10 June, 2004

Pan-arabism vs. colonialism

A few weeks ago I was expressing bafflement at why George W. Bush wasn't apologizing for the debacle in Abu Ghraib. In fact there were several moments when he had ample opportunity but explicitly stopped short of apology. I found this to be not only tactless but stupid, as well, since nothing but good could come of apologizing for a mistake that had created such animosity in the Arab world.

Then I stumbled across an interview in "Christanity Today" which covers a lot of ground, but includes a poignant question.

In the end, it turns out, Bush ended up apologizing to King Abdallah of Jordan, which resulted in quite a bit of flak. The move was called a "bow to Pan-Arabism", and one commentator made the comparison that if we had "humiliated" some Portugese, would we apologize to the King of Norway?

In the interview Bush is asked about this move and his "bow", and he is careful to say that he "never apologized to the Arab world". Why was it so important for him to say this? Because, it seems to me, the agenda is to keep the Arab world safely divided, and thus conquered.

The last remaining Pan-Arabist was Saddam, and now that he and his vision of the Arab world are taken care of, America can rebuild Iraq (and the Middle East) along its vision: one in which there is no Arab identity, no Arab nationalism, and no Arab unity. In this light it would be critical for Bush not to suggest that an affront to Iraqis was an affront to Arabs in general, because there is no such thing as an Arab, after all. Kuwaitis and Saudis and Egyptians and Qataris and Jordanians are much more pliant when they are not aligned and allied along a nationalist principle.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?