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Everyone Can See That the King Has No Clothes On - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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After few years of serving as an ambassador of The United States of America to Lebanon Mr. Jeffrey Feltman has finally reached an acceptable understanding on one of the common denominators among Arab people. But, unfortunately, he thought that his discovery is an accusation that he levels against some important Arab personalities. Hence, the need to take a moment with him and explain to him the true meaning of his understanding, especially as he has become an expert in Middle Eastern affairs whose opinion counts in Washington not only as far as Lebanon is concerned but as far as all the Arabs are concerned. Responding to a question about an interview conducted with the head of FPM Free Patriotic Movement, Mr. Michael Aoun, MP in the French Le Monde he described the interview as “amusing” and added “Had I seen what was said in this interview without knowing who said it; I would’ve thought it was said by Bouthaina Shaaban in Tishreen newspaper (Syrian paper) or something of that kind and I wouldn’t have thought it was said by a Lebanese MP who fought for the independence of Lebanon for years”.

Mr. Feltman is right. If you take out the name the interview could’ve been ascribed to any Arab writer or politician who truly cares about the future of Lebanon and the unity of Lebanon. What General Awn said in that interview is similar, in essence, to what is said by so many Arabs from Morocco to Kuwait, who all agree that the United States is trying to destabilize Lebanon just as it did in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, as part of its announced plan for “Creative Chaos” in the Middle East. Had Mr. Feltman been a reader of Arabic he would’ve read similar statements to what General Michael Aoun said about the role of the U.S. in Lebanon in many Arab papers, both inside and outside the Arab world. But because Mr. Feltman sits with only one Lebanese group and listens only to this group, he mistakenly thought that only this group represents Lebanon and anything else, said by anyone else, is a sign of foreign influence and interference, and I hope no one ever thinks that the role of Mr. Feltman is a clear sign of foreign interference as he seems to consider himself part and parcel of the Lebanese political matrix! Upon hearing the statement of Mr. Feltman a Lebanese friend of mine called me and said if the U.S. were to tap our telephones and listen to our conversations at home, as they do to American people after 9/11, they would discover how much we loath their policies towards Lebanon and the entire Arab world.

The Question is how does an ambassador to a country dare criticize an important public figure? His statement is a proof that he behaves as a high commissioner to Lebanon rather than an ambassador and is another evidence of what Mr. Aoun said in his interview that the U.S. is working hard to divide the Lebanese ranks and prevent them from reaching agreement.

The second question is how could Mr. Feltman feel the deep and various factors which make the Arabs one people. When he and his Secretary of State were giving Israel extra time to kill more Lebanese, the Syrian people went out to the borders to receive, with love and compassion, their Lebanese brothers and sisters fleeing Israeli criminal attacks using American arms and bombs. While Mr. Feltman finds the virtual agreement in opinion between a prominent Lebanese leader and a Syrian writer “amusing”, American forces continue to kill 30.000 Iraqis every month (The Lancet, the most prestigious British medical journal, October 12, 2006). Juan cole, the most visible American Middle East scholar, summarized the Lancet study in a particularly vivid comment: “The US misadventure in Iraq is responsible, in a little over three years, for setting off the killing of twice as many civilians as Saddam managed to polish off in 25 years”. Yet the U.S. offered refuge to less than a thousand Iraqis whereas Syria welcomed almost two million Iraqis with whom we share our schools, hospitals, food and houses, because we are one people, share the same life and look forward to a better future.

I don’t expect Mr. Feltman to feel what we feel when we see a Palestinian man fatally wounded by an Israeli bullet, creeping and his blood behind him moaning his youth, or to have any of our feelings when we watch an American soldier standing with his boots on the bed of an Iraqi woman trying to cover herself as a stranger has violated the sanctity of her home only to see her daughter killed in front of her eyes. If Mr. Feltman wants to know more about the behavior of American occupation forces in Iraq I advise him to read the study entitled: Is the United States killing 10.000 Iraqis Every Month? Or Is it More. By Prof. Michael Schwartz in Global Research August 13, 2007 and if he wants to know how the 30 billion Dollars given to Israel will be spent he should look at the Israeli B’tselem Website to have an inkling of one Israeli apartheid regime against Palestinians and the genocide against Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. Hence Mr. Feltman may start to see the reasons which make the Arabs have a similar reading of the U.S. role in Lebanon and the Arab World although they have never met before. He did not read Arab history or literature nor was he born to a civilization that embraced and spread the three monolithic religions and granted humanity the products of excellent creative minds and built, for example, two thousand years ago an amphitheatre in Bosra al Sham that hosts fifteen thousand viewers. What most Americans need is to understand this very important fact. All the Arabs, Mr. Feltman, see that the king has no clothes on and it would be good for the U.S. and for every one that you see that too.

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban is political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency, and the former minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer, and has been a professor at Damascus University since 1985. She received her PhD in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She was the spokesperson for Syria. She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

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