Saturday, September 16, 2006

Reading the Tea Leaves

I ran accross this passage that was a comment on an Al-Jazeera talk show July 10, 2001.

Amid a talk show only a few months before 9/11 that mostly was filled with how wicked America was, how corrupt Arab governments were, how wonderful Bin Laden was, everybody was sure that America would do nothing much of substance, that Bin Laden could destroy the American control in the Middle East, and maybe even the American regime, one man’s voice stood out amazingly foresighted.

“I think,” said ‘Adlan, “that the chances of Osama bin Laden’s toppling the American regime don’t even approach one in a million. These are extremely marginal matters. It’s a very serious issue, because it will make America treat bin Laden and groups like him as if they had declared war [on America], and handle them not through legal investigation inquiry, but with the American armed forces…”

Al-Hatem ‘Adlan, leader of the Al-Haq Democratic Forces Movement, knew how to read the tea leaves.

There have been miscalculations, and all of our efforts may be for naught, because the man on the street in the Middle East frequently really does believe America is bad, that Israel is evil, and that together we are the sources of all the woes in the Islamic world. Many of them don’t believe the evidence of other truth. And encouraging democracy on one hand is setting the region up to let those man on the street opinions bear fruit. And we may not like it. And even being there also reinforces that pov.

But what are our alternatives? To sit at home and wait for the next bomb to fall? Or to try to effect enough positive change (from their POV) that the opinion begins to shift?

It is a hard corner that the history leading up to this point painted us into.


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