Friday, October 21, 2005

Today I watched a program on Al-Arabiyya TV on reform in the Arab world featuring Sa`d Ad-Din Ibrahim, and UAE professor `Abdul-Khaliq `Abdullah. I was so delighted to see `Abdul-Khaliq, a friend and colleague from my Washington, DC days. He was one of the first people I met in the US. I have always had tremendous respect for this man of principle, and I saw that he has not changed over the years. I had not seen `Abdul-Khaliq in years, but we had a reunion of sorts last year at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies' symposium. Today, `Abdullah (who is friendly with Ibrahim) made very important points, and, unlike Ibrahim (who, like Arafat and the King of Jordan, speaks so differently in Arabic than when he speaks in English to Western media) refused to give any credit to Bush for "reform" in the Arab world, and said that the US enters the scene at the last minute, and often to thwart and sabotage reform. He said that the credit, whatever credit that is, should go to the Arab men and women who struggled for decades for change.