Archive for the 'Ahmed Ba-Aboud' Category

The Same Old Line, Again!

06/11/2012

Prince Turki Al-Faisal is a well-known figure inside and outside of Saudi Arabia since he headed for many years the Saudi Intelligence Directorate and then was the Saudi ambassador to the US. He was educated in the US and the international media interview him regularly. In his last interview with the Saudi-US Relations Information Service, he talked about different subjects that included oil and the future of power generation in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi-US relations, the Syrian Revolution, Iran and the reforms in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Turki said in the interview “But on the whole the government and the people are going forward”. The example he used to prove his point was allowing female lawyers to practice law before the judges in Saudi courts. I read about this story in the Saudi media, yet I am not sure if it is already happening on the ground. Isn’t interesting, by a mean or another, that such an example is used to demonstrate “moving forward”? I hope next time no one will start talking about allowing women to go to schools as an example of “going forward”.  All what this says to me is to keep the bar very low and not to expect much because the very normal is hailed as something great!

He added “I have referred to the reform issue in Saudi Arabia as coming about not because of religious fatwa or government decree, but more because of the change of society itself”. The Prince here is using the same old line used over the years to get around the issue of reforms in Saudi Arabia. It is very easy to blame the society alone rather than, at least, admitting that the responsibility for the status quo of no reforms in the country is shared among all parties including the society. I personally think that since the government monopolized the society for many years, in corporation with the religious establishment, it can be easily blamed for the lack of progress. Using such old argument is a proof that there are no intentions for real reforms. Yet, it is better to be hit by reality rather than keeping some false hopes.

It is funny though that the interviewer did not ask Prince Turki “When would the society be ready? and what does the government plan to do to help the society to be ready, someday?”. I wish someone let me know who responsibility is if the society is not ready for about eighty years and rather than moving forward, the society seems stand still for ages.  For years, the government kept a blind eye on acting on some real issues  and with all what is going around and inside the country it is astonishing to use the same old lines again!.

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A Man Like No Other

02/03/2012

Saudi Arabia is known in the Western Media as the Kingdom of Silence. I can agree with such claim up till the time when the Internet was first introduced in the country. By the end of the 90s, many Saudis started using the Internet. It was the first time many of them had a chance to say whatever they wish without being worried. It was time when you could say anything you wish so freely. Everything was up to discussion including politics and religion.

Things escalated a bit more than what expected when the Internet was used as a media to gain support for Al-Qaeda inside and outside the Kingdom and to express some extreme opinions either against the Saudi regime or against some of the local minorities like Shia. However, that was not the only negative aspect of the Internet dialogues and discussions. Some Saudi Internet sites adopted very aggressive points of views against the Wahhabi ideology which is a pillar part of the society and political system. It seemed that nothing is away from discussions even the concept of Allah, Prophet Mohammed and Islam itself. The Government cracked down very successfully all Al-Qaeda support websites mainly after the attacks that took place inside the Kingdom back in 2003. However, the more “liberal” Internet forums had their ups and downs but without any cases of arrests of the ones behind them, as I know.

The new freedom of expression developed through the Internet forums brought to the local intellectuals the ideas of human rights. The Kingdom was regularly under the radar of international human rights agencies and NGOs for its less than good record on human rights. The new thing since 2001 was that locals started giving the issue some more attention. Issues like the handling of house maids and “kafeel” system got more criticism by the opinion writers in local newspapers and Internet forums. The blogs also played a very good role in spreading the appreciation of the ideas and values of human rights. Nowadays more Saudis talk about human rights and can clearly see some obvious violations to these rights in many aspects of day-to-day life. The case of detainees who are still in jail without prosecution or specific charges got during last year a lot of attention. The hash tag #e3teqal in Twitter was very active with many stories and news about those detainees. The number of these detainees is not really known but some sources talk about 30,000 of them. The apparent reason for detaining most of them is their potential links to terrorism.

