Sticks and Stones

Ayman al-Zawahri, al Qaeda’s #2 man, insulted President elect Barack Obama.

The message appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Ayman al-Zawahri said in the message, which appeared on militant Web sites, that Obama is “the direct opposite of honorable black Americans” like Malcolm X, the 1960s African-American rights leader.

In al-Qaida’s first response to Obama’s victory, al-Zawahri also called the president-elect–along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice–“house negroes.”

Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri uses the term “abeed al-beit,” which literally translates as “house slaves.” But al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as “house negroes.”

The message also includes old footage of speeches by Malcolm X in which he explains the term, saying black slaves who worked in their white masters’ house were more servile than those who worked in the fields. Malcolm X used the term to criticize black leaders he accused of not standing up to whites.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the latest message was just “more despicable comments from a terrorist.”

James Joyner at OTB writes

Despicable, indeed. Comments like this lead to insensitive behavior. Shame, shame al Qaeda.

Ayman al-Zawahri will be in for a real grilling at his next press conference. Maybe he’ll go into some rehab clinic. Otherwise his poll numbers are liable to drop.

Cue the sarcastic laughter

Surf and Turf
Telling a kid to suck it up and work harder is too "harsh"