“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.”
— Barack Obama, DNC Speech, August 28, 2008
It is heartbreaking and tragic to watch innocent peaceful protesters, including women and children, throughout the Arab world being slaughtered with American weapons used by American supported and coddled tyrants who only serve the interests of the U.S. and Israel at the expense of the precious blood of their people.
According to a study published in the magazine Foreign Policy on March 31, 2011 titled “Children of the Revolution”:
“Many children have died and countless more have been injured, orphaned, or displaced from their homes over the course of this year’s Arab uprisings. But the Arab Spring’s youngest are not only victims — leading chants in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to joining up with Libya’s rebel fighters to camping out in Pearl Square in Bahrain to being jailed for writing the graffiti that inspired Syria to rise up, the children of the Arab Spring are proving that the future belongs to them.
In Yemen, children have been at the forefront of protests — UNICEF counts at least 19 who have been killed by both snipers and explosions over the course of the protests that have gripped the nation since early February — an estimated 20 percent of the total casualties. Above, a young Yemeni boy wears a headband that says in Arabic "I’m the next martyr" during an anti-government protest in the capital Sanaa on March 27″.
Yemen is the poorest Arab nation and one of the most impoverished in the world with an annual GDP/per capita of $1,300, ranking 142nd in the world, according to the CIA Fact book. It has a population of about 24 million with 43% under the age of 15 according to the United Nations.
Yemen’s tyrant for 33 years, President Al Abdullah Saleh, has ruled Yemen with an iron fist utilizing the country’s wealth to not only enrich himself, family, and cronies but to buy and bribe loyalty of some of Yemen’s powerful tribes, military commanders, security police, intelligence apparatus, and forming his own private Republican Guard commanded by his son.
Under his dictatorship every political, economic educational, health and social development indicator has worsened dramatically.
Millions of Yemenies across the country in at least 16 of the 21 provinces in the country have been protesting for weeks demanding Saleh, his government, and his political party be removed from power. They not only want them removed but they demand that they be prosecuted for decades of oppression, murder, disappearance, imprisonment without trial, torture, massive abuse of human rights, and the embezzlement of billions of dollars, especially from oil revenues that began in 1984 with the discovery of oil by the U.S. Hunt Oil Company.
Like all Arab tyrants Saleh has ruled under the established “Emergency Laws” which give him carte blanche authority to decide the fate and destiny of his people.
During this civil and peaceful uprising demanding his resignation many reports have revealed that Saleh is spending millions of dollars around the country to gather tens of thousands of impoverished citizens to the capital Sana to show their support and loyalty to him and his dictatorial regime.
This murderous tyrant has used military force, security police, and hired thugs to unleash live ammunition, tear gas, sticks, and stones to murder thus far close to 200 civilians, including children, and injure thousands of protesters overwhelming the country’s meager health system already deprived of qualified physicians, nurses, necessary drugs, and surgical equipment. Yemenie physicians report that Saleh’s forces are also using internationally banned nerve gas against civilians who not only exhibit widespread neurological symptoms but often die.
Despite mass defection of prominent military officers, members of his political party, many in the diplomatic corps, even his son-in law, Saleh has refused to resign depending on the support of the United States due to his assistance in fighting Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that has been accused of attacking U.S. interests including the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner by the “underwear” bomber. However, many in Yemen believe that such an entity was created by President Saleh himself to garner U.S. financial and military support.
Saleh thus far has refused any mediation or proposal that calls for his resignation. The last mediation attempt was formulated by the Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, that asks for his resignation but guarantees the safe exist of him, his family, and cronies. It is unclear if under this proposal he’ll be able to keep his embezzled billions of dollars.
True to his irrational nature Saleh even refused this plan thereby severing his last Arab alliance.
Saleh’s rejection of all mediation attempts seals his only remaining fate: To resign under pressure or force and be arrested and prosecuted for his crimes against humanity.
