure that the scientific method is limited to an undergraduate natural science curriculum and contributes nothing thereafter.

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