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I Am An Arab

I hear that God is testing us. I don't think so. I think he is punishing us... Or we are punishing ourselves because every three Arabs have four opinions - and they are all wrong.
Ayoon Wa Azan (I Am An Arab)
Jihad Al Khazen, Dar Al-Hayat, 2003/04/15

- Where are you from?- I am an Arab.- Sorry?- I said I am an Arab.- This is why I said I am sorry.

I am an Arab... One of those unifiers. Long ago, I was proud to be an Arab. But today, I am no longer sure of my nation, or of myself.

Long ago we used to hear: brother, walk with your head held high, for the era of colonialism has withered. Today, now that colonialism is back, will we hear: brother, drop your head, for the era of colonialism is back.

I hear that God is testing us. I don't think so. I think he is punishing us... Or we are punishing ourselves because every three Arabs have four opinions - and they are all wrong.

When I started working in journalism, I had an elderly Palestinian colleague. Every time I heard calls for liberation and throwing Jews in the sea, I tried to provoke him by saying that his generation had lost Palestine and now, they want our generation to fight to get it back.

In the 1967 war, the rest of Palestine was lost, so the old man came to me and said: son, we lost half of Palestine and you lost the rest. Now another generation has come to lose Iraq.

These are my forefathers; bring me people like them... any forefather and any ancestor. An Arab child asked his father: what does the word "our ancestors" mean? The father thought and answered: me, my father and his father and grandfather... we are your ancestors. The child thought and said: if it is so, then why are people so proud of their ancestors?

One generation lost half of Palestine, another generation lost the second half and a generation lost Iraq. What will the next generation lose? I do not blame this generation for its ancestors, but I blame its ancestors for it.

Despite everything, I am still an Arab and a unifier, not because I am convinced but because I am stubborn.

Yet this stubbornness won't stop me from understanding that the answer to the question I started the article with: I am an Arab, is not wise. For the Arabs are accused of extremism and terrorism, their money can be frozen, even if they don't have any, just to make sure they are not financing organizations considered as terrorist.

If it is a danger to generalize the answer, then it is also a danger to make it specific.

If the Arab answered he is an Egyptian, then he is Ayman Al Zawahiry's partner.

The Saudi backs Bin Laden and finances terrorism.

The Gulf resident is like the Saudi.

The Yemenite participated in the attack on the USS Cole destroyer, and then escaped from jail.

The Sudanese is engaged in a civil war against groups supported by human rights organizations.

The Syrian... O My God! He backs Hizbullah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and tens of opposing Palestinian organizations.

And the Lebanese suffer the burden of Syrian's responsibilities.

The Libyan is better than the Egyptian, especially if he sends a suitcase in a civil airplane.

Every Northern African is accused of illegal residence, and the Algerian is a terrorism victim or a terrorist.

I am not forgetting the Jordanian. There is joke in the U.S. Department of State: I said the moderate Arab states... Jordan, who else? Jordan is accused of moderation, yet, the government is moderated, and brother Ali Abu Al Ragheb is moderate. But the people are not.

How did we fall down to the lowest level? Are the Arabs aware of the depth of the hole we are digging for ourselves?

Iraq is now ruled by the representative of the Jewish Institute For National Security Affairs.

Iraq is in the hands of thieves, the best of them are those who stole the patients' beds in the hospital.

Iraq is in the hands of the thieves in the government who are steeling the country, they are steeling on the whole, and the thieves in the street who are stealing the bread from the starving people's mouths, they are steeling little by little.

Every reason for crying during Saddam's regime is still present today, yet we should add one more reason, which is crying on the independence.

Let us assume for a moment that Iraq will be free, respected and independent again. Was it necessary to destroy Iraq then to rebuild it?

Tomorrow, small thieves will leave the streets, and big thieves will stay in leadership. Thieves from abroad, assisted by thieves coming back to a country they denied when they were young and lost when they grew up. Then we hear that the Arab street is mad, furious, boiling. Which one is this street? The Arab street is dead, so let us offer our condolences...

This nation, Iraq and from the Atlantic to the Gulf, we learned to say about them: my country is wrong or right. I wish it would be right one time. There is the first world, the second world, the third world and then, the Arab world... the one-party world (if another party is allowed, the country remains a one-party country, for the people will al join the last party).

Is there a nation that has an expiry date just like a can of milk? How nice is a country without its citizens. Even if we were attacked by chemical or biological weapons, the people will not change the next day.

All the good ideas we used to repeat when we were young have turned into a bitter reality.

Now, you are in an Arab country. Bring back your watch to 30 years ago. Hope triumphs over desperation. So I chose to spend the rest of my life in an Arab country, because when the end of the world nears, the Arab world will always be late for decades and centuries from the rest of the world.

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