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Author Topic: Edward Said on Arab Weakness
al-Qa'bong
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posted 21 May 2003 03:19 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
How does it feel for a Palestinian to watch a second-rank leader like Abu Mazen, who has always been Arafat's faithful subordinate, embrace Colin Powell and the Americans when it is clear to the youngest child that the road map is designed a) to stimulate a Palestinian civil war and b) to offer Palestinian compliance with Israelo-American demands for "reform" in return for nothing much at all. How much further do we sink?
link
quote:
despite their many divisions and disputes, the Arabs are in fact a people not a collection of random countries passively available for outside intervention and rule. There is a clear line of imperial continuity that begins with Ottoman rule over the Arabs in the 16th century until our own time. After the Ottomans in World War One came the British and the French, and after them, in the period following World War Two, came America and Israel.

From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 21 May 2003 10:36 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This part is very important:
quote:
As a digression, I might mention here that when I read last year's United Nations Human Development Report on the Arab World, I was struck by how little appreciation there was in it for imperialist intervention in the Arab world, and how deep and long-standing its effect has been. I certainly don't think that all our problems come from the outside, but I wouldn't want to say that all our problems were of our own making. Historical context and the problems of political fragmentation play a very great role, which the Report itself pays little attention to. The absence of democracy is partially the result of alliances made between Western powers on the one hand, and minority ruling regimes or parties on the other, not because the Arabs have no interest in democracy but because democracy has been seen as a threat by several actors in the drama. Besides, why adopt the American formula for democracy (usually a euphemism for the free market and little attention paid to human entitlement and social services) as the only one? This is a subject that needs considerably more debate than I have time for here. So let me return to my main point.

A great deal of effort goes into blaming the Arabs for their problems without taking into account imperialist interventions that are ongoing. Dream Palace of the Arabs, my foot!

From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 21 May 2003 10:53 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I have been thinking of this a lot lately and must say the Arab world is a conquered world.

We could not fathom an alien army invading a western European nation without immediately uniting all western nations against what would be a common foe.

Yet, this is exactly what happened in the Arab world. An alien force, for ten years, wreaked havoc on an Arab population while sister Arab nations watched. The Palestinians are prisoners in their own land while Arab neighbours offer cold comfort and little else. When that alien force finally unleashed war against a weakened Arab nation on the flimsiest of pretexts, in violation of international law and without even a shred of international legitimacy, the Arab world aquiessed offering mild condemnations while at the same time providing their lands as bases. Bowing and watching the floor, they offered carefully worded rebukes, so fearful of offending their master.

And now the eyes of the invader turn to Syria and Iran and the Arab nations are silent. Their armies are used not to defend Arabs but to repress those who would protest.

This is the behaviour of not just the colonized. But the comfortably clonized. The despotic rulers of Arab peoples, monarchists and dictators, are beholden to the wealth not of their people or their culture but of foreign interests.

Before Arabs can stand up straight and assume their rightful place of dignity on the world stage, their governments must go.

In my opinion, any way.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 21 May 2003 11:08 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Wonderful sytheses, Said's and WingNut's both.

And fierce, and sad.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Justice
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posted 21 May 2003 11:49 AM      Profile for Justice     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You can not stick Israel in to that same line. What do you want the Jews to do? Would you like them to go back to Germany and Poland where they were burned? To Russia where they were looted slaughtered and beaten to Iraq, Iran, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt Where they were forced to practice their faith in secret. To France where they are beaten and synagogues burned, To Ethiopia where they are on the verge of starvation and humanitarian crisis. To Spain where they were kicked out 500 years ago also because they were unwilling to change their faith. To Argentina where synagogues are bombed where Nazi devils hide where an economic crisis is in the midst.

Talk about being a refugee talking about having imperialist take over your land. The Jews have suffered from this for nearly 3000 years constantly. The Arabs maybe a hundred the ottoman empire was tough on the Armenians, The Christians and Jews. 1.5 million Armenians slaughtered by the Turkish Empire. Kurds fight for independence but no that’s out of the question for turkey or Iraq. What does the Ottoman Empire have to do with the Palestinians wasn't there peace in the holy at that time till the British came???

