Arab world’s follies near more reporting [Archives:2004/740/Opinion]

May 24 2004

By Donald Zimmerman
For the Yemen Times

A contributor who wrote to Yemen Times, B. D. Higgs, hit the nail on the head in his article published last month in the Yemen Times, in which he points out the reason why the Middle East is such an undesirable area of the world to live in. Meanwhile, Hassan Al-Haifi made a profound statement in his 4/7/04 editorial when he lambasted the US for its self-aggrandizement of being the land of the “free” and prosperity. When a journalist living in Yemen is arrested for reporting a story in contradiction to the ruling (as opposed to governing) political line (news report in the Yemen Times 4/7/04) where is the freedom in Yemen? This is not only a problem in Yemen but also the entire Arab world. Like Mr. Higgs I have to ask why Mr. Al-Haifi and Mr. Al- Saqqaf do not report on the political follies and shortcomings of the Arab world with the same zeal they report on the follies of the Western world. Is it because they also would be arrested by the government (lack of freedom)? Or is it they are so filled with hatred for the freedom and prosperity of the US (including the all the developed nations of the world)? Whilst I have not studied the Koran in detail, I have not found anything in the Koran nor has any one more knowledgeable than me on the subject shown where Allah does not allow anyone to speak their mind in public without being in fear of violent recourse from another with an opposing view point. When Ayatollahs can freely assassinate political opponents with immunity from legal prosecution, on behalf of the citizens of a nation, who in their right mind wants to live in such a violent repressive environment?
A report in the Yemen times (4/8/04) states that tourism in Yemen is very low due to lack of facilities (hotels, restaurants, restrooms, etc.) in the beautiful historic areas of Yemen. It further states what improvements in facilities are needed to attract the “prosperous” non-Moslem folks of the world to tour Yemen and spend their “prosperity” in Yemen. While prosperity may be distasteful to Mr. Al-Haifi, it appears that other intelligent folks in Yemen do not share his view. It is also apparent from the immigration of Middle Eastern folks to the US and other developed nations that freedom and prosperity are much-desired characteristics of a “nice place to live”. Do you read the comments section of the Yemen Times written by Yemen expatriates? These are doctors, engineers and “prosperous” folks who cannot enjoy the freedoms and prosperity in Yemen they enjoy in England, the US and other European and developed nations. The reason for their living in these nations is the Middle East has through its policy of intolerance for non-Moslem ways remained a poor, uneducated, violent region that does not provide an environment for the level of education and prosperity these folks seek. They all talk about returning someday to Yemen. But their statements imply that they will not return until the region of the Middle East meets their prosperous standard of living and standards of freedom they have become accustom to in the nations you are so quick to condemn. Where would the Yemen Times be today if it was not for the “prosperity”, inventiveness and ingenuity of non-Moslem countries? Writing the paper on papyrus paper instead of on the internet, using feathers and ink instead of computers, spreading the Yemen Times on the back of horses and donkeys instead of trucks, ships, airplanes and the internet?
The Middle East was once one of the most prosperous, beautiful and educated regions of the world 1,500 years ago (is this historical fact not taught in the Middle Eastern schools?), until some folks warped and distorted Mohammed's philosophies to suit their desires and set up the current evolution of events and life style in the Middle East. It is amusing to me how Mr. Al-Haifi neglects to mention this historical fact when talking about the historical collapse of “imperialistic” nations/civilizations.