The Middle East, the West and the rest – embarrassingly dishonest
Earlier today an official of the South African government was asked: “what about the situation in Libya?” . Answer: “we must ask them to be as calm as possible.” One can hardly believe one’s ears in a situation where comrade Gadaffi again has shown his true colours of cruelty, as he apparently callously ordered security troops to shoot demonstrators indiscriminately, and at this point in time we know that at least 250 persons have been killed by his own forces. During the last few years democracies in the west have cosied up to Gadaffi and struck all sort of deals. Tony Blair of the UK paid a visit to Libya which led to far reaching friendship relations in 2004.
Egypt has finally got rid of its president for more than thirty years, Hosni Mubarak. But he was to the very last supported by the USA. Obama’s envoy advised that he should be allowed to stay on for negotiations. But the Egyptian people, who have demonstrated an enormous sense of peaceful, democratic direction, were fed up with a man who had enriched himself at the expense of his people, probably to the tune of something like ten billion USD. It is embarrassingly dishonest to guarantee the upkeep of a regime that is so corrupt, but the US did and for a long time. The reason of course being Israel, Egypt having become almost the sole friendly nation with Israel in the region ever since the time of the great president Anwar Sadat, brutally murdered by more fundamentalist inclined Muslims.
We all have been caught up with the never ending conflict between Palestine and Israel and did not pay much attention to the suffering of other people in the region, who consistently have been denied their basic freedoms of expression and political affiliation. Now people are speaking their minds in the one nation after the other and voting with their feet. The impressive thing is that this has happened, not because of great efforts from the so called old democracies, which, to judge from their behaviour, could not have cared less, but thanks to the people themselves who are taking their fate in their own hands and so far have proved that it is possible to achieve change with a democratic mind and with peaceful means.
A lasting stigma is the fact that we, who claim that we care for justice and peace in this world, have been so blatantly indifferent to the plight of people in these nations. In addition I like to add that we also have to pay for this in terms of the never ending conflict between Palestine and Israel. I am absolutely convinced that with a firm democratic development, that now may become a reality in the Middle East the issue of peace between these to enemies may be dealt with constructively. Allow all the neighbouring states to play a role in the process and let other far off players, especially in the West, in particular the US, stay away. A democratic mindset in these states will immediately give Israel a new sense of security. None of the neighbours will ask for her annihilation. They all have to get used to the fact that they must live together in the region. Having achieved that stage it will also be possible to dismantle the barrier/wall of 8 metres, ensure that Israel withdraws from a number of key settlements on the West Bank and start a new peace process. It is not necessary here to go into detail. Enough is to say that the radically changed political landscape in the Middle East provides new hope in an age old conflict. The end result surely, even if that will still take long, will be a common state for these two peoples, with deep common roots, Israel and Palestine.