Why are our leaders doing nothing? asks the man in the Arab street

  • From: "muslim-news.net" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <news@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 09:20:14 -0000

There is increasing frustration in the Arab world at the failure of the
region's governments to take co-ordinated action to stop the invasion of
Iraq. 
 
A Palestinian author, Edward Said, in an article published in several
Arab papers, described the region as a "panorama of desolation". 
 
What was noticeable, he went on, was "the utter passivity and
helplessness of the Arab world? How can a region of almost 300 million
Arabs wait passively for the blows to fall without attempting a
collective roar of resistance?" 
 
The failure of Arab leaders to convene an emergency summit to discuss
the Iraq crisis has drawn strong media and public criticism. "Here is a
sovereign Arab state about to be attacked by an outside power, and Arab
heads of state can not even agree to meet and talk about it," said Abdel
Bari Atwan, editor of al-Quds al-Arabi. 
 
"The ordinary Arab on the street is asking why it is that the regimes
have done nothing to save the region and its people from attack," wrote
a columnist in the pro-government Jordanian daily al-Rai. "When will the
Arabs decide to make a move to stop the expected war?" wondered the
opposition al-Dustour newspaper. 
 
The opposition Egyptian weekly al-Shaab lamented "the silence that has
fallen on the Arab world". "Despite the enormity of what is about to
happen, no one, neither officials nor the public, has made a move to do
anything about it." 
 
"Are we simply going to sit back and wait for the knife to fall on
Iraq?" asked a caller from Syria to a phone-in on Abu Dhabi television. 
 
Several papers, in their coverage of the recent meeting of regional
foreign ministers in Turkey, highlighted the fact that the only attempt
to work for regional co-ordination on Iraq was taking place outside the
Arab world. 
 
"Some people are saying," a columnist in the pan-Arab daily Asharq
al-Awsat wrote, "that the Arabs are incapable of discussing and dealing
with the Iraq issue among themselves. I believe it is best that we
recognise the truth of this, rather than go on deceiving ourselves." 
 
In the Arab media as a whole there is little confidence in the ability
of the region's leaders, or the willingness of Saddam Hussein, to take
the necessary steps needed to avoid war. 
 
Source:  Daily Telegraph

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