Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Timely Death of Arab Nationalism

I belong to a Minority in the Middle East. A Religious minority by birth and an Ideological minority by choice. Having been tempted by Arab nationalism in my youth as an alternative to narrow sectarian-minded enterprises with no horizon, I soon came to realize that in practice, far from being a liberating project, it carried in itself the seeds of discord and exclusion.

By its nature Nationalism is defined as much by the in-group as by those who are left out. Despite the best intentions, in the name of this elusive in-group, a number of injustices were committed by Arab countries against the Kurds in Iraq and Syria, the Iranians in Iraq, the Southern Tribes in the Sudan, the Berbers in Algeria and so on. Clearly injustices have been committed in the name of other Nationalisms against Arabs. Zionism being one version of Jewish Nationalism and no one can accuse the Persians of being unpatriotic when many fought alongside a regime they hated in order to defeat the 'Arab invaders' in 1980.The lesson has been learned the hard way. From the Skyscrapers of Dubai to the back alleys of Gaza economical dependence on foreign funds is endemic. Political cretinism on the part of our leaders renders the influence of all Arab states in the wider international community equivalent to that of Fiji. More worryingly their contribution to the advent of war or peace on their own doorstep is negligible.

Still the flag of Arab Nationalism is waved in our faces whenever a repression is underway or an undemocratic process is undertaken. One cannot but feel a sense of guilt even at the thought of questioning the sacred concept. It seems that only by 'murdering' Arab Nationalism will we be able to formulate a better vision for the Middle East, with an Arab dimension at its heart. Not one of defeat and submission but one of inclusion and mutual benefit for all the people of the region.

Who will be brave enough to fire the first shot?!

34 comments:

Golaniya said...

Thanks for posting this, Josef.
I have a question though: who are the "Arabs" who committed these injustices in the name of "nationalism"? and what exactly is this "nationalism" we are talking about?

Correct me if I am wrong, and I might sound repetitive to some here, but socially is it the Sunnis who were sectarian and racist towards the rest, followed by tyrannical regimes who adopted racist policy towards the minority for authorial reasons.

I am not sure if we to blame "Arabism" or "Nationalism" based on those who simply use these terms in their twisted rhetoric. It is like saying love is a myth simply because people misuse it.

It is not the "Arabs", as an ideology, but rather the DNA Arabs, who were unjust, to "both;" their own people and to the minorities.

It is not "nationalism" to blame, but sectarianism, racism and fascism in the "name" of nationalism.

Same with Zionism, I wouldn't use "nationalism" along with Zionism, there is nothing nationalistic about colonialism, and certainly not about occupation. Nationalism is hard to define, it is hard to know what it is , but it is clearer to know it isn't.

Zionism is a preformed in the "name" of Jews for economical interests in the region.

From how I see it, leaders and politicians use the rhetoric that affects most the public, it is not the rhetoric in itself that is problematic, but "approach" and the "methods" used to apply, or not, such rhetoric.

Having said that, I think formulating another version of Arabism comes from not abandoning Arab Nationalism altogether, but rather problematizing it, addressing it in order to come up neo Arabism, and neo postcolonial Arab countries.
I'll save my bullets for the other direction.

Wassim said...

Hi Joseph,
I think expecting that the solution to a problem lies in this or that ideology or set of ideas is probably itself the very root of the problem. It's like arguing about which washing detergent is best when the washing machine is broken.

I agree with Golaniyeh about comparing Zionism with Arab nationalism. One of them is the ideology which drove settlers to the region, the other is attempts by the people of the land to articulate and express their national aspirations. The similarities with Zionism are at best cosmetic.

Razan,
Nice comment about saving the bullets!

To sum up, there is a Quranic verse which is along the lines, "Allah does not change the circumstances of a people until they change what is within their hearts." I think there is something in that phrase that we can all learn from.

Wassim said...

Hi Joseph,
I think expecting that the solution to a problem lies in this or that ideology or set of ideas is probably itself the very root of the problem. It's like arguing about which washing detergent is best when the washing machine is broken.

I agree with Golaniyeh about comparing Zionism with Arab nationalism. One of them is the ideology which drove settlers to the region, the other is attempts by the people of the land to articulate and express their national aspirations. The similarities with Zionism are at best cosmetic.

Razan,
Nice comment about saving the bullets!

