Sunday, July 31, 2005

It's What He Doesn't Say 

The Jerusalem Post has some nice observations by Daoud Kuttab in the wake of the Sharm e-Sheikh bombings:

There was an eerie sense about the hotel and surrounding areas. No one wanted to talk about what happened, but it was clearly on everyone's mind. The signs would come in various ways. A person on the phone talking to a hospital. An makeshift sign saying "no to terrorism" in English; another in Arabic saying that the brave people of Sharm will not be deterred by terrorism.
Good for them.

But in amongst the things I'm glad to learn, are some little puzzles. There are two punches the author pulls that leave this Israeli scratching his head a little. The first is the discussion of theories of what happened and why:

One of the main topics of discussion was why the attack netted so many Egyptian casualties.

Reportedly, relatively few foreigners were among the dead. A theory was postulated by a Bir Zeit University professor who was staying at our hotel.

Returning to the hotel just minutes before the explosions, he had been stopped at a checkpoint and recalled that the security people looked very worried, examining everyone in the face as if they were looking for someone.

So perhaps Egyptian security had received a tip minutes before the blast, which explains why they fortified protection outside the main hotels frequented by foreigners. The bomber reportedly drove past one of these checkpoints and detonated his device near the old market, killing many Egyptians.

Another theory which is given credence is that the attack was connected to angry Sinai Beduin. They had it good during the years when Israel controlled the peninsula, so the theory went, and once Egypt regained sovereignty most of the best hotel and resorts jobs went to mainland Egyptians, leaving only menial work for the Bedouins.
Interesting. He doesn't mention that other little theory floating around. Maybe he hopes we in Israel haven't heard it and politely prefers not to disturb our complacent slumber. I would have guessed a reporter visiting Egypt looking into the explanation of a bombing would have heard the (Zionist) conspiracy theories being brought forward on the TV's around him. It would have been nice to have heard from him that the theory, while broadcast by a few nutcases on state-run TV, was dismissed as beneath contempt by everyone else. Or at least that he personally didn't believe it, which I hope and assume is the case. Instead, only deafening silence.

In fact, not only is the theory of Israeli/Jewish conspiracy absent from his commentary, there is no non-peripheral mention of Israel in any context. Given that his column appears, as it regularly does, in the Jerusalem Post, it is strange that he leaves the big questions hanging in mid-air unanswered, indeed, unasked. I'll ask though. In the Egyptians' growing recognition of the dangers of "terrorism", did anyone show the slightest awareness of Israel as the proving ground, the exercise yard for those who finally set their sights on their erstwhile Egyptian allies? Crickets chirping give more insight than our reporter chose to convey. I'm left to guess that he either fears being blackballed from the journalist's union and losing all access to P.A. sources should he mention the Emperor's New Suicide Vest, or else the answer was so ridiculously obvious that no one even considered the question.

Well, I hope Egypt will eventually realize that a doctor who found cancer in a patient would be sued for malpractice if he removed only a little piece here or there, while leaving a mass to fester malignantly in the organ next door. Not that malpractice lawsuit money ever helped a dead body.
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