Open letter to Bush from an Arab girl BY MIRA AL HUSSEIN 2 August 2006
It has become extremely difficult to give you the benefit of the doubt on Lebanon, for you have left no doubt in our minds. We are now certain — like many of us have always been — that your foreign policy is completely biased towards Israel, and you have made no effort to hide this fact. Just out of curiosity: are they also drafted in Tel Aviv?
It is your choice, Mr Bush, to support Israel, just like it is our — the entire Arab and Muslim world’s — choice to support Lebanon. You insist that Israel has the right to defend itself. Defending oneself, I believe, is a universal right, not exclusive to Israel.
"The first Qana massacre did not quench the Israeli thirst for blood," it is said, graphically describing yet another Israeli crime against the innocents of Lebanon. In Qana, 57 armless, defenseless civilians died in an Israeli air strike, 37 of them were children. Maybe these numbers don’t matter to you, Mr Bush; they are mere numbers of the nameless Lebanese dead. But they matter to more than 200 million Arabs in the Middle East.
I quote our late president, Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who in 1973 had said, "Arab oil is not dearer than Arab blood." But it seems that Iraqi oil is dearer than American blood. I am somewhat relieved to arrive at this conclusion. At least there’s no racism against a certain group of people. Everybody is a potential sacrifice to secure US interests, even if it means sacrificing a whole nation.
No, Mr Bush, we will not accept, nor will we allow the sacrifice of more Lebanese civilians. A ceasefire should have been enforced two weeks ago. Was there a need for 37 children to die before you decided it was time for a ceasefire? How many more, Mr Bush, should die before you decide to stop sending those bloody weapons to Israel? Perhaps we can afford a sacrifice that will rein in your generosity towards Israel permanently.
We have a dream for a new Middle East. Not the "New Middle East" that you’ve been brainstorming in your Oval Office. It is the new Middle East that Middle Easterners have been dreaming of; a Middle East with no violence, and no US-made weapons to fuel that violence. It is a dream only we, Middle Easterners, are allowed to dream and realise it.
In Arabic we have a saying that goes, "They murder the murdered and walk in his funeral." Allow me to interpret this for you, Mr Bush: Your precision-guided missiles shipment has arrived in Tel Aviv. These missiles will "precisely" fall onto Lebanese villages; kill hundreds; and displace thousands more. (Evidently, we’ve just witnessed the first "precise" target in Qana.)
Yet you have "compassionately" been able to send aid to Beirut, at the same time, with supplies for the thousands of people directly and fatally affected by your vocal, (im)moral and military support for Israel. Please include US flags in your aid shipment to Beirut; they must have burned all the US flags in stock.
Mr Bush, Lebanon can and will be rebuilt, but lost lives cannot be restored. Your credibility and your government’s credibility have long been lost — irretrievably lost like those lost innocent lives. People will not forget this though. They will not turn the other cheek; they will retaliate — just like you had chosen to retaliate after 9/11. Retaliation is a value you have successfully promoted by putting it into practice, always.
I was born too late to see how the British Empire had collapsed, but right on time to see how the American Empire is falling apart. Mr Bush, You will surely be remembered in history for hastening that process.
With no more respect to offer,
Mira Al Hussein
Mira Al Hussein is a UAE national writer based in Dubai who has had a brief stint with the KT. She can be reached at Mira.AlHussein@zu.ac.ae