Where are the Arab leaders?
Where are the leaders of Arab nations? Who is dressed in the armor of Islamic righteousness? Who stands against their Muslim brothers who do evil? I don’t see them anywhere, do you?
Below, a little background music: Eminem, The Real Slim Shady
Muslim unity has a LOUD hollow ring to it and it’s being heard – and discussed – around the world. Many centuries ago, Westerners learned that shared religious views are no substitute for cooperation backing up a firm will and commitment to effect positive change. Even when the different prayers of peoples are formulated with the same words, intentions and aspirations, religion is separate from statesmanship. If the two-faced Pan-Arab commentary and confusion continue, American and European empathy for the Pan-Arab cry for freedom, democracy and justice may wane, even disappear.
Yesterday, Gaddafi called on Islamic nations, Africans, Latin Americans and Asians to rise up against the Western-Christian-Crusader enemy. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, seems to be on the side of the West, despite their own national stances against popular demands for change.
In fact, the 22-state Arab League was passionate and urgent in their request to the world for an international coalition to stop Gaddafi’s madness. Yet there remains a lack of Arab military commitment to the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1973. Worse, Secretary-General Amr Moussa of the Arab League is now criticizing the implementation of the resolution: US and UK tomahawk missiles hitting air-defense sites, French Euro-fighters engaging pro-Gaddafi tanks and artillery, etc.
It leads one to think that Moussa and, perhaps, some of Al Jazeera’s commentators, would like for the no-fly zone to be conducted in lackadaisical fashion, putting coalition forces and Libyans at greater risk for loss, damage and failure. Are they preparing for the day that they can lay all blame at the feet of the coalition?
The Taliban join Gaddafi in a call to Muslims to rise up against the West. China, Russia, and the African Union also joined the criticism of the so-called “hasty” UN resolution and Western intervention. Meanwhile, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States seem to be leading the international coalition’s strike against Gaddafi’s bloody attempts to crush rebel opposition in Libya. France, the UK and the USA are sparing no expense (during a global crisis) while once again risking the lives of pilots and other military personnel. They have families too.
While the Arab League and Al Jazeera implored the world to rescue Libyan freedom fighters, Arab leaders are dragging their feet when it comes to financial and military contributions. At the same time, the criticism is mounting about the coalition’s strategy, motivations, and actions. Western populations are growing tired of the new song and dance. Western governments and experts, however, are not surprised. The cynicism of Middle East experts in the West seems to share the same despair of T.E. Lawrence’s famous poem. Minus Sir Lawrence of Arabia’s affection for the Arab peoples and their hopes for Democracy.
I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands
and wrote my will across the sky in stars
To earn you Freedom, the seven-pillared worthy house,
that your eyes might be shining for me
When we came.
Death seemed my servant on the road, till we were near
and saw you waiting:
When you smiled, and in sorrowful envy he outran me
and took you apart:
Into his quietness.
Love, the way-weary, groped to your body, our brief wage
ours for the moment
Before earth’s soft hand explored your shape, and the blind
worms grew fat upon
Men prayed me that I set our work, the inviolate house,
as a memory of you.
But for fit monument I shattered it, unfinished: and now
The little things creep out to patch themselves hovels
in the marred shadow
Of your gift.
However, Arabs free to think and speak for themselves are pausing to wonder, “What is Arab-Muslim unity – beyond talk-talk-talk and a call to prayer?”
Since the first protests of the Tunisian revolution, Arab diplomats, commentators and politicians have been quick to criticize U.S. President Barack Obama and European leaders for their apparent mixed feelings about throwing down the Western gauntlet at Arab problems. Ignoring the global economic crisis and the history of failed Western and Arab relations, Arab commentators were liberal in questioning the lack of support and action of a reluctant West.
Apparently, political leaders and commentators in the Middle East don’t realize it’s become more and more obvious to the rest of the world that Arab problems are borne out of the jealousies, petty ambitions, and lack of virtue among the leaders of Arab nations, the Arab press, and leftist intellectuals. The problem of the Pan-Arab world is not the West as false prophets and teachers would have us all believe. The people of Arab nations must rise up and accept the responsibility to make democracy, freedom and justice happen. Egyptians are doing this in a brilliant manner.
Let us all remember that the sniper who shot Mohammed Nabbous in the head was an Arab slave serving an Arab leader.
Whatever charges and insinuations may now be made against the West, the indisputable fact remains that Western populations and Western governments (especially the USA) have proven a better and truer friend to Arab freedom fighters than Islamic nations and Muslim fellowship.
Though the longing for Freedom is universal, a commitment to the struggle and triumph of freedom belongs, obviously, ONLY to the brave-hearted who can inspire their people to rise up in unambiguous numbers and commitment to their liberation and future. All others shall remains as slaves.
If there is any empathy among Islamic peoples, the peoples of Islamic nations (rich or poor) should be providing needed doctors, medicine, food and clean water to their muslim brothers and sisters under siege. They could also provide transport, asylum and support to Libyan refugees – if they have humanitarian concerns. Last but not least, they could arm the opposition and lead them to victory on the ground.
No Arab commentator seems to have the courage to press Arab and Islamic states with such demands.
Contrary to the mediocre imagination of UCLA’s Asli Ü. Bâli and Ziad Abu-Rish, solidarity cannot be reduced to academic debates nor to exaggerated Islamic-Arab fears – especially from spectators who make peanut gallery commentary while enjoying the blessings of the USA and California dreaming. Such reckless commentaries endanger us all. They move us forward to a greater misunderstanding, indifference, and, possibly, a world-wide conflict.
Therefore, the West must not turn its back on the cause for human freedom in the Pan-Arab world, despite all the false starts, apparent lack of gratitude and friendship, and, yes, despite even the rusty, double-edged sword of Arab cynicism regarding the West.
The West (and especially the USA) remains the last, best hope for a world consumed with anger, poverty, hunger, ignorance, pride, corruption and greed, even though the West is confronted with the same questions and issues to a lesser degree. The irony is not lost on us. But if there is Muslim unity in prayer, Muslims should be praying for the West to be twice blessed as it serves the world as an instrument for the cause of human freedom.
Without such blessings, any instrument will always come to serve a darker purpose.
21 March 2011
About Stan Faryna
Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.
Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.
His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.
Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.
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