Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Arabs Are Not Allowed to be Victims - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Arabs face today a dilemma that appears to be conceptual or philosophical, however, it is political in depth and has grave consequences on the future of Arab generations and Arab homelands. Arabs’ problem is that they are intentionally forbidden from being victims despite all the massacres, war crimes and arbitrary acts committed by various forces against them. This problem is intensifying to the extent that some Arabs have started to deal with others’ victims in a more serious and caring way than they deal with their own victims.

There are too many instances in this regard; however, the most recent is the numerous pleas and appeals made for the release of the two kidnapped Fox News Journalists, Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig. Herein, we would like to emphasize the true delight for the release of the two journalists and reiterate the absolute condemnation of abducting innocents. Nonetheless, we could not help making a comparison between the storm of calls, blown from all sides, asking for the release of the two journalists; and the dreadful Arab and International silence on Israel’s abduction of the speaker of the Palestinian parliament and the deputy Palestinian Premier. The world kept silent on the kidnapping of two democratically elected Palestinian officials, who are still detained in Israel’s dungeons with thousands of other Palestinians who have been arbitrarily imprisoned for years and forgotten by world’s governments and media. Paradoxically, the same media and governments mobilized to call for the release of the Israeli soldiers kidnapped by the resistance in Palestine and Lebanon only when this proved to be the only way left to exchange them with Arab prisoners in Israel.

This duality also applies to the prisoners in Guantanamo and Abu Ghreib and other secret custodies especially designed for Arabs and Muslims. In these custodies, Arab and Muslim prisoners are treated in a way that violates all the international humanitarian laws and human rights conventions. However, this treatment does not raise what it would raise if the victims were not Arabs.

Arabs are not allowed to appear as victim. That is why westerners do not feel the tragedy of Arab childhood assassinated as if Arab children have no souls, no future, and no parents! Let us assume that the children killed in Qana, Marwahin, Rweiseh and Ashiah were not Arabs. Would world media keep silent or remain so indifferent towards their tragedy? Would the criminals escape human rights organizations and international war crimes tribunal as the killers of Arabs do? As long as the victims are Arabs then the world thinks they must prefer death to life or they must deserve such an ugly end!

As Arabs fail to look like victims, President Bush looks at all Arab victims as “perpetrators” who deserve all what happened to them. The current reality in the Middle East signifies that President Bush adopts policies based on malignant thought produced by people like Natan Sharanky who considers that “Arabs are the enemies of democracy and freedom; unless we kill them in their countries they will come to us and kill us”. If President Bush has ever read an article like the one written by Laura Blumenfeld and published in the Washington Post under the title: ” In Israel, divisive struggle over targeted killing”; he would have known how leaders of “the only democracy in the Middle East” plan the killings of innocent Palestinians, and how they boast when the military operation results in maximum causalities. Only then, he would know that the term “targeted killing” means terrorist acts and crimes against humanity.

In his last speech, President Bush classified all Arabs and Muslims as fascists, terrorists and enemies of freedom. He took the 19 perpetrators who attacked world trade towers as his evidence and neglected the humanistic and tolerant directions of Muslims throughout their history. What such a classification could be called except neo-racism against Muslims? It is like saying that all Americans are Timothy McVeigh who attacked the nursery in Oklahoma City. What hatred produced such logic and what violence and destruction such logic could produce?

In the light of this reality, the conclusion we could make is that Arabs are in the face of a McCarthyistic campaign aiming to prevent them from feeling victims and to prevent any sympathy with their sufferings and causes. This reality is very grave and it puts the human community as a whole on the perils not Arabs only. Apparently, a firm stand by all rational and honest people in the world against this unfair reality is badly required before the struggle, schemed for by a small malevolent group, reaches the point of no return. The course of history shows that oppressions and injustices always produced violence and revolution. Is there anybody to recall the lessons and to make the right step before it is too late!?

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.

More Posts