Thursday, 1 February 2007

Behold! The American Holy Warriors Have Arrived!

Q. Which U.S. president issued this proclamation (originally in Arabic)?
Praise be unto the only God. In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. O ye Moslems. O ye beloved sons of the Maghreb. May the blessing of God be upon you.

This is a great day for you and us, for all the sons of Adam who love freedom. Our numbers are as the leaves on the forest trees and as the grains of sand in the sea.

Behold. We the American Holy Warriors have arrived. We have come here to fight the great Jihad of Freedom.

We have come to set you free. We have sailed across the great sea in many ships, on many beaches we are landing, and our fighters swarm across the sands and into the city streets, and into the wide country sides, and along the highways.

Light fires on the hilltops; shout from your housetops, and from the high places, and say the sound of the drum be heard in the land, and the ululation of the women, and the voices even of small children.

Assemble along the highways to welcome your brothers.

We have come to set you free.

Answer: FDR in October 1942 upon the landing of American troops in North Africa. The speech continues in a smiliarly poetic vein. This part also stands out:
Speak with our fighting men and you will find them pleasing to the eye and gladdening to the heart. We are not as some other Christians whom ye have known, and who trample you under foot.

Now quiet apart from the question of just how "pleasing to the eye" the American fighting men were, the promise to be different from other European powers may have been heady wine indeed. Alas, the freedom brought by these worthy Holy Warriors was fleeting. Morocco was parcelled out between the French and Spanish, Algeria and Tunisia went back under French rule and Egypt continued to be ruled by the British. Libya happily achieved early independence due to the virtue of its having been an Italian colony, and Italy being on the losing side of WW2.

Still, at least lets give FDR's speech writers some credit (including Carleton Coon, noted anthropologist, OSS agent and developer of the theory of the parallel evolution of different racial types... of whom he believed the European race was the "most refined") for at least proclaiming war without the use of the word crusade. Dubya certainly didn't learn from history on that front.


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