By Dyab Abou Jahjah
A truck ran over Israeli occupation soldiers in occupied Jerusalem yesterday. Four soldiers died and some others were wounded. The driver was a Palestinian father of three. If you would read western newspapers and news outlets, the general tone is that this was a “terrorist” attack that targeted Israelis. Fake news are obviously not something that is limited to social media, it is also often being vented through the bias of the dominant news. That version of the story is not just occulting the reality of the occupation, it is defending it by establishing a link between the resistance of the Palestinians and terrorism. I reacted to this by stating that the Palestinian people has the right to liberate its occupied land by any means that it deems necessary. This was immediately taken by forces who are supportive to Israel in the Flemish nationalist right wing and presented as an endorsement of terrorism. Even Theo Francken, a secretary of state in the federal government, was tweeting about it hysterically. According to him I was glorifying ISIS terrorism and I should be fired from my position as columnist in the newspaper I write for. People who liked my Facebook post were also being threatened and intimidated. Therefor I want to clarify the following 10 points and I hope that this will be helpful to all the people that are confronted with these questions.
By Dyab Abou Jahjah
« The terrorists want to destroy our way of life », or « they hate us because of who we are » are the most common held opinions by western politicians and opinion makers when it comes to explaining why attacks are taking place in Europe. However, if one analyses the vision and ideology of ISIS, based on primary sources and on its own literature, this line does not hold.
Ik dacht eerst om niet te reageren op de laatste repliek van Etienne Vermeersch aan mij gericht in DM van 22 januari. Eerst en vooral omdat ik geen enkel inhoudelijk nieuw argument erin zag. Hij snapt het nog steeds niet, en blijft maar afkomen met halve waarheden gebaseerd op google, en één boek in zijn boekenkast. Vermeersch blijft niet begrijpen dat mijn stelling over het begrip Jihad IN de KORAN, als zijnde voor meerdere interpretaties vatbaar, niet kan weerlegd worden met schrijfsels, van buiten de koran. Maar omdat zijn stelling niet alleen vals maar ook gevaarlijk is, daar dat veel jonge moslims en niet moslims de discussie volgen en conclusies kunnen gaan trekken dat Jihad als agressie om het geloof te spreiden wél een main-stream lijn in de islamitische leer is, terwijl dat niet het geval is, heb ik besloten om toch nog een keer een aantal zaken duidelijk te maken.
In zijn repliek tegen mij (DM 19/1) haalt Etienne Vermeersch een boek van de 14de eeuw aan om te bewijzen dat het concept van de Jihad in de 21ste eeuw niet interpreteerbaar is maar eerder vast ligt en dat het niet louter defensief maar ook offensief kan zijn. Daarin maakte hij één fundamentele denkfout, en twee kleinere denkfouten. Eerst de kleine fouten:
Dyab Abou Jahjah
(Published also in French in the Newspaper Le Soir)
As I sat behind my desk to type these words, my wife and two daughters were preparing to go for a walk in the city, and suddenly, all I could feel was one emotion: Fear.
I was afraid that while in the metro, or while enjoying the new pedestrian parts of the city, or while sitting on the terrace of a café, some Daesh terrorist, blinded by hatred and fascist ideology, will open fire and kill my family. I was also afraid that some far-right extremists will see my Arab looking family and decide to take revenge for the Paris attacks.
BLACK the latest movie of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah will open today for the big public. For those among you going to see it and expecting an activist film, or a somewhat committed film like their latest movie IMAGE, you should know that BLACK is not that kind of movie. IMAGE was a media thriller with a very high dose of social critique. BLACK is a hard action movie with a lot of violence and a lot of stereotypes. It describes a certain underworld that most of us never experience and never will experience. Its social relevency is therefore almost absent in comparaison with IMAGE.
However, BLACK as a piece of cinema art is much better than IMAGE. And if you ask me, it is even much better than what we are used to see in the Belgian movie theatres in general. BLACK is on another level, and no wonder that some big boys in Hollywood are chasing Adil and Bilal now. So it is important to watch BLACK with this perspective in mind. BLACK is commercial cinema, from the highest rank. It is not Walt Disney like Bilal said, It is not for the conservative puritan mind or the political correctness fundamentalist. This movie has edge, and breaks taboos. It is not for the faint hearted. But above all the movie is elegant, full of panache and street credibility.
I remember Adil telling me that he was wondering how i would see IMAGE and if I would like it. That was a year ago before IMAGE came out. I felt he was a bit worried. I then told him: " make good films, succesful commercial films, don't limit yourself, just go big and when you are big, from time to time you can make a more committed kind of movie". BLACK is an important step on that road in my eyes. I am looking forward for watching the next movie of the most talented directors duo from Brussels.
By Dyab Abou Jahjah
Why are Muslims so violent? why do we feel that the most violence is committed in the name of Islam? Is Islam the victim of bad PR and a continuous smear campaign? or does the truth lie in the middle? Questions that many of us are confronted with on daily basis. And they are worth an answer.
When a friend of mine called me this morning telling me that the British tabloid The Sun dedicated a whole article to me I thought he was confusing me with someone else. “The sun? shouldn’t they be picking on some model with an anorexia problem or some Tory lord who can’t keep his pants on around young girls?”. Ever since it was clear that Jeremy Corbyn makes a realistic chance of winning the contest for labour leadership, sleeping dogs have been called into action. Jeremy Corbyn is the worst nightmare of the ruling elite in Britain and beyond. A man who was consistent all through his political career in his socialist ideas, support for legitimate resistance, and promotion of dialogue among peoples.
(Column Verschenen in de krant de Standaard)
Collaboratie met de vijand en bezetter tijdens een oorlog een ‘fout’ noemen, is een understatement, en niet zo onschuldig bovendien. Collaboratie is landverraad en een misdaad, zoiets tot een fout herleiden, is apologetisch.
Natuurlijk het is zo dat men in Vlaanderen nog erger gewoon is en dat Bart De Wever daarom van ver lijkt te komen. Dit kan het applaus alom gedeeltelijk verklaren, maar niet volledig. Er is meer aan de hand.
Dyab Abou Jahjah
(column published in the Belgian daily De Standaard and translated from Dutch by Oriana P.)
When I saw you, in your eternal bath, floating in your sleep, in your eternal cradle, I imagined you were tired and simply resting. I saw my own daughter in you and assumed you must be tired, my little girl, that’s why you had fallen asleep with your clothes on. Yellow and green and red, the colors of the rainbow, so beautiful and delicate, like a flower in the sea, so very beautiful but oh so tired, so very tired.