It is unfortunate that the Western media is not covering such stories . It might seem a bit difficult to cover the stories of hundreds or thousands of detainees. But would it be difficult to cover the story of one man? I guess it should not!. This man is called Mohammed AlBjady. Mohammed was not detained for any potential links to terrorism. He now spent a year in detention because he joined a group of detainees’ families in a rare protest near the Saudi Ministry of Interior demanding the freedom of those detainees. Mohammed AlBjady is really a rare case in a country like Saudi Arabia.

Mohammed AlBjady

He is educated and possesses a good financial wealth. However, he always stands by his values and what he thinks is right for him country. He is a father of Lara and Turki. He had no reason to stand by the rights of those detainees except that he believes it is the right thing to do. No one really knows how long Mohammed will stay in jail before joining his wife and kids. No one knows how many others like Mohammed will be needed to really make the issues of human rights in Saudi Arabia of higher priority to both the government and the citizens. What I am sure about is one thing; Mohammed is a man like no other. Mohammed started 12 days ago a hunger strike demanding his rights for a fair trial. Mohammed is really demonstrating a new wave of activism Saudi Arabia never seen before. The question is how much such sacrifices will inspire others in the future to act as bravely.

In solidarity with Mohammed AlBjady two new hash tags started lately in Twitter which are #Albjady and #AlbjadyHungerStrike with the hope of making them trend internationally. More details can be found about the campaign and Mohammed himself through Twitter account: SaudiDetainees

I am a Dreamer

09/07/2011

For ages the question about the suitability of democracy in the Arab and Islamic countries was raised. With the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain, the question is coming back with hopes and fears of what path these revolutions will take. During my trip to Germany I attended the Global Media Forum organized by Deutsche Welle where many of the attendees showed a lot of interest in knowing more about what is going on. Many questions were raised such as; why they are happening? Why the Gulf countries are not seeing such revolutions and how these revolutions will shape the future of the region and, probably, the world and many more other questions. I enjoyed the discussions with people from around the globe. Yet during three different occasions, three Arab attendees insisted that Arabs are not ready for democracy. Two of them were so pessimistic about the chances of implementing democracy in the Arab World. They predicted that democracy will not flourish in this region before 50 to 300 years. My response to them was “My daughter Joori is about six years old; I hope, wish and want her to participate in the elections of the Saudi Parliament before she is twenty six years old”. Am I dreaming? Sure. But what is life without dreams?

Saudi Arabia is known to be the biggest oil producer and it possesses largest oil reserves in the world. Parts of the financial returns of selling the oil helped in establishing the country’s infrastructure, raised the level of education among the citizens and enlarged the middle class significantly. On the other hand, the country suffers on many other aspects. Saudis live under strong security grip and corruption is unprecedented. The performance of many government entities and agencies is generally below the expectations of citizens. About half of the population is below 25 years old and many of them are unemployed.

The Saudi society values are partially inspired by Islam which is demonstrated in some occasions through positive behaviors such as assisting the needy, dignity, magnanimity and others. Yet, the society has been suffering from issues such as racism, sectarianism, favoritism, the situation of women and others. As a result of all of these issues, there are portions of Saudis (that cannot be really quantified due to lack of data) who agree on the need for change. However, the details and direction of such desired change are not agreed upon and can be very controversial.

The above is a personal attempt to reflect the reality of Saudi Arabia today. Such reality is also shaped and impacted by the structure of the state and society and the relationship between them. When the power is limited to the hands of a few while the vast majority of people do not have much of influence on the country present and future, in addition to the weak – or lack of – feeling of citizenship and feelings of belonging, we find that we are facing a complex reality which might at any moment lead to unexpected developments that no one can expect their extent or outcomes.  Also, the society’s view of itself and the quality of relationships within it and its relationship to the state and its system helps in the formation of the current image of Saudi Arabia and increases the difficulties for the change or major developments.

