Sept 13, 2001, Bethlehem
The Palestinian Reaction to the World Trade Center Bombing
This week the world suffered immeasurably from the acts of terrorism
in the USA. Thousands of innocent people lost their lives in deplorable
and sickening events. When I first heard the news that an airplane
had crashed into the World Trade Center, I couldn’t believe it.
I left work and started home, anxious to hear the news on BBC
or CNN (in English). On my way I encountered a few Palestinians
laughing and firing celebratory gunshots in the air. This made
me angry -- very, very angry! I was intensely angry for two days.
However, I have to be fair. There were not many Palestinians celebrating.
The boys that were sure got my attention, but they were a tiny
minority of the population in Bethlehem. And since that one brief
afternoon occurrence, I have not seen any evidence of Palestinian
joy at these horrible acts of terrorism. Since that day, Palestinians
have expressed their sincere condolences to me time and time again.
Even Palestinians I didn’t know told me they were sorry and that
it was a “terrible, terrible thing”.
Therefore I am disturbed by the TV news coverage of the “Palestinian
reaction”. Repeatedly we have been shown images of the disaster
followed by footage of Palestinians celebrating in the streets.
It just isn’t happening like that here. A very small percentage
of the population did celebrate for a very brief period, and unfortunately
that report has been widely exaggerated. To put it into perspective,
consider an international TV crew covering a raucous KKK rally
in Washington DC. Americans would be horrified to think that this
footage would be shown around the world as our country’s position.
Palestinians feel the same way about the coverage being shown
now in the international news. They are distraught to think that
this small minority of Palestinians speaks for their entire nation.
Palestinians have condemned their actions. Most of them feel as
bad about the tragedy as Americans do. The coverage of Palestine
has not been accurate, and it has not been impartial.
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