To sum up, there is a Quranic verse which is along the lines, "Allah does not change the circumstances of a people until they change what is within their hearts." I think there is something in that phrase that we can all learn from.

Abu Kareem said...

Joseph,

How about redefining it instead of murdering it? not as a political ideology but as a cultural identity that defines a region.

Andre said...

I do agree with Razan and Wassim that the concept Arabism was widely misused by leaders to justify any crazy plan an Arabic leader may want to implement e.g. Saddam Hussain. But why keep holding on Arabism concept when it is clear that it was misused all the time. It is the same ideological position people have with communism i.e. there is nothing wrong with communism but people do not know how to practice it.
i think there is nothing inherently wrong with Arabism as a concept, but it is simply outdated. Nowadays international politics are based on common interests rather than on ideology e.g. Syria/Iran alliance against Iraq. And this strategy has proved to be successful e.g. Hezbollah struggle against Israel, apart from the question if it is beneficial to Lebanon as a country, was a great achievement.
In short, the only way out for Arabism to work is to be the shared interest of all the Arabic countries, which I don’t see it happening in the next 100 years, at least ;)

I think nobody disagree with Abu Kareem that it can be redefined as a cultural identity; what I meant by Arabism here is a political agenda, interests or foreign policy based on Arabism.

Wassim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andre said...

i think people tend to confuse Arabism with anti-Zionism/anti-imperialism, since the latter is much more easily to defined, don't you think so?

Andre said...

good point Wassim, but this leaves us with a bigger dilemma, nobody knows what Arabism is and it hasn’t been on any political agenda. So does such concept exist? and why do people believe in it?

Wassim said...

Andre,
Your comment is well noted, but you leave yourself open to the argument over whether Arabism has ever actually been on a political agenda? Hasn't it always been based on interests and isn't that precisely what has always been the problem? Perhaps we should ask ourselves the question of who would be the one to define what Arabism is? Nasser is long dead and one can put the case forward that what we now see are various arabisms with a small a.

Wassim said...

If people believe in it, that is probably because if you look hard enough you will find it. Decades of secret police means you have to see the signs in literature, poetry and music. However, the downtrodden Arab nationalist is there, waiting to be given a medium. Perhaps as bloggers we can collaborate in forging or articulating this identity? Why are we waiting for somebody else to do the job for us?

Also, about your point regarding anti-imperialism and anti-zionism. Perhaps these are similar because they are facets of what is ultimately the same disease? Perhaps we can learn and identify with some of these struggles.

Joseph said...

First of all whatever the opinions expressed I believe that having this debate is essential. Otherwise others will have it on our behalf.This has already happened anyway with the US plan for the Middle East.

I will respond with a few points

-A sociopolitical idea cannot be viewed separate from its implementation. It cannot be valid unless it is validated in practice (see Communism)
So far the experience is negative.

- An Pan-Arab state with centralized institutions is neither realistic nor desirable.

-Common interests,language, culture, human rights, aspirations all can be used to unite people without the threat of militarism and dictatorship.

-Arab nationalism poses a problem to muslims in that it separates between Arab muslims and Non-Arab muslims. Correct me if I am wrong but isnt equality among muslims an essential teachin of Islam.

-It poses a problem for ethnic minorities such as Kurds, Turcomans, Berbers etc and religious ones who will never feel safe in a Sunni sea.And these arguments are not mine, they are well documented

-The Palestian cause should be approached from a pro-palestinian perspective not an anti-Jewish perspective. (Which many adopt in their slogans if not in their program).

Wassim said...

Joseph,
Those are good points I have to admit. One thing worth pondering, unlike many of my more secular minded friends I don't completely discount an Islamically inspired ideology emerging which could address these things. This is only because I've been looking quite closely at theoretical attempts to construct something like this.

I do recognise the concerns minorities would have in a predominantly Islamic, Arab entity and I think there are mechanisms which can address this concern if implemented. The real problem in all of these ideas is as I said earlier. It is our washing machine broken and getting another detergent won't make things better. I agree especially on your last point, as some do purposefully alternate support for the Palestinian cause as an anti-semitic campaign- which it is not. They also equate the dismantling of the Zionist state with a new Holocaust - again this is not the case.

Ammar said...

hmm murdering something which is dead! not an efficient game plan.

Ammar said...

