Skip to comments.A Ray of Arab Candor: A U. N. report by Middle-Eastern intellectuals blames Arab culture
Posted on 07/04/2002 7:31:40 AM PDT by aculeus
The just-released Arab Human Development Report, commissioned by the United Nations and drafted by a group of Middle Eastern intellectuals, utterly confirms the deep pathology gripping the Arab world that Western analysts have long noted. Yet what was truly astounding about the account was less its findings than the honest acknowledgement that Arab problems are largely self-created.
Khalaf Hunaidi, who oversaw the economic portion of the analysis, remarked, Its not outsiders looking at Arab countries. Its Arabs deciding for themselves. And what they decided is sadly ample proof of Arab decline. Per capita income is dropping in the Arab world, even as it rises almost everywhere else. Productivity is stagnant; research and development are almost absent. Science and technology remain backward. Politics is infantile. And culture, in thrall to Islamic fundamentalism and closed to the ideas that quicken the intellectual life of the rest of the world, is lagging behind advanced nations, Hunaidi says.
Yet this novel panel of Arab intellectuals, remarkably, didnt attribute the dismal condition of Middle Eastern society to the usual causes that Western intellectuals and academics have made so popular: racism and colonialism, multinational exploitation, Western political dominance, and all the other -isms and -ologies that weve grown accustomed to hear about from the Arabists on American university campuses.
Instead, the investigators cited the subjugation of women that robs Arab society of millions of brilliant minds. Political autocracyeither in the service of or in opposition to Islamic fundamentalismensures censorship, stifles creativity, or promotes corruption. Talented scientists and intellectuals are likely to emigrate and then stay put in the West, since there is neither a cultural nor an economic outlet for their talents back home but sure danger if they prove either honest or candid. The Internet remains hardly used. Greece, a country 30 times smaller than the Arab world, translates five times the number of books yearly.
The report didnt give precise reasons for the growing Arab hostility toward the United States, but its findings lend credence to almost everything brave scholars like Bernard Lewis and Daniel Pipes have been saying for years. With exploding populations, and offering little hope for either material security or personal freedom, unelected governments in the Gulf, Egypt, and northern Africa have allowed their press the single freedom of venting popular frustration against a very successful Israel and the United States.
Instead of discussing elections in Egypt, debating the Sudanese governments budget, or advocating academic freedom in Syria, state-run newspapers and television stations spin countless conspiracy theories about September 11. They dub the Jews subhuman and worse, promise eternal jihad against the West, and churn out elaborate explanations why a tiny country like Israel is responsible for everything from train wrecks in Cairo to lawlessness in Lebanon.
What can Americans learn from this newly honest Arab self-appraisal? We should put no more credence in the preposterous postcolonial theories that ad nauseam argue that Westerners are still to be blamed a half-century after the last Europeans vacated the Middle East. Post-Marxist analyses that claim international conglomerates stifle the Arab world are just as silly. Nor must we believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or our own support for Israel is the problem. Instead, the simple fact is that hundreds of millions of people are going backward in time in an age when global communications hourly remind them of their dismal futures. Frustration, pride, anger, envy, humiliation, spiritual helplessnessall the classical exegeses for war and conflictfar better explain the Arab worlds hostility toward a prosperous, confident, and free West.
But our own academic Left isnt alone in misjudging the Middle East. The Realpolitik of our own government that allies us with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and other moderate Arab states offers little long-term hope for an improved relationship with people of the Middle East. It is no accident that America is more popular in countries whose awful governments hate usIraq and Iran, for examplethan among the public of our so-called allies. Saudis, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, and Egyptians, after all, have been murdering Americans far more frequently than have Iranians, Iraqis, and Syrians.
We have replaced our old legitimate fears of godless Marxism in the Middle East with new understandable worries over fanatical Islamic fundamentalism to justify our own continued support for corrupt dictatorships. Yet the old excuse that there is no middle class in the Arab world, no heritage of politics, and few secular moderates will no longer do. It should be our job to find true democrats, both in and outside of the existing governments, and then promote their interests at the expense of both the fundamentalists and the tribal grandees. Chaos, uncertainty, risk, and unpredictability may ensue, but all that is better than the murderous status quo of the current mess.
