Times 2

The Arab Revolution deals a blow to 'Project Israel'

By Hameed Abdul Karim

Hilary Clinton's message that the US wants to make Egypt a model democracy in the region seems like as if it's yet another pitch to keep the country as a satellite state that it was under the 'moderate' dictator Hosni Mubarak.

During all those thirty years under Mubarak and a dozen or so years under Anwar Sadat, the US didn't care so much as a hoot for the suffering of the Egyptian under the brutal tyranny of the US's favourite dictators. And the US heaped praise for protecting their interests and for keeping the region stable. Stability was the operative word. Now the ruling elite in the US root for democracy in Egypt and that's because the very people they oppressed through Mubarak and his cronies are about to take the reins of power.

To the US about 4.5 million Jews in Israel matter more than the over 300 million Arabs in the region. All these years the Arabs have been treated with contempt in the West largely due to the clever and cunning propaganda that the West's media have dished on a regular basis - undoubtedly a few Arabs have contributed to the negative image with their improper conduct at various times. But by and large Hollywood, which is the US's no. 1 public relations company has churned thousands of movies depicting Arabs as anti-modern medieval people with an insatiable thirst to take a giant leap backwards.

The usual stereotypes of the greedy, filthy Arab with the leery and lecherous grin were drummed into the mindset of the average occident and the rest of the world. Yes, also the hook nose and let's not forget their lust for white women! The rest of the Western media like Time, Newsweek, Readers Digest, New York Times and TV networks like Fox News and CNN chipped in to reinforce the Arab stereotype. The bottom line was that the Arabs were an ignorant people 'living by the grace of God and surviving on camel dung' as the supreme imperialist Winston Churchill described them. They could not be trusted to take care of themselves and so needed Western help to keep afloat. Talk of the White man's burden!

Then came Tunisia followed by 18 days in Egypt that kicked out a 'pro-West moderate Arab leader' and suddenly the world stood up and took notice of the Arabs as they re-claimed their lost dignity. The Arab world will never be the same again.

This is why the U.S. should reassess its polices and place human values above its narrow self interest. This brings us to the Palestinian question. For years now the US has claimed to play the role of an honest broker in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. If the situation was not so tragic, half the Arab world would have died laughing. Anybody with common sense knew this was utter nonsense. But the plutocrats in the US actually believed that the Arab world believed their fib. This self delusion was a result of the myths that are explained above.

President Barack Obama must realise the Salaam Alaikum speech in Cairo won him fans in Egypt. For once the Arabs thought they really had somebody in the White House who empathised with them. But it wasn't long before Obama changed track. A few months later he recognised Israel as a Jewish State which even the 'born-again' cultist presidents like Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and the Bush's didn't dare do. During the Egyptian Revolution he proclaimed more like a preacher than a president that 'Israel is sacrosanct to America' and ended with the usual 'God bless America'.

And now he says he wants to ensure Egypt is blessed with true democracy. Why doesn't he extend the same concern to American satellite countries like Yemen, Morocco, Bahrain, Jordan where the people are clamouring for just that? Or is he playing his favourite game of rhetoric without backing it up with sincerity?

It's best for the US to stop interfering in these countries and for once let the Arabs decide their own fate. The US might regain its prestige among the Arabs if they depart from their Israel centric policies.
Be that as it may, Obama and the US ruling elite must realise that injustice as practised in Israel cannot sustain itself. Neither will the illusion of Project Israel. Democracy and free speech in the Arab world might deal 'Project Israel' a death blow.

(The writer is the Vice President of Sri Lanka-Palestine Solidarity Committee)

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