The Arab People Look for Peace and New Leadership

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After deliberate absence of any serious efforts for peace-making, the US Obama administration has reconvened the Arab-Israeli peace talk without a defined agenda. It is unusual and strange peace adventure. Previously, Bush administration had claimed a media famed “road map for peace”- a map turned out to be without a road and prospects of peace, hastily agreed upon by the Arab rulers that had no elements of peace. If the parties were serious this time, they should have clarified the peace agenda for result-oriented pursuit. A rational agenda for peace would set the goal to end the Israeli occupation since 1967, stop the Jewish settlements, return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland, security for the two states (Israel and Palestine), and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine. The global politics is changing and most powerful ones determine the fate of the weak nations and deprived people. The Arab states 19 or so lack visionary leadership, unity of purpose and proactive leadership strength to make a difference in competitive global affairs. The Israeli leaders represent their unchanged national interest to hold a position of political strength with continued US support but the Arab rulers live in the past and seem to be indifferent to listening and learning of new leadership traits for the 21st century innovative politics and to engage educated and intelligent people in political discourse and decision making. Nobody knows where would the peace come from and who would deliver to whom? They are all parties to conflict-making and conflict-keeping for their self-interest except the Palestinian people victimized by the global politics of the few.

When the European lived in dark ages and fought within themselves for influence and survival, the Arabs were the most progressive people articulating a model civilization to pursue balanced (al-mizaan) human development (material and spiritual) to give meanings to freedom, peace and equality and clear purpose to global sense of humanity called Ummah. The message of Islam was meant for the whole of the mankind to be one humanity living on one planet in peace and progress. But when the Europeans crusades colonized the Islamic world, they destroyed Islamic institutions and divided the Arabs and Muslims and made them fight for their existence as was their own history of the European cultures. Despite of the oil generated paper wealth and transitory economic prosperity, Arab people lack Islamic unity and force of being one Ummah to restore their own historical linkage to change and human progress. The Western media views them as source of entertainment and one track business deals to sell the obsolete weapons and consumer products but not valuable partners in global community. We live in an information age of images carved up by the few for business and human exploitation. The Western media networks portray their own manufactured images of the contemporary Arab and Muslim world –” more so of the oil exporting Arab nations –” twisting tail of the camel, women covered in burkhas or splendid shopping malls full of walking black veils versus bikinis.

Despite the history of tribal warfare contributing to national feuds in the Middle East, Arab rulers facing difficulty in catching up to modernity and how to be progressive with all the stolen wealth from the public oil revenues thru the neo-colonial corrupted system of governance in a modern age of ignorance. Syed Qutb (Milestones), the respected Islamic thinker and scholar once warned, "Jahilliya" (ignorance) is a movement and has its own culture, plan and force, and it wants to destroy you within but do not follow the influence of ignorance – "Jahilliya" age.

The Arab masses do have informed consciousness of the global political reality; but the rulers are uneducated and too dull to share a sustainable sense of humor for public consumption. American media fosters strange images of the Arab world. Israel is at the top in political imagery promotion. Obama and Netanhuyu are the master piece images beamed-in when it comes to media news making in the Middle East as if they are the heroes of all those living in the Middle East. Inadvertently, this exposes the US policy that America and Israel are one in strategic goals and military actions. Arabs have no entry in the making of political scenario because they do not have smart leaders or public institutions to THINK and change the adverse propaganda ventures as once they were slaves under the European colonial domination. The European imperialism denied human identity and dignity to the Arab subjects. The European imperialist never allowed the subjects to exercise rights of freedom choice and vote. Democratic values were seen relevant only to the Europeans but not to the Arab-Muslim subjects. The Arab leaders in particular, love the body and soul of the Anglo-Saxon complexion, and would even bow to its mirror transformed reflection. One American Honey or a British sweetheart can make the difference without going to a battlefield. The Arab armies are not the armies of Islam and their Generals are drawing room decorated Generals and lead nobody. The national freedom and operational security of the petro-dollars maintained Arabian economies remained a myth.

