October 26, 2004
Friend of FLAME:
more we hear about beheadings and other bizarre executions in Iraq,
the cold-blooded murders of Russian schoolchildren, to say nothing
of decades of terrorist killings of Israeli innocents, the more freakish
the values of Arab culture seem. The disparity in values, at least
between radical Islam and Western culture seem unfathomable and unbridgeable.
Suicide bombers tell us proudly that they are unstoppable, that they
will win because we in the West love life and they for the sake of
Allah love death. And where are the voices of protest against this
barbaric, life-destroying creed from so-called moderate Islam? Until
recently they have been nearly silent, perhaps fearing reprisal from
their fanatical brethren, perhaps in a state of moral confusion. The
article below, by Farid Ghadry, President of the Reform Party of Syria,
offers a refreshingly bold, rational and self-critical perspective.
In it, Ghadry issues a daring wake-up call to the Arab and radical
Islamic world. He contrasts the objective achievements of Israel,
even while under siege, with the Era of Despair and moral bankruptcy
that the Arab world has embraced. One can only hope that Ghadry lives
to herald this reality check far and wide and to see his banner of
reason taken up by other enlightened Arabs and non-Arab Muslims.
Israel cultivates Nobel laureates, Arabs cultivate
Israel Insider, October 18, 2004
by Farid Ghadry
The news this week that two Israeli scientists, in addition to an
American, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, should be read with interest
in the Arab world.
This win says a lot about the state of affairs of the Middle East.
While Israel builds its future with Nobel laureates, the Arab world
fills its future with suicide bombers. Ever since the inception of
the State of Israel, Arabs have had this romantic notion that through
wars and revenge we can return to our past glory.
Of course, they don't tell us which past they are referring to. Was
it when we were governed by the Ottoman Empire or by England and France?
Or was it more like 1,300 years ago when spears ruled the battleground?
Ever since 1967, Arabs from all countries -- but especially Syria,
Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt -- have lived this fantasy that we can
throw the Israelis to the sea. With the 1973 near-win against Israel,
Arabs concluded that one more loss is not reason enough to stop and
think. One more loss, with so many lives lost on both sides, is not
enough for us to understand that the continued struggle is destroying
us from within.
Even after Anwar Sadat came to understand the value of peace and co-existence,
it seemed that more and more of our energies were diverted toward
destruction. The downfall of the Soviet Union, the longtime ally of
the Arab world, seemed to spur us to seek justice with the barrel
of a gun rather than through pragmatic understanding.
The Oslo Accords produced a willing Israel and exposed fraudulent
Palestinians. Again, we watched as Arab leaders mounted a campaign
of deceit to divert our attention away from our own oppression. We,
the obedient Arab sheep, followed. We carried banners, objected, revolted
and in the end, we created a new cadre of school children with strong
arms to throw stones but without the education and discipline -- no
brains to produce Nobel prizes.
Ever since the Intifada, a term that truly spurns our sense of justice,
we have achieved the lowest point of our self-esteem. Arab children
that throw stones seem to feel an invisible power that is not available
to the children of the State of Israel. That power to revolt consequently
pre-disposes to a low self-esteem, which inevitably helps to build
the mentality of a suicide bomber.
Suicide bombers feel nothing, understand little, and cannot see the
future. They go on automatic pilot with the brain functioning as a
guiding tool to self-destruct literally, as a person and against the
society that developed them. Suicide bombers represent the lowest
of our self-esteem as people of Arab descent.
We are in an Intifada, but it is one that is seen through the eyes
of the Israeli Nobel laureates. We, as people of the Middle East,
are dying and we cannot even feel it. We have reached the bottom and
we do not even know it.
Because of oppressive regimes that give us no chance to think for
ourselves, we have no hope, no future, and certainly no Nobel prizes
in science awaiting us. What very few people know is that an Intifada
is also attributed to the last movement by a human body upon death.
Could that be this understanding of Intifada that is the true symbol
of a struggle that should have ended long ago? All Arabs are in an
Intifada, still moving yet not truly alive as citizens of the world.
Every time the Syrian Ba'athists call for armed resistance, secretly
support groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, and propagandize Arab unity,
we fall further and further into oblivion. The funny thing is that
very few Arabs care to understand why we do not have Nobel laureates.
They blame it on Imperialism and Zionism. In their minds, absent these
two forces, we could be raking in those Nobel prizes. So while Israel
survives Intifadas, wars, hate, and oppressive Arab rulers, we, the
Arab people, must wake-up.
If we pursue the same policies that drove us to the lowest point in
our history (Asr al-Inhitat or Era of Despair as opposed to Asr al-Jahyliah
or Era of Ignorance that preceded Prophet Mohammed), only we lose.
If we listen to our rulers, we will always be kneeling on the sideline
watching Nobel prize winners produced by the Middle East -- but not
by us or for us.