by Abubakar N. Kasim
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
President Obama and his allies are caught off guard. He perhaps does not know what to do. He, along with other leaders, did not expect the situation in Egypt to go out of hand in such abrupt manner and to have the Jin escape from the bottle.
They took the people of Egypt and Tunisia for granted – as submissive followers who would bow down to their leaders in spite of being spat at, humiliated and persecuted from birth to the grave.
They have underestimated the will of these people.
They thought that the Arab man has no feelings. He is numb and will do anything his leader would tell him to do as a cow that follows the orders of its master.
Mr. Obama is trying to gather his thoughts quickly, face the camera and choose his words carefully in response to the situation in Egypt.
He is trying to articulate his feelings and put it into words. He probably thinks that he is dreaming.
“This can’t be real,” he might be telling his cabinet and security intelligent officers.
Should he bless the massive protest of Egyptians and applaud their courageous move for standing up against the dictator? Or should he side with the dictator and say to hell with democracy and freedom?
Canada’s Stephen Harper, on the other hand, might be hiding in the closet not knowing what to say that would make sense.
His job was much easier when George W. Bush was in power.
Whenever an issue had erupted around the world, he used to wait until he hears what Mr. Bush had to say about it. Then, he used to repeat almost word per word in mimicking Mr. Bush’s statement.
Things are quite difficult for him now as he has to think for himself.
The leaders of the so-called free world should not play smart in the current uprising in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere and act as if they were innocent.
They are guilty and share the blame for the deteriorating situation in the Middle East.
They share the blame, perhaps more than dictators themselves.
While preaching democracy on one hand, they used to support these dictators despite knowing that such leaders have blood on their hands.
If the dictators of the Middle East were to be put on trial in a just court, the western governments would have been called in to the witness box to answer for their participation in the crime.
They would have been held responsible for the unconditional support they have given to those cold-blooded regimes whom have massacred their own people, taken away their rights and stolen the country’s resources.
They have compromised everything they have believed in and supported ruthless leaders out of material gains.
It is astonishing of why an educated and intelligent leader like Mr. Obama did not foresee the danger that was going to happen as a result of the oppression of these people by their leaders. It is surprising that an intelligent man of his calibre who was known as a president of hope to have done nothing until the situation has escalated in such a dramatic level.
Despite the complexity of the situation, there is still hope to contain the fire and extinguish the rage that is about to get out of control.
The jinn can certainly be brought back into the bottle if and only if the leaders of the western world especially the United States start acting responsibly.
As Egypt is facing chaos on its street, other countries in the region might and the result would not be promising.
What is needed the most is not F16 to put things under control.
A high level of honesty from the western governments towards the Middle East is needed in order to regain the trust of the people – the trust that we have lost.
The west needs to admit its past mistakes. It ought to admit its guilt in its blind support of the dictators. It also needs to start respecting the people of the Middle East in treating them with dignity and respect.
The west needs to be willing to respect the will of such people even if they choose an unpopular political party to govern their affairs. It should not impose its will and cut ties when the people if they make a wrong choice in electing a party we don’t like.
Respecting the will of the people is the key element that can bring a difference in the current turmoil.
It also needs to conduct itself honourably towards the crisis between Israel and Palestinian people. It should not take sides but act as an honest broker.
The media in the west also need to stop is hysteria over certain groups such as the Brotherhood of Egypt or Hamas. We need to take dramatic steps and change our way of dealing with that region.
The hysteria that is being orchestrated by the media in the west about anything to do with Islam is not helpful. A faith of more than 1.2 billion followers is not a threat to the security of the planet. Extremism which exists in all faith communities is the real threat.
Only then, can the damage be controlled and the destruction and mayhem is kept to a minimum. But otherwise, the chaos will likely spread. As yesterday was Tunisia and today is Egypt; tomorrow will be another country and the madness will never stop and everyone will be affected. If that region burns into flames, the entire planet will feel its effect.
A different approach is needed from the west towards the people of the Middle East. The will of people ought to be recognized and the hysteria that is being built in the media must cease and desist.
Abubakar N. Kasim