Notes from America: The victimisation of the villain

Ahmed Tharwat
7 Min Read
Ahmed Tharwat


According to dictionary definition, a villain is a character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot. A victim, on the other hand, is a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action. However, as they say, history is written by assassins. Geopolitics may get the two mixed up and the line between the victim and the villain is burled.

For the purpose of this piece and in understanding and researching victimology, four theories have been developed: victim precipitation theory, the lifestyle theory, deviant place theory, and the routine activities theory. I will not go through the differences between the four theories, I’ll leave that to experts, and people who are smarter than me. However, what concern us is that it seems when it comes to Arab and Muslim state of affairs, the west focus mostly on “the victim precipitation theory” where the victim takes a passive or active role of being a victim; the victims themselves may actually initiate, either passively or actively, the criminal act that ultimately leads to being a victim, the villain is just falls in the trap of the victim.


Arabs and Muslims have been accused of having an appetite of being a victim, and sufferers of a permanent case of what can be called a victimisation complex. The west can come and destroy, kill Arabs and Muslims, invade lands and neighbourhoods. It can help in establishing a Jewish state and beheading a nation, turning a whole population to permanent refugees, build an apartheid state based on only one religion, but Arab and Muslims are always lectured about religious tolerance and democracy.


The West has been focusing so much on the atrocities committed by the “Islamic State” (IS) and not enough on the Jewish state atrocious. America, a country with a history built on violence, invasions, grapping lands and enslaving people of colour, now are victims of 9/11 and terrorism. The West meddling in Arab affairs, supporting dictators who butchered their own people, now are victims of immigrants knocking on their doors in Europe. Israel bombed an unarmed populationoccupied Palestinian land since 1967, and imposed its will on helpless Palestinians; however, the Israelis are now victims of rocket launching, savage Intifada and stone-throwing terror.

The New York Times featured a lengthy analysis of the terror under which the Israeli is living during the latest conflict, where Israeli soldiers are killing young Palestinians as well for just running away, evident in a video of a young Palestinian pleading for his life and drowning in his own blood while Israel solders shout at him to die. Although the act violated all norms of decency and international laws, still the NYT found a way to portray Israel as a victim terrified from stone-throwing in Wednesday’s paper under the headline Jerusalem Grows More Grim and Polarized With Clampdown”.

The paper went to great lengths to avoid the atrocities committed by Israeli forces: “The clampdown did not completely stop the violence. A young Palestinian wearing military-style fatigues rushed at officers with a knife at the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday afternoon, according to the police account, and the officers fatally shot him.”

The victims are the violent ones; the occupation has no bearing on any of this. The killing and the shooting of young Palestinians is just collateral damage. Israelis are portrayed as victims and their atrocities are just something they don’t want but had to do. History tells us that the most obvious source of Palestinian suffering is the Israelis.


“It’s a difficult situation; it’s not convenient for anyone,” said one border police officer according to the NYT. “It’s not what we want; it’s what we need to do.” The west’s violence is always a response to other violent act, an evil that they are forced to do. The West is the victim and had to defend itself against the savages.

Here is the NYT again showing the civility of the Israeli victim: “The measures Israelis are taking to protect themselves. Unlike the suicide bombings, stabbing attacks can involve more of a struggle. One Israeli passer-by helped subdue the perpetrator of Tuesday’s meat cleaver attack by hitting him with a selfie stick.”


An Israeli citizen defending himself using a selfie stick, how cute. “Several Israelis, he said, had helped the police in stopping assailants,” the NYT explained.

Nothing in the NYT piece remotely talked about Israeli atrocities, the killing of young boys, the arrest of children as young as 9, the destruction of Palestine cities. As if the Arabs living in Jerusalem are cut off from history and they should be grateful for living with Jews as second-class citizens. According to the NYT, most Arabs in Jerusalem (300,000), making up about a third of the city’s total population, have a better standard of living than Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza.

The West takes on the Israeli version of the story that Arabs victimised themselves, as Richard A. Landers in the Augean Stable said: “Palestinians are tempered partly by their desire to enlist support from the very Arabs who victimised them, partly by their fear of reprisal, partly by their honour-bound need to believe that the Israelis are their greatest enemies.”


Now the villain is the victim!

Ahmed Tharwat is host of the Arab-American TV show Belahdan. His articles are published in national and international publications. He blogs at Notes From America, on Follow him on Twitter @AhmediaTV

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Ahmed Tharwat is host of the Arab-American TV show Belahdan. His articles are published in national and international publications.