It is rare for a diplomat to so spiteful and audacious. This was the case when
Patrick Syring, a US State Department employee, chose to express his personal feelings via e-mail and voice-mail messages that were both offensive and provocative towards Arabs and the Arab American Institute.
He was indicted on charges last week, for making statements such as, “The only good Arab is a dead Arab.” Voicing his twisted thoughts through messages, this diplomat believed he could remain unidentified and that he would not be held accountable for the content of these messages.
But his venomous statements penetrated past the dark rooms and those who sympathized with his views and were revealed through the facilitations offered by modern technology. Communications has made it possible for hostile adults to scribble on walls as do the young boys, or the spiteful people who write in public bathrooms.
However, this is not a specific trait that characterizes a nation or a specific race, rather; it is one that is shared by all those whose thoughts are vicious and inhumane in all the different societies. But the strange thing about this story is that it goes against the common trends of those who are afflicted by the disease of hatred and malice. The majority of those who vent such hostility and hatred are usually young of age, after which they later discover how poisonous and ugly their ideas were.
And yet Syring, despite his age, status and experience is still capable of practicing such heinous acts. The truth is that there is a trend in which the likes of Syring, dubbed those “hiding in the closet”, are coming out on websites. These are individuals who write under pseudonyms, hiding behind incredibly low and venomous ideas that they dare not voice out loud.
Despite occupying educational, media and governmental positions, these people would stoop as low as to use such shameful language, which only demonstrates their incapacity to disagree with their opponents in a respectable manner.
What other explanation could there be to justify the actions of a diplomat who has served many long years in politics to have expressed such hatred, the consequences of which have humiliated and offended millions of people?
He is a man living in the past, hiding his feelings in the dark and lashing out against people while remaining incognito because he is incapable of confronting them, or dealing with them politically, or even accepting their ideologies.
During tense and trying times, hatred is the easy way out for those who do not want a solution. The fact remains that however virulent and well-concealed that hatred is, the world will remain unchanged and nations will not disappear because there are others who hate them. Those who generalize their hatred and discrimination against Arabs, the same as against blacks, or Jews, or Caucasians and others, reflect a delusional mentality.
People in the East of the West are one and the same no matter how different their languages, cultures, religions and colors are. And moreover, they should not be blamed for the actions of individuals, governments or intellectuals who speak on their behalf.
* Published in London-based ASHARQ ALAWSAT on August 7, 2007. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al-Arabiya News Channel.