Mahmoud Darwish: But then, nothing, nothing justifies Terrorism

Ron Kuzar kuzar at RESEARCH.HAIFA.AC.IL
Fri Sep 21 07:06:55 UTC 2001

Enclosed by a statement written by Mahmoud Darwish and signed by
Palestinian writers and Intellectuals such as: Hanna Nasser, Sari
Nusseiba, Salim Tamari, Rema Hammai, I'zzat Ghazawi, Hasssan Khader,
Hannan Ashrawi and many others.
It was published in the Palestinian daily Al Ayyam on Sept. the 17th

You might notice that in this statement the term "State terrorism" is
used in association with the Israeli occupation. This term did not make
it into the joint declaration I forwarded before. Even here it is hedged
by "practices which border on 'state terrorism'" and by the scare quotes
around "state terrorism".
"But then, nothing, nothing justifies Terrorism"

Mahmoud Darwish

The catastrophe that hit Washington and New York has only one name - the
Madness of Terrorism. This catastrophic event was neither a dark science
fiction film nor was it the Day of Reckoning. It was terrorism that is
country-less, colorless, and creedless, no matter how many names of gods,
deities and agonies of man it may have enlisted in order to justify

No cause, not even a just cause, can make legitimate the killing of
innocent civilians, no matter how long the list of accusations and the
register of grievances. Terror never paves the way to justice, but leads
down the shortest path to hell. We deplore this horrendous crime and
condemn its planners and perpetrators with all the terms of revulsion
and condemnation in our lexicon. We do this not only as our moral duty,
but also in order to re-assert our commitment to our own humanity and
our faith in human values that do not differentiate between one people
and another. Our sympathy with the victims and their families and with
the American people in these trying times is thus an expression of our
deep commitment to the unity of human destiny. For a victim is a victim,
and terrorism is terrorism, here or there, it knows no boundaries nor
nationalities and does not lack the rhetoric of killing,

Nothing, nothing can justify this terrorism that melds human flesh with
iron cement and dust. Nor can anything justify polarizing the world into
two camps that can never meet: one of absolute good, the other of
absolute evil. Civilization is the result of world societies
contributing towards a global heritage. The accumulation and interaction
of which leads towards the elevation of humanity and nobility of
consciousness. In this context, the insistence of modern-day
orientalists that terrorism resides in the very nature of Arab and
Islamic culture, contributes nothing to the diagnosis of the enigma and
thus offers no solution. Rather, it makes a solution more enigmatic
because it becomes caught in the grip of racism.

Therefore, when America searches for reasons to explain the animosity
towards its politics (an animosity not held towards the American people
and their globally popular culture), it must distance itself from the
concept of the "conflict of cultures". It should also dispense with the
need to identify an ever present enemy, necessary to test "western
supremacy". Instead, it should move into a political arena, where the
United States can meditate on the sincerity of its foreign policy. In
particular it should reflect on its success in the Middle East, where
the great American values of freedom, democracy and human rights, have
stopped functioning -- especially in the Palestinian context where the
Israeli occupation remains free from answering to international law
while the U.S. provides it with what it needs of rationalizations and
justifications for practices which border on "state terrorism". 

We know that the American wound is deep and we know that this tragic
moment is a time for solidarity and the sharing of pain. But we also
know that the horizons of the intellect can traverse landscapes of
devastation. Terrorism has no location or boundaries, it does not reside
in a geography of its own, its homeland is disillusionment and despair.

The best weapon to eradicate terrorism from the soul lies in the
solidarity of the international world, in respecting the rights of all
peoples of this globe,  to live in harmony and by reducing the ever
increasing gap between north and south. And the most effective way to
defend freedom is through fully realizing the meaning of justice.
Security measures alone are not enough since terrorism carries within
its folds a multiplicity of nationalities and recognizes no boundaries.
The world cannot be divided into two societies, one for the rebels and
the other for the officers of the law. But then, nothing, nothing
justifies Terrorism

                 Dr. Ron Kuzar
Address:   Department of English Language and Literature
                 University of Haifa
                 IL-31905 Haifa, Israel
Office:       +972-4-824-9826, fax: +972-4-824-9711
Home:       +972-2-6414780, Cellular: +972-5-481-9676
Email:        kuzar at
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