The Arab world cannot stay paralyzed forever
There is a need for statesmen and leaders of high caliber and moral principles who can rise above petty politics
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”
Charles Dickens, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’
This is an apt description of the situation today as a dark cloud envelopes the Arab world. There is total paralysis among the masses as they into view the dramatic developments in the region. Internecine warfare, dissension, tyranny, self-appointed leaders more like bandit chieftains crossing what were once secure and defined borders. Adding to woes and deep psychological pain is the continued attack on Gaza by Israel – a ruthless and inhumane aggression by a country that has lost all semblance of humanity.
Pictures show Israelis sitting on beach chairs eating popcorn and gulping drinks, cheering as wave after wave of F16 warplanes drop sophisticated bombs that tear apart human bodies and wreak havoc and destruction.
There is a need for statesmen and leaders of high caliber and moral principles who can rise above petty politicsKhaled Almaeena
The Arab masses see images of dead bodies of men, women and children. They observe the total disregard for the sanctity of places of worship and hospitals. They see orphanages being blown to bits. Above all they see the complete paralysis and helplessness of Arab governments which cannot even pressure their so-called friends in the West to ask Israel to stop this aggression.
Once again, they realize the hold Israel and its allies have over most segments of the Western media. Channels like BBC, CNN, and others have been accused of groveling at the feet of the Israeli propaganda masters. Media outlets compare the Israelis hunkering down to the way British did during the London Blitz of the Second World War. In addition to blanketing reality, there is misrepresentation and dilution of reports so that they favor Israel. However, as I have said before, the hypocrisy of the West is matched by the Arab world’s own ineffectiveness, helplessness and inaction. The Arab League is on vacation. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation is yet to muster its diplomatic forces.
Whatever the case may be, there is total disappointment among the Arab people. They feel and live their helplessness.
“It is no use crying over spilt milk,” a young man told me. “Your generation lost Palestine, brought in tyranny through fake revolutions by self-appointed leaders who went on a spree of misrule.”
“What solution do you have?” I asked.
He replied: “The problems are far too gigantic for us to put forward any quick fix.”
“Yes, it’s true," I said.
First we have to solve the problems in Syria, Iraq and Libya; a solution that ends the conflicts in those places is urgently needed. The Arab world has to address the dangerous issue of extremism and join forces to cooperate, contain and fully eradicate this poison.
We speak of security, but it will not come without proper governance and economic advancement. All of these factors are interrelated and need to be looked at in a very impartial manner. More importantly, there is a need for statesmen and leaders of high caliber and moral principles who can rise above petty politics, and push for an end to the darkest phase in Arab history since the fall of Baghdad to the Mongols in 1258.
We cannot stay paralyzed forever.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on July 20, 2014.
Khaled Almaeena is a veteran Saudi journalist, commentator, businessman and the editor-at-large of the Saudi Gazette. Almaeena has held a broad range of positions in Saudi media for over thirty years, including CEO of a PR firm, Saudi Television news anchor, talk show host, radio announcer, lecturer and journalist. As a journalist, Almaeena has represented Saudi media at Arab summits in Baghdad, Morocco and elsewhere. In 1990, he was one of four journalists to cover the historic resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia. He also traveled to China as part of this diplomatic mission. Almaeena's political and social columns appear regularly in Gulf News, Asharq al-Aswat, al-Eqtisadiah, Arab News, Times of Oman, Asian Age and The China Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena