Our rulers have let us downArabs must take responsibility [Archives:2004/795/Opinion]

December 2 2004

By Galal Al-Mohammedi
For The Yemen Times

Mass media keeps reminding us of the great terrorism of America and Israel against the Arabs.
It's like a great giant which has over-slept for countries. The tragedy continues with lots of victims destruction, and humiliation all over the Islamic world.
It is of the utmost importance to know why the Arab psyche was seriously affected by the legacy of the past, when Arabs were burdened by a series of invasions such as the Crusades, the Moguls, the Mamelukes and Turks on top of the suffering of the present.
These adverse effects are still present in the Arab consciousness today and make lots of people think that the west, and the US in particular, are the only obstacle Arabs have in developing their countries, and the only reason behind every problem. Even in case of divorce, some would believe a kind of western conspiracy is behind it.
The Arab psyche must break the chains of the old sterile thinking that has bound it for so long. It must acquire an awareness of the world around it and interact with it and stop blaming others for out backwardness. This will break down the barrier of helplessness that has kept it chained for so long.
The west, and the US in particular, as a result of their growing financial and moral power since the 1950s has been trying to colonize just like the Romans, the Greeks,, the Tatars, the Ottomans and others did before them. One would have to be foolish to argue that the US has no interest in keeping Arabs under its dominance. It is their right to do what they believe is better for their nations (it is part of human nature).
The basic question that needs an answer is what have we Arabs, or our Arab rulers, done against this attack? One day, we, the Muslims also invaded and occupied Europe for many years for the sake of spreading Islam. We have our religious excuses also. From our stand point we were right, but from theirs we were mere invaders.
Nowadays the situation has changed, and the west has occupied and killed and done whatever it wanted. And it has its own secular and materialistic reasons like spreading democracy, human rights, protecting Israel, fighting terrorism, or whatever. The urgent question once again is, what have we got to do?
Painful as it might be to admit, Arabs have lost their right path and got involved in bilateral disputes. All their strategies are short-sighted, wasteful and foolish. They have no deeper insight to look to the future and make suitable strategies.
To look at any Arab ruler is enough to tell you the real reason of our backwardness and humiliation. They are supposed to help their peoples and stand beside them when in need.
These rulers, on the contrary, play the role of the guard for Israel and America. They are persuading the young men who want to fight Israel and America. These young men have sacrificed their souls for the sake of their nation. Why then have they been stabbed in the back?
These rulers who have come to power on tanks or in hereditary ways are ready to do anything to stay in power. And according to them, the only way to stay in power is to satisfy Americans.
Also, there is the institutional work in making decisions. Look at the Palestinian issue where there is no clear strategy to manage the struggle with the Israelis. We appealed what was refused in the UN decision, regarding dividing Palestine between Arabs and Israelis in 1967 after losing more lands and more people. Then we came in the 1990s during the so-called peace process to ask for 1967 lands and so on, until our ultimate goal has become the withdrawal to the borders as they were then.
In the social aspect: according to the recent report of the UNDP, of 280 million Arabs in the region, 65 million are illiterate. Two-thirds of these are women. One out of very 5 Arabs lives on less than $2 a day. The UN report found that 51 per cent of older Arab adolescents and 45 per cent of younger ones in the 22 countries surveyed, expressed a desire to emigrate, “clearly indicating their dissatisfaction with current conditions and future prospects in their home counties.
According to a census, some Arab countries double their populations every 16 years. Did any Arab country make any plans to confront the consequences of such changes? Undoubtedly, there would be social, educational, economical and environmental problems.
I will not spend time arguing that Arabs under the role of these rulers can not regain their civilization or at least offer something to humanity. Let us stop for a minute and ask ourselves what did we offer for the rest of the world since the beginning of the industrial revolution up until this day? Unfortunately, the answer is almost nothing.
In many cases Arabs rejected the Western inventions blindly just because it came form the west. Then we become the consumers of these accomplishments and inventions. The west, and the US in particular, achieved major accomplishments over the past century.
When will Arab rulers understand that our homes are not their own farms or properties? When will they know that power is not a benefit but a very large responsibility? When will they understand that there is price and costs to be pay for freedom, dignity and honour? And in its truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved and the tree of freedom has to be watered by blood because what has been taken by force will not return except by force.
When will they realize that nobody can give you equality or justice? If you are a man, you take it. Our only hope is you who have a new spirit, a new energy and vision. Don't expect anything from these shaken-hearted rulers because they cannot achieve miracles. We must look to ourselves, and have the will to change.