Once again a hundred years verses 3000 years and you call the Israelis imperialist. Talk about being a refugee talk about grand parents who were refugees talk about fighting for your independence and right to exist.

It would all end with the end of radicalism when the innocent and the righteous more moderate Arabs prevail over the radicals grasp.


From: Toronto | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 21 May 2003 12:02 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I see this as another chapter. Jews and their suffering were used as pawns, and now some of them have become complicit in the conquest of Arab lands. I'm sorry, but a million years of suffering does not legitimize the current situation.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 21 May 2003 12:09 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
First of all, Edward Said is not anti-Jewish. He and Israeli musician Daniel Barenboim have worked and written together on music and culture against all forms of hate. I posted a link to a Guardian article about those two gentlemen a while back, on a topic here about Jews and Arabs co-operating. (Think Mishei started it, if I recall).

Your rant is quite over the top, but a couple of things to point out.

A remarkable number of Jews have returned to or settled in Germany. The Jewish population in Germany (German Jews who survived the Holocaust, DPs who stayed on after they sought refuge in camps in occupied Germany and newcomers from the former Soviet Union and Eastern and Central European countries) has topped 100.000 and continues to grow, it has the highest growth rate of any Jewish community in the world. Progressive Germans very much support the re-establishment of a Jewish community, not only to atone for the evils of their grandparents' generation, but because they recognise the huge Jewish contribution to German culture.

What you say about France is utter crap. You are referring to a handful of anti-semitic incidents that have been roundly denounced by virtually all social and political forces in that land. French Jews are highly integrated into that society - just look at the names in Le Monde, etc. practise their faith freely - or like most French people of any origin, don't practise it freely , and have all community resources and great kosher cheeses .

I have very close friends of Jewish origin in Argentina. They love their country and want only to live there like all other Argentinians. The economic crisis targets everyone, not specifically Jews.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 21 May 2003 12:17 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
and have all community resources and great kosher cheeses

hee hee hee...foodie!


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 21 May 2003 10:07 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Does Edward Said have a doctorate? I could swear I saw someone refer to him as Dr. Said once. Just curious.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 21 May 2003 10:32 PM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Great post Wingnut. Seriously. But I can't resist...
quote:
Before Arabs can stand up straight and assume their rightful place of dignity on the world stage, their governments must go.
Yep, one down and...is that 13 or 15, to go? Can't remember. Perle and Team are hard at work regardless. Go Team.

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WingNut
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posted 21 May 2003 10:58 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

[ 21 May 2003: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 21 May 2003 11:56 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by DrConway:
Does Edward Said have a doctorate? I could swear I saw someone refer to him as Dr. Said once. Just curious.

I don't know if you're kidding, but yes, Said is a professor at Columbia.

And SHH, I suppose the "dignity" part of Wingy's post got lost in your pep rally?


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Justice
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posted 22 May 2003 02:46 AM      Profile for Justice     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
All I said is you can't stick Israel in with the imperialists. I'm not criticizing Edward Said I don't know much about him. I'm criticizing that specific remark.

On the point of Argentina and France anti-Semitism is against Jews its always existed and sadly as we all no old habits die hard. I'm grateful for the progress that been made no it doesn't justify the situation in the mid east it also doesn't contradict the need and the right for Israel to exist along side a Palestinian state For more details on the this issues and my personal opinion Laggata please read my long post on the following thread :More murder/suicide bombings II

[ 22 May 2003: Message edited by: Justice ]

[ 22 May 2003: Message edited by: Justice ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 22 May 2003 03:48 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by al-Qa'bong:
I don't know if you're kidding, but yes, Said is a professor at Columbia.

I honestly wasn't sure. Though I was under the impression that Dr. Said was in Lebanon or thereabouts rather than the US.

