This blog explores the contemporary political and cultural trends from a distinct perspective
What the Moslem world Thinks
Published on June 6, 2009 By Bahu Virupaksha In Current Events

The venue was carefully chosen and the words well crafted as well as only Barack Hussein Obama can. The US President's speech at the University of Cario will go down in history as the speech that marked the end of an era of hostility in the Middle East and is as important for peace in the region as the Fullton speech of Sir Winston Churchill was in staring the Cold War. If peace could be achieved by making pretty speeches there would be no need for statecraft and dipplomacy. Afterall Thucydides was well aware of this when he wrote of hte Corcyrean Affair, the dispute between Corinth and Athens that really started the Peloponesian War.  The University of Cairo was the home of Ibn Khandun, the most famous historian of the Arab world in the thirteenth century and Barack Obama was certainly in the right locale to give a grand speech. If Sir Walter Scott is to be believed even Sir Richard the so called lion heart, admired the minarets of the Great Mosue near the University.

People from across the World weccomed the speech as it is for the first time that a serving US President has stated unequivocally that the Holocaust was a terrible price to pay for freedom and by implication recognised that the Palestenian Uprising of 1948 called Nakba was also a significant event. Popular iconography has enshrined the horrors of the Holocaust in the minds of people across the world by we have been largely ignorant of the horrors of the Nakba, when a whole people were uprooted and sent into oblivion. This particulat recognition of the moral equivalence between the two horrible events will not go down well with the Israeli Right Wing but will find broad acceptance all over the region. The US President has spoken clearly of the need to put an end to the new settlements that are coming up in the West bank. I think the commitment to a viable two state solution to the problem has been strongly stressed by the President. The Jewish intellectual Gideon Levy has stated that Obama  "walked with wisdom and sensitivity between the Holocaust and the Nakba between Israelis and Palestenians, between Americans and Arabs between Christians, Jews and Muslims. Finally we have a President who is using the immense bully pulpit of the American Presidency to walk the peace talk.

Ecven in Iran the reaction has been muted. With the Iranian Presidential elections round the corner, all the candidates keenly followed what the US President had to say.  While the talk of nuclear negotiations did not occupy much space, the President made it clear that he seeks a new relationship.

The US Administration has begun the long overdue task of redefing itself, reinventing the American Identity as it were in the region. There is a new dawn of peace and I wish that it is sustained.


Comments (Page 1)
on Jun 06, 2009

There is a new dawn of peace and I wish that it is sustained.

That's a lot of wishful thinking Bahu. You give Obama way to credit. I don't agree with your idea that somehow the US is responsible for the lack of peace in the world. And I'm sorry to say that Obama will not be the one to bring peace or even start it, because you can not have peace with a group of people who's only solution to their problem is the destruction, elimination and complete annihilation of their enemies. Obama is weak and is making this country weak and Americans will pay with their lives for this weakness and then we will see just how much peace Obama will bring.

on Jun 06, 2009

 The US President's speech at the University of Cario will go down in history as the speech that marked the end of an era of hostility in the Middle East and is as important for peace in the region as the Fullton speech of Sir Winston Churchill was in staring the Cold War. 

The speech was full of happy thoughts and no new ideas.

He asked Israel to make more concessions and didn't ask the Arabs to do anything. This cannot lead to peace. How could it?

Churchill's speeches brought peace because they pointed out what the enemy did and why we had to fight him. He did NOT just give in completely.

 

 

on Jun 06, 2009

I honestly thought you were being sarcastic when I started your piece.   The US identity doesn't need redefining, my friend.  There is an adage in English that sums up Obama succintly..."Talk's Cheap."  There are many serious events looming over the horizon, when faced with real world crises we will catch a glimpse of the true King Barry.  There won't be any prior administrations to blame for his lack of experience, wisdom, and backbone.

on Jun 07, 2009

There won't be any prior administrations to blame for his lack of experience, wisdom, and backbone.
The speech was full of happy thoughts and no new ideas
Obama is weak and is making this country weak and Americans will pay with their lives for this weakness and then we will see just how much peace Obama will bring.

This is far too alarmist and completely wrong in that Obama is not sacrificing US interests at all.

At least a beginning has been made.

I think you judge the man too harshly. Afterall, he is talking Peace with the Arab/ Muslim world after nearky 5 decades of overt and covert hostility. Let us see how it all pans out.

on Jun 07, 2009

Again Obama deprecated the US on foreign soil. He stated how terrible the US has been to Muslims, yet failed to mention the US life's given for Muslim causes in the Balkans, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia. He's basically accepted Iran as a nuclear power. And like his reverend and grandmother, he threw Israel under the bus. All he really accomplished was to give the extremists new hope. If I were Israel, I'd be preparing my citizens to go it alone. Perhaps were are now seeing the effect of 20 years of listening to Rev. Weight's sermons. The world will not become safer, just less prepared.

on Jun 07, 2009

Leauki


He asked Israel to make more concessions and didn't ask the Arabs to do anything. This cannot lead to peace. How could it?

I thought he asked hamas et al to agree that Isreal has a right to exist and to stop killing Israelis?  Would that not lead to peace?

on Jun 07, 2009

I thought he asked hamas et al to agree that Isreal has a right to exist and to stop killing Israelis?  Would that not lead to peace?

Hamas capitulating might lead to peace, if the PLO also give up their demand to destroy Israel. (I know Abbas and before him Arafat keep saying that they have, but their Arabic speeches say something different.)

