What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea.
Obama’s speech seems to have set the Arab street in a wait-and-see mode. Undeniably, the citations of the Quran, the reference to the “intolerable” situation of the Palestinian people who live “under occupation” (no shit), and the let’s-put-the-past-behind-us tone have struck a chord with the majority of his Arab/Muslim audience.
I have to admit, I was moved by some passages, knowing in the deepest of my hearts that I might be listening to some pipe dream and maybe am running the risk of getting exposed again to deceitful lies and shenanigans.
Nevertheless I wanted to trust the guy, even if he appointed a member of the IDF as his chief of staff, even if he didn’t utter a word of protest when over a thousand Palestinians were massacred just few kilometres from where he was speaking. I wanted to trust him. The majority of the Arabs (Christians, Muslims, non believers) will.
Now here’s the deal:
There is a fierce battle going on in our tumultuous region of the world; a battle between progressives on the one hand who advocate an enlightened change and the deliverance from the current state of captivity by static aspects of tradition and the heavy burden of irrational belief; and on the other hand an aggressive charge from conservatives who draw most of their rhetoric from the very consequences of the actions of that same western civilization that Mr. Obama praises (for many of its aspects of course, the praise is justified). When America supports the Arab dictators who have decimated the political elite in their respective countries and used and misused religion under the blessing of the USA, they (the US) back and champion in deed the party of backwardness and braces themselves, and the future and security of their people and indeed that of this region, for ruination. This is no longer a matter for reflection it is a matter of urgency.
So unless deeds match words, all the promises of a civilization where all can “live together in peace,” in the words of President Obama, will stay -merely- a good idea.