Keep those letters coming in, folks! [Archives:2004/774/Opinion]

September 20 2004

Hassan Al-Haifi
Writing commentary was never a matter of self satisfaction for any serious writer and writing for an English newspaper was bound to be even more of a challenge. This is because English has, for all practical purposes, taken the position of the International language for people to communicate, and transcend all political, cultural and social boundaries. Moreover, generally speaking, those who speak English will have a tendency to be more opinionated and find greater avenues for self expression, especially if they have been reared in an English heritage culture.
With the world getting smaller and more intertwined day by day, events in one region or one place may easily have their repercussions on people thousands of miles away. With the great progress in communications and information flow, people of diversified interests can easily find whatever it is that will satisfy their intellectual curiosity or whatever they feel will broaden their horizons and serve the causes they have become attached to or wish to propagate.
We in the Yemen Times pride ourselves in being a democratic forum for different opinions to be laid out on the current state of affairs of the world and we have welcomed the feedback from our readers from all over the world, without prejudice to their respective views on events or on the material they read in the YT. Common Sense is a commentary that seeks to make the general public opinion of the people of Yemen, in particular and the Arab and Moslem World in general, understood as it is truly felt by the people of Yemen and the Middle East as well as by enlightened Moslems. The observer still strongly believes that most of the people of the Arab and Moslem World are still down to earth believers in the goodness of human nature and the magnificence of their religion as a social redeemer of mankind. In addition, despite the rising aura of so called religious radicalism, most Moslems are not impressed by a lot of the corruptions that have come from a considerable element that have pursued this radicalism. Of course, any deviations that tend to show Islam out of context from the religion's fundamental principles and mores are bound to be viewed with great suspicion by the condescending faithful of Islam and maybe even lobbed as heresy, as far as Islam is concerned.
This observer is not exactly sure what the writer of the last three letters to the Editor under the name of Mike A, who would not even disclose his full name or give a reachable email address, and who obviously expressed a belligerent attitude towards Common Sense, was seeking to convey. Nevertheless, this observer insisted that they be printed, because “Mike A” said we would not dare print his views in his first letter. Of course, this observer has been targeted before by such types of letters, that in the end seem to reflect a systematic clandestine effort by more organized institutional forces that find displeasure in CS for one reason or another. CS is not oblivious to these forces. This belligerent and altogether not so meaningful kind of feedback is very obvious and is not at all sound opinion making from a personal standpoint. Rather, one detects a systematic effort by those who stand behind the pitiful situation in the region to show their obvious displeasure at having commentary that tends to expose their evil intentions not just to readers in Yemen, but to readers within their own constituencies. One only has to look at the three letters of Mike A together (see Issues 772, 773 and 774) to detect the lack of meaningful context or even coherent themes in them and the lack of objective rebuttal to the topics dealt with by the column, which gave rise to such distasteful expression of irrational thought. It is clear that Mike (and those behind him) have not read this column diligently, for they would find rebuttals to all of “Mike's” claims and innuendos. The views of CS on “beheadings” and other forms of terrorism and actions that harm innocent human lives are given clearly and unabashedly in several articles over the last ten years, so there are really no grounds for any effort to associate CS commentary with any applause for such heinous acts. As for CS advocacy of political and human rights and sound government locally, CS is replete with several commentary in this respect and the editor has no reservations about calling a spade a spade when it comes to exposing or countering corruption in Yemen or elsewhere in the Arab World. So to Mike and friends CS finally expresses their appreciation for the interest shown in CS and welcomes any meaningful views for or against. You still have our respect as readers of the YT and your interest in CS is nevertheless welcomed.
On the feedback vis a vis the “American Viewpoint” column, the editors of the YT assure their readers that whatever appears in this column does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the YT or any of its editors or staff. Nor should the column be taken to mean any predominance of views reflected therein. Quite often, Arabs are projected as making up “conspiracy” theories about their sad state of affairs and thus find an easy cop out for their plight. Thus, these conspiracy theories become excuses for Arabs, as these critics would suggest, to remove themselves from responsibility for their own unhealthy wellbeing. However, when there are bona fide Americans (and many others throughout the world) of good standing, and who have dedicated their lives to viewing the world with a greater drive for scrutiny rather than to simply rely on official government or “commission” reports, these advocates or seekers of truth should also have a chance to express their views. Needless to say there is a lot of mystery that is still paramount in the 9/11 and other events that have been allowed to prevail since the beginning of this Millennium and are bound to raise various opinions as to their origin or their intended outcomes. The obvious efforts of the current White House Administration to suggest its absolute right to set the course of public opinion, at home and abroad has given rise to many who feel that this represents a serious breach of American democratic values and a deliberate systematic effort to give legitimacy to the prevalence of a narrower sphere of the American people. They tend to see this sphere as being more dedicated to fulfilling their own agendas (even if under religious colorings) or the agendas of others who have been allowed to influence the trend in American foreign policy too strongly to harmonize with the true values of most Americans. In any event, American Viewpoint is ready to receive the opinions of the left, center and right of the political spectrum in the USA, again as the sole reflections of the opinions of their authors.