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.
First test in my opinion is his dela with the latest israeli cabinet will not to stop settlements growth. Let’s wait for the Netanyahou speech (this week I think) and Obama reactions.
Whilst we can afford the luxury of waiting my friend, the Palestinians in the concentration camp called Gaza, in the camps in Lebanon, in the west bank and the decimated Diaspora across the world… those can not afford to wait. I have a bad feeling about all this… “two sate solution” my foot! there is nothing left out there… they are (including Obama I’m afraid) just buying some more time… I hope I’m wrong.
Whilst we can afford the luxury of waiting my friend…
Wait for what? For the US to come and fix it? That isn’t ever going to happen, because the US can’t fix it. Obama isn’t making that promise, so don’t wait for him to keep it. Obama offered to help, if he could. That is all. It seems to me as an outside observer there is very little interest in the Arab world in making peace with Israel, so there is nothing for Obama to help with. But maybe I’m wrong.
I’m happy you alluded to the possibility that you might be wrong, because I’m afraid your answer is, in many aspects. You refer to the US as if it was some kind of benevolent outsider; a honest broker that is kindly, charitably trying to help out of compassion. You seem to forget -or maybe you don’t know- that your government -I assume you’re American- is subsidizing Israel (a supposedly foreign country) using American taxpayer’s money for up to 3 billion dollars a year. An amount increasing each year… That puts Israel in an even more favourable position than any American state… Indeed Israel doesn’t have the burden of paying back taxes to the federal government. Moreover, the weapons Israel uses to subjugate the Palestinians, humiliate them, murder them, demolish their houses, uproot their trees, destroy their farming lands and properties, mostly come from… guess where… the US of A.
All this ignominy has led only to creating generations of desperate people, who inexorably turned extremists… Desperate people do desperate things; mad things. This is the situation where we are today. How on earth, Craig, can you reconcile your sort-your-mess-yourselves approach -which might be perfectly understandable in other circumstances- with those facts. America has put itself not as an arbiter but as part of the problem really. As such the US have a responsibility in sorting things out. That means essentially, stopping its support for the apartheid-like state of Israel.
You apparently know little of the recent history of the conflict. Mind you that in 2002, in Beirut, all Arab states, all of them, have offered Israel a full peace treaty including a total normalization and integration at all levels into the region. This is on record. You can check whenever you like. And what was Israel’s response? Less than a week after the announcement in Beirut, the Palestinian town of Jenine was literally bulldozed in a frenzy of racist, murderous assault, deliberately launched to render peace impossible. This is a pattern that is constant throughout Israel’s bloody history. ’cause Israel fears prospects of peace. They impede its long cherished dream of “Greater Israel”; “Etretz Israel.” You can read Israel’s founding father’s and contemporary leader’s unambiguous statements.
So maybe we’re waiting, but don’t think for a second that we’re begging your charity my friend… we’re waiting for the bigotry and injustice to cease, part of it, if not most of it, come from your country.
The Gandhi citation is one of my favorites…