By Nastik Durrani, New Age Islam
Before the elections, the euphoria over Obama’s victory was at its peak in the Arab world generally and in Islamic countries in particular. The witness to this euphoria was the American media itself. Frida Ghitis, an expert in world affairs wrote in her column titled ‘Surprise for Obama in the Middle East’:
“In Pakistan surprisingly 90% people said they did not know whom they should prefer or refused to reply. Only 10% equally voted in favour of both the candidates. Obama’s biggest supporters were in Saudi Arabia which was 50%. Only 33% Palestinians and 32% Kuwaitis said they preferred Obama but this support was three fold greater than the support to Mac Kaine”. It is surprising that Obama was as much popular in Islamic countries and the Middle East as among American Jews and was successful in garnering the majority votes of the Jews in the elections. A Gallop Survey revealed that 75% Jews were in favour of Obama. There has hardly been such an unanimity among Muslims and Jews on a single issue in the entire history.
As soon as Obama’s victory was announced, a wave of jubilation ran across Arab and Islamic countries over the victory of the son of an African born Muslim father in the American elections and slogans of Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) were raised. But all the Arab-Islamic euphoria died down when just two days after assuming office, Obama appointed Rahm Emanuel who was associated with Democratic Party and was a former Israeli citizen as White House Chief of Staff. His father was an active member of an extremist Jewish organisation Irgun. All of a sudden, Obama became a pure Jew in the eyes of the Muslims particularly Arabs and the hope of justice on Palestine issue turned into despair again as Arabs see Rahm Emanuel as an Israeli enemy whereas Obama sees him as an American with great political and administrative abilities.
Now the question is: what are the expectations of the Arabs in his second tenure? The straight answer to this is ‘justice’. And in the political dictionary of Arabs, American justice should mean this:
1. America should support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state though even the Palestinians are severely divided on this issue. A big section (Hamas) does not support the establishment of such a state nor does it recognise Israel. Therefore, it does not want any dialogue with it. Fatah wants a secular Palestinian state whereas Hamas wants it to be an Islamic caliphate and has expressed their stance in Gaza. As for Israel, it is very happy at their dispute because the differences of the Palestinians will keep the ghost of an independent Palestinian state at bay.
2. America should annul its strategic alliance with Israel and form such an alliance with the Arabs; though it is to be decided which Arab country is in a position to form such an alliance with America.
3. There should be no interference in party dictatorship, military dictatorship and tribal autonomy. In other words, there should be no interference in the whole of Arab world.
4. Demand should not be made for the release of the political prisoners lodged in the jails of Arab countries particularly in Syria.
5. Demand should not be made for the change in the educational curriculum of Arab countries particularly in the religious curriculum which inspires jihad and qital.
6. No efforts should be made to end the autocracy of any Arab autocrat as it is an internal matter of the Arabs and therefore, America and other countries should abstain from doing so.
7. The annual American aid to poor Arab countries (for example, Egypt) should be continued and this aid should not be linked to political reforms.
8. America should not give an ear to what the opposition parties of Arab say and all the aid to them should be stopped.
Perhaps these demands are more emotional than rational and fulfilling these demands seems difficult for America which believes that fulfilling such demands will hamper its interests.
Before every American election, Muslims and Arabs attach great expectations to them and have the belief that their dreams will come true. They have not realised that their dreams are mere dreams that will never come true. Should this be called a lack of political wisdom of the Arabs and Muslims? In 2004 too, when Bush was running for a second term, Arab Muslims had attached great expectations to his victory but when the dawn broke, they realised that their dream was like Satan’s dream of entering heaven. They have not yet realised the fact that no Democrat or Republican American President presents or approves of a resolution which does not espouse American interests, and America’s interests are not attached with the crisis of the Arabs, past or present, and therefore, it will not stand by them or at least do justice to them.