Since 9/11 dictators have learned that the gateway to America’s political, economic and military blessing is to claim their alliance in its “war on terrorism”.
Post 9/11 President Bush declared that Muslim extremists hate our freedoms and wish to end western civilization, a most irrational statement but a useful prelude to the illegal invasion of Iraq. Is it logical that a human being born free from a mother’s womb would hate freedom and prefer living under tyranny?
Bush’s statement is contradicted by the Pentagon’s own Defense Science Board that issued a report in September 2004 requested by Secretary Rumsfeld.
The report states:
"Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.’
Such honest assessments that challenge Israel’s hold on U.S Foreign policy and America’s blind support of Arab dictators are immediately discarded along with hundreds of similar reports into the dustbin of history never to be resurrected again.
Given the recent uprisings across the Middle East clamoring for freedom it seems to the Arabs that it’s the U.S. that hates their acquisition of freedom and not vice versa as it fears its loss of regional hegemony and the rise of Islamists.
U.S. policy in the Middle East is based on three parameters:
–¢ Obtaining cheap oil which Saudi Arabia single handedly guarantees
–¢ an unquestioning support for Israel which the entire Muslim world opposes — and
–¢ a blind commitment to the ill-defined “war on terrorism”.
All three parameters ensure Muslim animosity to the U.S. and guarantee recruiting success for Al Qaeda. Sadly the U.S. has deliberately ignored an honest debate and reevaluation of such foreign policy priorities due to domestic political, economic, and military interests. .
The U.S must realize that only a truly free and democratic Arab and Muslim world can defeat terrorism, develop beneficial relationships with the U.S. given their mutual economic interdependence, and provide a peaceful end to the Israeli Palestinian conflict despite Israel’s historical intransigence.
According to the New York Times, April 4, 2011, President Obama is quietly shifting his support for President Saleh to possibly ease his exit. If true, it’s a most welcome decision although America’s modern history has always sided with compliant dictators and never the wishes of their oppressed populations.
Whether in domestic or foreign policy the U.S. Government is held hostage to the special interests and lobbyists who write the regulations, the talking points to support them, plan the public relations campaigns and media blitz, thereby ensuring their power, wealth, and influence on government policies at the expense of the American people. Who will a President, Senator, or Representative listen to: AIPAC, Exxon Mobil, Goldman Sachs, Media and Telecommunication Companies, or the American public?
A corrupt government can only respond to corrupt interests, not the voting citizens.
If America truly values freedom from tyranny and the establishment of democracy around the world, than the Arab world that has only known colonial then dictatorial oppression and wars for centuries is most deserving.
In the long run the best guarantor and protector of peace in the Middle East and for the U.S. is a peaceful democratic region that in reality holds no animosity to the American people, only to America’s Israeli directed foreign policy. On the contrary the entire Arab and Muslim world, 1.6 Billion people, respect and admire America’s freedoms and democracy, and despite being Muslim nations they have largely adopted America’s cultural trappings
Arab tyrants feign democracy and liberty for their people while in truth they are akin to Robespierre who inflicted a “reign of terror” against his opposition and people during the French Revolution. The crimes of terror and crimes against humanity that these brutal tyrants commit against their own population is far more lethal than any that Al Qaeda has ever committed in all its years of existence.
To their people they are the terrorists, to America they are the Anti-terrorists.
One is reminded of Madame Roland’s statement during the French Revolution prior to her death: “Liberty, Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name.”
President Obama, the choice of freedom for Yemen and other Arab nations is sacrosanct in our Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and as God’s gift to humanity.
America is much greater than its priority of economic prosperity built on the backs of the oppressed Arab peoples at the hands of its puppet tyrants.
President Obama, Yemen and the Arab world are awaiting the fruits of your Nobel Peace Prize.
Can Yemen and the Arab world depend on “change” from your “Mendacity of Hope” to your winning idealism of “Audacity of Hope” for their freedom from tyranny?
–¢ “Children of the Revolution”, March 31, 2011
–¢ Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication, September 2004