Sunday, September 27, 2009
An Arab star is born: and an Arab villain is born
If you want to oppose the sectarian Sunni-Shi`ite conflict in the Middle East, you need to first oppose the Saudi Wahhabi state, but you also need to oppose the Shi`ite sectarian militias of Iraq. The interview with Muntadhar Az-Zaydi on Al-Jazeera was most revealing. It will have a powerful impact on Arab public opinion: Nuri Al-Maliki after this interview will be remembered in the same way another Nuri (Nuri As-Sa`id) of Iraqi history is remembered. The dumb sectarian gang of Nuri Al-Maliki did not think that Muntadhar will eventually be released and will tell his story to the Arab world. The man is already lionized and hailed throughout the Arab world and is receiving offers and invitations. It bothers me how much he invoked Islam and Iraqi nationalism (with some reference to Arab nationalism) in his talk; and he did not come across as very sophisticated but certainly seemed more articulate and sensible than the broadcasters on Saudi-owned TV stations. Yet, he is fiercely opposed to the Sunni-Shi`ite conflict, and was categorical on that. He told the whole story on Al-Jazeera's Hiwar Maftuh: Ghassan Bin Jiddu ably let him tell his story with little intervention. You could see the emotions building up in Muntadhar as he was telling his story. As he was talking, I could feel Arab public anger building up. Nuri Al-Maliki may be now the most despised man in the Arab world. He talked about the merciless torture and beatings that he was subjected to by Maliki's sectarian guardian/thugs. He was fair to say that the beatings only stopped on the first day when an interpreter of the US soldiers came to tell the sectarian thugs of Maliki to stop the beatings. He said how disgusting it was to see the thugs being so afraid of the US occupation soldiers--their masters. And the most powerful part of the story was when he said: that the thugs of Maliki kept beating him (upon taking him out of the room) and screaming at him: are you Sunni or Shi`ite? He said that he did not want to answer the sectarian question but gave his father's name to indicate that he was Shi`ite, because they immediately accused him of being booby trapped by Al-Qa`idah. Next week, AlJazeera will air Part II of the interview, and I have a feeling that millions will tune in--if only to curse Nuri Al-Maliki and his sectarian thugs.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 9:22 AM