During Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon—a 34-day affair that ultimately killed approximately 1200 persons, primarily civilians—then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice helpfully described the carnage as the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.”
Of course, some observers may have been at a loss to detect the war’s life-giving qualities. But “birth pangs” admittedly sounds better than, say, the “coat-hanger abortion of the Middle East.”
The blatant Orientalism embodied in Rice’s suggestion is certainly par for the course among U.S. politicians and pundits, for whom the Arab/Muslim world is a backwards region that lacks agency and must be whipped into shape by the “West” and its adopted progeny, the state of Israel.
The 2006 birth pangs were Orientalism 101—the presumed creation of the Middle East according to Western specifications. In this case, Israel’s godlike efforts were facilitated by rush shipments of bombs from the U.S. (Other Orientalist incursions by the empire and its friends have featured Arabs and Muslims in slightly post-fetal stages of development; see, for example, New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman’s depiction of Afghanistan as a “special needs baby”). READ MORE AT TeleSUR ENGLISH.