Nobody wants to talk about the real-world problems. Arab elite sectors are deliberately kept fat, lousy and ignorant to ensure American-European collaborative upper hand in the entire global political imagery making. As if there are no other flourishing human societies or culture except the US and Europe. Jerusalem, an occupied city by the Israelis under the International Law and the UN resolutions, the western media calls it Jewish capital. The Western mass media is enriched with a culture of lies of deceptions. Petro-dollars rich Arab leaders are too busy to THINK of this growing dichotomy, giving free hand to America-European all around the political environment. Global culture of ignorance "Jahilliya" entices human desires to cultivate pleasure and comforts. It entangles human being in pleasure-seeking adventures. Arab oil exporting people often derive solace from pride and palaces. No statistical data is currently available to indicate how long these self-ingrained illusions will continue.

Arab people are talented and progressive but irony is that the American mass media does not want to see it that way. There are no Arab or Muslims leaders to offer a sense of intellectual security to the Muslim Ummah or be able to speak wisely to the global audience. They live in palaces, not with the people. The Arab masses look for change from subjugation to the Western masters and freedom from the foreign cultural exploitation. They deserve leaders like Sultan Salahuddin but how to bring about this change from primarily authoritarian regimes unto Islamic governance befitting to their need and genius? At the outset of the continued Western Crusade against the Islam in Iraq, educated Arabs begged their leaders to speak out, challenging the Western nuisance of "Islamic terrorism” and its linkage to the occupation of the Arab heartland –” Palestine and Iraq. Arabian newspaper editorials and reader’s letters often persuaded the leaders to come out into public but the leaders would not face the public and stayed in palaces like the carved dummies on wall. As subservient to their masters, some of the oil exporting Arab rulers helped America and Britain to bomb the Iraqi civilians and destroy Iraq’s national existence.

At the beginning of 21st Century, it seems, the world has gone terribly benign and out of focus –” the Western perceived reality has no reason to be reality. If it is an absurd one-sided viewpoint –” what the world should look like: Arabs and Muslims as "terrorist" while the real terrorist –” Bush, Blair and Cheney are called men of peace. Muslim spectators prefer silence as the body language to avoid standing for Islam and end up losing the official financial aid.

Western ruling elite have many intellectual and operational problems; they do not know what peace means and how to define it? After deliberate absence of any serious efforts for peace-making, the US Obama administration has reconvened the Arab-Israeli peace talk without a defined agenda. It is unusual and strange peace adventure. Previously, Bush administration had claimed a media famed “road map for peace”- a map turned out to be without a road and prospects of peace, hastily agreed upon by the Arab rulers that had no elements of peace. If the parties were serious this time, they should have clarified the peace agenda for result-oriented pursuit. A rational agenda for peace would set the goal to end the Israeli occupation since 1967, stop the Jewish settlements, return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland, security for the two states (Israel and Palestine), and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine. The global politics is changing and most powerful ones determine the fate of the weak nations and deprived people. The Arab states 19 or so lack visionary leadership, unity of purpose and proactive leadership strength to make a difference in competitive global affairs. The Israeli leaders represent their unchanged national interest to hold a position of political strength with continued US support but the Arab rulers live in the past and seem to be indifferent to listening and learning of new leadership traits for the 21st century innovative politics and to engage educated and intelligent people in political discourse and decision making. Nobody knows where would the peace come from and who would deliver to whom? They are all parties to conflict-making and conflict-keeping for their self-interest except the Palestinian people victimized by the global politics of the few.

The Arabs are cultured and civilized people with immense tolerance for diversity as the European and now American have capitalized their life, markets and governance. Historically, Arabs were leaders in progressive culture and development of human civilization, whereas, the West was in infancy learning from the Arab knowledge, explorations and scientific achievements. They remained the single most contributors of 1000 years of advanced civilization in Al-Andalusia (Spain). When the Arabs left Islam and stopped listening to voices of intellectual reasoning, they fell in disgrace. Money can not buy the honor and integrity lost because of the modern ignorance and arrogance of the neo-colonial Arab ruling elite. If the Arab leaders could change and reform themselves and return to their originality of Islamic THINKING and behavior, they are the best people to invite towards goodness and forbid evil. Arabs exponents of peace do speak but are unable to reach the majority of the media controlled humanity. The Arab religious scholars see the light only in mosques, whereas the people live in darkness. Their barricaded Islam is supplemented by matching regular salaries and making it non-active part of the distant history.

Arab people are ancient, tolerant and enjoy credible history, Americans are new in civilization and rush to hasty conclusions, only to THINK after the facts and feel guilty for misleading the world on the Iraqi’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. Islam disciplined the Arabs to THINK in advance, not just the self, but for the good of the whole of the Humanity. When Arabs left the universal mission of "goodness", they were defeated and continued to be so to this day. Could they regain the global leadership through Islam? AbdulHamid AbuSulayman (Crisis in the Muslim Mind), believes so: “our glorious past and achievements are linked to Islam, not without it.”

