Address by AFNAN H. FATAN, Professor of Stylistics at King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Academic Consultant at Dar Al-Hekma College, Jeddah. Delivered to an Informal Group of Academics, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 28, 2002.
The lion went into labor and gave birth to a mouse. Classical Arabic Adage
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites!... straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel. (Matthew 23:23f)
Here we all are after the painful delivery of President Bush's long-awaited speech on the Middle East. Was it a gnat or a mouse? God only knows. But whatever puny monstrosity was born in the White House with the help of shady ghostwriters and national security advisors whose sole purpose is to make a Heaven out of a Hell and a Hell out of a Heaven, a lot more than camels were swallowed. Justice, mercy, faith and the rule of law, to say the least. Instead of a peace plan, or even a feeble attempt to protect a million Palestinians from a ruthless Israeli invasion relentlessly ripping apart Palestinian cities, all we got were worn-out slogans -- "the war on terror," -- "you're either with us or against us," and "Israel's right to defend herself." To use the words of Morris Berman, all we got was a "repackaging of cultural content (e.g. "democracy") as slogans and formulas," to replace critical thinking and plain commonsense. What was created was a surreal and distorted world where democracy, free market and inde pendent judiciary will be forced to sprout under an oppressive Israeli occupation and callous American brokerage. We are left to presume that details of this crazy White House script would follow. But of course they never will! Endless negotiations and endless settlements have always been the Israeli plan since the start of Camp David in 1978. Ironically enough, after their initial euphoria, the …