Muslim/Arab/Persian (pick one)
issue/problem/conflict (pick one)
Mr Pdt came out today on Al-Arabiya TV to discuss US-Arab world relations. 1st interview on Arab television, al-Arabiya’s Hisham Melhem, this has to be an event (especially coming from a US pdt, how different). It’s like fresh air. I just hope they take time to listen, let him prove himself and show the new direction he wants to take.
See I take issue with the amalgam people make about muslim and Arab world. All muslims aren’t arabs, all arabs aren’t muslims. If you read part of Obama’s inauguration transcript, I think he could’ve done a better job at separating those 2 worlds. It’s not the muslim World you have a problem with. Now, I’m sure Obama knows that, but maybe it would be a good start to stop spreading that into American media. As muslims, we’re even asked, why don’t you stand up for what you believe and defend your religion against terrorists who want to hijack it. My answer: I don’t feel i have to defend anything because if you only knew better, just a little better, you’d know they’re not speaking for all of us out there, they’re not even speaking for the majority of us out there.. So yes, I’ll educate people when asked about it, but it’s pretty hard to educate people when you spend most of your time defending your position when being attacked (because fighting stereoptypes and prejudice means being defensive everytime you’re asked about it). Now, not to overstate, it’s not like we’re being persecuted. But if you just listen closely to what is being said out there, it’s not a comfortable feeling. I’m confident enough in my faith that it doesn’t bother me in my day to day activities, my faith is not written on my face, and you would’ve thought ignorance would’nt be such an issue by now. But 95% of americans do not know 95% of Senegal is of muslim faith. I guess ignorance is bliss. That being said, I can only imagine a woman walking with her veil in the US or some religious sign accross her chest.
So I applaud him for tackling this issue so early on in his presidency. I guess he’s trying to set the tone Biden, Clinton and Mitchell will have to follow (because god knows he’s going to have to focus on domestic issues: job losses, stimulus plans and market crashes)
Hopefully, the bitterness and pettiness he wanst to kick out of DC, he’ll be able to kick out of that region. What needs to be clear though, which I think he touched on (around 4:10 of the video) is that thought Israel is an ally, they need to bring something to the table as well, and even moderates in Israel agree they’ve been given a blank check these past 8 years.
If you ask me, I’ll tell you straight up, Israel doesn’t have the right to exist. I said it. agree, disagree? That’s my opinion. Now, is Israel’s annihilation a solution? Maybe not given the alliances they were able to built (don’t think the US is the only one, it’s their biggest ally, but they have some in the muslim world and the Egyptian government has been accused time and again to be part of it). I don’t think it’s fair to impose Israel, but if Palestinians want to be better off, then they have to put aside some of the differences. I think the Arab community in the Middle East did a very bad job at building alliances.
Mitchell is a breath of hope. He was very efficient in brokering a sustainable Irish-Catholic peace agreement in Northern Ireland. let’s see where this ends… It’ll be long and it’ll be tedious. But I do think if someone can do it, it’s Obama and we can only go uphill from where the whole matter stands today. It was about time someone thought of reaching out to the ArabMuslim world (I call it that because the conflict is mostly with those who belong to both). It’s only right that in trying to broker a peace deal between two sides, you’d TALK TO BOTH sides. Even during the campaign, you hear talk of Israel all the time but only hear of Palestine as in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. It’s like Palestine only exists in a conflict paradigm.
On my way to work this morning, I was listening to Radio MPR (I use to put on music all the time, but I’m so sick of TPain and Akon every 2 seconds). They had this Palestinian student who lives in the US call and told of the story of his father and deceased brother who died last month in one of Israel’s show of force. Israeli soldiers came into their house, shot the brother and refused for the father to call an ambulance. They made sure to stay until the 18yr old (freshman in college) died in his father’s arms. Worst part is, after the father was able to sneak for a moment and call an ambulance, the soldiers asked the ambulance to turn around. The boy bled to death while the hospital was less than a mile away. The father begged to even let them walk, he would carry his son to the hospital himself, but they refused. It’s such a sad story, but then again it makes you think and wonder how they think they can get away with such behaviors. I’m not discounting that of the Palestinians, by all means, this just all has to stop. Both need to be called back to order and hopefully Obama will and stop with the unfair one sided policies. That is only a recipe for failure.
Here’s a link to the full transcript.