With such gloomy view, some may find it impossible to think about democracy in a country with all of these challenges and complications. But the world around us today clearly shows that democracy is the most effective system of governance through an agreed upon Constitution that enforces the separation of powers, equality of all citizens and the participation of the people in choosing their representatives freely. Thus we, in Saudi Arabia, either belong to the faction of people, who use democratic means to rule, or we are totally different than that faction and we actually belong to another faction that has nothing to do with a majority of human beings on this planet. Can we be so different?.

I personally think that the pursuit of democracy in Saudi Arabia would be one way to address the serious structural defects in the state and society. The struggle to democratization in Saudi Arabia will help facing what must be changed and reformed through the interaction of citizens with their problems and working together to confront them and find solutions. For example, nowadays discussing the issue of the detainees for long periods without trial is widespread in the channels of the new media in Saudi Arabia which demonstrates that concepts such as the state of institutions and rights began to spread among younger generation who are the group that will make the future on their own and will be making the changes that they want despite the enormous challenges that might be faced.

But democracy today, to me personally, is not an end in itself but a means for the result I want to see in Saudi Arabia. I do not care much how long it will take as long as we will be able to move in the direction I hope for my country. The future dream I see for Saudi Arabia is a modern state that ensures public participation and equality of all citizens and at the same time economically able to face the enormous challenges ahead of the country. The road to democracy in Saudi Arabia will also be a means to dismantle parts of the obstacles and barriers that have been injected into the body of the state and society and resulted our present. What we live in today is the result of long years of mistakes that will not disappear automatically, but will need the hard work and real participation of everyone, or at least the believers in the necessity of change and who those willing to pay the price to get it.

When talking about democracy, usually the discussion involves talking about the West and the liberties practiced there which might be in contradiction with some basic values of Islam and the Saudi society. I do not think that we are obligated to the introduction of a Western model of democracy as it is. Every society should strive to reach their own model that suite their needs and values. Therefore, I know that our society is very different from other communities around the world, so we may evolve to a model of democracy that is not like any other model which may resemble or differ from other models in the world. We do not have to reinvent the wheel as they say, but we need to benefit from our own experiences and mistakes as well as from others experiences and mistakes until we reach the result that we want for this country.

I am definitely dreaming and I will keep doing so, not because I am a romantic person, but because we are in front of a sad reality that does not present much of encouraging options and without dreams the present will be difficult to bear. Also, I really believe that part of any change is the dream that brings disciples of change as seen through the great Egyptian revolution. During the eighteen days of the revolution I lived something like a dream, and even now I feel the dream is not over yet. Though I realize that only the head of the snake is been chopped and still there is a long way to remove the snake’s spirit from the body of Egypt and the Egyptians.

So I dream of democracy in Saudi Arabia, and not after 100 years, but in the near foreseen future. Because those who deny our readiness for democracy today do not offer much of alternatives except the present which is not desirable. They do not have much of influence into shaping the future except waiting for the gifts of the state which might not ever come. We might not be ever ready for the democracy, but silence and stillness will not make us ready tomorrow. But promoting awareness and stimulating debate among people helps imagining and forming a better future for our children.

A historical day

11/03/2011

The 11th of March 2011 is a historical day in Saudi Arabia regardless of if protests will be take place or not and how things will develop in case these protests happen. It will be a historical day because of the following reasons:

·         Some Saudis finally got introduced to new terms, maybe they did not hear about before, such as demonstrations, constitutional monarchy and reforms.

·        Breathed life into some concepts that I thought are less popular by now such as sectarianism, native and non-native citizens and the idea that the government is always right and any call for change and reforms is coming from agents of other countries such as Iran

·          The major government media show against the call for protests today gave a chance to many Saudis to know what are some of the legitimate reasons behind the call for these protests and the fact that protests are normal practice in many countries while they are prohibited in their own country.

