Tuesday, August 01, 2006

MidEast: Wow. I am AmaZed. Realistic ARABs?

That sounds Very derogatory, {PLEASE FORGIVE ME}

But I was just listening to Terri Gross (Fresh AIR). She was interviewing Syrian dissident Ammar Abdulhamid. It's an amazing interview with him He is a visiting fellow with the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

He was thrown out of the Syria last year. Interesting factoids about him:
His Mother was a Syrian Movie Star, his father a leading Syrian Director.
He went to school with Basar Ashad, current head honcho in Syria.

At any Rate, I ask you to do the following right now.
(If you're using Firefox, type CNTRL-T to open a new tab, then click HERE to open a tab into HIS BLOG.

OK. You're back? Great.

What I see:
Someone who:
  • is Realistic enough to know that Israel will NOT withdraw into the sea.
  • knows that Israel has a right to exist.
  • knows that a culture that teaches its children to hate Israel more then they love their country is not "NORMAL"
  • Understands that ECONOMIC reform is the key to POLITICAL reform.
  • Understands that Hizbollah is NOT acting in the interests of either Lebanon or even Syria, but just for itself.
At any rate, I am hoping I can have a understanding of what could be the most realistic chance of peace that we have in the next few years.

Please go visit this gentleman. is a radical, ex Iman, and seems to really know what "WE" need to do , in order to get the Mid-east under control!



Fares said...


There are a lot of realist Arabs. We want Peace and we want Israel to exist in Peace. But What Israel is doing now does not help peace not at all.

The problem is not Arabs not accepting Israel, the problem is Israel not comfortable where it is and always wants to crush and dominate.

PEACE and check freesyria.wordpress.com, I have been called jewish for some of my posts, but you'll understand our frustration


Markbnj said...

There's no doubt we all have called each other names.

Especially me. And I am commiting as of today, to remember the word RESPECT.

See, I think that our problem is that we've been YELLING at each other for so long (over 58 years...) that we've FORGOTTEN that we had the same father.

Tawfik said...

You say "realistic arabs" as though we are all fanatics. I'm sure you know how many arabs walk our planet. Generalisations about people are bad. As I'm sure you know. And to think the education system in the middle east needs a little help, I can assure you that is not what creates the anger and hostility. We don't point to your emphasis on the holocost in Jewish education, because it is your right to tell your children what has happened to your people (So it does not happen again). But we also have the same right to teach our children what has happend to us in our history. We trusted and allowed forigners to control and manipulate us. We too must learn from our past and never let it happen again. I'm sure you understand. As for the future, it can be bright. As a Syrian I want my country to develop economically to become the strongest economic power in the reigon as opposed to military. Once we can decide to put down the weapons and see that there is no longer a threat to our people we can begin the process of development properly. But you must realise, (And I am not pointing any fingers) Too much money is being spent on the military. Look up the figures on Isreal and Iran alone. Can we live in that kind of environment in peace???

PS. Just as you are supprised that there are realistic arabs, so too would arabs be supprised if there were realistic Isrealies or isreali supporters!

Markbnj said...

Tawfik said...

...snip...You say "realistic arabs" as though we are all fanatics...
Mark sez -->My first words after that headline were...That sounds Very derogatory, {PLEASE FORGIVE ME}...

I'm sure you know how many arabs walk our planet.
--> if I am correct around 200 million? to about 15 million Jews total in the
entire world.
And to think the education system in the middle east needs a little help, I can assure you that is not what creates the anger and hostility.
--> I see this as a problem from watching arab media, as well as from when I was a kid, in the 70's (you know my age now,sigh) when I was taught/indroctinated/shown examples of arab teaching tools, cartoons, etc, with stuff like a map of palestine (published in 1950 BEFORE there was a palestian movement), or cartoons showing victorious arabs pushing the jews into boats, and then sinking the boats in the sea.

At any rate with regard to education,
I agree with your fellow countryman, Ammar Abdulhamid. He makes a point that the entire arab educational system is STILL stuck in the early 1950's when The arab world still prayed they could UN-DO the state of Israel.
You can't. I know that you know this. Just from the fact we are having a civil conversation, means you are interested in peace.

