Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The princes and the pea

The following is from an interview by Pierre Heumann of the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche with the Editor-in-Chief of Al-Jazeera, Ahmed Sheikh.

Do you mean to say that if Israel did not exist, there would suddenly be democracy in Egypt, that the schools in Morocco would be better, that the public clinics in Jordan would function better?

I think so.

Can you please explain to me what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has to do with these problems?

The Palestinian cause is central for Arab thinking.

In the end, is it a matter of feelings of self-esteem?

Exactly. It's because we always lose to Israel. It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only about 7 million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego. The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab. The West's problem is that it does not understand this.
Now, whose problem is that? How do you negotiate with that?

Just to illustrate the intellectual short circuit that goes on here (and is similar to what happens in the heads of the French terrorists I spoke about here), the exchange above was immediately preceded by this.
I told my son to emigrate to the West for the sake of my grandson.

You sound bitter.

Yes, I am.

At whom are you angry?

It's not only the lack of democracy in the region that makes me worried. I don't understand why we don't develop as quickly and dynamically as the rest of the world. We have to face the challenge and say: enough is enough! When a President can stay in power for 25 years, like in Egypt, and he is not in a position to implement reforms, we have a problem. Either the man has to change or he has to be replaced. But the society is not dynamic enough to bring about such a change in a peaceful and constructive fashion.

Why not?

In many Arab states, the middle class is disappearing. The rich get richer and the poor get still poorer. Look at the schools in Jordan, Egypt or Morocco: You have up to 70 youngsters crammed together in a single classroom. How can a teacher do his job in such circumstances? The public hospitals are also in a hopeless condition. These are just examples. They show how hopeless the situation is for us in the Middle East.
[Emphasis added]
Our societies are screwed. Israel always beats us in a fair fight. We despise ourselves. If we can beat Israel, we will like ourselves again and everything will be OK.

(via Harry's Place)

In a similar vein, Ahmadinejad lets slip the key to human redemption.
The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom.

No comments: