Somewhere on A1A...

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Moderate Islam Watch

MEMRI has a translation that needs to read in its entirety. It’s a summary of a series of articles appearing in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, which is a London Based Arabic Daily Newspaper. If only this was a majority view… or if by some chance it is the majority view, If only we heard more of it.

I would like to ask [some] questions that have been bothering me since the demonstrations [in solidarity with the Palestinians] that marched through the streets of Arab countries – which brought to mind the demonstrations flooding the streets to defend the honor of the [Arab] nation, as they believed was personified by comrade Saddam. Is there even one Arab country in which these demonstrations were spontaneous? I have heard that [Arab] governments and political parties had jointly formed committees to organize them, and in some Arab countries, senior officials marched in the front line. I ask: Why don't these officials hasten to protest the terrible state (indeed, the absence) of basic services in their countries, which have no health, education, or [social] services. [These countries] are below the poverty line (and beyond disgrace). They are all preoccupied with Palestine, and with the slogan 'No voice is higher than the voice of battle'…"
"Here I ask again: Why don't these [senior officials] undertake to teach the people about the importance of contributing to improve education, health, and social [welfare] services in their countries? What would have happened if, from 1948 onwards, every Arab country had dedicated itself to domestic construction and not made the Palestinian problem its main preoccupation and relentless concern? Wouldn't this have been more useful than expenditures for establishing and equipping armies [only] for the purpose of enjoying a military parade from time to time? What would have happened if every Arab country had concentrated on educating its citizens and improving their standard of living in the areas of physical and mental health and culture?…"

…"Has the Arab League ever called an Arab summit to discuss the state of education in the Arab world? Japan complains of decline in its standard of education; the United States has made education one of its main election campaign issues; and European leaders have met innumerable times to discuss what they consider an educational disaster on their continent…"

"This [Arab] nation needs a calm, rational dialogue, far from the spotlights, in which the participants would not be preoccupied with composing letters of gratitude and support to the leader of the host country – a dialogue with only one question on its agenda: Why have we become backward?" …

…A society that lives in a state of internal fear avoids investigating its causes [and avoids] acquainting itself with and opening up to the cultures of others. [Such a society] can never make peace with itself and will never be able to hand down positive achievements to the [coming] generations."
"A society that lives in a state of secretiveness and seclusion and hastens to blame others for its catastrophes cannot escape from being encased in its shell and from the web it has woven for itself through its passivity and its false claims and fantasies. Societies that have overtaken us in every sphere are neither embarrassed nor ashamed to expose their nakedness to others – and it does not harm them. On the contrary – by doing so, they try even harder to shed the complexes and residues of the past…" it all


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