Lost credibility [Archives:2004/743/Viewpoint]

June 3 2004

Some say that credibility is the most valuable thing and that no-one can ever afford to lose it. Credibility is also a source of pride that makes a person live with dignity and respect. Credibility can also save your life in times of danger. The “Wolf Wolf” story, no matter how simple and common, is still quite strong in defining the importance of credibility. That is why I feel credibility is a must for each person, people, and country.
Talking about credibility of countries, it is not difficult to see that the US has lost most of it because of the war on Iraq. Today, not many people would deny the fact that the Iraq war was not based on weapons of mass destruction. Many people would also not doubt that the US administration uses double standard strategies when it comes to Israel and the Arab world. Again, a lot of people will agree that the US does not apply the laws to its citizens when it comes to war crimes and cruelty against prisoners of war.
This is why it is important for the US to realize that its credibility is almost lost in the world arena, and many years will have to pass before it regains it in full once again.

On the other hand, it is not the US that lost its credibility. Our Arab leaders have lost their credibility and in fact legitimacy a long time ago. By not standing up for the expectations of their people and by issuing quite mild statements that do not represent a fraction of the ambitions of the people, they are in fact not credible to their nations.
It amazes me to see how Arab leaders pay little attention to the fact that surveys reveal very low expectations from the summit they held. It is yet another example of the truly low level of credibility they enjoy among their peoples.
It is also ironic to see that some Arab leaders prefer to be credible to other powers in the world more to being credible to their people. In some instances, those governments would in fact act violently against their own people to satisfy a foreign administrator. This is a clear sign of the unprecedented level of credibility loss among Arabs.
It is only pathetic to see that little has been done to attain more credibility by Arab leaders in the last decade. In fact, calls for peace and justice for the Palestinians suffering under Israeli oppression have never ended, but when we come to real deeds we see nothing.
A lot of talk and little action has become of the features of our present leaders, and makes their future words and statements of little importance for the regular Arab citizen. “We heard it before, and we will hear it again, and we are fed up of it” is what many Arabs think when looking at Arab leaders talking in summit after summit.
But Arab leaders are not only the ones who are not credible any more. There are so many clerics and high-ranking officials that have disappointed their people for their passive role in the last decade. Their credibility is almost lost -if not totally lost- in front of millions of Arabs throughout the world. There is a tendency to believe that they have let their people down when not coming strong against their leaders, possibly out of fear.
In total, credibility nowadays has become a rare human value that many do not enjoy. It is a valuable feature that once made the Muslim world strong and distinct. But now it is the very same value that made us weak and oppressed.
As Muslim nations, I hope that we will regain our credibility once again soon.