13 March 2009

BBC's Simpson displays prejudices on Iraq

In an article on Tariq Aziz, who has recently been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his contribution to the execution of 42 Iraqi flour merchants in 1992, the BBC's long-serving correspondent John Simpson has made two statements that I find quite surprising because of the outright prejudices contained in them.

First of all, according to Simpson, "although [Aziz] comes from a Christian family, this is a matter of historical chance rather than an indication of his opinions." This statement is, obviously, problematic on a number of levels. Would Simpson say this of a British politician with an unsavoury reputation? Would he take the pains to point out that such-and-such European or North American politician was born into a Christian family and had then gone astray? Moreover, what does it mean to say that the fact that he's a Christian is no indication of his opinions? Can Simpson tell us what opinions a Christian, as understood by him, does hold or should hold? Can he tell us which is the Christian opinion: invading Iraq as the Christians Bush and Blair did, or not invading it, as several different churches (including the Catholic Church, to which Aziz belongs, and which later accepted Blair into its fold) urged? Are Bush and Blair not Christians? If they are, why is Tariq Aziz any less a Christian? And, further, is Simpson trying to say here that Aziz's Baath Party membership would have been more understandable had he come from a Muslim family? If he is saying that, what is that but a calumny?

Secondly, according to Simpson, "Tariq Aziz changed his name from Mikhail Yuhanna... to something much more Arab-sounding, in order to fit in better with his Baathist colleagues". Now, pray tell me, what is not "Arab-sounding" about the name Mikhail Yuhanna? Again, it seems that Simpson is trying to equate "Arab" and "Muslim", and to try to portray the Christians as an anomaly in the Arab world. The fact is, Christian Arabs were present in the Middle East long before the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had been born. Mikhail Yuhanna is certainly not a non-Arab-sounding name. On the other hand, it is an identifiably Christian name. By renaming himself Tariq Aziz, Yuhanna did not Arabise his name; he secularised it. There is a big difference between the two, which a man of John Simpson's experience ought to be aware of.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Rashid.
Your comments on BBC's Simpson about Tariq Aziz lacks facts and
truth, here I explain.

Don't understand what you're saying about [Aziz] comes from a Christian family; you put a bunch of words together that onvey no meaning.

Yes Tariq Aziz is an Assyrian Catholic Christian who'se Christian name is Mikhail Yuhanna and yes he did change it so that he would be accepted.

Mikhail Yuhanna is not Arabic, it is Assyrian which is rooted in Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ.

And yes, to believe in and follow the Baath philosophy, one has to be an Arab, and Assyrians, including Tariq Aziz is not an Arab.

You are right about one point, that "Simpson is trying to equate "Arab" and "Muslim"", Arabs are Mulsim! Christians are NOT Arabs. Christians are Assyrians, Chaldeans, Jacobites, Maronites and Armenians, they are not Arabs, no matter how much you and other Arabs try to re-write history.

You're also correct in saying that "Christian Arabs were present in the Middle East long before the Muhammad". however that changed when Muhammad's religion of peace, Islam Killed those Arab Christians and forced the remainder to convert to Islam by the power of the sword; this is a fact you can not deny.

Secondly, if you mention today's Arab Christians such as in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Copts of Egypt! I have news for you; they are not Arabs, but they were Arabized, by the same people who spread Baathism. They wanted to establish a melting pot in the middle east. These people were forbidden to speak in their own langauge (Aramaic) in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, and Coptic in Egypt, and forced to speak Arabic, and by the agenda of the government run public schools, the history books were re-written and new generations were raised and taught in schools to identify themselves as Arab Christians.

If you don't believe me, go to a Maronite church service in Lebanon and Jacobite church service in Syria and Catholic church service in Iraq, you'll hear their service in "Aramaic"! If these people are Arabs, why do they not use Arabic in their worship service?

Listen to Wadee Al Safi and Fairooz singing Aramaic christian songs.

I hope you'll research the infomration I provided you here and come to a realization of the real truth.

May Jesus Bless You.

Jesse T.

Rashed said...

Dear Jesse,

Your second paragraph explains everything: you don't really understand what I'm saying here.

In your sixth paragraph, you say that I "and other Arabs try to re-write history". Well, I'm sorry, but I'm NOT an Arab. The one who's rewriting history here, I'm afraid, is you.

It's pretty rich for a non-Arab to try to define who is an Arab and who is not. One of the most common definitions of "Arab" used by the Arabs themselves is "anyone whose mother tongue is Arabic".

Something Even More Magical

In other news...