·        Some Saudis got a chance to listen to different views that are different than the local media views through some of the impartial TV channels such as BBC Arabic and France 24-Arabic in addition to social media networks such as twitter

·        Increasing the gap of confidence between some of the Saudis and the government religious establishment such as the Council of Senior Scholars and other religious scholars who completely supported the government position against the protests and sounded as speakers on behalf of the government

·        So far the government clear policy is not to listen and confront the appeals for reforms and change that came lately from different groups of Saudis

·        Among the advocates of reform and change, the continuity of the demands for reform through the development of institutions, the constitution and elections

 

In the Middle of the Noise

23/02/2011

The Arab World is going through a very historic time. The head of states in Tunisia and Egypt have had changed after 23 and 30 years in power, respectively. Libyans are strongly pushing for changing their current regime which is lead by Mumar Al-Ghadafi for more than 40 years. The regimes in Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria and Morocco are also faced by different levels of popular uprising.

 

Many of the people in the other Arab countries are following what is happening in these countries with mix feelings of fear, hope, excitement and unbelief. People are so fearful of how things might end up and of the number of victims that might be caused by these uprising. Yet they are so hopeful and excited about tomorrow and how it’ll be shaped once the normal people have finally a say over how their countries shall be run and developed. Till this moment I, sometimes, feel that what had happened in a month is just a dream because it was so hard to even think of before.

 

What about Saudi Arabia? Would the world see similar uprising in the land of oil? What do you think about as a Saudi of what is going on?. These are for sure questions in the minds of many people around the world, especially diplomats and journalists. I personally think that what happened in Tunisia and Egypt was not something that can be predicted to happen, then I think that the predictable is not really the norm these days in the Arab World. The predictable in Saudi Arabia is that nothing will happen. Things, regardless of how much I can complain, are very different compared to many other places in the world. However, I believe that there are at least four groups of Saudis when it comes to how a Saudi might interact with what is going on in the Arab World. The first group consists of those who don’t care much because they live isolated from what is going on, either because they are rich and live the elite life or poor enough to have most of their focus on what is in their food table every day. There is no way to really quantify this group in numbers. Yet, as more of this group becomes engaged in what is going on and feel that they must have a say over what is going on, the shift in power then might spark the unpredictable.

 

The second group includes Al-Qaeda supports and alike those who believe in overthrowing the government using violence. I heard many analysts claim that Al-Qaeda is losing ground in the Arab World these days because people can see an alternative to the violence Al-Qaeda adopted in its effort for change. On the short term, I agree. However, on the long term, time only can tell. If things improve in Tunisia and Egypt and the rest of the Arab World, the legitimacy of Al-Qaeda tactics will diminish. Yet, if things don’t improve or the new governments in the new Arab World adopt constitutions that are rejected by Al-Qaeda, more supports might be then following the route of Al-Qaeda seeking change in their countries.

 

The third group consists of those who are hopeful of change that lead to democracy, human rights and the state of institutions. This group in Saudi Arabia includes Islamic reformists, liberals (or so called), many females, educated younger generations and others. The latest calls for change in Saudi Arabia coincided with the return of King Abdullah after a long medical treatment trip. So far, I am aware of three letters that were signed by more than three thousands Saudis asking for reforms. These letters represents the voice of this group and the three letters had many basic common demands including an agreed upon constitution, elections for Shura Council, the release of many long term prisons who are in jail without trial, and Separation of the executive, legislative and judicial the powers. My friend and fellow Saudi blogger Ahmed Al-Omran translated the last of the three letters in the link here (Declaration of a National Reform). This group has been active in the cyberspace for the past few years. The current changes in Tunisia and Egypt inspired this stream and created more followers to its desires.

 

The Saudis who are not comfortable with change and think that things are not that bad represent the fourth group. This group includes various group of citizens who believe in the system and cannot see themselves crabapple or responsible of change. They feel that the government is the sole responsible about what to do to them and for the future of the country. I personally believe that this group is one of the larger groups, however cannot make much of difference since they are passive and expect things to happen to them by the government.

