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Egyptian demonstrators burn the flags of the United States and Great Britain in protest against the attacks in Afghanistan, in front of Cairo University, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2001. Photo: AP / Mohamed Ibrahim

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Egypt and Jordan are closely allied with the United States. Map: The World Factbook 2001, CIA
PART I      Page  1  2  3  4

Why Are They So Angry At Us?
by Sandy Tolan

Why are they so angry at us? It's a question asked with increasing intensity in the weeks since September 11.

In the Arab word, in whose ancient fertility of Mesopotamia and Jericho lies the cradle of civilization, the perceptions of the West, and the United States, in particular, are layered in centuries of history. Today there are the images of ongoing Middle East conflicts on Arab satellite news, and beneath that are decades of conflict.

The recent history is complicated: looking back, before the war on Afghanistan, before the Gulf War, there was the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, and there were the Arab-Israeli wars in 1973 and 1967.

In 1948, the United Nations voted to create Israel, forcing 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. It was Israel's war of independence, and what the Arabs call the Naqba or catastrophe.

And those are only the layers of the last 53 years.

Talk to ordinary people in two Arab countries closely allied with the United States — Egypt and Jordan — and you'll find an anger that has its roots in contemporary history and in centuries past.

Next: The Crusades

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