Arab Disgrace & Taliban’s True Autonomy [Archives:2001/35/Viewpoint]

August 27 2001

The outrage and frustration I felt in Yemeni and Arab citizens alike at the results of the latest urgent foreign ministers’ meeting held in Cairo last week convinced me to dedicate this column to describing the situation of Arabs today.
“We are weak. We are dependent on the West in more than a way. We are unable to act promptly unless given permission from the USA. Why should we deny those facts?” said a Palestinian expressing his frustration at the situation of Arabs to one of the Arab satellite channel recently.
The latest developments in the occupied lands in Israel are a very strong indication that Arabs have indeed become extremely weak. Arab solidarity’s weakness has become so evident and undeniable.
The decisions that came out of the conferences were truly disappointing, especially as the conference came out with secret decisions to study the possibility of coordination among Arab states to boycott Israel. But as one observer said, “What else did you expect?” 
Yes indeed! What else did we expect?
The Yemeni side was among the most enthusiastic and excited to create a common vision to boycott  Israel in all ways and stand up strong against the aggressions committed against the Palestinians. Not only did the Yemeni side get disappointed, but according to key witnesses, it also became frustrated because of the calmness and peace of mind felt in some Arab delegation members. “They looked as if the matter does not concern them” one member said.
All in all, the current situation is certainly a disgrace for all Arab nations, who were unable to stand united against the main challenges facing them.
In this particular case, even the Talibans in Afghanistan, whom are called extremists and backward by the West are much better than us. The main reason is that they are not dependent on the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. They are unconcerned with the pressures that the West may exert. There are sanctions against the country, there is misery, there is economic hardship, but there also is pride and dignity and there is a common belief among them that they are free, even if they are not considered to be so by others. At least Talibans can express their views openly without fearing that aid from this country would be suspended, or the political support of that country would vanish. This is why I believe that they are more autonomous than most of the Arab countries of today.
Arab leaders have become quite afraid of any step that could damage their relationship with the West, particularly the super power of the world, the United States of America. Why then do some leaders sometimes bring a strong tone of threat towards the USA and follow that with no deeds whatsoever. This is the time when deeds are appreciated, not talks.
How can we stay idle while watching Palestinians in the hundreds slaughtered and killed and yet do nothing about it? Have we forgettonall  the nationalist slogans of the 60s and 70s?
To come to a conclusion, as long as we continue to beg for economic aid from other wealthy countries, we shall never have the strong and opposing stand against Israel and its allies, including the USA. 
No one can be fooled by believing that the USA is not a supporter of Israel. How can we fool ourselves by believing so if George W Bush says it again and again, “we are allies of Israel in the region, and we will do all it takes to have it secure.”?
This year is truly a disgraceful period in the history of Arabs. History will record this disgrace forever, with Arab leaders as the main reason behind this disgrace.