 

The last group consists of those who usually adopt the government and religious clerks. Some friends think that this set of people is getting smaller as people are exposed to more sources of information and discussions. I don’t completely agree since I believe that many Saudis trust the government decisions and look for the opinion of the pro-government religious institution in almost every problem.  

 

The interaction between these five groups and the government will be very crucial in determining the future of Saudi Arabia. It is extremely difficult to predict what exactly might happen, but it is evident that more Saudis demand more changes and freedoms inside their country. So far the government did not show much of understanding of what type of earthquake is hitting the Arab World. A very generous financial support package was announced through Royal Decrees but some Saudis felt that the government is not listening to their hopes. I personally felt very disappointed. In the era of new Arab revolutions, a financial package felt like a bribe that does not address the real constant issues in the country. The package will benefit some Saudis greatly, yet the prominent issue in the past was not the lack of the financial resources but the extremely weak monitoring of how these resources are spent and misuse of these resources.  I am dreaming of a constitution, elections and freedom of speech. If not enough Saudis show their readiness to be in charge of their future and take some risk and pressure the government to adopt change, things will be difficult to move ahead and completely dependent on the government’s choices only.

The Mirage of Saudi Reforms

05/10/2010

King Abdullah, the Custodian of the two holy mosques, is widely popular in the country. I clearly recall when he became the King more than 5 years ago that many Saudis demonstrated their deep strong feelings towards him by voluntarily posting the King’s photo on their cars with slogans praising him. Today I see such photos much less frequently.

Changes took place in the country during the past five years. Yet, I hardly can identify any which directly impacted majority of Saudis in their daily life. I can claim that the changes were either in the appearance or satisfactory to a factional “war”. How?

Some of the most important changes that the King pushed for are in education and juridical system. Fruits in such areas need a lot of time before being felt. Yet, indications especially in education are not promising, I believe.

Another tool used to enforce the change were the Royal Decrees Some of these Decrees created hope when announced, while others created controversy to say the least. After the death of 120 people in Jeddah back in November as a result of moderate rain followed by a flood, a very strong worded Royal Decree was announced ordering detailed investigations of the reasons of the tragedy. It really cooled down the public mood which was so shocked of what happened. However, it is been almost a year and no real action took place against those involved in corruption that killed innocent people. What is more important is that the investigation results are still not published and kept secretive.

Though the King seemed supportive to dialogue (including dialogue between religions) and local newspapers got more critical of the performance of the ministries, the Royal Decree dismissing one of the members of the highest religious council after criticizing KAUST because of the mix of sexes in the University caused a lot of argument and was considered as a factional victory for, the so called, Saudi Liberals. Few weeks ago, another Decree was announced limiting the public fatwa to the members of the highest religious council. Keeping in mind what happened to their colleague few months ago, I doubt that the council will be in position to announce any fatwa that might not be liked by the King.

The two controversial Royal Decrees demonstrate to me that Saudi Arabia is still far away from a period of real reforms and that many things happen behind the scene causing a high level of public anxiety and create a feeling of uncertainty of the future.

When would reforms in Saudi Arabia be real reforms and not the gift of the King?. It is when those reforms focus on finding solutions to the real issues of the country rather than creating more fictional wars. On my personal view, the list of real life issues include, but not limited to, unemployment (currently at 10%, at least), homeownership (at least 40% of Saudis do not own their houses), the inflation especially as a result of greed and lack of regulations over monopoly. That might be just the tip of the iceberg because of the chronic issues such as; lack of transparency on the government income and spending, lack of public participation in governance and the accountability and finally the separation of the authorities in the country.

In a country with more than 50% of the citizens below the age of 25 years old, challenges can be turned into opportunities by taking the right strategies and inclusion of the young generations into building their own, and the country’s, future. However there is no enough evidence that such thinking exists among the ones leading the country.