Arab Nationalism while parading a "progressive" foreign policy and keynsian economics maintained a very conservative social politics:

- when nasser & co made their coup they replaced the former's government minister of Culture TAHA HUSSEIN by a a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

- the Arab Nationalist coup in Irak in 1963 removed the reforms did by Kassem to the Civil Status

- Not one Arab Nationalist regime seperated relegion from the state

- ...

Ammar said...

Arab Nationalist leaders or ex-Arab nationalist leaders used islamicist organization against their opponents mainly the Marxist left;

- Assad got the initial backing of the Muslim brotherhood in his 1970 right-wing coup against Jediid's left Bath regime.

- Arref in Irak enlisted the Shia marj'a (and his followers who would later form the Islamic Da'wa Party) against the Iraqi Communist Party in 1963, there was a fatwa against joining the ICP.

- Saddam Backed the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood against Assad.

- Saddam encouraged the growing of Salifiwa tendencies in Irak (mainly in Falouja region) as a tool against the iraki shias and Iran.

- Assad backed Shia Islamicist groups in Iran against the Saddam regime.

- Nasser when first in power Used the Muslim Brotherhood against the communist groups and the trade unions

- Saddat used and encouraged the islamicist student groups ( later the Gama'a Islamiyyia and the Jihad al Islami) against the Left Nasserist & communist student power base.

- Assad used the Amal Movement (not islamicist but containing islamicists) and Hizbullah against the Lebanese National Resistance Front.

Ammar said...

Arab Nationalist Parties of genuine stature outside power never really develloped and the one that did:

- the Arab Nationalist Movement, both its left wing and right wing became marxist (as the most intellectual wings in the Baath).

- the arab nationalist in tunisia were severlly repressed and (intellegiently) replaced by a bogus Arab nationalist party that was pro-government (pro-Zein Al=Abiddin)

- the Arab Democratic Socialist Union Party in Syria was severly repressed and the regime encouraged small bands or minority splits to form pro regime organizations (Six Arab Nationalist legal parties in Syria, 4 of them Nasserist not counting the rulling Baath)

Jihad B. said...

What most of you forget is that humans do not have ONE identity (nationalism, religious etc...) Most mix various identities to create a personality. These ids vary depending on manipulation, media frenzy, events etc...

In the 1970's the pan-Arab identity was key, today in many societies it is either the religious or the nationalist ones that are brought forward, sometimes with a tragic dichotomy - and war between the two (cf: the Sunnis in Iraq and Lebanon; torn betwiin nationalism and islamic state)

Finally, I would note that "western" based capitalism has done more for Pan-Arabism than regional politics! : the open (capitalistic) Arab television market/culture - shared by all the Arabs simultaneously- is doing more to unite Arab populations than 100 years of politics.

DigitalOasis said...

Wow! I'm now excited to write something about this on my blog. My modest contribution to this dialogue would be: In the macro scheme, how has the United States, a country with a multitude of races, ethnicities, religions, cultures, and socio-economics strata managed to galvanize almost all inhabitants towards the central idea of its existence?

As someone who is intimately familiar with the U.S., what this country has managed to achieve, given the large mix of interests and ingredients in the couldron, is a large measure of fusion. While I know they have suffered from the normal instabilities such as a civil war and racism, as a whole they are more in harmony than many one ingredient nations. Perhaps there's a lot to learn from them that could be used to revitalize, if not redefine, the concept of nationalism, or arabism.

Christian Arab said...

I am an Arab nationalist and I can tell you no matter how hard you try you can never kill our identity. You, the Zionist entity, and any other power or person will NEVER defeat the Arab identity. Arab nationalism is not racist, but you are clearly a racist. You are a racist because you explain the alleged discriminatory policies of certain regimes as a result of Arab Nationalism. In other words, for you being Arab means oppressing other people. It doesn't. But your explanation clearly makes you an ant-Arab bigot.

Stop playing the minority card. It won't work. I'm also a member of a religious minority in the Arab world, but what defines us and holds us together is a common Arab identity, and its this Arab identity that is a threat to the Zionist state, to Western Imperialism, and to bigots like you, and none of you three have a future in our region. You don't want to be an Arab, you don't have to. We won't miss you, but if you choose to side with Israel or the enemies of the Arab nation then I suggest its safer for you to just move. We are as Arab as France is French, as Germany is German, as Russia is Russian, and as China is Chinese. The murderers and racists are the ones who want to kill our heritate, nationalism, and identity. You will fail.

Christian Arab said...

