Enough romance! We don’t need America
Do we Arabs not know how to speak with the rest of the world in a language it understands?
Do we Arabs not know how to speak with the rest of the world in a language it understands? Or do we not want to speak with them because we do not need them in the first place? Are we people and governments who have the capability to be fully independent in a manner that allows us to live out our future in isolation from international policies, balances of power, alliances and diplomatic games?
American journalist and Middle Eastern affairs’ expert Charles Glass believes that Arabs must stop seeking the West’s blessings. His stance is a frank call for the independence of Arab positions and for heading forward towards establishing a strong united stance - similar to what Latin America did when it rejected the U.S. aspirations of turning its countries into a prison for conducting political interrogations and torturing opponents of American policies.
During the global discussion forum held by Al Arabiya News on Saturday, which was aimed at bridging the communication gap between the East and the West, speeches were clearly focused on the mistakes of Arab communication skills ever since the act of lobbying became the main method of promoting American stances on global issues - including the Arab-Israeli struggle. Speeches also addressed how Arabs’, in their means of communication, failed to understand the influential mechanism adopted within Western diplomatic circles. Such a failure came as a result of Arabs’ focus on only communicating via official channels and completely overlooking the principles of public diplomacy.
Failing to connect
In New York, which is the capital of global diplomacy, there isn’t a single Arab cultural office that plays the role of a bridge which socially and culturally connects Arabs with representatives of other countries. This is what Al Arabiya News Channel’s bureau chief for New York and the United Nations, Talal al-Hajj, said. This is undebatable proof that Arabs don’t even have a communicative strategy when dealing with the world. This is why Arabs are the first to resort to conspiracy theories when they want to justify their political failures and their removal from the international scene.
In New York, which is the capital of global diplomacy, there isn’t a single Arab cultural office that plays the role of a bridge which socially and culturally connects Arabs with representatives of other countriesYasser al-Ghaslan
Money alone cannot buy powerful positions, as one of the speakers put it. Another speaker said that there are no united Arab stances, therefore there isn’t even a united Arab communicative strategy that can influence affairs, including the Palestinian cause. He added that current calls to unite political rhetoric are closer to romantic talk than they are to reality. I am therefore surprised that we are still talking about Arabs as if they are united!
Let’s us admit it, my dear. We are a divided people so let’s give up dreams which will not be achieved amidst all this surreal political reality.
This article was first published in al-Watan on Dec. 2, 2013.
Yasser al-Ghaslan has worked as a reporter and editor in several Saudi newspapers and is the founder of themedianote.com, a website focusing on Arab media issues. He can be followed on Twitter at: @alghaslan.
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