I am sure I am not alone in wondering where the prosperous, oil and gas producing Arab states were while Israel was subjecting Gazan citizens to its vicious aerial bombardment during recent months.
Thanks to social media outlets we saw mainly non-Arabs taking part in demonstrations across the globe – in Australia, Indonesia, India, a variety of European cities and the United States. But from the rich, oil producing nations of the Gulf, hardly a voice of protest was to be heard or a banner raised.
How strange that, without exception, the leaders of these prosperous Arab Gulf states seem so erudite when speaking about the appalling situation of the Palestinians living under Israeli tyranny in the West Bank and Gaza. Yet, when they could have raised their collective voices in condemnation of Israel’s genocidal policies, they chose unanimous silence.
Laleh Amr Al Attar
What is happening on the ground makes the Middle East the most volatile region on earth. Gaza is bleeding; the persistent war of attrition in Syria continues; the tension in Iraq is escalating with the ISIS group’s efforts to create a new political reality; the conflict in Yemen’s north continues to threaten political transition; the unrest in Libya has reached an alarming state while in Egypt the government is under increasing pressure to address the economic challenges.
While total and complete Arab unity remains a dream yet to come true, our priority must be to achieve some form of unity. In Iraq and Libya national cohesion must be the immediate concern. Unity is the only weapon whereby we can overcome the hurdles that make us unable to meet the challenges ahead. The Koran teaches us that unity is from God and division from the devil. If Arab unity remains a dream it is because of hurdles our politicians have created or refuse to remove. But civil society in the Arab world can and must take the initiative and mobilise efforts in a bid to alter this disgusting reality. Unquestionably, their efforts are a worthwhile enterprise.
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4 The Middle East September 2014
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