The Arabs never asked for their common homeland to carved up by western colonial powers. That is why we do not recognize any of these states. The Sykes-picot map will be erased, and we will unite. You can choose to live among us as an equal citizen like everyone else or you can move. Makes no difference to us. Membership in our nation is voluntary, and if you don't want it, trust me, we won't even notice you left. allah mayak

Arab Democracy said...

This is clearly a naive interpretation of my words and the only dimension you add is that you appear even more confused than the others and are playing the 'Good Christian Arab' vs 'The Bad Christian Arab'. I wont respond to the accusations of Zionism, bigotry and racism because they have no basis and I suggest you look through this blog for any evidence of the above.
With regards to identity. I AM ARAB. This a genetic fact, not a political statement. ARAB NATIONALISM is an ideology that in my opinion has failed, generated a number of dictatorial repugnant regimes and ultimately damaged the Palestinian struggle. I am for ARABISM, which is a different, more flexible concept where our common culture, interests and wish to live together are not contradictory with Freedom, democracy and human rights.
I am sorry to correct your last sentence but YOU HAVE FAILED, WE ALL HAVE FAILED. And the sooner we realise this , the better future we can build. Otherwise Colonialism and Imperialism are just round the corner.

Regards

Joseph

christian arab said...

Who said anything about a "good chrisian arab v a bad christian arab"??? Where do you get that? You're confused, and I pointed that out to you because YOU played the minority card. You repeated the same old American propaganda about the minorities, you mentioned Kurds, Berbers, and others so yes I have a basis for my accusations. We are used to this broken record. stop singing the American tune and get you're own song.

You are clearly a racist and thats evident in your post. Its evident because you, as I said, you blame the Arab Identity for discrimination against minorities. That is clearly bigoted. You are saying that someone who is an Arab nationliast is someone who oppresses others. Do not blame our idenity for the behavior of the regimes. No arab suppports any regime. They are all dictators, but do not confuse them with Arab Nationalism, and do not blame the ideology for whatever crimes they may have committed.

A second point that proves your bigotry and racism is your assertion that Arab nationalism is incompatible with democracy and human rights? No. We can be Arab nationalist and also democracts. Arab nationalists have been the most secular, progressive, and modernizing force in our region. We call for secular democratic states and equal rights for all citizens regardless of their background. We Arab, especially in bilad al sham are diverse, and we call for equal rights of citizenship for all people.

When you argue arab nationalism is incompatible with this vision or you blame arab nationalism for the behavior of regimes you are clearly bigoted or ignorant.

There is no such thing as a "good" christian or a "bad" christian. Go play this game with kids. Arabs are divided into loyal patriots and traitors, and every group has both. The far rightwing christians of lebanon (like al-kataeb or LF) are traitors and fascists. The Muslims who rule Riyadh, Cairo, and Amman are also traitors. These are the only divisions.

We have not failed. The proof is in the ongoing western efforts to divide us up into even smaller units. Muslim/christian, shia/sunni, etc...It will not work. So Arab nationalism has not failed. IT HAS NOT YET BEEN TRIED. And if we had a vote tomorrow, the 99.9% of us would vote for Arab nationalism and Unity. You want democracy and human rights. Ok. give the arabs democracy and see what they choose. They will choose unity.

Stop repeating American propaganda and playing the good "house negro" for them if you know what that is.

Arab Democracy said...

You clearly arent interested in a rational dialogue and having this argument based on your resentful prejudices.

Beyond the inaccuracies and the historical fallacies (Arab nationalism has not been tried?!),I do not feel any of what you said is addressed to me or others on this blog. You should preferably start this discussion with the Arab Nationalist regime in Bilad el Sham. And based on your tone and your manner you wouldnt know what to do with democracy given the chance.

If you are not able to engage in a civlized discussion I am afraid you are not welcome to comment anymore on arabdemocracy and can go shout your insults somewhere else.

Best Wishes

Joseph

Christian Arab said...

Joseph,
You are not in a position to lecture anyone. I will teach you about "manners". Also, if you ever get over your racism, ignorance, and mindless parroting of Western propaganda I will be happy to teach you about democracy and human rights.

