FRIEDMAN EXCUSES THE SCAPEGOATING OF THE US AND ISRAEL BY WRITERS OF THE ARAB HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPROT, GALADARI SIMPLY IGNORES IT
Forgetting the lessons of the martyrdom culture which led to thousands of deaths including 9/11, Friedman excuses the cowards who wrote the latest Arab Human Development Report:
"Yes, it's scathing about the Western and Israeli roles in retarding Arab democratization (retading? real election were held only under Israeli and American occupations!), but it's equally scathing about what Arabs have done to themselves and how they must change - people don't change when you tell them they should, but when they tell themselves they must. Read this report and you'll also understand why part of every Arab hates the U.S. invasion of Iraq - and why another part is praying that it succeeds."
Because he was the same kind of coward:
"Until the recent elections in Iraq and among the Palestinians, the modern Arab world was largely immune to the winds of democracy that have blown everywhere else in the world. Why? That's a pretty important question. For years, though, it was avoided in both the East and the West.
In the West it was avoided because a toxic political correctness infected the academic field of Middle Eastern studies - to such a degree that anyone focusing on the absence of freedom in the Arab world ran the risk of being labeled an"Orientalist" or an"essentialist."
Whose political correctness? The mainstream media's led by such Pulitzer prize winners as Tom Friedman!
The results? Iraqis feel almost obligated to demonstrate against US"occupation!" just as the authors of the reports admit that they are happy that the open American disdain of their scapegoating is sure to make their lives easier.
In UN report targets Arab republics By Mohammed A. R. Galadarisimply ignores the scapegoating and emphasized the truth about at least the Republican part of the Arab world. Monarchies are exempted. After all, Khaleej Times is written under the auspices of the United Arab Emirites.
THE UN-sponsored Arab Human Development Report, released this week, is calling a spade a spade in respect of the situations in the Muslim republics in particular. Prepared by Arab scholars themselves, it is forthright as to what ails the Arab world; and I believe there are no two opinions in this respect. Dear readers, unless we identify a disease and treat it in the best possible way, how can cure be possible?
The report says partial reforms will not be of any help. There, it says, have to be substantial changes in every field of activity, both economic and political. This is not a new thinking. This is similar to what we heard from the Arab Strategic Forum held here a few months ago, where a forceful call was made by a senior leader to the Arab governments that they must change. "Change, or you will be changed" was how the call rang out from the Forum.
It means the Arab leaders are fully aware of and concerned about what ails our societies. "Comprehensive social reforms in Arab world can no longer be delayed or slowed down on account of vested interests", is how the report put it. This is important for all the Arab republics, where millions of people are living without any hope for the future, for the reason that development is slow-paced.
The report has zeroed in on an aspect that I have often highlighted in these columns, namely that Syria and Egypt have systems in which the president is nominated by the parliament, and endorsed through referendum. The issue is also that on the one side, these countries call themselves as republics, and yet act in dictatorial ways by taking resort to emergency laws and denying scope for direct elections and dissent.
The report has taken note of the positive developments in the Arab world in this respect, namely the elections to the Palestine authority, the municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, and the decision by Hosni Mubarak in Egypt to have multi-candidate elections to the post of president later this year. There are major developments, and cannot in any way be ignored. That shows winds of change have begun blowing across the region.
Equally important is the change that is coming about in Iraq. Saddam Hussein was calling it a republic, but held it as his personal fiefdom, denied freedom, suppressed dissent, and encouraged only his cronies. But, Iraq is changing for the better, and self-rule is a reality there. An elected government is set to take over governance there in a matter of a couple of weeks. That means a major turn-around in the situation, and Iraqis are on the threshold of a new era.
The republics need to change. They are giving a bad name to the Arab world by way of inept handling of the economy and failure to improve the living conditions of the peoples. These republics must learn lessons from the AGCC countries on how to change the scenarios in their countries. They must look at the Arab Human Development Report positively, and get ready for changes.
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