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Self-Vexation - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A geographically-connected Palestinian state, this is the latest occurrence that promises a real breakthrough in what George Bush said in his visit to the Palestinian territories.

Bush’s visit to the Palestinian Presidency in Ramallah is the US recognition at the highest level of the newly-born Palestinian State. It is a de facto recognition (a recognition of a fait accompli) and not a de jure one (a legal recognition). A cohesive Palestinian State that links Gaza to the West Bank has been one of the Palestinian demands in these thorny negotiations. If Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmud Abbas himself is optimistic about Bush’s visit, are we going to be more Palestinian than him?

The right to return, which some people portray as an object of trade between the Jewish identity of Israel and the emergence of the Palestinian Arab State, is not a Bush invention. The issue of the right to return, and giving the evicted Palestinians the option of acquiring European and Canadian nationalities or of getting financial compensations is a deal that has been on the table since the era of President Bill Clinton. However, in the random words and chaotic vocabulary scattered on paper and screens anything can be written or said however remote from the facts. In the charged atmosphere in which the extremist voices gained control over the hearts and minds of the Arabs we no longer practice “self-criticism,” and have become addicted to “self-vexation.”

* A former ambassador and current struggler.

In addition to what we have today of many groups that have found their aspired for aim by slandering the west as a source of quick benefits and free stardom on paper and on screen. New groups have emerged of retired ambassadors, God give them a long life, which represented their countries in lofty capitals and enjoyed positions and privileges, and we find these groups today describing their countries on the screens as being “feeble” and “on their knees.” After leaving the Foreign Ministry, we find the former ambassador turning into a potential struggler. You should not be surprised if one day you read the news, “A 70-year old suicide bomber has been arrested before blowing himself up.” Belated struggle is like belated adolescence, it can come at an inappropriate time.

It is really strange that the ambassador, who used to adhere to the policies of his country, defend them, benefit from all the privileges granted and even not granted by this lofty position, and wake up early every morning for twenty years or more to go to work at the Foreign Ministry of his country’s embassy, as soon as he retires turns into a theoretical struggler on paper, while in practice he keeps what he gained from his previous position.

* Kuwait Has the Right Not to Reply.

The faces and voices that have called on the country not to receive US President George Bush three-days ago are exactly the same ones who applauded Saddam Hussein on the day of his invasion of Kuwait. They are the same faces that came up to us with the idea of dividing the Arab world into the countries of wealth, and the countries of revolution. They are the same ones that portrayed Saddam’s barbaric invasion of an Arab country as an attempt to distribute the wealth among the Arabs, as if Saddam were the president of a poor penniless country that has neither a drop of oil nor a drop of water.

Saddam had poured money lavishly from the Iraqi oil revenues on these voices that were publishing daily newspapers without them having to publish a single commercial advertisement. This is despite the fact that they have been published in the most expensive capitals of the world with regard to the salaries, office rent, taxes, and so on of these costly expenses. These newspapers still do not publish a single advertisement, even to shift the blame from themselves and so that we might hesitate before accusing them. Is it the remainder of Saddam’s money, which the heirs have shared among themselves after his execution, which is producing for us daily newspapers without advertisements in the major capitals of the world? Unfortunately in a world over which prevails excitement and ecstasy with the slogans of wealth and revolution no one asks any questions about the sources of financing. The important thing is that anything, whether “shameful” or “good,” is wrapped in phrases that appear to be patriotic, such as calling for the prevention of a president of a superpower from entering this-or-that country, because he is a “war criminal,” as the street wants to hear. After that let the one who utters this sentence go and steal everything, because no one will hold him to account, because he might be trying to distribute the wealth in his own way.

The question is: Is Saddam Hussein still trying to invade Kuwait from behind the grave? Are Saddam’s funds still exploited for this reason? Kuwait has not answered, and did not pay any attention to the attempts of intimidating it with slogans, sometimes in the name of distributing the wealth, and at other times by saying that it might become responsible for igniting another war in the region. Kuwait would have been occupied and pillaged until today by the group calling for distributing the wealth had the United States not intervened and sent its troops to liberate Kuwait in 1991with a Syrian-Egyptian-Saudi Arab alliance. Kuwait has every right to welcome those who liberated it, be they Arabs or non-Arabs, including the US President. Kuwait has not received George Bush in his personal capacity, but from his sovereign position as President of the United States.

* Will Obama fail in his bid for the Presidency?

Those who do not know the United States have believed the opinion polls that preceded the New Hampshire primary of the Democratic Party, which said that Presidential Candidate Barack Hussein Obama is more than 10points ahead of his strong opponent Hillary Clinton. Then they were surprised to see Mrs. Clinton win.

As a man who lived in the United States for 20 years, studying and teaching, I expected what happened, and it did not surprise me. The story lies in the difference between the method of voting to choose the party’s nominee in the State of Iowa, in which Obama won, and the method in New Hampshire, in which Clinton won. In Iowa, the selection is carried out by convening public meetings, “caucuses,” in the old way of democracy, i.e. those registered as party members meet, discuss, and then publicly cast their ballot for the candidate for whom they want to vote. However, in New Hampshire, the ballot is secret, i.e. the citizen goes to cast his vote alone and in complete privacy.

In a society in which the differences between the whites and the blacks still are deeply entrenched in hidden racism, which the society tries to cover up with appearances of modernization, it is not surprising that people will say publicly that they are not racists, and at the same time they record their racist stances in secret, or when they meet people similar to them. The caucus ballots in the State of Iowa were public, and it would be difficult for any citizen, even if he were a racist, to announce such tendency in public. However, the secret ballots of New Hampshire allowed many people to record their racism.

The coming ballots in the State of Nevada will be caucus ballots, i.e. by public meetings, the same as it happened in the State of Iowa; therefore, Obama might win the State of Nevada. As for the other 47 states, all of them cast their votes in the same secret way as New Hampshire. In these states I think that Obama’s chances will be less than what the opinion polls expect.

In previous elections, many Americans urged former Gen Colin Powell to become a presidential candidate. Powell was more popular than Barack Obama with both the Republicans and the Democrats; however Powell’s wife, Mrs. Alma Powell, prevented him from becoming a candidate for fear of being assassinated. The candidacy of a black man with a chance of winning the presidency of the United States motivates every extremist and racist to commit the foolishness of assassination. Today the fear for Barack Obama is not less than the fear of Colin’s wife. This is an important factor that has to be taken into consideration for those who attempt to understand the US domestic policy.