Saturday, April 26, 2008

To the Western World

The Egyptian blogger Nah·det Masr recently posted a message to the Western World, in which he wrote:

To the western world: check out the roots of hatred

This is a musical that documents some of the autrocities committed by the Israeli "Defense" Forces that you support. I would be the last one to defend or make execuses for terrorism. I only want the readers to understand the roots of hatred. These autrocities have been going on since the first settlers came in large numbers from Europe to Palestine between the two wars. This musical (this is only one part of four) sums up the feelings in the hearts of hundreds of millions of Arabs. You don't have to understand the words, but just look at the scenes which we are accustomed to on our news channels, and you probably don't get a chance to see in your news channels
I think he might be surprised; we do see a lot of footage of the type in this video on our news bulletins, even to the point of outright Pallywood staged incidents presented as truth.

But this blogger, an Egyptian academic, is exactly the sort of person we need to engaging in dialogue with, he is a humane democrat who longs for a renaissance in his mother country. I have been reading his blog for a couple of years and have never seen anything anti-Semitic on it. He frequently attacks Islamist extremists and dreads any expanded Islamic influence in the government of his country. He holds up secular Turkey as an example of a model Egypt might follow.

Unfortunately he has comments turned off at the moment, and no email address so I can't speak to him directly. This is my indirect attempt at initiating such dialogue.

First, he has asked us to view this clip - it seems to be a collaborative effort featuring singers and musicians from a number of Muslim countries, and is mourning the plight of the Palestinians. If this is to be a dialogue then we have a responsibility to hear his case. Here is the clip, and apart from anything else, there are some fine musicians taking part:

In response, I have two questions. There were some incursions into Egypt recently:
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have surged into Egypt from the Gaza Strip after masked militants destroyed parts of the border wall.
Initially, Mubarek said he wanted to allow the Palestinians to buy food, but after a short time things became uglier and eventually:
Egypt said on Thursday it would no longer tolerate Palestinians infiltrating the country from the Gaza Strip, and threatened to break the legs of anyone crossing the Rafah border illegally. “Anyone who breaches the border will have their legs broken,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit was quoted as saying by the official MENA news agency on public television overnight.
My questions are:
  1. Is the Israeli wall, recently built along their border with Gaza, worse than the older Egyptian wall and, if so, why?
  2. If Palestinian rockets were falling daily on an Egyptian border town, home made rockets but still sometimes lethal, more often bringing injury and loss, and always terrifying, if Egyptian soldiers were occasionally kidnapped, if suicide bombers sometimes murdered women and children, and men, in cafés, restaurants, at weddings, on buses and in schools - if Palestinians did all these things to Egypt and to Egyptians, then what would be the right response from the Egyptian government?

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