Al-Qura’an stipulates, "Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful."

The compound mark of reality is getting thinner but western media’s plan renovate it, paint it and erect solid walls to oppress the human voices for change, understanding and collaborations in a global human context. Arab masses reaction to the Zionist occupation of Palestine, and the freedom movement to undo the Zionist terrorism made them so called "terrorist". Arabs have a history of civilization, not terrorism. European persecuted the Jews for ages, not the Arabs, and American never cared about it, well after the 2nd World War until the Jews established their institutionalized influence and power in politics, mass media and financial domains. People and nation of the world must listen, learn and understand this forgotten reality. Americans have ignored it and they are in Iraq and Afghanistan, daily being ambushed until they will leave Iraq and Afghanistan abruptly in a worst mess than Saddam Hussein and Talaban. On the American media screen, Arabs are defeated and punched to "their knees" as Eric Morgalis points out, but in reality, it is the beginning of an evolutionary awakening to know, learn and understand, who the real enemies of the mankind are.

Once Muslims were the pioneers to have developed the humanity for civilization in thinking, education, philosophy, sciences, technology, medicine, architecture, jurisprudence, human relations, Taj Mahal, Al-Hambra, Cordoba Mosque and the largest library of Cordoba (prior the invention of the printing press), that was burnt down by the Christian crusaders in 1492 A.C. Muslims and humanity are inseparable. To discredit the Arabs and Islam is to discredit the humanity itself. Humanity is not politicking. Neglected and subdued Arab masses are waiting to be heard –” they can make the difference with the help of Allah and without the dull and ignorant leaders; they can help to uplift the besieged humanity to reclaim its rightful global conscience, peace and harmony and to rebuild its man-destroyed heritage for the GOOD of ALL – ONE HUMANITY LIVING in ONE WORLD in COMPLETE SUBMISSION TO ONE GOD.

In the previous centuries, Arab proactive visions articulated the change and progress as an essential precept of Islamic THINKING and obligation. Under the European colonialism, they lost what they had contributed for the best of mankind. Understandably, Arabs and Muslims in general were enslaved and devoid of opportunities. But went wrong after the post-independence period? Despite all the material resources and comforts and palaces, why have the Arabs and Muslims in general, not been able to progress and make the earth feel their presence? AbdhulHamid AbuSulayman (Crisis in the Muslim Mind), believes that when the Muslims compromised the Islamic thinking and practices, they fell into disgrace under foreign subjugation. The reality that contemporary Arabs must face and plan to come out of the stigma of ignorance, economic prosperity and transitory security.

The problems of ignorance and arrogance need to be recognized and diagnosed. One most useful remedy is that Arab-Muslim leadership MUST listen and learn from the scholars and intellectuals of the Ummah. Leaders have no education how to lead and most are devoid of intellectual vision and foresights, whereas, Muslim scholars and intellectuals of the Ummah are knowledgeable and rich in wisdom and creative strategies, and can offer assistance and guidance to the ignorant and authoritarian rulers. Change is part of the Islamic discipline leading to progressive human development for the good of all, not revolution. Often revolutionary clichés have one act play and do not facilitate peaceful and durable change for societal growth and success. It is possible to build a NEW FUTURE of the Ummah with restored progress, honor and political weight and make it better and brighter for the deprived masses only if the leaders are open to listening and learning for change. The planned CHANGE must envisage new people-oriented system of political governance based on the Islamic values and replacing the Western backed authoritarianism and self-generated dynasties and encouraging new educated, responsible and intelligent generation of young Arabs to help reshape the political landscape with institutionalized approaches to make policies and decision in the best interests of the people, not of the protective ruling class living in hidden palaces. Once the change is in process, and new proactive and intelligent leaders will emerge to hold the offices and positions of moral and intellectual responsibilities across the Arabian societies, the world would view the Arabs differently with respect and values at the global political theatre of New Age politics. If the current redundant foreign implanted Arab rulers would be open to change and listen to the voices of REASON and HONESTY, the global community would listen to them too.

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Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking, Lambert Publishing Germany-May, 2012. His forthcoming book is entitled: One Humanity and the Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution. He contributed this article to Media Monitors Network (MMN)

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