But asking them to please play nice won't help a bit.

The thing that brought us closes to peace is the invasion of Iraq. It cut off the PLO's last powerful supporter and financier (apart from the western countries) and hence forced the PLO to become a client of Israel and the west.

Another thing that really brought us a bit closer to peace is Hamas' behaviour towards Egypt and Egyptians. Hamas are well-hated by Egyptians living at the border to Gaza and Israel.

What ultimately will bring peace is either a revolution in Iran or an Iranian attack that obliterates all the Jews. (If the Jews are dead, there won't be "peace", technically, since all the big conflicts will continue and become bigger and only the smallest middle-eastern conflict, the one in Israel will end; but the west won't hear of the other conflicts just like today the west doesn't hear of the other conflicts.)

 

on Jun 07, 2009

And even more important than what he said: what will he do?

What will Obama do when Hamas do not listen to him? Will he finally stop financial aid to Gaza? The US and EU promised to give no aid to Hamas as per Israel's and the PLO's request, but ever since Hamas violently took control of Gaza, aid to Gaza has only increased.

And what if the Jews continue to be born and live in the West-Bank, an area designated "Jew-free" by the UN. What will Obama do then?

(I don't have to ask what Obama would do if Arabs continue to be born and live in Israel, since that has never been a problem like Jews being born in living in the rest of the middle east.)

And finally, not killing Israelis is not enough. Hamas should also be asked to stop killing supporters of the PLO, supporters of any other group, and Christians in general.

I still don't understand why the world screamed "Death to the Jews" when Israel killed 1300 people, most of whom terrorists, while the same world was quiet when Hamas murdered innocent Christians and dissenting Muslims totalling the same numbers.

Obama didn't even address that problem in his speech.

(He did, however, make it clear to Tom Brokaw in Germany that he rejects the media's attempt to compare Israel to Nazi Germany. But he doesn't seem to have much of a spine. He says whatever he thinks people want to hear in whatever country he is in. In Germany though people would have been glad to hear that Jews are Nazis. Takes away the guilt, especially the guilt of having been allied with the Palestinian Arabs during World War II.)

 

on Jun 08, 2009

Again Obama depreca

 

US on foreign soil. He stated how terrible the US has been to Muslims, yet failed to

I think this is not quite true. Obama only stated certain facts and they do not add up to a deprecation of the US.

on Jun 08, 2009

I think this is not quite true. Obama only stated certain facts and they do not add up to a deprecation of the US.

I think he should have mentioned how the US time and again give the lives of their own soldiers to save Muslims, like in Kosovo and Bosnia (from the Serbs), in Iraq (from Saddam and Al-Qaeda), and Afghanistan (from the Taliban and Al-Qaeda).

Then he should have said that the US gets nothing but hatred in return.

He should have said that there is indeed a war between "Islam" and the west and that there will be until "Islam" ends it.

Then he should have announced that he would withdraw all American troops from the Gulf and "Saudi-Arabia" as a positive signal towards Iranian expansionists.

He shouldn't even have mentioned Israel. It's the smallest conflict in the region, it deserves the least attention.

The rest of the speech should have focused on Darfur.

I still think that an African-American President should be the one who actually helps Africans for once. George Bush was fairly good about Africa, but Obama seems to forget the continent again.

 

on Jun 09, 2009

He should have said that there is indeed a war between "Islam" and the west and that there will be until "Islam" ends it.

This equation of war on terror with Islam must end as it only fuels more violence and counter violence. I do not know if Obama can make a new beginning, or that it is too late  even to try, but I do admit that he is making an effort and I say get on with it.

on Jun 09, 2009



Palestinian Uprising of 1948

That's interesting term for the Arab attack on Israel with the goal of "throwing the Jews into the sea".

Who were the "Palestinians" back then anyway?

 



This equation of war on terror with Islam must end



Tell the Muslims.

 

on Jun 09, 2009

I do admit that he is making an effort and I say get on with it.

Funny how many folks think something is just starting now, with Obama. Where was the support in the past?

 

on Jun 09, 2009

Funny how many folks think something is just starting now, with Obama. Where was the support in the past?

Well, I do hope he is not making a "new beginning". I was just getting used to the entire thing calming down after Bush took out Saddam, the PLO's biggest financial supporter, and ended the civil war in Sudan.

If Obama really restarts the conflict, we will be in for another few years after we have been so close to peace now.

 

on Jun 09, 2009

If Obama really restarts the conflict, we will be in for another few years after we have been so close to peace now.

Agreed. Peace always seems close, at least that is what every administration talks themselves into believing. I've heard the boy call wolf so many times, these speeches have no impact. I'm sure if nothing happens Arabs will feel doubly disappointed by the Koran quoting president, and relations will slip farther in their regard. Doesn't he realize their long term memory is only exceeded by the time they hold a grudge?

As for Israel, I can only imagine they haven't felt this alone since 1967. I believe if Obama wanted to visit the Arab countries ( I have no beef with that) he should have stuck directly with relations between the US and that particular country. Instead he fell directly into the trap (due to his lack of experience) Palestinian vs. Israelis debate. And. since Obama is incapable of saying anything that won't bring him applause or make people like him, he set the Arabs up for disappointment and damaged his credibility with an ally. He should keep his alter ego, "Mr. Popular" home before he damages international relations as badly as he accused the previous administration of doing.

Meta
Views
» 131
Comments
» 25
Category
Sponsored Links