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Isn't Candor Better? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Throughout successive crises, we always used to blame governments because they spoke in a mercurial language about what takes place around them. We used to call it escape from responsibility and relinquishing the duty of leadership, which requires frankness at times of crisis.

It was very customary to hear politicians speak in two different languages: one in the corridors of power in which they speak frankly, and another language for the media and open official conferences, an undecided, vague language that does not lead anyone to the truth, and indeed deceives people.

Everyone who has read the Saudi official’s comment on the confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel was surprised by its candor. It was a necessary candor with which to address the people, a candor that is not restricted to conversations around cups of tea and coffee in closed rooms. It is the Government’s duty at times of crises, and there is no doubt that Lebanon is in a crisis that poses a great danger to all of us.

It was important to see the Jordanian-Egyptian statement take the same line. It is a frank line. We know for certain that Israel is the enemy, and the stand toward it is clear. However, we must also be frank with one another on what should have been done and what is supposed to be done today.

The language of flattery is perhaps best suited for ceremonial conferences and not for times of danger. As for the governments that condemn (Israeli action) and claim to show solidarity they are — very regrettably — lying to their peoples and to the Lebanese and Palestinians and to the Arab nation. You must compare their words with their deeds. Ask poor Saddam Hussein who lost his kingdom, people, and country believing what he was promised and those who applauded him.

Do we have to applaud Hezbollah or Hamas for kidnapping a soldier while we know in advance and see clearly the destruction that has been inflicted on the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and their inhabitants?

This is candid and truthful talk that springs from the heart, and not just from the mind. The Arab people who have been numbed for 50 years by fiery speeches and promises must be told: We have lost our greatest causes, our biggest lands, and many of our wars as a result of such political flattery.

Certainly candor is understood more by those who pay the price and not by those who applaud from a distance. I am sure that the overwhelming majority of Lebanese and Palestinians are against such battles that destroy their countries. However, regrettably, even the feelings of peoples are falsified.

Let us hear the views of the institutions of every state on the war — the parliament, the Government, and the presidency. If they agree to war then let it be war. However, when one side wages war and embroils everyone in it that side should not expect anyone to defend its mistakes and to become entangled with it in that war. It should be recalled that the October 1973 war was fought with the agreement of all those concerned, and through legitimate institutions. All the belligerent sides as well as the other Arab states bore the results of that war. As for Hezbollah’s operation, it is an imbroglio and we ask God to spare Hezbollah and us its evil which we see in the form of the destruction of a country that has been striving for 15 years to stand on its feet following the devastating civil war.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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