Monday, March 31, 2008

Al Dhameer Al Arabi

Watch a video of "Al Dhameer Al Arabi," The Arab Conscience, produced and directed by Ahmed Al Arian, featuring 106 Arab singers. Much of the video cuts back and forth between harrowing images of deaths and destructions inflicted upon Arabs by American and Israeli wars and occupations, from Iraq to Lebanon to Palestine, and shots of singers reminding the audience that Arabs must overcome the game of divide and conquer played by the empire.

The only source of pride for Arabs today, as suggested by the video, is Hizballah. Arabs who listen to this song must go beyond its pan-Arabist framework and consider why the only governments in the Middle East that are giving material support to Hizballah are the governments of Iran and Syria. When the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon began, the governments of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia were in fact quick to condemn Hizballah till the overwhelming Arab support for the Party of God forced them to retreat, at least in rhetoric. Hamas's breach of the Egyptian border to break the siege of Gaza in January this year also briefly highlighted the Egyptian government's role in imprisoning Palestinians under the Israeli occupation. The same role is played by the other pro-American Arab governments as well, albeit less visibly.

Arabs who care about Palestine and admire Hizballah, a majority of common people in the Arab world, therefore must reject the empire's attempt to pit Sunnis against Shi'is and Arabs against Iranians and establish new governments in their own countries that actually reflect the Arab public opinion.

By the same token, Iranians mustn't fall for an illusion that, if they abandon Hamas and Hizballah and help the Americans in Iraq, the empire will make peace with them. It won't.

Now, an aside to Western leftists. Western leftists must stop and think about who in Iran are the least enthusiastic about supporting Hamas and Hizballah: secular and religious liberals who solicit the support of the West in the name of human rights and democracy, the very type of people whom Western leftists professed to love. The only thought about Palestine that occurs to Iranian liberals, in Iran as well as in the diaspora, is usually "a waste of money" (the same thought that Russian liberals thought under the Soviet government as they contemplated the expenses of the Soviet Union's international commitments). A line from a Persian band Kiosk's song "Eshgh-e Sorat," Love for Speed, speaks for them: "scraped up the very last dime / sent it all to Palestine."

The most fervently anti-Arab Iranians, dogmatic secularists, even think that their nation began a long decline when Arabs conquered Persia and brought Islam to its people.

In conclusion, all major problems for Arabs and Iranians -- the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the US occupation of Iraq, the US-Israeli threat to Iran -- really require regional, not national, solutions. Whether such regional solutions can be found depends on whether Arabs and Iranians can learn to collaborate with each other in search of them and include both Turks and Kurds as part of their common regional project in the end.

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