More evidence of your racism and hostility to Arabs is your focus on the regime in Damascus. Why not mention Jordan, Saudi, or Egypt? Is it because they are pro-US? We are familiar with "Arab liberals", but they are neither Arab nor liberal. Just simple-minded parrots who think by repeating what the US says it makes them sound intelligent. You can bann me if you want and run and hide from discussion, but if you don't I'll be happy to teach you the meaning of Democracy and also give you a lecture of manners.

christian arab said...

"resentful prejudices"? I think you mean your own self-hating, anti-Arab racism which you think makes you sound intelligent.

"historical fallacies"? When did we ever in the modern era have a united Arab entity and then fail? It was never achieved, so it has never been tried. Any first year student of history or political science will tell you that the solution for the Arab world will be found in its unity, its security, independence, and economic prosperity all depends on it. We have not tried it yet, but we will and it will succeed.

Plese don't use the word "civilized" or "civilized discussion". This word has been exhausted by Arabs who are impressed with the west and hate themselves. Its especially over-used by our Lebanese brothers. "hadari", "Khaleek hadari" "hiwar hadari", "isloob hadari". LOL. Stop using it. I the west they don't run around saying how civilized they are, and when Arab use this word its a dead giveaway that they are neo-liberal, bigots mimicking Orientalist cliches.

Anonymous said...

Christian Arab

No one is in the position to lecture anyone here. It is more than clear that you want to prove that Arab Nationalism is innocent from the practices of regimes that pretended building their militarist states on its principle and the principle of fighting the Israelis and liberate palestine.
Yes perhaps it has not been tried from your point of view, but facts, historical and economical come with a “slightly” different result. I will not go into a historical diatribe, but on the contrary would like you to enlighten me with the terminology you’ll use to describe the 1958-1961 UAR experience (for example)… and here of course you will definitely need to go back to a freshman student maybe he’ll give you more examples about it…
If Albert Hourani, Kamal Saliby, Patrick Seal, Samir Kassir, and many others including Costantin Zreik (I presume he knows about arab nationalism more than what me and you and joseph together know about it) who talked himself in an interview-booklet published by the institute for Palestine studies in 1992 about arab nationalism experience do not convince you that arab nationalism has been tried, then you’re free to switch it and twist it ideologically the way it suits your feelings…
Sorry but here we are talking about facts. The fact of giving yourself the right to describe and judge people as traitors and loyal, does automatically give the right to others to treat you the same way… and this is what we call in a theory we usually study deeply in a masters of international politics: the zero sum game.
So what I suggest is the following: Before you publish your posts, please read them again and make sure you’re not being “personal and judgemental” in your comments, for this will push others to use the same style and language which are actually not ours.
So the advice is for you to be more empirical, less ideological, and more precise about your sources. And please tell me more about your conception of arab nationalism, I’m interested to see what kind of alternative you propose to our rotten and putrid regimes, from Damascus to ryiad, passing by Jordan and and and!...

Best
Bachir

Arab Democracy said...

I am actually in a position to lecture you. And the more I read you the more I feel I have to offer you. I wont tell you my line of work but be assured you would benefit from my input.

Good luck in life and try to relax.

Joseph

christian arab said...

Bachir,
I will state my opinion as I please and take full responsibility for what I say. First of all, explaining the excesses, repression, or even crimes of Arab regimes as a result of their Arab Nationalism is inherently racist, not to mention illogical. The Germans committed great horrors, but NOT once was the German identity or character taken as the explanation for their crimes. If you don't see the racism of such logic, I can't help you. Second, other non-Arab nationalist regimes also oppressed their people and engaged in gross human rights violations. If Arab Nationalism = Oppression of minorities and human rights violations then how do you explain the same conduct by regimes that are not Arab Nationalist in nature or rhetoric. Finally, this broken record which many self-hating Arabs parrot takes place in the west, and its in vogue these days. Its not something the Arabs came up with, but many of them repeat the same nonsense. This line of reasoning takes place within a context of renewed direct western imperialism and attack on the Arab world and its identity. People need to be aware of this context and what's going on around them at the moment. All arguments based on cultural determinism are racist, and its only when it comes to Arab Nationalism that it continues to be expressed. Everyone has a right to judge and I will continue to judge as I please. What is my vision? I believe in Arab Nationalism (as 99.9% of Arabs do), Secularism, and democracy/rule of law/equal rights of citizenship. This is our only solution.

Like I said earlier, in the final analysis Arab nationalism is alive and well IF the Arabs believe in it (irrespective of whether or not these regimes were able to create a single unified entity). Lets work for real democracy in the Arab world and agree to accept the people's choice, a choice they have never been given.

