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Letter to the editor

Editor's note: The author's name was changed to a pseudonym after publication to protect the author from physical danger that could result from the views presented.

Dear Editors,

Having been a student here for three years, I’ve seen my share of horrible editorial decisions on the part of the Chronicle. In the spirit of brevity, I’ll limit myself to those relating in some way to the Middle East, since that is what I myself study and is a field the Chronicle has proven to be aggressively, offensively ignorant about.

I have watched you carelessly allow the peddling of old Palestinian stereotypes, like the fact that they teach their children to hate Jews, despite the fact that this particular stereotype and others have been repeatedly debunked. You’ve pushed articles claiming that the Iranian nuclear deal was a “win for terrorism,” and that “American Lives First” is a sound and reasonable policy platform by which the US should conduct itself internationally, specifically with regard to the Middle East.

In short, it has become excessively clear over the last few years that no one with any tangential relationship to the Chronicle is even lightly versed in critical Middle Eastern studies or Middle Eastern history more broadly. With that in mind, I’ve taken to disregarding anything that the Chronicle manages to sputter out of its printing presses on the Middle East.

And yet, not satisfied with your frequent and egregious displays of ignorance, you all managed somehow to outdo yourselves. Your “comment” section of the printed Chronicle has twice included comments from the ever-present, ever-racist comment board urchin who goes by “Arafat,” and for whom you all seem to have some unexplainable affinity. One of his comments made the claim that Hezbollah “is a terrorist organization because it is a terrorist organization”—an unfounded, unresearched, and unintelligent claim that would have surprised me more had it not been par for the course as far as your usual writing on Middle Eastern subjects is concerned. Not content with publishing that bit of idiocy, you decided to print the entire comment, including a portion that described Hezbollah as leaving “women in burkas” in its wake. Knowing as I do that none of you know anything about Hezbollah or Lebanon, I hope you are content with this: there is nothing in Hezbollah’s history to suggest that it supports any sort of ruling that all women should wear burkas. The fact that you allowed this to be published is not surprising to me, and yet I cannot help but find it frustrating that there is no one within a phone call of any of your editors who knows enough on these subjects to prevent such egregious stupidity.

More recently, you chose to publish his comment blaming Muslims for the “decline” of Lebanon into “chaos.” Specifically, ran a comment blaming “Muslim aggression” for having “eaten away at the Christian demographic.”

Again, I would never think of leveling the charge at any of you that you are smart about Lebanon, the Levant, the Middle East, or any particular part of Western Asia to know this, but the most significant massacre in Lebanese history that was not committed by Israel during the invasions in the 1980’s and 2006 were actually carried out by Christian Phalangist militias in 1982 in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.

Any inkling of the moral superiority of Lebanon’s Christian militias was stamped out of existence on September 16, 1982. According to the New York Times, “the militia, linked to the Maronite Christian Phalange Party, raped, killed and dismembered at least 800 civilians, while Israeli flares illuminated the camps’ narrow and darkened alleyways. Nearly all of the dead were women, children and elderly men.” Quotes from Ariel Sharon indicate clear Israeli complicity in the massacre, but the Lebanese Christians themselves are the ones who cut the bodies and lined them in the streets.

In spite of all this, which again I would never dream of assuming any of you knew before I wrote you this letter, you chose to run a comment decrying Muslims in Lebanon for the disintegration of Lebanon’s Christian population, a population that is still present and politically powerful in Lebanon.

In spite of this, Christians and Muslims get along relatively well in Lebanon today, another fact that your commenter may want to keep in mind when decrying the evil Muslims’ antagonistic nature against their venerable Christian neighbors. According to Pew Research, “fully 86% of Muslims have a favorable opinion of Christians, by far the highest rating of Christians by any Muslim public. At the same time, 82% of Christians have a positive view of Muslims.”

In the same poll, Muslims and Christians were recorded as equally prejudiced against Jews and Israelis, with favorability ratings on each side coming in at a whopping zero, which means that Arafat’s hobby-horse of Muslim anti-Semitism ought to be extended to the Christians he venerates so.

I hope my fact-checking, which you are free to read as my “doing your job for you,” proves helpful. In the meantime, please stop giving blatantly ignorant and racist Islamophobes free print space in the paper without them even having to ask. I don’t know who at your organization has such an infatuation with outright lies and racism, but there are plenty of sites you can visit that will give you your fill without us readers having to pay the price. Simultaneously, I understand that it can be difficult to get comments for print when so few people actually read this paper, but perhaps addressing your incessant desire to publish garbage could play a role in getting you more readership and thus more comments than the ones you currently get from your gutter-dwelling anti-Islamic keyboard-Crusader fanboy.

If this doesn’t get published, I’ll assume it’s because it isn’t racist enough. In that case, I’ll get a Disqus account or whatever outdated mode of commenting you still use, make my username “KillAllMuslims69,” and copy and paste the whole thing into the comment section. Maybe then y’all will find it suitable.

Best wishes going forward,

Zachary Faircloth

Trinity ‘18

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