Mental fuzziness is bad mojo.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 22 May 2003 06:49 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
No, Justice, I won't read your post in the other thread. It is too long and full of run-on sentences. What you say about France is ridiculous, as any of my Jewish friends there would concur.

Doubt you know anything about the country. Do you even read French?


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Stockholm
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posted 24 May 2003 10:51 AM      Profile for Stockholm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It sesms to me that being Jewish in France is a lot safer than being a Jew in Israel. Look at all the deaths from suicides bombs and military operations in Israel (not to mention the crazy drivers). In France, there have been a very incidents that have mainly consisted of poor Jewish and Muslim Moroccans and Algerians having brawls in run down areas of the Paris suburbs. It is comparable to Serbs and Croats beating each other up in Mississauga during the war in the former Yugoslavia.

Why would anyone Jewish or otherwise prefer to live in a dump like Israel if they had the choice of living in a glorious country like France. The food, the wine, Paris, the cote d'azur, the lush green countryside, the high standard of living, the ability to escape living under neo-fascist religious laws that people have to live under in Israel (ie: not being allowed to buy pork, not being able to take a bus on a Saturday etc...).

If i were Israeli and I was offered the right to live in France I'd be on the first flight!


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
DaddySno
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posted 24 May 2003 11:18 AM      Profile for DaddySno     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
France might not be a good place for them

quote:
Today, as tens of thousands of protesters against the American-led war took to the streets in Paris, 5,000 police officers and a team of marshals were stationed alongside them. Their goal was to prevent a repetition of an event during last Saturday's march in which protesters marching with a pro-Palestinian group attacked members of the left-wing Zionist youth group, Hachomer Hatzair. The group said two members were beaten with metal bars and treated for injuries at a hospital.

Banners at recent demonstrations have shown the Star of David intertwined with the Nazi swastika.

Today, marshals in white caps struggled, with limited success, to keep the protest free of racist and anti-Semitic symbols and messages. One marshal seized an American flag that bore a swastika where the stars should be; another took away a sticker that showed the swastika, the Star of David and an equals sign between them.

But even as protesters hung a huge banner that read "No to racism and anti-Semitism" on the Place de la Concorde near the heavily guarded American Embassy, one huge banner read "Hitler, Bush, Sharon, in the name of God we kill." .

Young French Arab teenagers from the poor suburbs chanted slogans pledging war and martyrdom in the name of both Palestinians and Iraqis and against Israel. "We are all Palestinians, we are all Iraqis, we are all kamikazes!" chanted one group of teenagers, no older than 14 or 15, from the suburb of Garges-les-Gonesses. Others chanted: "We are all martyrs! Allah-u Akbar! God is more powerful than the United States."

Both boys and girls wore the Palestinian scarf known as the kaffiyeh. One Moroccan-born man stepped on an image of the Israeli flag. Another French Arab pointed to a group of protesters from a Jewish student association, and said: "They are targets. They are not welcome here because of what they did to our Palestinian brothers."



From: Potissauga | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Stockholm
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posted 24 May 2003 12:00 PM      Profile for Stockholm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
All of which proves my point, the very little if any anti-semitism among REAL French people. The problem is Arab immigrants and Jewish immigrants who are fighting a proxy of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians on French soil. For many years Protestants and catholics in canada used to beat each other up over what was going on in Ireland.

This would all end if countries had strict laws barring people on their soil from having any involvement in foreign conflict. If i had my way it would be illegal for anyone on Canada to give money to EITHER side in the Middle East conflict and i would also make it illegal to even express support for one side or the other. If people want to joing to "struggle" in the Middle East then let then go and live their and leave us out of it. We are not interested in having fanatics from both sides use our country as a battle field. If you want to live in Canada (or France) leave your petty old world conflicts behind and focus on defending Canada from US encroachment.

The posting above says that two Jews were beaten at a protest march in France. this is very sad, but considering that several hundred Jews in Isreal were blown up by suicide bombers in Isreal in the past year - it still seems clear to me that France is a much safer place for a Jew than Israel.


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 24 May 2003 12:14 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, a sourceless quote. That has a lot of credibility, eh?