The contemporary Arab world is like the old communist domain of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, with its political and intellectual tyranny. We should accept that, and then adopt the same unyielding resolve to oppose governments that lie, oppress, and murderuntil they totter and fall from their very own corrupt weight. There was a silent majority yearning to be free behind the Iron Curtain, and so we must believe that there is also one now, just as captive, in an unfree Middle East.
See, that's what I'm saying.
I've been saying since last fall that George W. Bush will do for the Middle East and Arab world what Ronald Reagan did for Eastern Europe..........tear down the tyranny and bring freedom to the region.
Although the Soviet Union was an organized and massive oppressor, communism did not breed the fanatical hatred now widespread in the Islamist world.
The task will be huge, but the enemy states will fall like dominoes, one by one. Afghanistan was first. Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia will follow in succession, hopefully, faster than we think!!
But it is the Dark Ages in the Islamic world and the goal of the Osama Bin Laden types is to return the entire earth to those golden days where feudalism reigned.
You have to understand - they like the Dark Ages and the political arrangement represented by the feudal system. This is is the link between the Islamic World and the World of Bill and Hillary. They too yearn for a feudal world where there is a ruling class (Bill, Hillary and their buddies) and the ruled (the rest of us.) That's what Osama and Bill and Hillary want and it is no different than what Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Castro, for example, wanted and achieved.
This is not a new battle. It is the same old battle. Freedom versus feudalism. Freedom versus slavery. Freedom versus Communism. Freedom versus Socialism. Freedom versus Natzism. Freedom versus Islamic domination.
This is the reason that these evil people threaten us on "The Day of Freedom". They hate freedom for you and me. Freedom is only for the elite ruling class. That is their goal. That is the world they want you and I to live in.
........'bout damn time someone held a mirror up to these clowns. Unfortunately, does anyone think this study will get the 'press' it deserves in THE SAUDI HERALD, THE BAGHDAD TIMES, TEHRAN DAILY, and the DAMASCUS POST?
See: [Arab] Businessmen hit out at US move to target Saudis, Arab News, July 1, 2002, by Dhafir Al-Julfan (posted by SJackson).
See: Are too many Muslims in denial about September 11?, The Telegraph (U.K.), by Barbara Amiel, Mar. 4, 2002 (posted by Pokey78).
See: The Saudi Pipeline Petro-Dollars, Palestinian Terror -- And A U.S. Blind Eye, National Review, July 15, 2002, by Joel Mowbray (posted by habaes corpussel).
Said Tim Carney:
"In fact, what was offered (by the Sudanese) was to expel bin Laden to Saudi Arabia ... and the Saudis, because he was such a hot potato, simply refused to handle him,"
In Saudi Arabia, the leadership, in general, are revolting from the decadence which they believe to have resulted from the peoples' too close a proximity to the American media [generation]. As such, the leaders feel threatened by "Americanization." The Saudis, however by their methods, seem to be intent upon committing suicide in the name of trying to "save" their Royal butts from "Western Culture."
Furthermore, the Saudis are afraid that the communist-supported fascist-Islamic revolution which over-threw the Shah of Iran, has grown enough in Arabia to over-throw the House of Saud.
Also, the Saudis figured to appease Saddam Hussein, whenafter the last throw of cruise missiles by Bill Clinton's attempt to diffuse the concentration of the American public upon his Impeachment Trial in the U.S. Senate ... Saddam appeared, at the minimum, to win ... and so the Saudis upped the price of oil as tribute to Saddam.
In a similar vein, the Saudis are attempting to appease the fascists among their neighbors, among their subjects, and among themselves --- by attacking western culture and the United States of America.
When the Saudis ought to be busting their butts, to gather up all the Taliban and Al-Qaeda before they do further harm ...
Hanson writes regularly for National Review. This is from City Journal which, like NR, is conservative.
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