I understand that it is tough to make friends with your enemies. But I think that if we can START with the fact that no matter WHAT happens, the border will NEVER go back to the 1915 borders of the ottoman empire, might be a positive start.

Personally, I hope we can start talking about the borders from the 1948 UN 2 state proposal. We accepted it 58 years ago. Perhaps there would have been a 58 year old Palestinian state if it had been accepted. Perhaps not.

With regard to Holocaust education. That really has very little to do with ISRAEL, and is more of a reaction to the European's "claimed" ignorance of what was going on in Hitler's master plan.

I agree that (especially Britian) Imperial powers have raped and strangled many countries around the world.

I agree that you (too) need to learn from the past, and ensure it doesnt happen again. Quite frankly, the current bozo we have in the white house is going to go down as one of the WORST presidents ever, for his poor foreign policies, his poor domestic policies, his abridging the constitution of the United States, and I even expect and predict he will (I pray) be brought up in front of a WAR CRIMES Tribunal.

At any Rate, I agree that WAY too money is spent on the military.

But I have one question.
Why is it the Israeli standard of living (despite sky high taxes and military spending) is WAY higher than say, Syria?

I hypothesize that the reason is because in school, way too much emphasis is placed on (as how you say it), how the JEWS and ZIONISTS cheated us out of our homeland....rather then concentrating on science, math, and technical sciences, which helped the Israelis make the desert bloom, it seems that the tendancy is to blame others, for the conditions.

PS: I think that the comment about realistic arabs is kind of heart-felt, or (forgive the word:) realistic.
In that the Arab world Dosen't have the RANGE of depth and breadth (excepting for this new tree of blogging...) that Israeli society (as a example) has.

For example Peace Now in Israel, has been consistently anti-govenment when necessary, as well as still being vocal

There has rarely been such PUBLIC discourse on the Arab side.

When this happens OTHERS will also understand that a NEW wave of OPEN-ness has come across, and MAY start to engulf the Mideast (in peace!)



Tawfik said...

I won't deny that the education in the arab world is truely out dated. I just don't believe that it is the purpose of the anger and resentment. I understand that the media is biasd (have you seen Fox?) but whose isn't? They say al-jazeera is too pro arab. Isn't it an arab news agency? To think that media is simply an unbiasd tool to spread news is nieve. I assume this is why people like blogs :). I don't think any rational person thinks Isrealis will go back to the sea. It really is a matter of putting aside our pride. I don't know if you know any arabs personally ( I assume you do), but we are a very proud people. We need to feel like we are truly gainning something from peace. I know it may not sound fair, but I am simply stating the situation.
I must say though that you must agree that most of your educated public that made the "Desert bloom" came from the west. All our western educated people are only beginning to trickle back.

Other subject:
Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the Zionist movement gain steam due to the anti-jewish sentiment in Europe. I know the plan was in vienna waitting to come out...but wasn't Hitlers Master Plan the pin in the horses back side?

Another subject:
your question:
"But I have one question.
Why is it the Israeli standard of living (despite sky high taxes and military spending) is WAY higher than say, Syria?"
This is a question that can be ansered in so many ways. Simply, its our fault! I don't blame anyone but ourselves for the situation we are in. As people! We have great minds and great resources and an increadable country. We just can't pull it together. It will happen though. But leave that to us (Syrian People) :)
As for your standard of living, I wonder if you've done a PPP study between our countries. I think youd be supprised. I don't mean we have the best of the best, but we are cirtainly not the worst. Its comunity that make us rich. The social fabric is very strong.

I think that you are sadly mistaken about the Range of depth and the breadth of the arab people. Go out and meet them. I am confident that you will be supprised. Peace Now is probably not your best example in the current situation. If Peace Now were speaking on behalf of the Isreali people, we would have had peace. They are small minority and simply do not effect policy.
As far as arab dissent, I suggest buying a sattlite dish that picks up arab channels. I don't think I have watched a single news broad cast that has not in some way crticized an action made by an arab government. Things are changing.

About the pop of arabs... closer to 300 million

Fares said...

Assad is the natural choice
PEACE To Lebanon