But to parrot orientalist cliches, attack the Arab identity, and deny the existence of an Arab nation will not get us anywhere.

christian arab said...

Joseph,

Your attempt to sound sophisticated and intelligent is comical, and your arrogance is rather shallow. I'm not only relaxed but confident. Why? because 99.9% of the Arab Nation is on my side, and your opinion is clearly recognized for what it is even if you don't really understand its source.

No, you are not in a position to lecture anyone, and your input is not really yours at all. I can turn on Fox News and listen to their "middle east experts" and hear the same things you said here on this thread. I also won't tell you what I do for a living. I don't want to embarass you, but if you promise not to share my name online, I can email my name and you can go and look up my published work.

christian arab said...

And please tell me more about your conception of arab nationalism, I’m interested to see what kind of alternative you propose to our rotten and putrid regimes, from Damascus to ryiad, passing by Jordan and and and!...

Best
Bachir

A little more clarification. You ask about "my arab nationalism" and ask me to explain it as an alternative to the regimes which we all despise. I am telling you simply that the behavior of the regimes are not, can not, and should not be explained as the inherent inevitable result of a committment to Arab nationalism. I just wanted to emphasize this point again because its problematic, illogical part of the argument.

I'm glad you are working on your Masters. I decided to share what I do. I am a professor of Political Science with an emphasis in Comparative Politics and IR. My specialty is Russia and the former Soviet republics, but I have written extensively on modern Arab history. So please let's not discuss personaly backgrounds. I happen to believe personal backgrounds are irrelevant and so is formal education. I have seen too many stupid colleagues of mine, and have benefited from many people who never attended a formal university.

christian arab said...

bachir,

Go back and re-read about the Zero-sum game. I don't think you understood it at all. Simply put, any sides gain is necessarily a loss for the other side. It has nothing to do with what how I "judge" people or my reference to treason.

BTW, Treason is not a concept in political science. Its merely a legal definition of certain behavior and its found in the legal system of ANY country. It is a reference to criminal behavior.

Arab Democracy said...

Your hysterical attitude,intolerance and dismissiveness are even more shocking for a Professor of Political Science.

I am afraid I am not impressed.
Many talents have been wasted before on the path of sel-righteousness and extremism.

Whether we disagree is not the point.The debate on whether Arab Nationalism or any nationalism at all will provide a better future for the people of this region will continue. Preferably not with your kind. Too bad that the few valid points you make are drowned in a sea of insults and name-calling.

Thank you Professor

Joseph
parrot,slave,traitor,house negroe,ignorant,zionist,racist,mindless

christian arab said...

lol. You are not one of the people of the region. You live in the West (Im just visiting for a few weeks)where your anti-Arab racism is much appreciated. No future can be built on the racism inherent in your remarks. I am not interested in a debate with those who merely parrot Orientalist cliches and Western Propaganda. In your post you said "It seems that only by 'murdering' Arab Nationalism will we be able to formulate a better vision for the Middle East, with an Arab dimension at its heart. Not one of defeat and submission but one of inclusion and mutual benefit for all the people of the region.

Who will be brave enough to fire the first shot?!"

This is not someone who is interested in debate. And Finally, I must repeat it again, explaining repression, discrimination, and crimes of the Arab regimes as the natural inevitable manifestation of Arab Nationalism is patently racist and we are not interested in debating this ludicrous assertion. We simply condemn it.

You should retract such statements and apologize to the Arab people and then you can enter the realm of legitimate debate and be taken seriuosly. In the meantime stay in the West. I recommend France for you ya Joseph, "your tender mother". lol.

Arab Democracy said...

If challenging an established thought is not a call for debate, I am not sure what else is!

At least in your latest post there is a hint of rational criticism, which is more productive then making derogatory comments(Still a few managed to slip in).I am entitled to my own vision for my country, my people and their wellfare. Following our interaction,If the Arab nation you call for ever materialises in the rigid shape you spoke of I am now less reassured of the space it will give to democracy and freedom of expression. These are not western concepts but basic human rights.

If I criticize Arab regimes and even the Arab masses it is so that foreigners dont do it for us and then impose their will.When will we take nay responsibility for our misery? I dont need to apologise to anyone and my personal record speaks for itself.

Finally,Your last comment is really not worthy of an educated man.

Joseph