Confusion between having a dialogue and maneuvering [Archives:2007/1050/Opinion]

May 14 2007

By: Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh
Sometimes, it appeals to my mind that the current American conduct, or the conduct of the extremist administration that dominated the White House on a dark and a gloomy day, has left a negative impact on the Arabs, rulers and ruled, with regard to dialogues with each other. One can realize slim exceptions here and there in the Arab land which is overcome by numerous problems and issues.

The conduct followed by the extremist administration at the White House is based on the refusal of dialogue with its opponents. This administration considered dialogue with opponents as a kind of disgrace, degradation, and humiliation. From this point, the western administration only dialogues with its friends or itself.

Through this conduct, the White House violates the simplest conventions of dialogue, which is the basis for dealing with other parties irrespective of their differing viewpoints and orientations. Our dialogue with the White House is merely a simple means for us to get closer to the House or guide us to discover a third way that may help in making it a success.

But, conversing with ourselves and negotiating with those who back us is not considered a dialogue, nor is it valuable in the daily life of people and communities. As mentioned above, it is a dialogue with oneself, which neither changes reality nor adds something to it.

The most important condition of a dialogue is the mutual admission of both parties of the dialogue with difference that persists until the dialogue comes to tackle it. If there is no mutual admission and both parties are convinced, it will be only a maneuver and not a dialogue. The two sides get engaged in this maneuver, however, either party conceals something other than what is announced or announces something other than what is concealed.

The Arab nations have experienced numerous maneuvers in the past two decades of the 20th century, and in more than one place and site. As Arabs, we haven't got rid of the circle of conflicts and disputes that generate new ones. This makes us to go around within an empty circle until an unspecified time. The advanced communities in the world go with fast steps forward, but we go backwards with faster steps. No wise man stops and contemplates on our direction to say to us, “Stop Stop we are going in the wrong direction.”

I confirm that we are going on the wrong path. Rather I say: “Through these words, I don't mean a particular country or a particular social group, but I convey a real picture about all the Arab World from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf. And, between these extremes, there is a nation in a state of fragmentation as if it has got out from a cave where it spent tens of centuries seeing the world around it moving and adding something new to the daily life.

This nation laments its misfortune and its incapacity to confront its enemies. It has no alternative but to be engaged in conflict with its sectarian and ethnical components. During the conflict, it forgets to give answers to a question about its fate, as well as another question, which is “What have we prepared to confront our enemy?”

Now, it is time for people of the unified nation to come together and forget about their internal and national differences. I advise these people to try to do good for themselves in order for the future to remember them. They should start dialogue with themselves before having a dialogue with others, as well as to remember that they are living at the age of plurality and diversity.

If the United States has become tested with an administration that is not different from the bad administrations existing in the third world, this doesn't give us the right to imitate this administration and halt progress toward democracy in its ideal picture, not in its Bushist picture that has been leading the United State toward the remorseful path.

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh is Yemen's prominent poet and intellectual. He is the director of the Yemeni Center for Studies

Source: Al-Thawra Daily