The Truth is Bound to Prevail [Archives:2000/48/Focus]

November 27 2000

By: Hassan Al-Haifi
I think my father is going to throw away his pen today, said Fatima, as she looked at her puzzled father trying to figure out what to write for his column this week.
No, that could never happen, he would not be able to sleep if he did not see his space in the paper filled by his words. Besides, he always says that he would be betraying his readers if he missed one day from lashing out at anyone somewhere in this world, said the mother as she sat knitting, while each member of the family was busying himself with something, waiting to hear the announcement of the beginning of the Holy Month of Ramadhan.
The father noticed that he was the topic of conversation: What is this I hear about my pen?
Fatima replied: What is the matter, dad, did you ran out of words to write? That would be the last thing that could ever happen to you!
Her brother who is 15 years old said: You are to young Fatima to talk about my fathers work. You should not come out with any opinions about our fathers work, until; you finish Intermediate School!
Fatima was not pleased at the control function which her brother had given himself: Hay, Hafez, I did not know that we have censorship at the family level also. Or is that a part of the Constitutional Amendments recently passed by Parliament? Dad always writes about democracy and freedom of expression and you come around throwing his words against the wall!
The mother was rather amused by Fatimas activism: Well, at least we can see one member of the family picking up after her father!
The father said while tossing his pen in the air: Hagar, you should be glad that your kids are picking up something, at least from one of their parents. But, going back to what Fatima said, there is no question about it, there is no control over public opinion here, and as long as there is no defamation of character or a break from the code of ethics, your parents have taught you, there should be no barriers against free speech, even if the Constitution has been amended, without any wisdom to reasonably justify such amendments and which significantly represent a retraction of the democratic mode of the country.
Hafez commented: Father, how much is freedom of expression really worth in our country, since we see that a lot of what you write falls on deaf ears! This is not knocking what you write about. On the contrary, it just seems ashamed that so much ink and paper is wasted by you and so many other sincere writers on matters of great importance to our country and our Arab and Moslem nation. If a foreign journalist writes critically about government officials in his country, you will have the whole government and the public in turmoil over the matter, and that public official would be lucky to be able to stay in the country, let alone stay at his job.
The mother entered the conversation again as she changed the thread she was for the striped sweater she was knitting to red: This is probably why you see your father tossing his open around. It is not that he does not have anything to write. He is frustrated because he knows that chances are the Government will do the reverse. Even if he writes on the issues of the Arab or Islamic Nation, he knows that there are powers that do not see eye to eye with the truth no matter how clear and inescapable it is.
Hafez was trying to elaborate on his mothers thoughts: You mean when he writes about Israel or Afghanistan for example,
Yes, said the mother continuing, if you express an opinion against Israel or suggest the erroneous course of American foreign policy in the Middle East, America will not buy any of your words, because the American Zionist lobby exercises so much control over what the American public and government should hear or read, especially when it comes to Israel or the American Jewish community. Yes, we have a problem with getting public opinion recognized at home, but it is even more frustrating that countries, which purport to be democracies, give no weight to Arab journalists or even the facts on the ground, when directing the course of their foreign policies for the area. Even when reporters of those countries have been shot at by Israeli troops, there is a clear bias in the reporting of the events in the area by the Western media, not because of a Jewish lobby in their midst, but because the Americans will insist to that country that it should not allow for such anti-Israeli propaganda to be aired or printed. We have seen even CNN try to tone down some horrible events to make the Israelis look better, because there was some obvious suffering by the Palestinians which should really be abhorred by any civilized human beings, but when the event involves an Israeli, the matter is broadcast repeatedly with an exaggeration of the terrifying aspect of the event, which is nowhere near the terrifying aspects of what the Palestinians have been going through, since Israel was born.
Fatima wanted to show that she was well informed on the topic under discussion: On the other hand, when the Israelis suffer a humiliating defeat, the Israeli lobby in the Western press will pressure the media not to make headlines out of the matter, or better yet not to even mention it. Look at the successful attack that Hizbullah did on an Israeli military motorcade inside Israeli occupied territory in Lebanon last week, in which an armored personnel carrier was blasted to pieces. Despite the fact that Hizbullah had video footage of the attack, there was no mention of it in the Western media. Is not that a limitation on freedom of the press imposed by an unofficial monster that looms over western society, especially in the United States.
Hafez came back into the conversation: Wow there, Fatima, slow down, that is heavy material you are bringing out. Since when have you become an expert on the influence of the Zionist lobby in the western press.
Fatima had an even heavier declaration to make: You should not be surprised if the handicapped elections of the United States are being stalled, thanks to the efforts of the same Zionist lobby that has handicapped American foreign policy in the Middle East. It is amazing that the tactics used by one of the Presidential Campaigns is not dissimilar to that used by the Zionist lobby. Look how they change the election rules of the State of Florida, just so a Jewish American can rise to the position of Vice President. I bet you that had the Vice Presidential candidate been an Afro-American, the matter would have not been so controversial!
The father commented, in amazement: Now, I suggest that Fatima take over my column this week. Where the hell did you learn all that stuff about the intricacies of the American Zionist lobby?
Fatima was beginning to feel proud of herself, but felt that the credit should be shared: Dad, you taught me English, plus I am one of the readers of your esteemed column in the paper.
Hafez remarked: Now there is adulation for you, dad. Fatima is not only as smart as any man is, but the cunning streaks of womanhood are also there in our dear sister. Carry on sister, you will probably be our best lobby with Dad.
Everyone laughed.
The father wanted to clarify some points: Children, no matter how frustrating getting the truth out may sometimes be, it is imperative that those who are able to express themselves speak their minds out. People must not forget that we are not here just to live eat and reproduce. We must all have a mission to deliver. There are times when frustration can really set in on a writer to the point where he will say, Why should I waste my time and loose out, when I can use my pen to further my own well being, but, as Fatima has proven just now, there is really no loss at all in speaking for the truth and expressing what is best for the interest of the public. Someone somewhere out there is reading it and picking the vibes very well. The truth is destined to prevail no matter how long it takes, whether with respect to the Constitutional Amendments or the American Zionist lob. That is the will of God!