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The Arab World's Dilemma

I suggest we take a look at another perspective to the story. It is painstakingly true and without doubt the sufferings and the torment the peoples of Iraq have to undergo. Notwithstanding the humiliation accompanying the miserable situation. Everyday after that fateful decision to invade Kuwait has made the whole middle east in disarray: in a shambles for most and easy gain for some. But purely laying the blame and condemning the West is merely barking up only one of the trees and not the approaching the crux of the problem.

What has Iraq done to deserve this and where is the Arab World in all of this . Iraq was a prosperous nation somehow as others got into the socialist nationalist thing and ended up hating Islam as a social and political movement. This is supposedly true for almost all other Arab nations who arguably missed out the fact that they put all the energies to liquidate the most potent and source of their greatest legacy to mankind i.e. the Islamic Movement. They went out of the way to label these movements as "irhab", extremists etc. Popularity or public opinion had no say in the matter. The extent of these regimes' fanaticism went to the point of executing thinkers and intellectuals, legal supremos and religious and social activists. Even fashions such as beards and scarves were subject to punishments, scrutiny or mistrust. What has become of administrations which spy on their own people and report on youths who attend prayers at the mosques. How does anyone go to such extreme measures such as to spy on students studying abroad.

Their peoples did not know how to vote because they are not supposed to. They are not allowed to think because the party and their great leader does the thinking for them. It was only recently in Egypt that on the eve of elections most of the opposition muslim activist candidates were arrested. They arrested professionals, intellectuals and academicians: lawyers, engineers, doctors, educationists: the very people needed to develop and build that poor nation. How can the powers that be mistrust and imprison the hope of the nation.

Back to Iraq: It literally sealed its own fate when it propped its misleading Baath philosophy and never did have any vision for its peoples whose unity is only held by military might. Iraq was also lead into the long war with Iran not knowing when to end and how to stop. It was also trapped into the Kuwaiti affair. Iraq fell into the trap by itself. Lessons here seems not learnt at all.

Do the other Arab countries really care about what happens to Iraq? Is it just mere lip service or are they withholding something back. Saddam Hussein is that symbol of the dilemma: the ruthless leader who leads his nation into chaos, misery and oblivion. In him is fear, despotism and paradoxically is also the symbol of western hatred so worth glorifying. He represents maybe the worse of any Arab regime so the Arab peoples who know may only come out for the peoples of Iraq but they nor the Iraqis themselves are willing to die for him.

The Arab world must come out of this dilemma and determine their future themselves free from those despots and infringing regimes. They must be brave and be resolute enough to face their foes conspiracies and intrigue. They must go beyond Iraq or any other binding notion. They ought to appreciate their predicament (not for self pity) and come up with plans and make changes. Again, they might take a look around them and in their recent past where did the strength and the source of their true revivalism begin.

Hamdan Muhammad Hassan

2 March 1998.

[Currently, he is a Senior Civil Engineer at the University Science of Malaysia. He is involved in youth activities with the Muslim Youth Movement in Malaysia. He is also the Secretary for the Muslim Staff Association in his university.]

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