The Byzantine Turns of the Arab Mind: Interview with Farid Salman

MEMRI has just published an interview with Farid Salman, Lebanese author and critic (who, if I’m not mistaken, won the first Kahlil Gibran International Award). He seems to be a Shiite (or, at least, to admire them) and anti-Sunni, and although he’s “self-critical” as a Lebanese, his final remarks about Obama and the Jews have a truly bizarre quality to them.

Special Dispatch – No. 2218
January 29, 2009 No. 2218

Following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese author Farid Salman, which aired on OTV on November 25, 2008.

Farid Salman: “In Lebanon, we’ve become accustomed to refraining from speaking the truth, in order to avoid provoking zealousness – whether sectarian, political, or anything. Only in Lebanon do you hear such a thing. Lebanon has been destroyed. We have been fighting and slaughtering one another for 30 years – but God forbid there should be any zealousness… Provoke zealousness?! Even rocks we’ve provoked against us.


“Our president goes to New York, and suggests that Lebanon become a center for dialogue between civilizations. For 30 years, the name of Lebanon has not appeared in any newspaper, in any symposium, university, or any place in the world, unless it is to say that the Lebanese are fighting among themselves in the name of sectarianism and all that – yet we are not ashamed to present ourselves as the venue of dialogue between civilizations. Are we capable of even conducting a dialogue among ourselves, before we embark on a dialogue of civilizations?” […]

“The Sunni Muslim Sect… Was the Occupier… By the Sword”

“We have the two founding sects [of Lebanon] – the Druze and Maronite. Then we have the Shiites. Like the other two minorities, the Shiite sect was also a victim. The Sunni Muslim sect, on the other hand, was never a victim. This sect was the victor, the occupier…”

Interviewer: “Maybe we should call it ‘conquest’ instead of ‘occupation’?”

Farid Salman: “Why not? It was an occupier. Why mince words? It was an occupier. By the sword. This is the truth. It was just like all the other occupying empires in the world.


“The Sunni Muslims in Lebanon are not in need of a homeland. The Middle East is Sunni in its entirety…”

Interviewer: “Maybe that was in the past, but now… That’s not the issue…”

Farid Salman: “They are more than welcome here. I accept and recognize their Lebanese identity, but under one condition – that they accept the complexity of the Lebanese fabric, and be aware of its original and historical causes. They did not come to a new land, which had no history. They tried to impose their rule on this land, and eventually, they bought this rule, and today, they rule this land. That’s what I am against.” […]

“Sunni Islam Has Collapsed… The Islam That… Cannot Possibly Collapse… is Shiite Islam”

“Sunni Islam has collapsed. Look around you – it has collapsed in all the countries. It has failed. The Islam that has survived, the Islam that looks towards the future, and cannot possibly collapse, because it is an ideology – is Shiite Islam.

“If the Shiite revolution had not taken place… Maybe some consider the revolution of Khomeini and Iran to be a tragedy, but one of these days, we will all have to acknowledge that if not for the new Shiite revolution in Islam… Before that, Islam was gone. Where is there Islam? In Saudi Arabia? In Pakistan? In Egypt? Where is there Islam?”

Interviewer: “You are talking in the sense of belonging to a faith…”

Farid Salman: “…and to a civilization, and to the world. When a Saudi mufti says that we should fight Mickey Mouse…”

Interviewer: “Not the Mufti, just one of their sheiks.”

Farid Salman: “Okay, but the Mufti said something else. With the Wahhabis… He talked about the moon, and said that Man only imagined landing on the moon. Satan inflated himself, turning himself into a moon between Earth and the real moon. Thus, he deluded Man that he landed on the moon, but in fact, he landed on Satan.


“In the July [2006] war, wasn’t it Saudi Arabia that assigned Israel the mission of driving the Shiites out of Greater Beirut? Who assigned the mission of this war? Who financed it? Saudi Arabia. Who collaborated with [Israel] on the ground? The allies of Saudi Arabia.” […]

“The Jews Brought Obama to Power In Order to Take Revenge… They Hate America”

“Obama will not complete the plan of George Bush Senior. Obama was brought to power by the Jews. Let me tell you something. In my view, and I might be mistaken, the Jews brought Obama to power in order to take revenge… Before they establish the Semitic Middle East, they want to tear America to shreds, because they hate America. Obama will be the cause…”

Interviewer: “They want to rule…”

Farid Salman: “Of course. Obama will be the cause of internal strife in the U.S. In addition, they want to destroy the European Union, and thus, the Semitic Middle East will be established. It’s the Jews, not the Zionists, that are doing this.”