Under Media Attention

06/05/2010

The Economist published lately a piece talking about the changing situation of women in Saudi Arabia. It is not the only time you may read such articles in Western media. It seems like a hot topic that gets the attention every now and then. I have to admit that the situation of women in Saudi Arabia is very exceptional compared not only to other women around the world but to the men in Saudi Arabia itself. The prevention of women from driving cars must sound very odd to people around the world. It sounds so to me as well. However, I never felt that fighting for women driving in Saudi Arabia is not the one of the things I want to put my heart and effort behind. One of the obvious reasons for such attitude is that I am not a female who suffers from not being allowed to drive. Yet, I feel some of the pain since I personally have to take care of many things that could be done easily if my wife is driving.

A less selfish reason is my belief that resolving root causes is more fruitful in the long term. Not allowing women to drive is just a septum that gets the attention away from other rooted issues that deserve to be resolved. Saudi Arabia faces a long list of critical issues which are forced, in a way that seems sometimes to be intentional, to be away from the public attention due to the nonstop fighting over smaller issues, such as allowing women to drive, while issues like the public participation in running the country and transparency in spending the public money.

On the other hand and regardless of how much I try, I cannot take such attention to the Saudi women driving issue in the world’s media at its face value. Why? Because the human rights issue in Saudi Arabia goes way far beyond the issue of women driving in the streets of Saudi Arabia yet it gets less attention by the same media. When such attention is given to the right causes such as people who are in prisons without trials for many years, I’ll feel that the media coverage is candid, fair and objective.

I just wonder how many times Saudi Arabia will appear in the international media if someday oil runs out of our wells or the world finds a better source of energy.

Collateral Murder: Two Points

07/04/2010

The lately leaked videotape by Wikileaks that showed a war crime executed by soldiers of the US army in Iraq back in 2007 will generate lots of discussion and point fingering to the US Army and before that foreign policies and practices. I will not doubt that it is worth to highlight the cold blood execution everyone saw in the tape and I personally believe that it is not that only incident when innocent Iraqis, and in other places innocents human beings, were killed in a similar brutal manner. However, what strikes me is that many around the world and more specifically in the Arab and Islamic countries receive such tapes with shock and strong condemnation of what happened, while such attitude is not strongly shown when the criminals are either Arabs, Muslims or not Westerns.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, many innocent people died because of attacks carried out by either Al-Qaeda or Taliban or any other “Islamic” group. Always there are voices that condemn such unjustified killings but such voices are neither widely heard nor well accepted.  I do not doubt the right of Iraqis and Afghans to defend their country against the American occupation but I clearly see a difference between liberating a country and killing innocent people in the markets, buses and around religious shrines. Killing an innocent person is a crime regardless of who is behind it.

In Saudi Arabia, Al-Qaeda attacks caused many causalities yet I can claim that the tone of condemnation is rarely as strong as when the media leaks some of the wrong doings of the US either army or investigators. I personally hate the unjust practiced by the US in many places around the globe, yet I do find it unfair to look to the mistakes of others while we are not dealing with our own mistakes.

On the other hand, I was listening last night to the BBC program “Have your say” and one of the guests was an American journalist who kept saying “it is war, what do you expect?”. Honestly what I heard him saying was “They are damn Arabs, why shall we care!”. Why? Because I cannot imagine the same attitude and unemotional tone if the victims were Americans. Overall, the tape shows a real disrespect to human life represented by: 1)Firing on unarmed individuals who were trying to help an injured person who cannot be a source of any threat, 2)The eagerness to fire at the van and 3)the laugh. It is war but even then I don’t think human should turn to be inhuman.

Such incident shows how the importance of media and its role in exposing things that many would like to keep under the carpet. In my country, I wish we can clean up so many things and keep nothing under the carpet.

