|Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
18 - 24 January 2001
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Pax AmericanaSir- After reading Mohammed Sid-Ahmed's article "A role for Clinton beyond 20 January" (Al-Ahram Weekly, 4-10 January), I was pleased that some of us have the ability to see through the veneer of what American foreign policy sees as "peace." Clinton will push the Israelis and Palestinians until they have no choice but to walk out of the White House with at least a small pretence of a smile. Peace in America is seen as an agreement made by two parties, a so-called "fair" play of two opposing sides -- but these sides have to be equal. In the example of Palestine/Israel there is no equality, so the idea of democracy is buried within the lack of information for the American public. What we see here in the media is war and bombings with an exaggerated sense of Palestinian intolerance. Most Americans are not even informed that there are millions of refugees who have been waiting to return to Palestine for decades now. But we still continue to see Clinton as the secular pope, and we believe that he will "save" the world. Unfortunately, the US can do nothing but put signatures on paper and take photographs while the Palestinians suffer in camps without water, jobs or dignity. The US can only play the role of the diplomatic bully, and when Clinton has accomplished his presidential dream of a "peace agreement" with Israel, we will see the images of brutality vanish from our television sets, newspapers, and magazines.
Is it not time to rethink our definitions of peace? Or is there such a thing within the kingdom of American foreign policy?
Mehnaz M Afridi
Los Angeles, California
Rightful restitutionSir- This reader/admirer of Al-Ahram Weekly would like to know why representatives of Arabic culture have yet to think of asking the world community in general and the United States in particular to help the Palestinians receive restitution for their loss of lives and properties at the hands of their torturers, as they have helped the Jews obtain compensation.
I am prompted to ask this question 1) by a question addressed to me by a student I supervise and 2) by the news today that the Clinton administration is closing a deal with Austria, Switzerland, and other countries to compensate the Jews to the amount of $7 billion. This amount is in addition to the billions already justly recovered from the Germans.
Perhaps, yes, perhaps, if Egyptian political writers and journalists undertake to inspire the Palestinians themselves and other victims of Zionist aggression, they would be able to get the ball rolling. Then the region will enjoy lasting peace... just as in Europe?
Khalil I Semaan
Vestal, New York
US duplicitySir- The Gulf War had nothing to do with the freedom of Kuwait. It was to control oil resources in the Gulf and to destroy a strong Arab military power that dared challenge American hegemony throughout the Middle Eastern region. See http://www.tarpley.net/bush24.htm. Quotes from pages 18, 19, 20: "The disputes between Iraq and Kuwait were well-known, and the Anglo-Americans had done everything possible to exacerbate them..." "Anglo-American strategy was thus to use economic warfare measures, including embargoes on key technologies, to back Saddam Hussein into a corner. When the position of Iraq was judged sufficiently desperate, secret feelers from the Anglo-Americans offered Saddam Hussein encouragement to attack Kuwait with secret guarantees that there would be no Anglo-American reaction. Reliable reports from the Middle East indicate that Saddam Hussein was told before he took Kuwait that London and Washington would not go to war against him..." "On July 25, US ambassador April Glaspie met with Saddam Hussein, and conveyed a highly misleading message about the US view of the crisis [...] 'We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflict, like your border dispute with Kuwait.'"
Another source of the duplicity of my government can be clicked on at http://www.flinet.com/~politics/iraq-war/gulf-war.html. The Palestinians at the beginning of the Gulf War saw Hussein as a leader standing up to US-Israeli hegemony in the region, and have been paying for it ever since. Go to http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/opinion/2000/1106/opt6.htm for an Irish Times article of 6 November 2000 ("Intifada damages US Influence in the Mid East"): "The US policy of playing off Arab governments against each other has failed. The Intifada has, for the time being, unified the Arabs and rallied the Islamic world in defence of the Palestinian people and Muslim holy places in Jerusalem."
Donald Charles Rose
Vero Beach, Florida
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