I have many Jewish friends in France, or as the more irreligious of them would say, 'Français d'origine juive'. Guarantee that a Jewish person faces far less danger in France than in Israel these days, and enjoys an excellent quality of life.

The incident in which members of a progressive Jewish group at a peace demonstration were attacked by Muslim fundamentalist-influenced youth was deplored by all. It is not true that marshalls have had 'limited success' in controlling such racist acts. Marshalls at subsequent protests were specifically assigned to prevent any further acts of this nature. All progressive, human rights and anti-racist groups in France take what they call 'communautarian violence' very, very seriously.

What on earth is 'anti-semitic' about modifying a US flag by replacing the stars with a swastika - unless one believes in the far-right canard of the ZOG, that the US government is secretly controlled by an international Jewish conspiracy? It is simply because Nazis and their symbols remain as a benchmark for evil and the protestors were denouncing war crimes committed by the US. Nothing to do with Jews.

And I suppose protestors should refrain from attacking Sharon because he is Jewish and Israel calls itself a Jewish state? That is really confusing issues.

Most protests about Middle Eastern issues, here and in France (I've attended several in France) ban anything that connects the Star of David, even on the Israeli flag, with the swastika, but the reason for that particular ban is that the Star of David is not just the national symbol of a specific state, but the symbol of a religion, and above all because the Nazis forced Jews to wear yellow Stars of David.

Anti-racist groups are working hard in France to establish dialogue between Frenchpersons of Jewish and Muslim/Arabic origin - as Stockholm says, a lot of both of these groups come from the same North African countries (mmm chackchouka, couscous, tagines...). It is not a question that is shunted aside and considered unimportant. But Jewish people in France tend to be mightily pissed off about US-based campaigns comparing the current situation to the Vichy regime and confusing the pathetic acts of disaffected youth with a concerted, state-sponsored hate campaign.

The real danger to Arabs, Jews and people of colour in France is posed by the far-right National Front. Protests against that last year were huge and involved many sectors of the population.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
DaddySno
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posted 24 May 2003 12:25 PM      Profile for DaddySno     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
lagatta, here's the link to the non-credible quote :

you need to register


From: Potissauga | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 24 May 2003 01:23 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thanks, Daddy. Just remember to say what source you are quoting, if you can't provide a link.

Stockholm, I agree with most of what you say, except a ban on protests in France in support of a national, ethnic or other group in the Middle East as that would be extremely undemocratic. Quite different from the idea of a ban on funding political factions or states.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 30 May 2003 02:22 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Failure in modern Arab state-building also extended to the unattained big dream of Arab unity. Arab politics became stuck between these two failures. Some Arab countries found non-Arab allies to protect them, while others remained mired in this situation and sought to achieve some tactical gains that proved in recent years to be more of a burden than an asset. As a result, the Arab world became ripe for foreign interference and conquest, in the name of security cooperation or fighting terrorism. The Arab environment became fertile for the growth of extremism, despite material and infrastructural achievements by some countries.

What the Iraq War Tells us About the Arab Condition


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 06 June 2003 04:24 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Time to rid ourselves of the victim mentality

