Saturday, November 07, 2009
Nidal Malik Hasan
Yesterday afternoon I heard of the incident where a man opened fire at a military base. First I thought it was just another soldier suffering from PTSD, a very common disorder among many US soldiers who've been to Iraq. Then the name showed up. It was an Arab one. Worse, he was an Arab doctor. Another one. Same story.
I don't have any problem with the press crucifying this guy, totally ripping him off and showing him as the most evil man in the world. But I still have a problem with how America is responding to an incident like the one that occurred yesterday and that we all know will happen in the future.
There is an assumption that he was driven to kill soldiers by his religion, which may turn out to be true. However that assumption was based on the fact that he distributed copies of Quran to his neighbors before the incident. That assumption was reinforced by the knowledge of him screaming "Allaho Akbar"-God is Great while he was shooting.
It's very clear that Hasan was planning in advance on what he was doing. He knew he was dying. It's very normal for a practising Muslim to plan on doing something that serves his religion before their death, regardless of the reason they're dying. If a cancer patient is about to die it's normal for him to donate money for an Islamic school or to build a mosque and distributing Qurans on people is another act of virtue.
The other part -the Allaho Akbar one- is another reason that makes me extremely disgusted with the bias and retardation the American media continues to practise. Nobody seems to get that Allaho Akbar is just a expression that Arabs and Muslims say when they get excited over anything. It's a Muslim version of Jeez, or a PG-rated WTF. When Jameel Al Batouti, the co-pilot of EgyptAir flight 990, was screaming religious phrases seconds before his jumbo jet crashed into the ocean, everyone freaked out thinking he brought the plane down, as if someone should be singing Kumbaya or reciting the constitution when they're dying.
There are a few crazy people like Hasan, but there are thousands of not-as-crazy people who can hold themselves from a shooting rampage. They are in the army right now and they are exposed to emotional traumas that no physician can treat and no medication can control. Nobody gives a shit about them. They are so much hated overseas for many reasons, and their country forgets them once they're back for many other reasons. They won't a turn a gun against strangers but they might turn it at themselves or loved ones one day. They become very angry or very quiet, very shy or very disinhibited- abnormal to say the least. War completely destroys their brain, and nobody told them about it in those shiny commercials about how awesome it is to go and fight the bad guys in Iraq.
Mental disorder results from something, usually. It's the a loss from any war that chases a country for decades after its end, and I don't think America gets it. I'm sure that Nidal Malik Hasan, the psychiatrist, would have agreed with me on that one.