Living out of the bubble

22/03/2010

For about 13 years, I lived in one of the best compounds in the country. It was not the best only because of the excellent infrastructure but also because it saved me the hassle of morning crowded streets and gave me a chance to sleep till 6:20 am and yet I can get to the office by 7:00 am.

Less than a week ago all of that changed. I moved to a new house I bought benefiting of a great home ownership program supported by the company I work for. As I started experiencing more of the life outside the camp, I realized that I used to live inside a bubble. Many things used to be easier and well organized. Today I need to take care of things I almost never worried about before. I need to make sure that the water tank is full and if it is not, I have to coordinate with a company that delivers it for a fee. The water I used to get in that compound is not the best but the municipality water I currently get is actually underground water and not the desalinated water that gets processed in a plant not far away from my new house!.

Other points that I noticed since I moved to the local community in Al-Khobar are:

–          Yesterday and for an hour the electricity was off in the house. No one informed the residents of the neighborhood that such thing will happen. During about 13 years, it happened only twice in the compound I was living at.

–          The highway between Al-Waha district in Al-Khobar (where my house is located) and Dhahran (where I work) turned to be a racing arena for many drivers regardless of what time I drove on that highway!.

–          It is very normal to drive the car in the wrong direction when you are in Al-Waha district

I believe many other things will happen within the coming months which will be enlighten of how much of a life I should expect out of that compound.

Trying to think deeper into the situation, I felt that anyone can live inside such a bubble. We can choose to experience only the easy things within our comfort zone and, more risky, develop perceptions that direct the way we look at life. As such views of the world, which might not be based on actual experience or deep knowledge/ thinking, get deeper into our system, it becomes very difficult for them to change.

For example, many Westerns develop their perception of Islam and Muslims through what they watch on the media either in the news or the movies. As such picture gets deepen into the unconscious and less challenged by other views, it becomes very difficult to be changed. An individual can choose to live within such bubble and refuse to challenge it. Others, who want to be fair and logical, might start to be cautious of such views and start to look for parts of the reality. The same can be said about how many Arabs and Muslims look at Westerns and life there. Many depend on media provided info and short trips visiting the West and expect that we know it and can develop positions on almost everything happening there.

It might be time for each one of us to grow less sensitive to what we believe and be more open to life outside the mental bubbles we create.

By Ahmed Ba-Aboud

One more reason

12/03/2010

Since the tragedies of September 11th 2001, the question “Why do they hate us?” kept coming in the minds of Americans like never before. It is a very legitimate question. I cannot see how a person can hate a whole nation just because of the mistakes of a minority, though such minority consists of the leaders and the ones who are in control. On the other hand, it is somewhat difficult not to hate America. I won’t start talking about the unlimited support to Israel, Afghanistan or Iraq. Yet, when I look to the history of American policy in South America and Vietnam, it was never clean or ethical. It was always dirty business.

But even today, the US policy makers insist in touching the wrong buttons in the hearts of millions around the world, not only the Arabs or Muslims but many others who see the clear double standard and the injudicious support to Israel. When I read the speech of Vice President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv University, I wondered should not he feel ashamed and make his citizens feel so as well. Vice President Biden clearly repeated that he is a Zionist which was considered till 1991 by the UN General Assembly Resolution as a form of racism. He said that though the Israeli Government announced a day ahead of that speech that it will go ahead with a plan to build 1600 new settlements in the East Jerusalem. Is not that a spit on the face of the so called negotiations Mr. Biden was visiting the region to re-initiate? I think it was, yet Mr. Biden had the guts to go in public and reiterate what many other US politicians before him said which comes down to one thing; Israel can do whatever and American policy will be there to support it.

Such thing happens while the invasion of Iraq was based on absolute lies but so far neither Bush nor Blair admitted their mistake or paying any consequences for their actions and the human death toll resulted from the war on Iraq.

Then you wonder why?

By Ahmed Ba-Aboud