With the recent pain and suffering in Iraq, the Arab world must beware of the strengthening of its greatest of enemies: the victim mentality. Centuries of foreign rule must be responsible, to a large extent, for a victim mentality in the deepest recesses of the collective Arab psyche. Though the Middle East has produced the oldest civilizations in history, no region of the world has been occupied by unassimilated foreign powers as frequently, or for as long. The lack of self-rule for so long must have deposited some deep scars within its psyche. At any rate, whatever its causes, the region’s habitual inward focus on the injustices it has suffered on the hands of foreign powers, and its ensuing anger and cynicism, must be turned around to a more active and positive outlook if it is to grasp any opportunity for a freer and better life.
Unfortunately the Arab media often make this turnaround far harder to achieve. Just compare America’s tactful and tactically correct avoidance of any graphic exposure of the personal sufferings of her men and women, such as the battered Jessica Lynch on the one hand, and, on the other, the Arab media’s insistent elongation of camera exposure of Iraqi and Palestinian bloodied bodies and suffering faces.
While America cried “foul” when Saddam’s army exposed American prisoners of war to the camera, and threatened that this act violates human dignity and the Geneva Convention, Arab cameras searched for misery and played its images far longer than necessary.
Clearly, such selling of the personal sufferings of the wounded is partly meant to raise world public opinion against America. More importantly still, it seeks to tap the rich resources of Arab anger and frustration, and to unify them against the American intruder.
Little, however, do the media realize that the people they hurt most are the Iraqi and Arab public who identify with the represented sufferings. Of-course, the pursuit of truth is a sacred duty and right. But the media’s excessively detailed and prolonged exhibition of the wounds of the injured or even dead, demonstrates a lack of feeling for them, as well as a utilitarian attitude that strips them of their privacy and dignity and turns their suffering into a crude tool for public opinion.
Furthermore, everything in life has an order, including the human psyche. When the negative experience of pain and loss is enclosed within the larger framework of a constructive general purpose, or at least a search for a way to overcome suffering and achieve a better life, a positive state of mind will be preserved among the people, even under the harshest of circumstances.
True heroism can emerge, and problem solving will take precedence over frustration. But when the camera insists on focusing attention on suffering in the absolute, without a larger and more positive framework, it encourages feelings of depression, frustration, helplessness, low-self esteem and anger.
Anger can only destroy. It cannot build. It can produce unrest and Sept. 11 scenarios. It can also be used to produce home-grown tyrants. But it cannot solve problems or generate a better future.
Many have been surprised that the so called “Arab street” has not exhibited more uprisings and violence. Perhaps it is not just fear from reprisal. Perhaps the answer lies in people being fed up with anger-politics. Perhaps those in power themselves, even opposition leaders, are more aware than before that encouraging collective rage will probably be counter-productive. Anger-politics in the Arab world has already produced a long list of coups d’etat and regime changes that failed to offer the liberty and better life they had promised.
Typical of the flagrant ironies that history so loves to play on us, only by the removal of the “Resurrection” party from power does Iraq perhaps have a chance at a new life. “Choose-me-as-your-leader-because-we-both-hate-the-same-thing” no longer sends as powerful a message as it used to. Although this message is still all-too-frequently played in the religious world, it is doomed to failure, if only for the simple reason that it leads to destruction, but not to construction, and the Arab world is so weary of destruction.
One of the main roadblocks to the Arab world’s ability to build a positive outlook that overcomes the victim mentality seems to be the lack of agreement among its different governments. But multiplicity of outlooks is only natural, and, though many might disagree, the absence of agreement is better than agreement based on common anger or hatred. Indeed, it is always possible to find mutual interests when there is intellectual and emotional freedom among the concerned parties.
The true problem underlying Arab disagreement is the lack of such freedom. The Arab nations are still hampered by the tyrannical way of thinking to which their populations have been subjected for too long. Tyranny thrives by imposing its ideas on everyone else, and anger-politics, which complements tyranny, thrives on dubbing others as “traitors” when their ideas are different. So, mistrust remains not only among the different governments, but more importantly among the whole population. Without an intellectually and emotionally safe environment neither people nor governments can be sufficiently candid to come to terms with each other.
No people scared to think differently can be free. As long as others, whose experiences and particular circumstances have given them a different way of thinking, run the risk of being called traitors, the Arab world cannot turn its collective attitude from the passive lamentation of its victim condition to a constructive and responsible problem-solving attitude. The question is, how much more destruction, hopelessness, low self-esteem and frustration do the Arab and Islamic worlds have to go through before the lessons are clearly learned? They cannot afford much longer because they are standing at a crossroads. There are encouraging signs that steps in the right direction will be taken, but the danger of taking the wrong steps is still so great.

Marcelle M. Khoury, a Jordanian-Lebanese specialist in medieval literature, wrote this commentary for The Daily Star



From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged

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