Lists of Fame and Shame

David B. Goldberg, M.A.

The list of European tourist destinations is long, but the list of European targets of terrorists is catching up quickly: Berlin, Brussels, London, Madrid, Moscow, Nice, Paris, Stockholm. These and others have been the site of violent attacks ending in tragedy. Weapons include bombs, knives and ordinary cars.

And why only think of Europe? Bali, New York, Ottawa, Sydney, numerous towns in Egypt, and scores of cities and villages across Israel, have also been targeted. And unspeakable horrors have been committed across Africa and Asia.

In almost all the cases, the perpetrators of the violence found inspiration in Islamic teachings.

The BBC released a list of the 10 greatest scientific breakthroughs of 2016, including discovery of a ninth planet in our solar system, and the detection of gravitational waves, first predicted by Albert Einstein.

Reacting to the list, a University of Jordan researcher, Muhammad Abu Rumman, compiled and published his own sarcastic list of 10 notable “achievements” in the Arab world in 2016 (Al-Ghad [Jordan], January 13, 2017, excerpted by Middle East Media Research Institute, April 11, 2017):

  1. The car-bomb tactic.
  2. Transformation of any device or tool into a tank or lethal weapon.
  3. “Lone-wolf” operations instead of elaborately planned operations.
  4. Barrel bombs, as used by the Syrian military.
  5. Successes in the field of ethnic cleansing.
  6. Refugees.
  7. Destroying and blowing up antiquities.
  8. Our capabilities in the field of destroying our own people and structures.
  9. [Recognizing] the importance of tyrannical regimes in preserving stability.
  10. Rediscovering the Shi’ite-Sunni conflict.