The Angry Arab News Service has this to say about that:

This is quite amazing–or not given the source. But MEMRI put out a special bulletin that a Lebanese author (Farid Salman) made anti-Semitic statements on Lebanese Orange TV (belonging to the Gen. `Awn forces). First, I am known to follow Lebanese developments (and especially book production) extremely closely and I never EVER heard of a “Lebanese author” by that name. So sure, this kook appeared on that TV and made those statements. Secondly, it shows you that MEMRI when it comes to anti-Semitism is lacking in credibility on the subject of anti-Semitism just like American Zionists who cover up for the anti-Semitism of supporters of Israel. I mean, this month I saw so many anti-Semitic pronouncements in Saudi and Hariri media but MEMRI covered up (or ignored it completely) because they are part of the pro-US alliance in the Middle East which include the usurping entity of Israel.

Is there any way out of this labyrinthine commitment to paranoid victimization?

7 Responses to The Byzantine Turns of the Arab Mind: Interview with Farid Salman

  1. JD says:

    “Is there any way out of this labyrinthine commitment to paranoid victimization?”

    Doubt it. They will always be taught by their crazier religious members that they are top of the heap, and it is proven by holy writings, and their religion must push on.

    But then they grow up and look around and see they are not top of the heap in the world. Television adds incitement. The paranoid labyrinth thinking is an identity defense, so much occupying the mind that damaging realism is kept at bay. There may also be a strong link to Arab and Persian wounded national pride.

  2. E.G. says:

    his final remarks about Obama and the Jews have a truly bizarre quality to them.

    Bizarre? The man is getting drunk of his own rhetoric. He’s inciting himself. Like in a transe. Or the Dervish dancers. Whirling his fantasies from center (himself) to periphery (others), and then another loop inside and external outburst…

  3. oao says:

    Television adds incitement.

    if it were just television it wouldn’t be that bad.
    but it’s the whole infidel world, which is feeding them and arm them and defending them and pushing them and declares the joos nazis.

    the spaniards (who were once dhimmis under islam) are suing israeli ministers for eliminating a hamas leader who would like nothing better than redhimmify spain.

    the world is upside down so why shouldn’t the arabs see it upside down?

  4. Cynic says:

    Byzantine Turns of the Arab Mind = Levantine Mentality?

    Whatever, to describe the incapacity to reason based on facts without projecting the actions they would apply in their bestial hatred, onto the other.

    Just reading some of the comments on blogs and reader’s response to media articles one finds the same “1001 Nights” dreaming sweeping aside facts and context.

    They don’t have the capacity to think rationally and to admit …; oh dear that honour/shame paradigm.

  5. E.G. says:


    Whatever one names that mentality, it’s massively present in many Western reader responses whenever Israel is mentioned (whatever the subject). It goes from Shoah terminology via number-victimology to delegitimisation of the state of Israel and folk psychology interpretations about the “chosen people’s” complexes.
    Looks more like an arabesque.

    p.s. Grace said for thy links. Hath had many a benefit.

  6. Cynic says:

    A mindset that is something to smile about when it is about gorbal warmening
    The Gore That Came In From The Cold

    The comments are worth reading. I thought #29 had some points which can be applied to some of the behaviour discussed here when they impinge on the psyche.

  7. E.G. says:


    I read the other (related) article in there, “The greatest fraud”. Including the (impressive number) comments. I think both contain useful insights for the issues discussed here. Like credulity, ignorance, frames of mind…

    And yes (#29), reasoning by analogy is far too common and too often induces erroneous judgements. Both oranges and apples are round fruit – but that’s not enough to make them identical or even similar for all matters. Nor is the denomination “terrorist organisation” make the Irgun be the same as Hamas or IRA.

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