Something I wrote in the previous post got me to thinking (which is going to get me in trouble again). Why was there such a huge backlash on the terminal deal with Dubai? Was it xenophobia as the Republicans state? Is it a knee-jerk reaction to anything Arab? Or are we just so hyped up on anything that has to do with the Middle East we reject it out of hand?

In many respects, it’s probably all of the above and then some. We have been conditioned through so many events since 9/11 that we are suspicious for all of the right and wrong reasons. It’s no wonder given the current state of the world.

I believe it’s our wonderful media’s coverage of the Middle East and Islamic related events that shapes our opinions and perceptions. After all, if it bleeds, it leads, and there is a lot of blood being shed in the Middle East and elsewhere. Couple this with the anti-American sentiments being displayed on the 6 o’clock news & fearmongering from various political concerns, and the Dubai deal was doomed to fail as will any other large business venture with a Middle Eastern concern or company.

The other half of this is the continued violence worldwide that is linked to the Islamic religion and the Middle Eastern countries that the criminals are citizens of. The tolerance of many people & governments is being stretched to the limits with various reactions ranging from appeasement to defiance. For instance:

  • Since 9/11, terrorist attacks attributed to Islamic extremists have taken place in Spain, France, and England.
  • Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, our media showed people dancing in the streets in several Arab countries, chanting “Death to America.”
  • Riots in France have been linked to out of work Islamic youth.
  • Iran has stated repeatedly that they want nuclear weapons, and have threatened violence if they don’t get them. One does have to wonder why they need them.
  • Terrorists from Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and other countries are in Iraq fomenting unrest and attacking our soldiers.
  • Reaction to the Mohammed cartoons has been outrageous considering that the same or worse critical cartoons have been leveled at the Jewish and Christian religions.
  • The kidnapping and execution by beheading of innocent civilians continues.
  • Reports of attacks upon non-Muslim women by Muslim men have been reported. These attacks include beatings, rape, and murder.
  • European countries are caving in to Islamic demands for censorship of their media where their religion is concerned.
  • Many of the countries of the Middle East are ruled by kings, despots, & dictators, and the populations are mostly uneducated.
  • Most of the time when the media shows pictures or video of the Middle East or other Islamic countries, we are shown killings, bombings, and violence with the requisite puddles of blood splashed liberally across the screen. Additionally, radical Imams are quoted with hate speeches calling for the killings of all non-Muslim people.

Where this ends up is that many people are afraid. Yes, afraid of what these people are going to do next in the name of their religion. While there are fanatics everywhere, none have proved to be as frightening or as widespread as these. While 9/11 was primarily a terrorist attack, do not forget that the religion of Islam was used to provide the attackers with a reason to kill themselves and as many others as they could. It does not make us xenophobes, racists, or bigots, it just makes us extremely careful almost to the point of paranoia.

Was I in favor of the Dubai company running the terminals in six ports? Not really, but I honestly don’t know if it would make any difference. There are other foreign countries such as Communist China that have contracts running terminals, so what is the difference between China and Dubai? Probably none, although the political climate would not permit it at this time. Personally, I would like to see American companies running the terminals, but we are in a global economy, and that’s a topic for another time…