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Political Dinosaurs - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Everything changes in the Arab world it would seem except some characters that frequently deliver their bravado speeches, the content of which has not changed since the 1950’s.

Recently, I have listened to the discussions of the Arab Lawyers Union conference held in Damascus. I hoped that these discussions could have been broadcasted for all Arabs to hear. Such discussions exemplify the state of hardening, and the talk of heroism that “never harmed a fly,” as well as the speeches that defended dictatorships and oppression.

Some of these Arab lawyers, who are meant to represent the nation’s conscience and look after the nation’s worries, had simply become the supporters of those who are similar to the supporters of Arab nations in the 1950’s who do not understand the consequences of their words.

Some had succeeded in shedding tears over the deposed Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein and defended him as if he were a national hero, even considering his trial as humiliating for Arab nations. This was accompanied by the applause of the audience.

It was as if those to whom I listened had never realized that the world had changed and these Arab rhetorical speeches would no longer create a civilization and that even insulting the enemy would harm nobody but the Arab nations themselves.

What could an organization that is meant to defend the nation’s freedoms do if three of its permanent members belong to the defense committee of Saddam Hussein? What can the organization do when it would shed crocodile tears over the deaths of Iraqi children even after sanctions when their deaths were caused by defending the tyrant?

Dinosaurs are now extinct, yet a number of political dinosaurs are still in control of Arab parties, syndicates and organization. They practice the same old methods, speak the same old language despite major changes that have taken place in the world such as the revolutions of information technology and communications. Moreover, they continue to prevent younger generations from leading such organizations.

The words of some senior Arab lawyers in the conference in Damascus can be summarized in the Arab proverb, “The fool that may have wanted to help you did nothing but harm you.”